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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, February 5th, 2011

The new high capacity magazine ban coming to the table in Washington must, like all legislation, pass the test of practicality. Realist Howard Nemerov depicts here , a nation that no longer has the superfluous wealth to allow ridiculously expensive “feel-good” legislation that will offer no genuine benefit to the populace.

Do Google searches on the devastating police layoffs that have taken place from Camden, NJ to Oakland, CA. The thin blue line is being stretched past the breaking point as it is, and is far too thin to be burdened with enforcing a law that would criminalize millions of honest citizens for owning a “high capacity magazine” they have legally purchased and responsibly possessed. Our police are already overburdened and underfunded.

Let’s read the proposed legislation carefully. The original Clinton “high capacity magazine ban” that lasted for a decade “grandfathered” possession of existing magazines. If the new legislation criminalizes the possession of millions of existing magazines, logic would demand that these be paid for when confiscated, as the British government paid so much for the handguns it began confiscating from its citizens by legislative fiat in the late 1990s. Millions of magazines…let’s say $40 value apiece…plus the countless hours it would consume for police officers and prosecutors…you do the math. Insane expense in dollars and manpower, for little if any return in terms of improved public safety.

Are they planning to confiscate without fair market value compensation? Ooohhh…here come some other Constitutional issues that will be very expensive and time consuming to litigate.

The people who propose these foolish measures don’t do their research. They don’t understand the real issues.

We need to remind them – and the huge number of middle-road voters – of this. Don’t expect the NRA to do it for you. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not a giant monolith made of money. Brother Nemerov points that out, here: Write your representatives in Washington. Write letters to the editor to your local papers. Point out the “unintended consequences” of knee-jerk legislation that does not encompass reality or logic.


  1. Joshua Says:

    The thin blue line is being stretched past the breaking point as it is, and is far too thin to be burdened with enforcing a law that would criminalize millions of honest citizens for owning a “high capacity magazine” they have legally purchased and responsibly possessed.

    There’s not much to like about the current state of the US economy, but one silver lining to this cloud may be less focus on passing and enforcing what I like to call, “chicken-shit” laws. The less money there is to pay police, the more legislators and law enforcers will focus on the things that really matter, and the less they will focus on things that don’t. Not to use your blog as a bully pulpit, but it’s reprehensible that we’re cutting school, medical, police, firefighters, and other types of public-works funding, while still arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning people for marijuana possession, to the tune of literally billions of dollars a year.

  2. Pmec Says:

    I’ve wrote my esteemed Senator Gillibrand on 2 occasions. Both times I received a failure notice that her mailbox was full. This last time, I used her website to send her a message. I have yet to get a reply.

    It is sad that she used to be pro-gun until she became senator and became pals with Schumer. She will never get my vote again.

  3. drjim Says:

    These people simply don’t care about the practicality of it, and will continue to pass these “Feel Good” laws because they seem to think it’s more important to pass laws so that they’re seen as “Doing Something”.
    Doesn’t matter if the law passes the smell test or not, They loudly trumpet “We Have To Do SOMETHING!”, and they continue on their merry way trampling the rights of the citizens.

  4. Trampis Says:

    Mas is absolutely right here. We need to be flooding the offices of our elected officials with calls emails and letters and letting them know that the mid-term shake up they saw in November is not over, that we are still very much attentive to what is going on and we will NOT stand to have ANYMORE of our 2nd amendment rights taken from us. Lets all write our local papers and get our voices out there,and give 110% of our support to the NRA and help them as much as we possibly can, they are doing a great job fighting for us in Washington D.C.

  5. Matt Says:

    The (proposed) high-cap ban isn’t going anywhere. It’s stalled at only 65 cosponsors – in a 435-member House – with virtually all of the cosponsors from core urban Blue Nation and liberal Democrats, hasn’t gained any new cosponsors in a week, and really nil new cosponsors since first introduced.
    In a Republican-majority House – especially one where the Tea Party dominates – it’s D.O.A.

  6. Dave Says:

    Legalize drugs and prostitution and the “thin blue line” won’t be so thin anymore and it will be cheaper to maintain. The majority of the police resources are spent busting those “victimless” crimes.

  7. George Says:

    Congress is more than happy to pass an unlimited number of unfunded mandates. It requires someone other than the Federal government to do something, but doesn’t pay for it. Of course, I’m not convinced that they area about being able to pay for anything, but that’s another discussion….

    Here in Washington state, writing to our “representatives” about pro 2A issues will occasionally get you a form letter back. We have Progressives in office. THEY know better than we mere mortals.

