Friday, July 27, 2012

Rate of fire restrictions

Over at The Gormogons, Gettoputer rightly takes a bunch of lefties to task for their poorly conceived "common sense" gun control proposals:
In closing, here's a freebie for any gun banners that may happen to read this post.  If 'Puter's hearing you correctly, your real problem with guns (aside from the fact that they are big and scary and mean looking) is that certain combinations of rate of fire and magazine capacity enable the criminal and insane to do massive damage in a short period of time.  Rather than advocating an outright ban of all firearms, or banning certain cosmetic characteristics that have absolutely nothing to do with anything, why wouldn't you simply amend the National Firearms Act to include the concept of "Covered Firearm?"  Covered Firearm would be defined as "a firearm with both a rate of fire at or over x rounds per minute and a magazine capacity equal to or greater than x rounds." Then you can haggle over the difference without debating the red herrings of bayonet lugs, pistol grips, caliber, color, microstamping, etc.
Note that 'Puter isn't advocating any of this, but he does seem to cut to what is the heart of liberal's concern.  Indeed, Gail Collins and "conservative" David Brooks in the New York Times seem to be advocating precisely that.

The problem is that this seemingly can't work.  Consider: if a proposal like this were to be seriously mooted, it's hard to see the limits set at higher than, say, 20 rounds a minute.  The problem is that just about anything will shoot with that rate of fire.  The venerable 1911 is so common as to be entirely unremarkable, even to gun banners - indeed, Heller v. D.C. specifically called out as unconstitutional bans of firearms that are in common use.  It's hard to find a more common pistol than a 1911 pattern.

And the rate of fire (assuming enough magazines are at hand) is going to be well over 20 rounds per minute.  While I don't think that I could do it, it's very possible that a skilled shooter could send 100 rounds per minute down range.

Heck, even revolvers with speed loaders will almost certainly give a higher rate of fire than any liberal would be willing to accept.

And so once again we see that there simply is no common ground.  'Puter is likely getting very near what liberal's actual position might be, and there's simply no There there.  Liberals would have to accept a rate of fire that is wildly higher than they'd like - and which would put the lie to any nominal goal of preventing Aurora type shootings - or essentially every firearm design after 1890 or so would have to be outlawed.

Of course, no new gun control laws are even going to be discussed, because while Democratsmay be dumb, they want to keep their Congressional seats.  Therefore we'll only hear huffing and puffing from those few who are in safe seats.  This will continue to give E.J. Dionne and company the Vapors, so grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.


Jason Cato said...

I discussed the same subject with a liberal-leaning friend. He stated that no person should be able to have so much killing power. I told him that even with an equal weapon, the "killing power" varies based on the training, mindset, and circumstances of the shooter. Does that mean people shouldn't be allowed to have training that increases their "killing power?" Does watching the Art of the Defensive Carbine increase my "killing power?"

Anonymous said...

Well I'm looking for suggestions for a good handgun that is affordable, reliable and easy to maintain and with the ability to take out a bull elephant at 500 yards, well maybe not the last bit, I've finally convinced the missus that we should own one for the coming end of civilization as we know it or rampaging zombies whichever comes first . I know firearms safety and training would be very important because I don't wish to shoot myself in the foot which would be very likely in my case. Any pointers on where to start? As the missus is on the petite side a large gun would be out of the question and impractical for her to handle.

Borepatch said...

knottedprop, we tried a lot of different guns before we bought any. By "a lot" I mean probably two dozen or more.

I think that this was particularly helpful for the Missus.

Not sure how things are set up where you are, but going to a range that rents guns is what we did. Trying them before you buy them is the best way to find what you're comfortable with.

Bob S. said...


I'm addressing, or trying to address, this same issue on my blog and at

Notice how every that they don't apply those same 'common sense' restrictions on gasoline, common chemicals, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Borepatch, I shall recommend going to the range first so we can give a few a try. We are here in Tennessee so we have sensible not stupid or restrictive gun laws.

'Puter said...

Thanks for the link and discussion. I do think that this is really what liberals want when they talk gun control: a single shot weapon, like a muzzleloader or a break action single barrel shotgun. As to the rate of fire v. magazine capacity, I meant it as an "if, then" choice. If and only if the rate of fire for a firearm is over x rounds per minute, then and only then would there be a magazine capacity restriction. I certainly am not advocating this position, but I do think that's the only calculus that has any chance of being remotely acceptable to both the gun lovers and the gun haters. And, per usual, it all depends on what one's view of "reasonable" is.

Murphy's Law said...

I can fire 20 round aimed fire a minute with a Martini-Henry MkII. Guess that vintage "assault rifle" should be banned, too.

SnW said...

@Murphy's Law

Not if this goes through.

Hi-Capacity Magazine Ban Sneak Attempt

zdogk9 said...

I just watched a youtube video of someone doing 3 rounds in 45 seconds with a Brown Bess, He was replacing the ram rod in the ferrel before shooting, had he just stuck it in the ground he could have trebled his rate of fire.

Borepatch said...

Murphy's Law, I want to go to the range with you sometime.


ASM826 said...

A tube fed .22 will easily exceed 20 rounds a minute.

Peter said...

Oh, foo. I shoot cowboy action matches. There are usually twenty-four rounds fired in each "stage" Ten handgun, ten from a pistol caliber lever or pump action shotgun. A really good shooter can shoot a complete stage in around fifteen seconds, shooting single action revolvers. This is with the pop-tink light loads. I can shoot a stage with .45 Colt, 250 grain bullets over a full charge of black powder, and a double barrel shotgun with hammers in under a minute. And a replica Single Action Army kicks hard with full BP loads.

Oh, and this is starting with the guns in leather and rifle and shotgun staged, the shotgun empty, the rifle with rounds in the magazine with chamber empty.

So, those ol' guns can shoot fast, and if you want to shoot a lot of rounds, carry more guns.

My actual defensive guns are not quite that old fashioned but if push ever comes to shove I can load that old double with buckshot. The Model 92 Winchester clone gets cleaned, a sight adjustment and ten rounds of hollowpoints that are loaded to the limits of the old 300 grain .45-70 load that was developed for deer hunting and homestead protection with those surplus Trapdoor Springfields With those old designs I do not stand naked before my enemy.

The gun doesn't matter, it's the shooter.

Ken said...

I wrote Rob Portman (not like there's any point writing Sherrod Brown) about the magazine amendment. Lot of companies making those are small businesses; most personal-arms companies are, by the standards of the Fortune 100. They've got it tough enough, between the economy and regime uncertainty. I made those points to Sen. Portman (along with the liberty issue).

deadcenter said...

Based on that discussion, X rounds per minute, combined with their interpretation of Originalist interpretation, I'd look out for the ban guns advocate to set the limit at 3 aimed rounds per minute, the standard for musket fire at the time.