[The Times has subsequently appended a correction.]
The NY Times misoverestimates the possible impact of Obama's proposal to limit ammunition magazines to ten rounds:
The officials said the president will call for a new and tougher ban on military style assault weapons and to limit the number of rounds that can be in a magazine to 10. That would eliminate the 30-round magazines that were used in Newtown as well as other mass shootings at Virginia Tech, a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and a congresswoman’s public event in Tucson, Ariz.
The Virginia Tech shooter, as documented by the commission which studied it, had two handguns and used ten and fiteen round magazines, not thirty rounders. And the panel's thoughts on smaller magazines?
The panel also considered whether the previous federal Assault Weapons Act of 1994 that banned 15-round magazines would have made a difference in the April 16 incidents. The law lapsed after 10 years, in October 2004, and had banned clips or magazines with over 10 rounds. The panel concluded that 10-round magazines that were legal would have not made much difference in the incident. Even pistols with rapid loaders could have been about as deadly in this situation.
So regardless of what the Paper of Record is telling us, the VaTech shooter had some magazines in compliance with the current proposed ban and would not, in the opinion of those who studied it, have been slowed or stopped by the continuation of that ban.
We eagerly await the Times' contributions to a calm, reality-based debate.
TO BE FAIR: Even the Times seemed to grasp that silliness of the "assault weapons" definition when they ran this grapic explaining what turns a hum-drum rifle into a scary "ASSAULT WEAPON". Grenade launcher mounts? Bayonet lugs? Are we having a crisis of mass bayonet charges, or homicidal maniacs getting ahold of grenades?
BY WAY OF EXAMPLE: Here is the Ruger Mini-14 Ranch rifle with a 20 round magazine; here is what is fundamentally the same rifle dressed up as the Ruger tactical rifle. Obama and Biden seem to think that one of these is terrifying and the other no big deal, but I can't see why. I would agree that the folding stock on the tactical rifle could aid in concealment (and the overall weapon is a bit shorter) but the flash suppressor, pistol grip, and bayonet lug won't make the bullets come out faster or hit harder. (Actually, correct me if I am wrong but the shorter barrel should reduce the power and accuracy slightly, for the same ammo.)
FWIW, the ranch rifle is not legal in California, presumably because the magazine is detachable and holds more than ten rounds.
A picture being worth a thousand words, let's check out the calm, Sunday afternoon shooting with the family rifle:
And the SCARY one we need to ban right now because children's lives are in danger:
Later we hope our President will address the incidence of traffic fatalities in this country and talk about a possible ban on rear spoilers, flame decals, and anything else suggesting it is appropriate or acceptable to drive cars in excess of the speed limit. The children!
MORE: More myths here.
NOT PROVEN: The WHite House package explaining their gun control measures includes this:
Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds: The case for prohibiting high-capacity magazines has been proven over and over; the shooters at Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Newtown all used magazines holding more than 10 rounds, which would have been prohibited under the 1994 law.
Virginia Tech doesn't make their case. I think Tucson, where the shooter was stopped while reloading, does. And Newtown? The shooter had a semiautomatic rifle, two semiautomatic pistols, and enough time to put three to eleven bullets in each victim. I think that because the school lockdown was mostly effective he ran out of targets and eventually, time.