The New York Times yesterday runs a front page story lamenting that on certain occasions states allow felons to own guns, and that on even fewer occasions those felons use guns to kill others.
It's certainly an interesting news story, especially so to the Times's presumed readership of worried liberals; certainly, they had a good reason to run it. Of course, it leads with a long narrative account of such a felon with that right restored who killed someone in a crime of irrational passion.
The story goes on to grant that:
This gradual pulling back of what many Americans have unquestioningly assumed was a blanket prohibition has drawn relatively little public notice. Indeed, state law enforcement agencies have scant information, if any, on which felons are getting their gun rights back, let alone how many have gone on to commit new crimes.
whether the restorations pose a risk to public safety — has received little study, in part because data can be hard to come by.
Still, there's an epic headline front page story dedicated to making you think that it's gotta be a bad idea.
Here are a bunch of anecdotes of rights abused or that they want to make you think just might be abused in the future. One would hope that respect for the right might lead one to not presume that the abuses trump the right. But that only applies when one respects the right to begin with, which the Times does not. See this language:
Studies on the impact of gun restrictions largely support barring felons from possessing firearms.
One study, published in the American Journal of Public Health in 1999, found that denying handgun purchases to felons cut their risk of committing new gun or violent crimes by 20 to 30 percent. A year earlier, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that handgun purchasers with at least one prior misdemeanor — not even a felony — were more than seven times as likely as those with no criminal history to be charged with new offenses over a 15-year period.
It's not sufficient to say that exercising a right has some recognizable risks means the same thing as that right should be denied people. Inherent in the right to self-defense is possessing a tool that can be used to harm. It's not usually the default that a story of someone doing something bad means no one else in that someone's class should be able to exercise a core human right (self-defense) with the greatest efficiency, but it is when it's about weapons possession and you are the New York Times.
Richard Epstein, often good on small-government arguments, also in the Times misunderstands the Second Amendment and seems to think that a tiny percentage of abusers justifies the eternal withholding of a key human right to an entire class.