Monday, February 10, 2020

Hot Dogs and Handguns

Hot Dogs are sold in packs of six, and buns in packs of eight. I’m neither a hot dog nor a gun enthusiast, but I know the math doesn’t add up on a proposed 12-round limit for firearm magazines in Virginia. 12 rounds is an important number in a military-heavy jurisdiction, as it is the number of bullets needed to complete the Navy Pistol Marksmanship Test. Some legislator had their heart in the right place, but failed to ask an expert: the military’s preferred handguns use a magazine of 15 rounds, which would become illegal under proposed laws. This is the default magazine of Beretta’s M9, and the smallest NATO stock number, off-the-shelf magazine to complete the Marksmanship Test.  

The average sailor, who carries a firearm on duty, qualifies with live ammunition once per year on the Navy’s budget. Firearm instructors, however, recommend monthly practice to maintain marksmanship skills. Sailors fill this gap by going to the range after-hours with their personal handgun; this is an ingrained part of Virginia culture.

Then what about true high-capacity magazines? That question is answered. Virginia has long banned firearm magazines over 20 rounds: It applies in Virginia’s major cities and populous suburbs, when in public; and has been law since 1991*. This law is not worded in heavy-handed language used in the Northeastern states, but it nevertheless gives law enforcement the authority to stop a violent crime before it happens. If this ill-advised 12-round limit becomes law, lawful gun owners would be required to purchase slightly smaller magazines that won’t suit a legitimate and government-sanctioned sporting purpose. We will know that the legislature has placed virtue signaling over practicality and military readiness. 

* See: § 18.2-287.4. Carrying loaded firearms in public areas prohibited; penalty.

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