The Logic of Gun Control


A New York Times story about the National Rifle Association's decision to move its 2007 convention out of Columbus in response to the city's new "assault weapon" ban reveals what passes for logic among defenders of such laws (emphasis added):

Supporters of the Columbus law, including the police officers union, said they pushed for a local ban in response to the expiration of the federal law. They said that the Columbus police had confiscated larger numbers of military-style weapons in recent years from criminals, including a murder suspect who wounded a police officer in a fierce gun battle last year.

"We need anything that puts another tool in our belt to keep weapons out of criminals' hands," said Detective Daniel R. Jones, the officer who was wounded in that firefight and has lost hearing in one ear.

The weapon that injured Detective Jones was a fully automatic AK-47 rifle that was illegal even before Columbus enacted its ban on assault weapons, the police said.

This bait-and-switch reflects the deception at the heart of "assault weapon" bans, whose advocates deliberately blur the distinction between machine guns and the firearms covered by the laws. More broadly, it reflects the gun control movement's fondness for non sequiturs and the sort of magical thinking that makes it possible to imagine that a law will eliminate guns it does not even ban.