|Who Needs High-Capacity Magazines? Even Police Only Hit 1 in 5 Shots|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, February 07 2013
Here’s a statistic likely to surprise most Americans: Police officers’ hit ratio, meaning the percentage of shots fired that meet the intended target, is approximately 20%.
In other words, even those whose very profession demands accuracy and constant preparation only hit 1 out of 5 shots when the situation requires it. Some 80% of shots thus miss their target.
A 2010 NYPD estimate is even lower, suggesting a hit ratio of just 11% to 17%.
This constitutes a critical fact in the ongoing debate over Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
Specifically, prohibitionists reflexively seek magazine capacity limits as a first step in their incremental restrictionist agenda. Defenders of the Second Amendment correctly respond that limiting magazine capacity does nothing to actually reduce crime, as decades of crime data show. Unfortunately, we haven’t always done an effective job of affirmatively explaining to the public why higher capacities are important, even life-saving.
Police repeatedly undergo training so that firing situations will be less disorienting and chaotic. Average members of the public, however, suddenly awakened by middle-of-the-night violent aggressors, do not. Accordingly, a higher-capacity magazine may prove the difference between life and death for themselves and their families. That is particularly true when multiple attackers are involved.
Defensive use of firearms by law-abiding citizens in America occurs far more often than highly-publicized mass murders by deranged gunmen, and such magazines naturally increase the effectiveness in such scenarios.
Meanwhile, south of our border, Mexican citizens are discovering the value of the right to keep and bear arms.
That nation continues its descent into lawlessness and violence, with police increasingly corrupt or incapable of stopping crime. Running out of options, as detailed in a front-page report this week by The Wall Street Journal, law-abiding citizens “have risen up in armed revolt against local drug traffickers that have terrorized the region and a government that residents say is incapable of protecting them from organized crime.”
Through the actions of “ordinary farmers and businessmen,” we witness how “life is getting back to normal here after years of insecurity”:
“Crime is way down – for the moment, at least. Residents say kidnapping ceased when the militias took charge, as did the extortions that had become the scourge of businessmen and farmers alike. The leader of one militia group, who uses the code name G-1 but was identified by his compatriots as Gonzalo Torres, puts it this way: ‘We brought order back to a place where there had been chaos. We were able to do in 15 days what the government was not able to do in years.’”
As cogently summarized by Bruno Placido, a leader of one militia, “We have shown the power armed people have over organized crime groups.”
But what’s happening in Mexico could never happen here in America, right?
In some ways, it already is happening.
In Chicago, where some of the nation’s most infamous Second Amendment restrictions prevail, the murder rate is rising at an alarming rate. Last month became the deadliest January since 2002, and last year’s 506 murders set a five-year high even as the nation’s overall rate continues its decline.
Amid that increasing lawlessness, the Chicago Police Department announced this week that it has stopped physically responding to many 911 calls. Henceforth, crimes falling outside the vague definition of “imminent danger” will be routed to desk officers who will simply fill out reports via phone.
Disturbingly, what officials have labeled “simple assaults” fall outside that definition of imminent danger, even though such crimes often escalate to mortal events. Scott Waguespack, a city alderman, admitted that “it looks pretty bad,” and worried that the police retreat signals “an open house for burglars.”
As police become even less able to protect citizens, Second Amendment safeguards become even more critical.
America is not on the brink of Hobbesian lawlessness, but events in Chicago just this week demonstrate that the danger is never as distant as we might wish to believe. Even the safest societies are not immune, and there is no right more fundamental than the natural, inalienable right to self-defense.
And as Second Amendment restrictionists propose new knee-jerk legislation, we must repel measures that dangerously affect that right.
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