Washington state lawmakers made their latest move to ban standard capacity magazines in Washington, but still need to answer a hard question.
Why do they want to give criminals an advantage over the law abiding citizens of the state?
State senators filed SB 5078 to make it a crime to manufacture, possess, distribute, import, sell, purchase, or transfer a firearm magazine with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. That’s a majority of magazines for common pistols and rifles used in personal protection and self-defense, conservatively estimated to be over 200 million in circulation nationwide.
Their bill would outlaw these magazines that law-abiding citizens use for lawful purposes every day, including hunting, recreational shooting and, most importantly, for self-defense and home protection. These lawmakers, through this legislation, put a number next to the value of their lives.
So, under this capacity limitation, if you are awakened in the middle of the night by a home invasion and retrieve your firearm from a secure but ready-access storage, you would have a maximum of 10 rounds with which to defend yourself. This would limit Washingtonians’ ability to exercise lawful self-defense. In this unthinkable but all too real scenario, lawmakers want to stack the deck against you in situations where you are already at a disadvantage. Indeed, events such as this played out in many cities across the U.S. in 2020 and prove that these situations are real and increasingly more likely with the lawlessness and unrest that is all too common these days.
Furthermore, over 8.4 million law-abiding Americans became first-time gun owners last year. These new gun owners, or even Washingtonians who do not currently own a firearm, must ask themselves if they want to be placed at a disadvantage with a capacity restriction that limits the chances you get to save your life. Self-defense, after all, is the right of every law-abiding American.
The fallacies do not end there. These gun control proposals ignore two other realities:
They devalue the innocent lives of those wanting to protect themselves and their loved ones. It tells Washingtonians that the state can and indeed must control how exactly to effectively defend themselves against a criminal attack. A backseat driver is the last thing an armed citizen needs in the moment they are protecting themselves or their family. The second reality is that criminals won’t abide or respect their proposed law. Criminals, by their very definition, ignore laws.
History also tells us these proposals have been tried and have failed. Magpul proudly called Colorado our home until 2013, when lawmakers pushed through the same legislation that’s being considered for Washington. Colorado lawmakers chose to blame the criminal acts perpetuated by maniacal individuals on lawful products instead of taking on the hard work of preventing crime. We warned the lawmakers that shifting the blame would have dire consequences. Then-Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a magazine ban into law, very similar to the law proposed in Washington.
Magpul left Colorado for Wyoming, a state that welcomed our business and respected the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Colorado lost $85 million in annual taxes and hundreds of loyal employees. Those tax dollars, and our rights, are welcomed in Wyoming, where we’ve added over 500 additional jobs at our facility since then.
Our predictions that banning magazines wouldn’t reduce crime proved true. Crime actually increased in Colorado. While the law-abiding citizens were denied their rights, crime grew and criminals grew even bolder. Washington has the opportunity to avoid this tragic mistake.
Duane Liptak is the executive vice president of Magpul Industries Corp., a manufacturer of firearms accessories located in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Austin, Texas.
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