Why 10-Round Limits Are a Terrible Idea

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Sen. Chuck Schumer intends to put a new assault weapon ban bill on the Senate floor to vote on within the next week. Now, banning a type of firearm is a terrible idea in and of itself, one that’s already being challenged in the courts as we speak.


A 10-round limit is part of this measure, as it was with the ban back in 1994.

A lot of people favor such limits. They’ve been told that such a restriction will inhibit mass shooters but that no law-abiding citizen has a need for any more rounds than that.

Yet at American Thinker, writer Robert F. Turner debunks some of this thinking and talks about why a round limit is a terrible idea.

Only in Hollywood do people shot with a 9mm bullet immediately fall to the ground dead. People have been hit more than 20 times with such bullets and survived the experience. While homeowners generally do not wish to kill an intruder—or intruders, as home invasions and other violent crimes are often committed by multiple armed assailants—or anyone else, to be successful, they must act quickly to do whatever is necessary to end the threat. And doing that often requires multiple hits.

There is also a serious risk of repeatedly missing the target under the stress of a gunfight. A study of New York Police Department shootings between 1998 and 2006 revealed that trained police officers hit their targets under the stress of a gunfight 18% of the time. On average, that’s just under two hits with a 10-round magazine. And that includes superficial wounds that have little chance of incapacitating the criminal.

A similar study of 149 officer-involved shootings by the Dallas Police Department between 2003 and 2017 concluded that officers fired an average of 2.4 rounds in a typical gunfight and struck the suspect at least once 54% of the time. Half of the officers did not score a single hit when firing their handguns under such stress. A 2022 study reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health cited these and other data while noting that “high anxiety,” like being involved in a gunfight, is “a trait known to negatively impact on marksmanship.”

Yet another study did the math, concluding that it takes 2.45 hits with a 9mm pistol on average to end a threat and 5.55 shots to make a hit. That adds up to 13.6 rounds fired on average to incapacitate an attacker, and that’s for just one attacker—which is hardly good news if you are trying to defend your family while limited to a 10-round magazine.  (It is true that homeowners can carry more than one magazine, but when awakened in the middle of the night by an uncertain noise while wearing pajamas, the likelihood they would think to do so is slim. They may well want their second hand free for opening doors or carrying a flashlight.)


Go read the whole thing. There’s a lot of stuff there that makes a good point.

Then we have the matter that both with a renewed assault weapon ban and a round limit for our magazines, to say nothing of Sen. Angus King’s GOSAFE Act bill, is that all of these completely disregard the Bruen decision completely.

Remember the history text and tradition litmus test Justice Clarence Thomas laid down in Bruen. One must find a historic analog for restricting how many rounds a person could have. Especially when you consider that around the time the 14th Amendment was passed–another date Bruen said one can look for historic analogs–weapons carrying multiple rounds were growing more common. Revolvers had become the most common handgun and the Henry and Spencer repeating rifles had been used in the Civil War just prior.

They knew about them and didn’t pass round limits then, so it’s hard to argue that they’re justified now.

So we have the fact that criminals won’t be stopped from hurting people even if they can just get magazines that adhere to the round limit, that the round limit will make law-abiding citizens less safe, and that it’s not remotely constitutional.

But then again, how often are the people who want to limit magazine capacity really worried about the constitutionality of what they’re doing? All too often, they just want to pass the law. They don’t care if it survives or not.


Those of us whose lives get put at risk, though? We do care.

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