The most effective argument in favor of "assault weapons" for normal people, I have found, is the fence-sitter's willingness to believe that cops should have them. Sure, the hardcore antis don't believe it, but I don't care. I'm not able to convince them, so I don't care what they think. I'm after the fence-sitters, who are willing to be persuaded.
The logic is obvious to us, but you need to spell it out for people that haven't thought about gun control much before.
Why do cops need AR15s and high-capacity mags? Well, because they face threats on the job that require those capabilities.
OK, just the SWAT cops? Or do the officers that respond immediately to emergencies need them, too? Oh, obviously every cop needs that capability. Newtown or Columbine could happen anywhere, anytime. (Ignore for the moment that neither of those events were successfully addressed by cops with "assault weapons", since the general belief is true even if the specifics are wrong)
Ok, how do the cops know something like that is going on? Well, someone calls them, of course.
So, this person, who witnessed the event and called for help, is dealing with it himself until the cops show up? Well, yeah.
And the response time for the cops is what? Well, it varies.
Varies from what to what? Uh, I dunno.
I'll help you out. Aurora was about 90 seconds. Newtown was about 11 minutes. So, the police, who will be responding with their assault weapons and bringing with them all of their friends with assault weapons, need assault weapons...but the poor guy stuck there in the crappy situation, alone, for 11 minutes, should only have 10 rounds to address the threat?
There's obviously some secondary arguments to make out if this, but pressing that line of attack usually gets heads nodding. Follow it up with reminders that bad guys planning to commit robberies, murder or massacres can just carry lots of mags with them, while Joey Bagadoughnuts probably has his on board mag and maybe a spare, so mag capacity restrictions affect the good guys more than the bad.
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