We’re exploring the chances of congress to create a bill to ban high capacity magazines and military assault style weapons. We’ll go through the latest reasons for the ban, describe nomenclatures congress is using to identify these products, and what you must do right now before changes are made.
The latest big push for high capacity magazine bans
The recent gun violence tragedy at a Uvalde elementary school has jump started a push by congress to ban high capacity magazines. Some state or local law prohibits the use of standard or high capacity magazines already.
There are no federal laws that currently ban large capacity magazines capable of firing 30 or more rounds per magazine.
The National Firearms Act (NFA)
Current legislation in effect on firearms include the National Firearms Act (NFA). The NFA makes possession of silencers, short barreled rifles and shotguns, and automatic machine guns illegal.
A civilian may possess silencers and short barreled rifles/shotguns with a tax stamp from the ATF. These tax stamps are $200 per firearm or NFA item and require their own background investigation per item.
Mass shooting deaths and need for more officer training
The push to have congress regulate and ban high capacity magazine purchases stems from the mass shooting deaths of school children. No parent should feel their children is unsafe while at school. The shootings at Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Uvalde have brought this issue into the spotlight. Causing citizens to push their local lawmakers to put forth laws banning large capacity ammunition magazines.
At the Parkland High School shooting in Brevard County, FL, school resource officer was on the school campus when shooting began. He remained outside during the shooter. In both cases in Uvalde and Brevard County, FL officers likely didn’t have the necessary training to enter the building.
The public and other EMS services rely heavily on police to secure the scene before others can move in. Step 1 is always scene safety – and always done by law enforcement officers or agencies.
What are high capacity magazines?
Right now there’s a lot of talk about high capacity magazines. What most experienced shooters call high capacity magazines is actually different than what congress refers to.
Low capacity ammunition magazines
These are considered “reduced capacity ammunition magazines”. These magazines have a capacity of around 10 to 15 rounds but will most likely be 10 rounds.
Places like California and Washington limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds. Colorado, which is home to magazine manufacturers like MAGPUL – limit the capacity to 15 rounds.
Standard capacity ammunition magazines
These magazines are the standard military style magazines, usually holding 30 rounds. I’ve seen AR-10 magazines typically hold 25 rounds, because of the heavier weight of the rounds.
A 30 round magazine ban to most shooters is a ban of standard sized magazines – while to congress, they’re high capacity magazines.
High capacity ammunition magazines
The terms high capacity magazines and large capacity magazines are used interchangeably. These magazines are greater than 30 rounds. These include MAGPUL’s 40 round magazine and 60 round drum magazine.
What else are they trying to do?
In addition to trying to ban high capacity magazines, lawmakers are also trying to ban “assault weapons”, increase taxes and fees on gun purchases, and raise the legal age to purchase a firearm to 21 years old.
The push to ban assault weapons
Politicians are also going after AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. Calling for a ban for military style assault weapons. While many of us don’t see an AR-15 as an assault weapon, many politicians don’t know the difference. The term assault weapon is very scary to non-gun owners and non-shooters.
Politicians are calling for a federal assault weapons ban. How are assault weapons classified though? Is it just the AR-15? There’s an AR-10? The ATF is the governing department for classifying firearms. If a ban were to happen, it would be interesting to see what the ATF classifies as assault weapons or what features that might entail.
Some uneducated politicians believe that the AR-15 and AR-10 are fully-automatic rifles, they’re not. They’re semi automatic firearms. Each trigger pull is one round downrange. Snippets of politicians explaining how many rounds can be shot at a target with one trigger pull is pretty funny – but outlines their ignorance in the gun industry.
Increase taxes and fees on gun purchases
Virginia Representative Don Beyer started drafting legislation to impose heftier taxes on military style assault weapons. The tax would “. . . impose a 1,000% tax on the weapons for manufacturers, producers, and importers”, says TheHill.com. This would effectively take your $500 – $2,000 AR-15 rifle and make it a $5,000 – $20,000 rifle.
I’ve seen it posted by many pro-2A accounts that it might be a push to make only the wealthy able to afford AR-15’s – leaving the most vulnerable among us unable to afford a rifle that’s great tool for self-defense.
Raise the legal age to purchase a firearm to 21 years old
Current laws state a person can be 18 years old to purchase a rifle and shotgun. 21 years old to purchase a “firearm” or pistol.
A firearm is considered a device used to make a pistol, rifle or shotgun. A great example of this would be a lower receiver to build an AR-15 or AR-10.
The thought behind requiring a purchaser being 21 years old is that a person’s mental state is more mature at this age. There is added scrutiny around the pistol because it’s easier to conceal, to hide, and use without warning.
Conventional thought is that you would see a rifle more easily.
Along with the pistol category, comes the AR Pistol. AR-15’s can become what the ATF refers to as an AR Pistol, with the addition of a non-collapsible brace – used primarily for disabled shooters to shoot a firearm with just one hand.
Is gun control the answer to gun violence?
Many people point to high crime areas like Los Angeles and Chicago as failed gun control experiments. With high gun violence and mortality rates due to gun violence, surely removing guns from the picture will make it go away – right?
Unfortunately gun control isn’t a great meature for gun violence prevention. It seems simple – remove the problem “guns” and you won’t have gun violence.
This thinking is flawed though. Think about the UK with all of its violence with knives or sharp edged weapons. Are they going to remove steak knives?
What the gun industry needs
We are a big proponent for gun safety and gun storage. People should be held accountable for securing their firearms and ensuring they’re not stolen. They should report their weapons stolen immediately too.
What the 2A community needs is not just some bleeding heart anti-legislation gun owners – it needs common sense owners. Owners that leave their guns in their truck in a locked glove compartment. Gun owners that keep their guns away from their children.
What can rifle owners do in the meantime?
There are a few ways to help make sure the government doesn’t overreach and remove our second amendment rights. Some are preventative and you should have been doing over the past five years. We’ll outline what we feel are the basics below.
Contact your local politicians and demand they stop the assault on the second amendment
You can easily find your state senators and representatives using Congress.gov’s website. Enter your address and you’ll get all three names.
Purchase standard and high capacity magazines
If you haven’t been purchasing standard and high capacity magazines, you’re definitely behind. We’re seeing a big uptick in magazine sales in both standard and high capacity magazines. Check your local gun shop, online gun shop, and big box store.
I am willing to guess the big box stores will soon be sold out and the market will rely on small online gun shops to fill the remaining demand.
Moving average costing method
You should be buying magazines and ammunition using a moving cost average. Buy one box of ammo or one magazine each month – during high times – it will hurt but if averaged out during the lower cost times – it won’t hurt as much.
Sure – if ammo gets cheaper you can buy a lot at once. But if you’re always waiting for ammo to get cheaper, you might never buy any. Because it’s not getting cheaper anytime soon.
What are gun dealers’ responsibilities in all of this?
To briefly summarize what your local gun dealers are probably doing behind the scenes, here are a few points.
To keep our cities safe, we’re screening our customers. The ATF requires background checks on all purchasers.
However, gun dealers have one of the most unique opportunities to deny someone a purchase. If someone activates your spidey senses – it’s not worth the risk of the sale.
We also receive free education by gun industry groups about potential illegal purchases. Straw purchases.