Gun Control

American Elites' Obsession with Gun Control


Dan Baum on the reaction to the Batman massacre:

Way of the alt-text

Among the many ways America differs from other countries when it comes to guns is that when a mass shooting happens in the United States, it's a gun story. How an obviously sick man could buy a gun; how terrible it is that guns are abundant; how we must ban particular types of guns that are especially dangerous. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence responded to the news with a gun-control petition. Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times has weighed in with an online column saying that "Politicians are far too cowardly to address gun violence…which keeps us from taking practical measures to avoid senseless shootings."

Compare that to the coverage and conversation after Anders Behring Breivik murdered sixty-nine people on the island of Utøya in Norway, a year ago next Sunday. Nobody focused on the gun. I had a hard time learning from the news reports what type of gun he used. Nobody asked, "How did he get a gun?" That seemed strange, because it's much harder to get a gun in Europe than it is here….

Rosenthal is wrong, by the way, that politicians haven't addressed gun violence. They have done so brilliantly, in a million different ways, which helps explain why the rate of violent crime is about half what it was twenty years ago. They simply haven't used gun control to do it. Gun laws are far looser than they were twenty years ago, even while crime is plunging—a galling juxtaposition for those who place their faith in tougher gun laws. The drop in violence is one of our few unalloyed public-policy success stories, though perhaps not for those who bemoan an "epidemic of gun violence" that doesn't exist anymore in order to make a political point.

NEXT: The Atlantic's Andrew Cohen Wonders Why We Can't Ruin the Second Amendment Like We Ruined The Other Nine

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  1. The drop in violence is one of our few unalloyed public-policy success stories

    Er, bullshit? I was under the impression that this was largely a function of the crime-inclined age brackets being in steep decline (15-30) compared to the overall population.

    1. It isn’t really clear why it fell, actually. But while scholars debate the reasons for the national decline, there are local public-policy initiatives that can credibly claim to have reduced crime in particular places during the period of the drop, which is what I think Baum was getting at with his “million different ways” comment.

      1. In Freakonomics abortion was suggested as one of the main drivers in lower crime rates. The thought being that unwanted children who would generally be raised in poverty have a higher proclivity to commit crime. Seems plausible…

        1. Seems plausible…

          The increased use of The Pill is more plausible.

        2. The Freakonomics theory has been debated here before. Levitt’s conclusions were, in my opinion (and some other people’s) highly questionable. Levitt even admitted making a significant error in his statistical calculation, but claimed it didn’t change his overall thesis.

          However, his numbers have been thoroughly put through the strainer and found wanting.

          1. However, his numbers have been thoroughly put through the strainer and found wanting.

            The article you cite claims a reduction of effect by about half, not an elimination of effect. Besides, that difference (and more) might be well-explained by Joshua Corning’s suggestion (above) of The Pill.

            1. Why do people buy the crime rate has been falling meme? If their position is predicated upon government numbers, they are fools.

    2. I thought it was due to internet porn and video games.

  2. The only thing wrong with this post is his claim that:

    Australia and Britain passed tougher gun laws after mass shootings, and haven’t suffered another since.

    Not true. The Cumbria shootings occurred in the UK in 2010, after Dunblane.

    1. a mole-catcher in a field in Carleton was also killed

      Vocation…or avocation?

      1. I was hoping Feeney would weigh in, but of course in Great Britain mole-catcher is a profession.

          1. I am literally speechless.

        1. Wouldn’t that be a volecation?

          1. Shit, beat me to it

      2. George Smiley?

      3. Possum, or opossum?

        1. Squirrel or Skwerl?

          1. Why don’t you ask them yourself?

            *Lights the ampersand signal, followed by +3 bursts of hyperlinks*

          2. Sequel or ess queue ell?

      4. Vole-cation

    1. He suggested that Democrats make it clear that their goal is not to repeal the Second Amendment.

      Huh, it looks like the some editor fucked up and left out the rest of the quote, which I assume was “all at once”.

      1. “The basic complaint is that the Chuck Schumers of the world want to take away your guns,” Schumer said of the argument made by gun lobbies. “I think it would be smart for those of us who want rational gun control to make it know that that’s not true at all.”

        Sorry, Senator. Watching what you’re doing makes it impossible to hear what you’re saying.

    2. Hmmmmm, the question is does this draw in more democrats wary about the bill than it turns off republicans who wanted it. Seems like it would kill any R support.

  3. Shut that cunt’s mouth or I’ll come over there and fuckstart her head.

    Best Ryan Phillipe line ever.

    1. Agreed. It’s awsome.

      This little exchange of Benecio’s is good too:

      Longbaugh: Well, I’ve never killed a man?
      Employee: I beg your pardon?
      Longbaugh: I said I’ve never killed a man.
      Employee: I didn’t ask if you had.
      Longbaugh: You asked me why I think I was qualified, and I think that’s qualification.
      Employee: And I’m just wondering why that in particular strikes you as an important qualification for semen donation.
      Longbaugh: I would say that’s a big fucking qualifica?excuse me, a very important qualification.
      Employee: No one’s ever said that before?
      Longbaugh: Have you ever asked?
      Employee: No.
      Longbaugh: You should.

      —flips back to Phillipe then back to Del Torro—-

      Longbauh: Why?
      Employee: Nobody brings up sex with corpses!
      Longbaugh: It’s sick.
      Employee: You brought it up.
      Longbauh: To say I never did it.
      Employee: I didn’t ask
      Longbaugh: You should.

