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ARMagLock: Clever approach to dealing with oppressive gun laws, or surrender?

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A new device, the "ARMagLock," will render an AR-15 so-equipped legal in even states like California, Connecticut, New York (and soon, perhaps, Rhode Island) that forbid the sale of so-called "assault weapons" (an ever-expanding category of firearms) in these states. It would do this by virtue of the fact that with the device installed, the firearm no longer has a detachable magazine, because the magazine release button is disabled.

This is not to be confused with the "bullet button" and similar devices, first discussed in this column here, with follow-ups here (this one by National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea), here and here. A new California law, effective this coming fall, closes the "bullet button loophole" (and yes--that's how panicked "Authorized Journalists" and control-freak politicians referred to the fact that one could once legally reload an AR-15 by pressing a simple tool (like an unfired cartridge) into the recess where the magazine release button would normally be on an AR-15 in a free state.

Now, a magazine will be considered "detachable," even if its detachment requires a tool, unless disassembly of the firearm's action is required. From AmmoLand.com:

The ARMagLock turns your firearm into a “fixed magazine” firearm that can not release the magazine unless you pull the takedown pin, and separate the upper and lower receivers, thus “disassembling” the firearm action. Once the receivers are minimally separated, the ARMagLock can be engaged to release the magazine.

The attached sidebar video is mostly about installation of the device, but at the end shows how it functions.

Within the gun rights advocacy community, this device will likely get a mixed reception. It does seem to be an answer for keeping an AR-15 legal, even in a state requiring fixed magazines, but still provide for a much quicker reload than can be executed by opening the action and feeding rounds into the magazine one at a time.

On the other hand, it is also a slower and more awkward reload than could be accomplished with the "bullet button" (let alone a normal, unencumbered AR-15 with a standard magazine release), and Mr. Codrea was certainly not alone in his opinion that the use of even those meant that "California gun owners have already bent over to such ridiculous lengths that they tolerate insults like 'bullet buttons.'"

Likewise, Herschel Smith, writing for his justifiably widely-respected Captain's Journal blog called the "SAFE Act" compliant AR-15 gun stock an "AR-15 Abomination," an assessment with which Mike Vanderboegh, of Sipsey Street Irregulars, agreed.

And that position is certainly not without merit. Every instance of gun owners meekly accepting new requirements to make their firearms less effective is a tacit surrender of the concept of shall not be infringed. Do we have a line in the sand, or don't we--and if we do, are we to defend that line with popguns?

There is an alternative view, though. Every time a new innovation saves guns from being banned under newly restrictive laws intended to do just that, while still preserving at least some of those guns' utility in conflict, the gun ban zealots shriek in frustration about the new "loophole." Seen in that light, these adaptations look less like surrender, and more like a different kind of defiance. There can be little doubt that if California state senators like Leland Yee and Kevin de León know of the ARMagLock yet, they are already apoplectic about it.

There is perhaps a compromise to be found here for people living under such laws. Defy those laws, obtain the "illegal" guns--even if you have to make them yourself in order to do so. Don't register them (obviously)--perhaps even convert the registration forms into atmospheric carbon, just to get the "progressives" still more hot under the collar. But also maintain at least one "legal" AR-15, even if doing so requires odd gadgetry like the ARMagLock and the "SAFE Act"-compliant stock--just to let the other side know that however many gun ban laws they come up with, they're still being outsmarted, and people are still buying AR-15s (which can, after all, be quickly converted to full capability).

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