Gun control roundup

by Walter Olson on April 19, 2013

  • “Who killed gun control?” [David Boaz] Democratic senators from rural states are in touch with public opinion back home. Is that actually sinister? [Jennifer Rubin]
  • Failed bill applied tough regulations to gun “transfers,” not just sales, and the difference was often not well explained in the press [Kopel via Lynch] The un-empirical debate [Sowell via Lynch]
  • We’re informed the late Margaret Thatcher was “divisive” in tone. What are we to think of Pres. Obama’s tone on gun bills? [Jacob Sullum; similarly]
  • Hometown paper: “As lead sponsor in House on gun legislation, Rep. Diana DeGette appears to not understand how they work” [Denver Post, followup in which DeGette digs in deeper]
  • Argument that making insurance obligatory for gun owners would generate insurer records documenting who owns guns, to which government might in due course demand access [Tom Blumer; related, Alex Pappas/Daily Caller; earlier here, here, here]
  • Bloomberg’s armed Bermuda bodyguards draw critics’ fire again [Cheryl Chumley, Washington Times; earlier]
  • “Connecticut’s Gun Control: A Rush To Pass Laws That Couldn’t Have Prevented Tragedy” [Tuccille, Sullum]

{ 6 comments }

1 Hugo S. Cunningham 04.19.13 at 8:28 am

If I had been in the Senate, I would have gone along with the expanded gun-sale background checks. Nevertheless, the President has himself to blame for poor leadership on this issue. He thought that by whacking the NRA (apparently a piñata with Wayne LaPierre’s imbecilic school-guard proposal) he could lead a Democratic capture of the House in 2014. Instead, he simply got everyone’s back up. Even many moderates react distrustfully to his “obsession” with the NRA, just as others have reacted distrustfully to the “obsession” of religious-right types over homosexuality. We understand why some don’t believe the words “No one is trying to take your guns away” when uttered by folks who, up until just a few weeks ago, were calling for exactly that.

There may still be time for a “do-over,” with less hate-mongering and more thought.
(1) Background checks should be rethought from top to bottom.
(1a) Crazy people should be put on the red list even before they are convicted or institutionalized. If people want to be put on the green list, their mental health records should be fair game, overriding all State and Federal privacy laws. But those wrongly put on the red list should have expeditious means to correct their record, at public expense.
(1b) More people with misdemeanor arrests should be put on the red list. But some ex-felons should be able to get gun rights restored, if the felony was long ago, did not suggest violent propensities, and has been superseded by many years of responsible living.
(1c) There should be a yellow list for those whose fitness has not been settled. They should only be eligible for guns from people who know them and are ready to vouch for them.

(2) Is the President seriously concerned about the homicide rate in poor communities? Then it is time to question Drug Prohibition, the single most easily removed cause of crime. The US murder rate fell by 40% in the seven years after repeal of Drug Prohibition.

2 gitarcarver 04.19.13 at 11:35 am

Failed bill applied tough regulations to gun “transfers,” not just sales, and the difference was often not well explained in the press [Kopel via Lynch]

The link given to the Kopel article at Cato.org / “via Lynch” doesn’t seem to work.

I believe the link should be: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/344763/turning-gun-owners-felons-dave-kopel

3 Jim Collins 04.19.13 at 1:28 pm

Sorry Hugo. Your idea sounds good except for one thing. Who determines who is psychologically fit enough to own a gun? In my experience many psychologists think that you are mentally unsound if you want to own a gun. There is no clear cut and dried criteria that can declare whether or not someone is mentally unsound. Once someone would be placed on the “red list”, there would be no way to get off of that list. Over a period of time, we would all be on the “red list”.

4 Ronald Miller 04.19.13 at 5:03 pm

Who decides who is unfit? Who decides who should be committed to a looney bin? Can psychiatrists make that call with judicial oversight? It seems like a little bigger power you than not being able to get a gun.

5 ras 04.19.13 at 5:34 pm

The entire debate over whether gun control would “work” should be moot unless held in the context of passing a constitutional amendment.

6 john hawkins 04.19.13 at 10:40 pm

Why is the federal government trying to make a law for the whole country. Why isn’t this a matter left up to the states? the difference between high density eastern states and largely rural low density population western/middle west seem to me to call for different approaches

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