A video from Jon Caldara, president of the right-wing Independence Institute, makes some pretty shocking allegations about House Bill 1224, the bill to limit magazine capacity now on its way to the Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk.
In this video, now spreading virally in conservative circles, Caldara proudly shows off his Glock 19 9mm pistol, and the 15-round magazine that originally came with it. As Caldara explains, there is an extender cap available for his Glock's 15-round magazine, which raises it to 17 rounds–making the magazine illegal under 1224, both because of its capacity and its ability to be "readily convertible" to an illegal capacity. This does summarize closely enough the effect of House Bill 1224 as we understand it, and it's probably right that the magazine he's holding won't be sold in Colorado after the legislation takes effect. Of course, Caldara's existing magazines won't be confiscated, and he can continue to possess them. He doesn't say that.
And then Caldara concludes with an absolutely false statement.
If this law passes, almost all guns in Colorado will never be able to get a magazine again.
Be assured, there is no truth to this claim whatsoever. In the case of Caldara's Glock 19, there are magazines available right now that comply with the law, and do not accept the extender clip he showed in his video. They are the magazines sold today for these guns in states where magazine capacity is limited. What's more, Republicans have hypothesized the meaning of "readily convertible" far beyond any reasonable interpretation–experts tell us that in practice, it will boil down to whether the magazine was designed to be easily extended. In states where these magazines have already been restricted, amazingly the law of supply and demand prevails, and legal magazines amazingly appear on gun store shelves despite all the weeping and gnashing of teeth!
Through this long debate over gun safety legislation in the Colorado General Assembly, we have repeatedly documented incidents of outright deception from opponents–from Republicans claiming that background checks will "criminalize private sales" to Sen. Randy Baumgardner's insistence that hammers kill more people than guns, and countless others. This has been done for the express purpose of agitating low information pro-gun conservatives, and has significantly worsened the already irrational reaction to these bills.
We believe that Jon Caldara is a smart man, and that either he or somebody on his staff (like Dave Kopel, the II's "gun expert") could have taken the two seconds to discover that "post-ban" magazines, magazines which are not compatible with the extender clip he demonstrated in this video, are available in states that have limited capacity. We think the chances Caldara does not know that are pretty remote.
Which means he is lying on purpose. Today, GOP lawmakers are helping spread this video to their own constituents, along with every conservative mouthpiece in the state. At this point, they are not interested in justifying these outlandish claims, only in spreading them as far and wide as they possibly can. Caldara knows more conservatives will see his video than will ever see its debunking or correction, and most of them won't believe the debunking anyway. If anything, it's becoming tough to shame the absolute shamelessness taking place here.
We just hope it comes to an end soon.