In his Friday letter to the editor, Jim Armbrust argues that there is no purpose for what he describes as “high-capacity” firearm magazines for civilian use. His portrayal of these magazines is inaccurate. Their capacity is a design feature of the firearms themselves.
For the designer of the firearm, the capacity of the magazine is driven by a wide range of factors, the most compelling of which is the tradeoff between reliability and the possible scenarios in which the firearm is used. Mr. Armbrust argues that law enforcement uses what he labels “high-capacity” magazines because of the possibility of encountering multiple adversaries with villainous intent. Undoubtedly, he is correct. For the armed citizen, there also exists a wide range of possible self-defense scenarios, many of which are materially similar to what a law enforcement officer might face.
Mr. Armbrust identifies himself as a hunter. In a hunting scenario, magazine limit should be considered in a much different light than in a self-defense case. In fact, every state has well-defined magazine limits for hunting applications. As has been said before, the Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting.
Perhaps Mr. Armbrust’s most dangerous position is that we must trust law enforcement to arrive in time, with sufficient firepower, when a citizen is confronted by a dangerous situation that would require an effective self-defense tool such as a rifle with a 30-round magazine. The record is pretty clear that the police cannot reach a citizen under threat of lethal attack in time to address that threat. When seconds count, the police arrive in minutes.