The Jan. 8 shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., has produced many commentaries making the case that gun owners should not be able to buy extended magazines for pistols — such as the one used by the Arizona gunman to get off 31 shots without reloading. Six people were killed; 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) were injured.
On the op-ed page of The Washington Post this Sunday, novelist and former film critic Stephen Hunter explained why he believes extended magazines have a place — as "an ideal solution for home defense."
"Particularly in rural Arizona, given the upsurge in border violence, it's likely that residents feel the need to defend themselves against drug predators, coyote gunmen or others. Yes, they can use semiautomatic rifles and shotguns, protected by the Second Amendment and unlikely to be banned by local law, but women generally don't care to put in the training needed to master them. Nor can the elderly handle them adeptly.
"For them, the Glock with a 33-round magazine is the weapon of maximum utility."
And what about the threat from those such as the gunman in Tucson? Hunter argues that an extended magazine "actually vitiates the pistol's usefulness as a weapon for most needs, legitimate or illegitimate" because it makes it harder to conceal. Others who have recently gone on deadly killing sprees, he adds, have not used weapons fitted with the extended magazines.