Carolyn McCarthy (oh, I hope her district is removed when NY loses their seats) has finally revealed her latest attempt (H/T Uncle, more at Sebastian’s) to regulate so-called “high-capacity” magazines.
Apparently the arbitrary number (beyond which a magazine is too big) is ten; like Tam says, only the 11th victim is important. Joe Huffman made an excellent short video demonstrating how quickly one can reload; even if Loughner had used three ten round mags instead of one thirty round mag, it would have only taken him an extra three or four seconds (at most) to change magazines.
While laws limiting magazine capacity might pass constitutional muster (though with the sunset of the Clinton AWB, magazines that were “high-capacity” are now just standard capacity, so they might be invalidated because they’re now in common use), I don’t think that a ban is politically feasible. McCarthy and her gun control pals don’t have the votes, and Boehner isn’t going to waste time on gun control when he can grandstand with Obamacare repeal votes.
That said, most of the magazines I own are standard capacity; for my AR-15, they are all either 20 or 30 round mags, and for my P226, they’re all 18 round magazines (though the .22 LR conversion only has 10 round mags, I could upgrade them to 15 easily enough). If a standard capacity magazine ban were to pass, I would buy up as many extra magazines as I could afford; just because I think that the law could be found unconstitutional doesn’t mean that I won’t stock up.
This proposed law does differ from the AWB in one major way; during the AWB, you could still buy and sell “high capacity” magazines as long as they were manufactured prior to the ban; I’ve read about magazines going for many times their retail price. The new bill, on the other hand, would prohibit transfer of standard capacity magazines (I guess they *can* learn after all!).
Anyway, the only real way to enforce bans like these is to go around and go through everyone’s possessions to make sure they aren’t hoarding them (a sure 4th amendment violation). Even then, there’s no guarantee that all of them would be found (sorry, officer, I lost all my guns and magazines in a tragic boating accident!), or that new magazines wouldn’t be made. You can make entire guns in a machine shop (easily!), and as long as you don’t do it with the intent to sell them, it’s perfectly legal. A magazine is just a box with a spring in it (no, officer, these aren’t magazines; they are pez dispensers for entire packages of pez!). The gun genie is out of the lamp (and he’s been out for a while; the 1911 turns 100 this year, and it’s the progenitor of most (non-revolver) handgun designs even today), and you can’t put him back.
Uncle was right last year, when he said that “need” isn’t a factor at all. You don’t need a fast car, or a private plane, or a sailboat, or sci-fi books, or video games, or just about anything else, but that doesn’t mean that the government should step in and tell you that you can’t have it.