04.03.13 6:29 PM ET
Congresswoman Doesn't Know How Guns Work
A couple of days ago, I noted that Kathleen Sebelius doesn't seem to know how insurance works. Now Colorado's senior Democratic representative, who wants to ban extended magazines, appears to reveal that she doesn't know how the magazines that she wants to ban actually work:
Asked how a ban on magazines holding more than 15 rounds would be effective in reducing gun violence, DeGette said:
“I will tell you these are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.”
What she didn’t appear to understand is that a magazine can be reloaded with more bullets. According to the Shooter’s Log, only early on were magazines for AR-15s designed to be disposable, but the military changed that and now magazines are used several times. In handguns, a magazine is designed to be reused hundreds of times.
After her remarks, the audience in the forum at The Denver Post building chuckled.
It's somewhat reminiscent of this:
Now, there's no particular reason that a person should have to know how a magazine works. It is possible to lead a full, rich, and decent life without ever firing a gun. However. If you're going to support a piece of legislation to ban something, you should have a basic understanding of how that thing works--particularly if you are a politician who will actually vote on the ban. I hope that's not a controversial statement.
Unfortunately, as I observed many years ago, the government now does so much stuff that it is literally impossible for our politicians to understand most of the legislation they vote on. It would be reasonable to expect our congressmen to be experts in how guns work. But it is not reasonable to expect them to be expert on that . . . and fancy military helicopters . . . and fire safety . . . and social work . . . and all the other thousands of things that we expect them to take care of. And so we are regularly treated to the sight of politicians making impassioned pleas for banning something that they cannot even accurately describe.
This is ultimately one of the strongest arguments for smaller government. The government can do many good things, possibly more than conservatives and libertarians are generally willing to admit. But it cannot do all of them. And the more we ask, the less well they can do any of it.