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Babbs in the Woods: It’s not a ‘clip,’ Carolyn

I listen to National Public Radio because it’s always good to know what your opponent is thinking. And that’s how I feel about NPR.

I listened to an NPR report about the recent Tucson massacre – the crime committed by a deranged nutcase in a grocery store parking lot.

It seems the only solution imaginable by some of the wizards in our Congress appears to be to put yet another gun law on the books – one that limits the number of rounds in a magazine. Never mind that a man who ought not to have had a gun in the first place committed murder, and never mind that he could have probably killed more people if he had driven an SUV into the folks in that parking lot. Or he had driven a senior citizens’ or sheltered workshop van. Or a school bus.

No, the big question for NPR and the wizards is whether a magazine should hold 30 or 10 rounds of ammo. Really? Like that would have 1) stopped the crime from occurring and 2) caused fewer deaths? Obviously, the NPR-ites have no concept how long it takes to swap an empty 10 rounder for a full one.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, New York, knows what it is like to suffer a tragedy in her family because someone committed a crime with a gun. I’ll give her that and I am sorry for her loss. What she doesn’t know is that, and this is obvious from her reaction and consequent efforts to introduce limited capacity magazines, is that a magazine is not a clip. Throughout the report, she kept referring to an ammunition magazine as a clip. No big deal?

I think it is. Now, there are two reasons for this – both disturbing:

  • Either she knows the difference and is using the word “clip” – which, as you are probably aware, refers to specific devices made of spring steel that grip ammunition rounds at their bases for loading into a gun.  Many screenwriters and novelists misuse “clip” to convey the idea that an “automatic” (or select-fire) weapon is being used. If this is what Rep. McCarthy is doing, she purposely is using the word clip as a scare tactic. After all, automatic weapons scare people who don’t know any better.
  • Or, she and her staffers do not know the difference between a magazine and a clip. That means we have another lawmaker making gun laws without bothering to learn the facts.

Either way, it’s not a clip, Carolyn. And the sooner you and your buddies either come straight with us, or have one of our many staff members do your homework for you so that you get more educated about firearms, the better.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


The Conversation

  • Jackie Thompson says: March 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm


       /ˌmægəˈzin, ˈmægəˌzin/ Show Spelled[mag-uh-zeen, mag-uh-zeen]

    4. a metal receptacle for a number of cartridges, inserted into certain types of automatic weapons and when empty removed and replaced by a full receptacle in order to continue firing.

    I think the biggest issue is like you said, that someone who should not own a firearm was in possession of one and used it to carry out a violent crime. Shouldn’t the laws concerning that be looked at, as opposed to the number of rounds a magazine can hold??

  • Jo Schaper says: January 17, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I can about tell you why the word “clip” is used. Because, to NPR listeners, and most of the non-gun owning world, a magazine is a thing made out of paper with pages. To properly use it in this context, you would have to modify it to “gun’s magazine” which is four syllables to one of clip.

    But even that wouldn’t be accurate by the dictionary definition: I actually just looked up “magazine” in two standard paper dictionaries: both define magazine as the chamber inside the gun, not as the portable box containing the rounds. What to call that little box would stymie me, too — at that all day gun clinic I attended in September, the supposed experts called the multi-load packages “clips” too, not magazines, and that included a multi-fire Glock handgun.

    Gunsmithing details are basically irrelevant to the argument, as is the distinction between semi-auto or automatic….the point being made refers to multiple-fire guns as opposed to those holding one or two rounds.

    As I get the story, the fellow was tackled when he stopped to reload, which is why the number of rounds is relevant. I don’t think that the exact terminology is that important in public opinion. All they are concerned about is the number of cartridges or bullets that can be fired per time elapsed before reloading

    I would think that people into marksmanship would be all for fewer rounds, and more accuracy in aiming. Obviously, this was not the Arizona gunman’s goal.

    I seriously doubt that the people writing anti-anything laws are themselves experts either, Those are the people who need to be educated. (Cf: Missouri’s stupid law, intended to ban expanded polystyrene coolers, which ended up banning polyproplyene ski rope) .