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3. About that Gun Control
whatever the heck those are), limiting the capacity of gun magazines, and millions more in government spending and grants to help communities develop “response plans.” He will undoubtedly push his proposal at the State of the Union address while insisting that he is not calling for taking guns away from Americans and that there is a “consensus” supporting his proposals.The Sandy Hook tragedy is the impetus for a host of new gun control proposals, including national background checks for all gun buyers, the reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons (
The latest Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Poll shows that a majority of Americans support the right for individuals to own assault weapons by a 51 to 44 percent margin (though the wording of the question matters). The market seems to agree, as the possibility of future restrictions on purchases have driven up gun sales.
In defense of reinstating the assault weapons ban, Vice President Joe Biden took to the pages of USA Today to claim that fewer police were being shot when assault weapons were banned. Reason Contributing Editor Radley Balko examined the numbers and determined the claim was a lie. The statistics of cop deaths during the 10 years of the assault weapons ban did not show any such thing. In fact, assault weapons are used in a very small percentage of weapons-related crimes.
There is little evidence that any national federal policy would be effective in preventing extremely unusual cases like Adam Lanza’s. 2012 was a bad year for mass shootings in America, but it came after a decline in such shootings reaching all the way back to 1999. Reason’s Jesse Walker took note in January that what we think of as “crime waves” are actually typically waves of increased media attention to related violence (note how every potential incidence of school violence is getting much more media attention). Whatever “common sense” policies the Obama administration may put forward will likely ignore that those policies would have not done anything to actually prevent the Sandy Hook shooting.