Monday, February 18, 2013

Why Would Anyone Need More Than 7 Rounds?

New York's new law is that no more than 7 rounds in a magazine. Is this even a realistic amount for the situations that we know happen?  If Law Enforcement had to live with these rules would anything change. Let me start out by saying that crimes committed with firearms are rare. That is not to say they don't happen, but compared to other types of crime, they are rare in the US.  By this I mean the chances of you as an individual being involved in one are rather small.

In 2008 RAND published a study of NYPD firearms training. Based on Table 2.3, less than 0.4% of police officers will  discharge their firearm (other than at a shooting range) in any given year. Less than half of these incidents are defending against a suspect.  So, most of the shootings by NY police are accidental or against dogs (why don't they show this on TV and movies).

The bullet points above and below that table are very informative.  Average hit rate was 18% for gunfights and 30% when the subject did not return fire.  Close range hit rates were 37% (less than 7 yards) while longer range fell to 23%.  Remember these are the people that have firearms training as part of their job.  They specifically qualify on the use of a firearm.  30% isn't that bad when you get right down to it.  The subject is moving, while the officer is also probably moving for cover or doesn't have time to line up an optimal shot.  My guess is that the majority of static range training is a waste of time for them.

The really interesting statistic is the shots fired per incident.  7.6 per officer per incident involving return fire and only 3.5 for no return fire.  So, in 10-15 incidents a year, out of 37,000 officers, they will need more than 7 rounds.

But if the argument is that it is rare a civilian will ever be in a situation like that, I whole heartedly agree.  There is only a 0.2% chance each year that an individual will be on the receiving end of a gun crime (I'm using this as a proxy for when a gun may be "needed" because it is a lowball figure, there are plenty of other instances when deadly force is threatened - by other weapons or number of assailants - where a gun may be "needed"). Some may argue that not all of these incidents require deadly force, in fact the vast majority will be robberies or assaults that leave only minor injuries or none at all.  Yes, that is true. And in the cops case, the vast majority of shooting incidents involved no return fire at all, so that logic could be applied there in saying the cops use of force was also unjustified.  Only the problem is, until the incident is over, you have no idea what the intention of the criminal is. Even if they tell you they aren't going to hurt you, the fact that they have violated the law in their crime means they can't be trusted.

But wait, remember that statistic above, only 0.4% of officers discharge their weapon each year and half of those are against dogs or accidental discharges?  So, only 0.2% "needed" to discharge their weapon against another person.  Funny how those numbers line up. Yet we still arm 100% of police officers with a handgun, while only about 30-40% of the population as a whole has access to a handgun and only 2-3% carry one daily. Because once again, we don't know the intent of the criminal mind until after the fact.  And if the intent was murder, it is too late once we know (after we're dead) to use deadly force.  Therefore, every deadly threat (i.e. words or actions with the tools to back it up) should be met with deadly force. Regardless if you wear a badge or not.  Otherwise, you are trusting the benificence of criminals.

If the chance of "needing" a firearm for police and civilians is the same, then shouldn't we also have access to the same firearms and magazines?  Once again New York, you fail.

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