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Bad Gun Control Thinking from the NYT October 5, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.

Bret Stephens writes a poorly thought out piece on gun control in the New York Times.

How poorly thought out is it? Consider his opening line:

I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment.

Great. So now we know that the rest of his column is going to be on a subject he doesn’t understand.

But you don’t have to take his word for it – his lack of understanding becomes more apparent as he maunders on.

From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder. “States with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides,” noted one exhaustive 2013 study in the American Journal of Public Health.

Or it could be that more dangerous states encourage more people to arm themselves. In any case, this flies in the face of the reduced homicide rate w/increased gun ownership of the past 20 years.

He continues:

From a personal-safety standpoint, more guns means less safety. The F.B.I. counted a total of 268 “justifiable homicides” by private citizens involving firearms in 2015; that is, felons killed in the course of committing a felony. Yet that same year, there were 489 “unintentional firearms deaths” in the United States…

This is a ridiculous comparison. You’d have to compare the number of crimes thwarted to the number of unintentional deaths to derive a safety ratio. For example, if you stop an attack by simply showing a gun, you may have saved a life without having to pull a trigger.

He blithers on about militias ‘n such, with no real concrete argument. But then he salvages a bit of his article by pointing out that the liberal arguments against guns are quite often irrelevant or not based in reality.

Then there are the endless liberal errors of fact. There is no “gun-show loophole” per se; it’s a private-sale loophole, in other words the right to sell your own stuff. The civilian AR-15 is not a true “assault rifle,” and banning such rifles would have little effect on the overall murder rate, since most homicides are committed with handguns. It’s not true that 40 percent of gun owners buy without a background check; the real number is closer to one-fifth.

The National Rifle Association does not have Republican “balls in a money clip,” as Jimmy Kimmel put it the other night. The N.R.A. has donated a paltry $3,533,294 to all current members of Congress since 1998, according to The Washington Post, equivalent to about three months of Kimmel’s salary. The N.R.A. doesn’t need to buy influence: It’s powerful because it’s popular.

Nor will it do to follow the “Australian model” of a gun buyback program, which has shown poor results in the United States and makes little sense in a country awash with hundreds of millions of weapons.

At least he understands the liberal side of the gun control argument.


1. Sobek - October 5, 2017

Today, I was part two in an Ace of Spades sidebar trilogy about guns. I’m feeling pretty good about things.

2. Sobek - October 5, 2017

Know what really pisses off some people? When they claim republican deference to the NRA is the only reason we don’t have common sense gun laws, point out that democrats had the White House, the House of Representatives, and a supermajority of the Senate for two full years, and they did literally nothing about guns. Nada. Bupkiss.

3. Sobek - October 5, 2017

Oh, and they had 32 Governors, too. They were within spitting distance of enough votes to flat out repeal the 2d Amendment.

But they didn’t do crap.

4. Mrs. Peel - October 6, 2017

They usually don’t know what the laws are. There are people who think you can just walk into a gun shop and buy whatever the hell you want. Or, better yet, that you can buy guns online like you can books or shoes.

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