The Unintended Consequences of Gun Control

In 1996, John Ross penned what has become a classic story of what might happen when the federal government oversteps its bounds and clamps down too hard on guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans.  So chilling is the story, so graphic in its descriptions of how some Americans might fight back, that Mr. Ross and his wife were hounded and intimidated by federal authorities.

Yet the title of his novel speaks loudly about what the gun-grabbers can expect when they legislate from emotion rather than fact.  There, in Unintended Consequences, many of them lost their fictional lives.  Here, in real-life America, we have magnets that draw armed lunatics into schools, malls, and other venues where guns are banned.

So we need more gun laws!  We need to reinstitute the assault weapons ban!

Let's recall.

In 1994, Congress implemented a so-called "assault weapons" ban.  Basically, this law forbade the sale of guns that had two or more "assault" features.  Pistol grips, telescoping stocks, bayonet lugs, extended magazine tubes, flash suppressors, and other accessories could suddenly turn a "lawful" gun into the singularly loathsome "assault weapon."  In fact, when I added an extended magazine tube to a Benelli Super 90 shotgun before I first removed the pistol grip, I was, for the 20 minutes it took me to pull the pistol grip, committing a felony.

The law also banned "high-capacity" magazines.  Henceforth, no magazine could be manufactured containing more than ten rounds.

Okay, fine and good.  We all made do.  We lived.  We got really fast at making magazine changes.  No one came to arrest me.

But the law was clearly foolish.  Something not appreciated by the gun ban folks is that it takes barely a half-second to drop a magazine out of a handgun and ram a fresh one home.  Of course, in a combat scenario, even that half-second could be important.  But in the Sandy Hook Elementary, with no armed person nearby, a madman leisurely walked and killed.  Magazine capacity meant nothing to him.

Indeed, another item not known by leftists is that high-capacity systems are far more prone to jamming.  The shooter in the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre was frustrated by a jam of his drum magazine.  In the Clackamas Town Center mall outside Portland, Oregon, the killer was trying to un-jam his gun when an armed citizen leveled his concealed Glock 22 on him.  The Clackamas shooter looked down the barrel of the Glock, walked away, and killed himself.

Might we thank our lucky stars for those high-capacity magazines?

There are more unintended consequences.

Since 1994, we have experienced a tidal wave of small, imminently concealable, beautifully designed and manufactured handguns.  Faced with the realization that large guns with thick grips capable of packing in more than ten rounds was a nonstarter, manufacturers began designing smaller, thinner, much sleeker guns that held only, or even less than, ten rounds.  The Kahr K9 & P9, the Glock 26 & 27, and others began selling like hotcakes.  Buoyed by the ever-increasing number of states passing shall-issue concealed carry laws, manufacturers began designing ever smaller and more concealable guns, many of which sometimes sold faster than they could be made.

Sarah Brady had to be grinding her teeth at night in frustration for what she had started.

We don't know what she and President Obama will unleash on us now.  Will all semi-auto rifles be banned?  Only those with pistol grips and flash suppressors?  Only those chambered for the 5.56 NATO or larger rounds?

Time will tell.  Nevertheless, once implemented, time will also reveal yet more unintended consequences that a free market will naturally find.

I can't wait to check out the new calibers and new guns.

Oh, and there's one more unintended consequence in the news...  Imagine if Judge Bork had been confirmed.  The Supreme Court would in short order be 5-4 for the idea that the Second Amendment applies only to a militia.

Thank goodness for unintended consequences.

Mr. Reddy blogs at  His social/political thriller, By Force Of Patriots, examines how America has strayed from the Constitution and what may happen when the left gets its wish list.  It's available at