Tuesday, September 3, 2019

HR 1186 - IT REALLY WONT "Keep America Safe Act"

The naming of bills and laws has always amazed me.   Congress always seems to come up with such inspiring names or catchy acronyms:  HIPAA, PATRIOT Act, and now the "Keep America Safe Act."

Of course, sometimes the names are rather misleading- or they pro-port to do something that they really will never do.  HR 1186- the "Keep America Safe Act" is a perfect example.  The fact is this bill should be amended to title it the "It Really Won't Keep America Safe Act."

This act is of course a knee-jerk reaction to recent shootings. Unfortunately, this act is gaining traction in the Senate, with some GOP Senators now saying they would support this measure.

What the "[It Really Won't] Keep America Safe Act" Actually Says (in short), after this bill is passed it will be illegal to possess, make, sell, etc any firearm magazine that holds more than ten rounds.  But it will NOT be illegal to posses a large magazine (eleven rounds or greater) if that magazine was produced prior to the date of the bill passage.   Further, this law bans magazines larger than 10 rounds for .22 Rifles - unless that magazine is a tubular magazine affixed to the rifle (say goodbye to any large magazines for your Ruger 10-22 in the future if this were to pass).   The penalty for illegal possession will be 3-10 YEARS in prison (possibly longer depending on circumstances).

So why do I contend that this WILL NOT "Keep America Safe?"  Who will obey this law? As usual, people who are already predisposed to obey the law.   Further it will potentially make inadvertent criminals of some, as the law states its not illegal to posses a pre-passage magazine with more than ten rounds, it does not say it is legal to transfer a pre-passage magazine.   For example, a relative leaves an individual a World War II era M1-Carbine to an adult relative in their will.  A strict reading of this law would make that transfer illegal if it included the magazine.

Another reason this bill will not "Keep America Safe" is that it will limit law abiding citizens in their ability to defend themselves against criminal intruders.    According to the FBI Extended Homicide Data, more than 400 times a year, a private citizen is forced to kill another human in self defense.  This does NOT include the number of times a private citizen is forced to fire in self defense but misses or only wounds a perpetrator.    As a law abiding citizen and gun owner, if I were ever forced into that situation, where I had to defend my home, my property and my loved ones, I would want to have MORE firepower than the "bad guy"- not be limited by the number of times I could fire in self-defense while the bad guy, who obviously is not going to obey the law (he just broke into my home, or threatened a family member with deadly force) uses a high capacity magazine and can wait until I have to thumb a magazine release, insert a new magazine, and close the action. There have been numerous situations over the years where a home owner has fired more than ten rounds to stop an assailant.   Adrenaline is high.  Hands are shaking.   Personally, I have received training on how to do this quickly with a speed loader (yes, with a revolver) or magazine, but that does not guarantee perfection in an extremely tense situation.   Not everyone has this training. 

With all the other things Congress COULD do to protect citizens (improving mental health care and services for one), this appears to be the route they want to take; a law that will make people "feel good" but actually does nothing- just like the 1994 Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazine Ban.

Then again, if Congress says no one gets more than ten rounds before they must reload, the bad guys will respect that right?



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