With IP17 & IP18, LEVO is misguided at best, irresponsible at worst
Lift Every Voice Oregon (LEVO) is working on getting two gun-control initiatives added to the 2022 ballot. Whereas I believe their hearts are in the right place and they indeed feel like their measures will work, the plan of action is faulted. They are modeling their efforts after other states which have passed similar measures (i.e., CA, NY, NJ, and others). These states have also seen rising gun violence, despite their laws trying to prevent otherwise. The problem with both of these measures is that they do little to reduce criminal gun violence, which is what is on the rise.
Crime is defined as “an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government”1. IP17 and IP18 move to make such things as “high-capacity magazines” and “assault weapons” a crime to purchase and own. Criminals, those who commit crimes, obviously have little to no regard for any law passed, whether it be by voters, city council, or the legislative branch. Those with an intent to commit a crime with a firearm do not care if there is a law that says they can’t have more than 10 rounds, or the type of firearm they are legally allowed to own. What is one more criminal charge piled on to the one(s) they are already planning to commit?
Therefore, all these measures do is turn millions of formerly responsible, law-abiding citizens into criminals. At the same time in inhibits their ability to protect themselves, their families, and their property in the case that they might be assaulted by one of the aforementioned criminals.
The reason I add “irresponsible” to the title is that LEVO will be spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars organizing this campaign and advertising for it over the next year. Ostensibly, some of this will be coming from the $6 million in tax-payer money that the city gave to these groups to prevent gun violence. Given the massive surge of new gun owners in Oregon the past two years, many of them liberal, it further increases the chance of defeat, and therefore any money spent will have been wasted.
This is money they could (and should be, in the case of tax-payer money) be using for their various outreach youth programs to try and prevent gun-violence before it happens. This is money that could be used to expand mental health services to keep people from getting into a state where they want to perpetuate violence. There are much better ways to spend this money than on a campaign that will do little good to curb violence and, instead, will hamper the millions of Oregon citizens who are law-abiding, responsible gun-owners.
LEVO has posted a FAQ on their proposed IP172 and I would like to pick apart some of their points:
§What does IP 17 do?
“Also under IP 17, people won’t be able to buy ammunition magazines with more than ten rounds…. Magazines with more than ten rounds are called large-capacity magazines.”
The definition of a “large-capacity” (also commonly called “high-capacity”) magazine is arbitrary. Brady United is one of the premier advocates for gun-control in this country. They even have a bill named after them and have been doing this since 1974. Despite this, they do not even clearly define what a “high-capacity magazine” is. According to their website a “A high-capacity magazine is typically defined as any magazine or drum that is capable of holding more than either 10 or 15 rounds of ammunition.”3 (Emphasis added.)
Wikipedia defines a “high-capacity magazine” as “a firearm magazine capable of holding more than the standard number of rounds provided by the designer.”4 This is closer to the definition of “high-capacity” as it denotes something larger than the manufacturer originally included. This is often seen in electronics which include a battery, with an optional high-capacity battery that can be purchased separately for more capability.
§Background on large-capacity magazines:
“Large-capacity magazines (LCMs) have been used to perpetrate devastation on a massive scale in many high-profile mass shootings. In fact, large-capacity magazines have been used in all ten of the deadliest mass shootings in the last decade.”
This is true only using their definition of a large-capacity magazine. As previously stated, many guns come standard from the manufacturer with a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. Glock manufactures some of the most popular handguns out there. A Glock 19 compact (arguably, the most popular concealed-carry handgun on the market) comes standard with a 15-round magazine. A full-sized Glock 17 comes with a 17-round magazine. That is just how they are configured and, unless you deliberately purchase a non-standard, 10-round magazine for these guns, that is what you get. If you so chose, Glock (and third-party companies) make high-capacity magazines for these guns going all the way up to 33 rounds. Considering that the these would be a greater capacity than the magazine that came with the gun that would justify them being labeled “high-capacity” or “large-capacity”.
Nearly all AR-15 clones and AK-47s from manufactures like Sig Sauer, Ruger, Springfield, Zastava, etc. come standard with a 30-round magazine.5 Once again, if you want a smaller-capacity you would have to actively purchase it separately. In fact, Springfield Armory has designated “low capacity” versions of their popular Saint AR-15 rifle which are the ones with 10-round magazines.6
Nearly all guns available for consumer purchase come in “low-capacity” (i.e. Springfield’s Saint seroes) or “state-compliant” magazines. These are versions of the exact same firearm, but instead of the standard magazine it includes lower capacity (usually 10-round) magazines for states with existing bans. All this further emphasizes that making a blanket statement that “large-capacity magazines have been used in all” of anything is specious, at best.
§Why limit magazine size?
The reasonings in this entire section are 100% misleading due to my statements above about standard capacity vs high-capacity. Statements like:
- “firearms equipped with large-capacity magazines significantly contribute to crime across the country”
- “recovered crime guns equipped with large capacity magazines increased by between 49 and 112% in several major cities”
- “Firearms equipped with high-capacity magazines are estimated to account for 22 to 36% of crime guns in most places”
Of course these numbers are going to be high because people just use what the gun came with out of the box. This is misusing-statistics-for-your-own-purpose at its best. Also, in their own point I quoted in bullet #3, 75% or more of guns recovered in crimes will be in 100% compliance of their proposed law.
§Isn’t some training required before purchasing a gun?
This is a point where I agree with them. Unfortunately, the training requirement is lumped in to the high-capacity bill, which I cannot and will not support. When I purchased my first gun, I was terrified of it. I spent weeks working with it and dry firing it before I ever put ammunition in it outside of a range. I then took two concealed carry classes, one in-person and one online. Even after getting my conceal carried permit I only carried it loaded but not chambered. It wasn’t until I took an additional class and (by that time) had nearly eight months of practice in that I started carrying “locked and loaded”.
That was my experience. However, many people these past couple years have purchased guns out of fear and have not bothered to train. This is dangerous for them, their family, and for others who may come near them. Training is absolutely necessary before you ever attempt to use a firearm in self-defense, hunting, or any other lawful act.
I realize Portland has a problem with gun-violence, as do many other cities around the country. But gun-control legislation is not the way to fix this. As stated, I whole-heartedly support more training. I also nominally support a “license to purchase”, but at the same time I feel that concealed-carry permit holders should be exempt from this. (They have already had to go through the exact same background check that this license to purchase would require.) At the same time, I would also support a magazine limit ban if concealed-carry permit holders were exempted.
This is my first posting on this subject but I will be writing more over the next few months/weeks. Some of these other topics will be:
- IP18 and “assault weapons”.
- Gun- vs alcohol-related deaths.
- How to more effectively combat mass shootings with red flag laws and social media analysis.
Thank you for reading this.
- Long-gun product page samples