Better sit down for this one. It’s an article in the New York Times by a trembling, soaked-diaper liberal gun-grabber, but it actually has a little bit of truth in it.
FOR those of us who argue in favor of gun safety laws, there are a few inconvenient facts.
More than just “a few,” bub. In truth, all of the facts are “inconvenient” as hell for those of you supporting the anti-freedom position. But then, that’s the case for more than just the issue of the right to self-defense.
We liberals are sometimes glib about equating guns and danger. In fact, it’s complicated: The number of guns in America has increased by more than 50 percent since 1993, and in that same period the gun homicide rate in the United States has dropped by half.
Then there are the policies that liberals fought for, starting with the assault weapons ban. A 113-page study found no clear indication that it reduced shooting deaths for the 10 years it was in effect. That’s because the ban was poorly drafted, and because even before the ban, assault weapons accounted for only 2 percent of guns used in crimes.
Move on to open-carry and conceal-carry laws: With some 13 million Americans now licensed to pack a concealed gun, many liberals expected gun battles to be erupting all around us. In fact, the most rigorous analysis suggests that all these gun permits caused neither a drop in crime (as conservatives had predicted) nor a spike in killings (as liberals had expected). Liberals were closer to the truth, for the increase in carrying loaded guns does appear to have led to more aggravated assaults with guns, but the fears were overblown.
One of the puzzles of American politics is that most voters want gun regulation, but Congress resists. One poll found that 74 percent even of N.R.A. members favor universal background checks to acquire a gun. Likewise, the latest New York Times poll found that 62 percent of Americans approved of President Obama’s executive actions on guns this month.
So why does nothing get done? One reason is that liberals often inadvertently antagonize gun owners and empower the National Rifle Association by coming across as supercilious, condescending and spectacularly uninformed about the guns they propose to regulate. A classic of gun ignorance: New York passed a law three years ago banning gun magazines holding more than seven bullets — without realizing that for most guns there is no such thing as a magazine for seven bullets or less.
And every time liberals speak blithely about banning guns, they boost the N.R.A. Let’s also banish the term “gun control”: the better expression is “gun safety.”
Actually, the best expression is the one the Founders used, for any circumstance in which the fundamental natural rights of citizens enumerated in the Constitution are abrogated by a greedy, grasping, too-powerful government: tyranny.
In short, let’s get smarter. Let’s make America’s gun battles less ideological and more driven by evidence of what works. If the left can drop the sanctimony, and the right can drop the obstructionism, if instead of wrestling with each other we can grapple with the evidence, we can save thousands of lives a year.
Translation from the Liberalese: if all of us, both Left and Right, can just agree to drop the Constitution and any pretense towards individual liberty, we can do something that will make liberals feel better and less irrationally frightened of inanimate objects but will stop not one crime or terrorist offense–but will assuredly render every one of us incapable of defending ourselves against those things without being wholly dependent on government assistance. Which, in the end, is what this is REALLY all about.