Why do we have limits for shooting birds but not people?

| 09 Apr 2018 | 12:35

    I do appreciate the votes of District 24 members of the NJ Assembly Space and Wirths in support of bill A2759 (which will ban armor-piercing bullets) on March 26. But I wonder what their problem was with the other five bills presented that day, especially A2761, which will reduce the maximum magazine size for a semiautomatic weapon from 15 to 10.
    Semiautomatic weapons are most useful for spraying a large area in hopes of hitting a few of many targets. They are not precision weapons. But they are banned, directly or under even stricter load limits, for what might be one of the best uses for them, hunting migratory birds, including waterfowl. The birds are hunted when they’re in the air, in groups, and federal law [50CFR §20.21 (a) and (b)] prohibits hunting birds with rifles, pistols, or machine guns (or various nonballistic weapons) or “With a shotgun … capable of holding more than three shells.” There is a New Jersey exception for the limited goose seasons, but even that is to seven shells.
    Why then would anyone need a magazine of even ten, let alone 15 shells? The rifles and pistols that use high-capacity magazines have no use in hunting or in self-defense unless one’s home is invaded by a flock of bad guys. They have, however, been used in most of our devastating mass shootings of good guys and children. In several of those incidents, such as at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown CT, people were able to escape, or good guys were able to tackle the shooter (the Gabby Giffords incident) when he stopped to swap out his magazine.
    I understand that some of my neighbors get a thrill out of firing these weapons. Fine, let them keep them at licensed firing ranges, where there’s no cost to those firing or benefit to the targets if they have to stop and change magazines.
    I’m also disappointed that, after the vote, Space and Wirths joined the NRA demonstration outside the Statehouse, opposing all six bills.
    And I hope that Senator Oroho will think more clearly when the bills come before his house.