This is a topic that’s going to be on the front burner for a while, I suspect. The folks at Reason.com have produced three articles on the wisdom (and I use the term advisedly) of gun control as a response to violent crime:
After the Gun Ban Excerpt:
With guns now a more explicitly partisan issue than ever, left-of-center media have taken to painting gun-friendly areas as practically in a state of insurrection. Opposing gun-friendly media return the favor by encouraging resistance to what are seen as police state tactics and by sharing tips on doing just that.
An especially troubling development is that political violence appears to be on the rise in a country where the seams are beyond frayed and where members of opposing political factions “despise each other, and to a degree that political scientists and pollsters say has gotten significantly worse over the last 50 years.” A line appears to have been crossed in the minds of many Americans, and what were opponents are now enemies.
A 2013 study of the 1994 (assault weapon) law for the National Institute of Justice said, “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.” It also said, “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
Even if the law had any positive effect then, it would be far less likely to help today, because there are far more of these guns now. In 1994, Americans owned about 1.5 million “assault weapons.” The number is now around 8 million.
Restoring the 1994 law would not eliminate them. It would only block new sales—and foster new models engineered to get around the new rules. People would be able to keep and buy the “assault weapons” already out there.
While it’s doubtful that a GVRO statute would have stopped Cruz, it is pretty clear that such laws give short shrift to due process and the Second Amendment, notwithstanding French’s assurances to the contrary. French lists five features that a “well-crafted” GVRO law should have to properly balance public safety with civil liberties. The two leading models for such legislation—the laws California legislators enacted in 2014 and Washington voters approved in 2016—lack most of these safeguards.
Not all problems have solutions. The cry after an event is always for government to “do something!” (More on this and its associated ratchet effect tomorrow; stay tuned) but too many of the solutions proposed are based not on reason, but on emotion. Truth told, that’s the case for all too much legislation today; that’s the truth for plenty of policy debates and, indeed, election campaigns.
Be prepared, True Believers; another round of cure-worse-than-the-disease is in the offing.