Once again we hear people advocating the outlawing of “assault weapons”, defined here as semi-auto (one trigger pull, one shot) rifles, mainly because of their high magazine capacity.  It being believed that if these weapons are not available, there will be no further assaults on our children.  This of course neglects the fact that we have large numbers of modern handguns with magazine capacities of 13 to about 17 or 18 rounds.  There is also a couple of handguns made with higher capacities, one of 20 rounds (the one used by Major Hasan to kill American soldiers).  I’ve seen ads for a .22 pistol that holds 30 rounds inside its grip.  In the hands of a practiced shooter, both the rifle and handgun magazines can be exchanged for full ones in a matter of a few seconds.  I might also note that lever action hunting rifles that use side loading magazines can be reloaded with a cartridge still chambered.  The same is true of pump action and semi-auto shotguns, both of which can be reloaded with a shell in the chamber.  The old Winchesters used in the 19th Century had magazine capacities of up to 14 rounds and could be reloaded from the side with a cartridge chambered. Thus, all of these weapons were capable of maintaining relatively continuous fire as long as the supply of ammunition held out.  The single action revolvers of the era could also be reloaded “under fire” by someone who knew what they were doing. You could also exchange a loaded cylinder for an empty one in a few seconds, which was done in the era of the “cap & ball” revolvers that preceded the cartridge loading later revolvers. With practice you can reload a single shot cartridge loading rifle in as short a time as three seconds.  Bolt action rifles such as were used in World War 1 and by most military forces in World War 2 could be reloaded by clips in about the same amount of time by someone who had practiced doing such things. People with double barrel shotguns and rifles could also reload rather quickly with practice.  The swing out revolver can be reloaded with a charger of six cartridges in not much time by someone who has done sufficient practice with the weapon.  So to slow down the rate of fire with firearms, we’d really need to return to the era of the muzzle loader in rifle or musket.  And in flintlock just to slow things down a bit further…  Do we really want to go back to the 17th Century?

This is about where we’d have to go with firearms.  Edged weapons are another matter.  A competent swordsman opposed by unarmed victims can kill or injure people quite rapidly.  A man in China recently injured 22 children with some sort of bladed weapon.  Japanese officers in China in World War 2 killed hundreds of unarmed Chinese with their swords.  Look up the “Nanking Massacre” on Google if you wish.  The weapons of the pre-firearm past will still kill just as they did back before the invention of firearms. They do take a bit more “skill” than just pulling a trigger, but they are quite capable of taking human life.

Then there is the use of “fire”.  Gasoline is available almost anywhere.  Gasoline is also explosive when the fumes mix with air.  The same is true of propane, natural gas, and the gas used in welding.  The old type blowtorch will also become a short range flamethrower with a range of about ten feet.  Some types of sprays such as the “starting ether” sold in auto parts will do the same thing.  Our Muslim enemies in the Middle East have killed thousands of American GI’s with Improvised Explosive Devices.  Tim McVeigh used a truck bomb to kill hundreds of people.  It rather appears that those bent on killing can always find some means to do exactly that…  


About muskegonlibertarian

77 year old retired owner of a security guard agency. Member of the Libertarian Party.
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