Reflections on gun control by a Second Amendment advocate

, The National Law Journal

   | 5 Comments

Reasonable persons should be able to fashion reasonable restrictions—a framework for gun control in the aftermath of Newtown—without violating core Second Amendment rights.

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What's being said

  • Cesar

    Mr. Levy,

    First off, I'd like to thank you for your tireless work on behalf of all law abiding American citizens that value our constitutionally protected freedoms.

    I do take issue with one of your comments though:

    "Firearms experts note that murderers can easily load a second or third magazine in a matter of seconds. Accordingly, limiting magazine size to, say, 10 rounds will not have much practical effect. Perhaps so; but that would also mean individuals trying to defend themselves would not be seriously hampered by a 10-round limit. They too could reload very rapidly."

    The utility of magazine round capacity depends greatly on whether the shooter is an offensive or defensive scenario.

    The offensive shooter has considerable advantages over a defensive one. A person hellbent on shooting as many people as quickly as possible has the element of surprise on their side. They can pick the time and place of their choosing to inflict the most damage. They can equip themselves with as many magazines as they can physically carry for their attack. They have the opportunity to practice/train "tactical reloads" up until the very moment they decide to attack.

    A person put in a defensive scenario has none of these advantages at their disposal. The average law abiding gun owner is not carrying as many magazines as possible at all times. Nor are they aware of the need to use their weapon for self defense until the last possible second. They will be fortunate enough to get to their weapon in time, much less additional magazines.

    For these reasons, any law limiting magazine capacity clearly gives a tactical advantage to the criminal attacker over the person wishing to simply defend him or herself.

    I hope that if this argument does indeed come up, that you will consider my points in your rebuttal.

    Thanks again and best of luck in your quest.

  • Cesar

    Mr. Levy,

    First off, I'd like to thank you for your tireless work on behalf of all law abiding American citizens that value our constitutionally protected freedoms.

    I do take issue with one of your comments though:

    "Firearms experts note that murderers can easily load a second or third magazine in a matter of seconds. Accordingly, limiting magazine size to, say, 10 rounds will not have much practical effect. Perhaps so; but that would also mean individuals trying to defend themselves would not be seriously hampered by a 10-round limit. They too could reload very rapidly."

    The utility of magazine round capacity depends greatly on whether the shooter is an offensive or defensive scenario.

    The offensive shooter has considerable advantages over a defensive one. A person hellbent on shooting as many people as quickly as possible has the element of surprise on their side. They can pick the time and place of their choosing to inflict the most damage. They can equip themselves with as many magazines as they can physically carry for their attack. They have the opportunity to practice/train "tactical reloads" up until the very moment they decide to attack.

    A person put in a defensive scenario has none of these advantages at their disposal. The average law abiding gun owner is not carrying as many magazines as possible at all times. Nor are they aware of the need to use their weapon for self defense until the last possible second. They will be fortunate enough to get to their weapon in time, much less additional magazines.

    For these reasons, any law limiting magazine capacity clearly gives a tactical advantage to the criminal attacker over the person wishing to simply defend him or herself.

    I hope that if this argument does indeed come up, that you will consider my points in your rebuttal.

    Thanks again and best of luck in your quest.

  • Avon

    It looks like Mr. Levy's argument boils down to:
    "It's too hard to enact any, or almost any, of the proposed gun controls; perhaps it would be feasible if they were watered down greatly."
    And:
    "The easiest solutions are to have even more guns on the scene (the public school scene, where shootings are rare), to have more illegal drugs everywhere (by legalizing them, hoping to make them more unprofitable than all other contraband), and to treat mental illness (though psychological rage is a far worse threat than mental disease)."

    Giving up on the problem of overly-abundant war weapons is bad enough. But also rushing headlong into drastic non-solutions for a few non-problems seems even worse.

    And I thought I was rather libertarian! Something really isn't right here.

  • Johnathan

    Mr. Levy -- While you mentioned "Mental Illness", there was nothing on violence induced by psychiatric prescription drugs. What has greatly surprised me is that more than 10% of the U.S. population takes them, the warnings are specific for violence, espeically in those aged 25 and under.

    Dr. David Healy reports that 90% of mass shootings involve these drugs! See bottom of his article at http://davidhealy.org/the-boy-with-the-ponytail-who-kicked-the-hornets-nest/.

    In addition, the folks at http://www.ssristories.com/ have documented nearly 5,000 cases of drug induced violence, yet there is very little attention or analysis on the issue.

  • BHirsh

    Mr. Levy -



    First, thank you PROFUSELY for your tireless advocacy against government usurpation of our liberty. Efforts such as yours and that of Alan Gottleib and Alan Gura are priceless.



    However, counselor, I have a bone to pick with you.



    Your position allows for the manipulation of settled law, as if it doesn't exist, by considering semi-automatic rifles and pistols and their normal-capacity magazines as "dangerous and unusual weapons".



    Counselor, the SCOTUS has already spoken on this issue, in 1939. Given that you're critically aware of the U.S. v. Miller holding, I find it baffling that you miss the obvious. The Court held that arms in common use that HAVE A REASONABLE RELATIONSHIP TO THE EFFICIENCY OF A MILITA (emphasis mine) are the types that enjoy constitutional protection. The Court further held that this criteria must rule in interpreting and applying the Second Amendment.



    That's pretty strong stuff. And, it is precedent.



    This holding precludes any "balancing test" prima facie. Standard-capacity magazines were designed for these arms specifically to provide the efficiency the holding enumerates, in precise language.



    Should you be involved in any pertinent subsequent proceedings, if you don't pursue this line of reasoning you diminish the possibility of success by furnishing the Court more latitude in its consideration, by omission, than the letter of current precedent accomodates.



    I urge you in the strongest terms to take what I've offered seriously. I'm not a lawyer and you are (and one with notches in his "gun belt"), but in my estimation you have missed a key ingredient in the formula.

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