    On a side note, Mas, I remember a great picture we took at FAS when you were teaching a class the day that the AWB sunset. The whole class was proudly standing holding their Evil Black Guns…. Shockingly, no one started shooting…except at targets.

  8. Richard Linares Says:

    What sucks Mas people who try pass this high mag ban do not care about cost or how there going to do. If you look who supporting high cap mag ban same people who vote for health care bill with out reading or have any idea how fund it. Same people live in denyle over what happing with are borders claim they never been safer refuse to do any thing about them. Look at New York mayor who instead of useing owen money pay for ant gun show task force to go gun show buy guns he used New York city fund pay for it. I hope high cap mag dies fast death it writen bad punish thoses who did do any thing wrong buy just owen high cap mag. Alls very clear people pushing for this ban have no idea what high cap mag is.

  9. gw Says:

    The fools in D.C. pass unconstitutional and unenforceable laws everyday. Obama care comes to mind.

    They’ll do it again. In our leaders minds the AWB worked. They live in a bubble and are clueless.

    When I look at the protesters in Egypt, sick of their government and demanding change, I “feel their pain” to quote one of the clueless.

  10. Captain Bob Says:

    What amazes me is how these elected representatives, who are supposed to be like a funnel of the wishes of their constituents to the lawmakers, ignore what their constituents want and instead push their own views and agenda. They act like leaders, rather than followers, of the people who elected them. We want leaders in the military but not in our elected officials. They, rather than doing what THEY want, need to feel the pulse of the people and do what the PEOPLE want and the people DON’T want more laws burdening them with onerous regulations. The people want less crime by enforcement of exixting good laws, and the ability to protect themselves, if they wish. The term, “feel good laws” is rather silly as it only makes the legislators feel good, the people it affects feel bad (other than the few idots who actually think these laws will protect them).

  11. Jeff Says:

    read Stephen Hunter’s excellent editorial in Saturday’s (2-5-11) Washington Post-he says it all…………

  12. EB Says:

    Never assume your opponents are idiots. They have what they consider valid and well developed arguments, opinions, and strategies. Don’t assume they are in the minority. Instead, do as Mas has done here and present a clear and well thought-out argument for your side of the issue, pointing out such things as the cost, and do it with logic and examples. For example, how much discussion has there been about identifying people who shouldn’t have access to guns due to mental instability versus simply making a sweeping and ineffective symbolic gesture of removing hi-capacity magazines from legal circulation? Offer alternative solutions whenever possible. Ones that will strengthen the position of law-abiding gun owners and provide beneficial effects for everyone. Derail a bad argument by proposing a better alternative. Some opponents will never be swayed, but there is a vast number of people in the middle who are willing to listen, if you respect their intelligence and appeal to it.

  13. Matt Worner Says:

    It is interesting to note that all weapons bans and controls specifically exempt them selves and their minions. Police and military are part of the executive branch of government, the servant of the people. Yet the servant reserves unto itself rights denied the master(s).

    As for Mrs McCarthy, she chooses to live in a free fire zone, and then bitches about loosing family. How dead would your husband be had he not been denied his God given right to shoot back by mindless twits such as yourself, Congresswoman? Did your son ever discuss with you haw bad it hurt to lie there on the train wondering if he was going to live or die? Why did he not shoot back at the dirtbag, himself? Oh, no firearm permit, no firearm? Wonder why not. Brainless laws, perhaps? Want to know why your husband is dead, Congresswoman? Just look in the mirror!

  14. DWW Says:

    Hi Mas,

    What’s your opinion on the practicality of using extended magazines such as the 33 Round Glock mags?

    Are they a good idea for a home defense gun or do they simply give the bad guy just that much more to grab onto & possibly disarm you should you wind up in a close contact grappling situation?


  15. Richard Says:

    More silly gun control on way there congressmen right now try find ways repeal state right issue concealed carry permits where there allowed. Roll out more fact from suppot why state should be allowed issue concealed carry permits why state should not issue them. The main stream media been on attack again favoring ant gun people. Than got Atf deside what guns are gone be allowed in counrty what are not becuase same people try pass high cap mag feel that know better than you do which guns you should be allowed owen wich guns should be allowed to owen. Are gun right are being attack side ways. Do not be suprise if see brand new assault rifle bill come soon ant gun people been push for that sent expire. If it happens gone be better pill that gone try makes all sallow.

  16. Mark Says:

    If military conscription were reinstated without exceptions, it MIGHT encourage some of the “elite” to re-examine their baseless preconceptions before they can pass the bar exam and run for office.

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