Embracing gun control

The drumbeat for gun control thunders on, in many cases a mere repetition of old demands we’ve heard for decades, while some advocates are openly calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment.  Out of common courtesy, it would be good for those who yearn to curtail our rights to learn the facts about guns and gun laws, but that seems too much to ask from them.

Take as one example an article by Jared Keller in the Pacific Standard, titled, “America Will Never Embrace Gun Control Under Barack Obama.”  Therein is to be found such a mixture of errors and the blatantly obvious that reinforces the view that too many journalists feel no obligation to be accurate and informative when the subject is guns.

Keller makes the perplexing statement that President Obama “called for stricter controls on high-capacity cartridges, and no one listened.”  High-capacity cartridges?  Perhaps he means something like the .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum, though revolvers shooting that round don’t tend to be used in many crimes.  In fact, the common cartridges involved in shootings are what we’d expect—.38 Special, 9mm (both 9 x 19 and 9 x 17), 12 gauge, and a host of .22s and .25s.  In other words, the calibers that are most commonly owned.

Or did he actually mean to write “high-capacity magazines”?  Well, at least he didn’t call them clips.  But the Assault Weapons Ban’s ten-round limit always felt arbitrary—would the magazine of a Česká zbrojovka Vz. 82 be so naughty if human beings were normally born with twelve fingers?  But when we go beyond numbers that just feel good, we find that the permissible ten rounds isn’t supported by evidence.  In the mid 1990s, a study done by D. C. Reedy and Christopher S. Koper, the latter currently a professor of criminology currently at George Mason University, found that in shootings in Jersey City, New Jersey over a five-year period, the average number of rounds fired from semiautomatic handguns were between 3.2 and 3.7, while with revolvers, the average was 2.3 to 2.6.  In only 3.6% to 4.2% of incidents were more than ten rounds discharged.  Now this was one city, two decades ago, but the result is suggestive.  If the average round count in an attack isn’t even half the gun control advocates’ favorite number, what is the point of such a limit?

Keller also raises Obama’s desire for “better background checks,” which is always intended to sound reasonable—reasonable, that is, until we remember that mass shooters of note have passed their checks, either because law enforcement didn’t enter all the data into the system or because the shooter’s attack on innocents was that person’s first serious crime.

But the worst part of the article is found in what Keller believes to be the reason so many guns have been bought in recent years:  Obama himself.  We’re told that “The problem isn’t that Obama isn’t trying hard enough. It’s that it’s Obama who’s trying.”  According to Keller, we gun owners are a mean-spirited bunch of Republicans who buy firearms because the current president is black.

The charge of racism these days has become such a cliché as to be meaningless all too often.  Are there racists who own guns?  Unfortunately, yes, as the killings in Charleston over the summer illustrated.  But contrary to Keller’s argument, I suggest that the rise in support for gun rights over this decade is due to an increased awareness on the part of Americans that metal detectors and gun-free zone signs are only so much security theater and that while law enforcement provides an honorable service to this nation at sometimes great cost, the cops aren’t likely to be around when bad things happen.

Obama has been referred to as the greatest gun salesman of the century, but we don’t have to leap to racism to explain why.  His attitude about guns and gun owners is clear, regardless of whatever his intentions may be.  But Keller would have done better to title his article “Americans Will Never Embrace Gun Control” and leave it at that.  It doesn’t matter who the next president will be, nor the one after that.  More and more of us have figured out that the purpose of gun control is to make the lives of good people more difficult.  And more and more of us have decided that our rights are worth defending.  That’s what we embrace.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.

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