    2. Great gun handling in that movie.

      1. Apparently had some serious pros do the consulting on that movie.

  4. Load up on guns, bring your friends
    It’s fun to lose and to pretend
    She’s overboard and self-assured
    Oh, no, I know a dirty word

    Some say the Miley Cyrus version is the definitive version, but I prefer this one.

    1. I don’t know dude. Miley’s is pretty “good”. If you can get past the horse face, she’s hot.

      1. If this was Texas Hold ’em, this is the point where I would say, “all in.”

      2. Because you are bluffing Brand, you’re bluffing!

        She made a dance out of her hip rolls, man.

        1. For the record, I think MC’s face is cute, imvho.

      3. So, why’s that chick a celeb? Does she have some genius in the studio who makes it sound like she can sing or something?


      4. She dances like Joe Cocker, without the rhythm and grace.

        1. plus plus plus

  5. To: All the folks who have been calling me paranoid for believing the NRA lies about the president and his Democrats wanting to take away my guns.


    1. It just needed the right moment.

  6. DC started to jack up its gun control laws in response to rising crime rates in the 1970s. That’s how gun control rose to prominence nation-wide – as a reaction to rising crime.

    One could easily find examples of crime falling after the passage of a gun control bill. In the early-to-mid 90s, Massachusetts passed an “assault weapons” ban, the details of which I don’t know. And we all know what happened to murder rates.

    1. No one is biting…

      For more fun joe quotes on this subject go here:…..tcontainer

      1. Speaking of Lowell, how about the “crime” of the Leominster, Mass cop telling Boston Red Sox outfielder, Carl Crawford, that Crawford is a “Monday” during a minor league rehab game of the Lowell Spinners, a minor league affiliate of the Red Sox?

    2. One could easily find examples of crime falling after the passage of a gun control bill. In the early-to-mid 90s, Massachusetts passed an “assault weapons” ban, the details of which I don’t know. And we all know what happened to murder rates.

      Yeah, they continued to rise. Saw a post looking at pre- and post-ban rates in MA, and the pre-ban increase was unabated. Sorry, can’t track down the linky.

  7. Why isn’t anyone at Reason posting about gun control?

    1. You’re missing the point. Put your mouse pointer over the picture. Jesse’s saying there’s a 2nd Amendment right to alt-text. He’s right, and it isn’t said often enough.

    2. Same reason no one else is.

  8. in brief, in 20+ yrs of policework and firefighting, i can distill them down to this.

    people who carry via concealed (or who also open carry) are disproportionately law abiding and a benefit to society.

    working in a state that is “shall issue” and also strongly defends the right to self defense (for cops or noncops) putting the burden to disprove self defense on the state, i can say that when i pull somebody over, or terry stop them or am just “talkin'” e.g. “social contact” or at a report call (burglary etc.) talking to a complainant when and if that person informs me “i’m armed and i have a CCW” or something similar, it is a COMFORTING thing. because i know that this person is disproportionately likely to be a person who will not assault me, let alone try to shoot me (and being shot at is not fun y0).

    very rarely a licensed carrier uses their gun for nefarious purposes, but just as my experience tells me that overwhelmingly cops are a force for good, so are people with CCW’s in states that ‘allow’ them to exercise their right, a right that should be recognized nationwide.

    a woman i work with, very likely owes her life to one of these people, as she wrestled for control of her gun from an armed robber and they struggled , a gun owner walked up and center punched that robber right in the head with a very welcome shot

    but in brief, the stats and the anecdotes don’t lie and the anti-gunners have been proven wrong over and over again vis a vis crime and shall issue

    1. I just found out yesterday that one of my coworkers has a CCP. He’s one of the most cool-headed and forgiving people I know. I guess that’s the kind of person that trusts themselves with a weapon. I’m still waiting for the day I can miss a three foot putt without swearing like a sailor to trust myself with a non-pheasant-killing gun.

    2. Dunphy,

      Do you have an article about the citizen center-punching the perp?


      1. An armed citizen rescuing a cop who didn’t keep a perp away from her weapon? No way in hell the media would let that story get around..


  9. anyone who thinks the drop in crime rates is due to “public policy” is a fucking idiot.

  10. Anybody here care to compare the gun related violent crime rate in the US to that of Europe? When it’s harder to get guns, when the average citizen can track who’s hoarding guns, when it’s public record who’s spending all of their time and money achieving weapons and ammunition, the gun-related crime rate goes down.

    I know you all here at Reason? like to pretend to have some sort of magical ability to make up reality and then enforce it upon the rest of us, but that’s not the way the real world works.

    Access to guns causes crime. Back up your claims with facts, or shut up. Like this:…..izona.html

    1. Then move to Europe Mary! Stupid twat!

    2. Access to guns causes crime

      Then why has crime decreased as access to guns has increased? What kind of an idiot goes on and on about evidence and then says something so easily proven wrong? Do you even know what the word “cause” means, idiot?

    3. That article just compares “gun deaths” with relative state permissiveness. That’s pretty much a meaningless comparison because it includes suicides, and since the suicide rate is about 3 times higher than the homicide rate, that really fudges the numbers quite a bit.

      Oh, and yes, this site did post ‘facts’ demonstrating that access to guns did not affect suicide rates, just whether or not they were done with guns. Including suicides in the category of gun deaths and then conflating that statistic with violence is intentionally deceitful.
      Determined people (aka, the people who commit suicide or mass murder) will find ways to do so with or without guns.

    4. Then why are the violent crime rates in Britain and Australia 6 times as high as they are in the US?

      I’d rather have a marginal change in the infinitesimal chance that I’ll be involved in a movie theatre shooting than be 6 times as likely to get my ass kicked by some yob.

    5. Anybody who assigns significance or primacy to certain crimes because they’re committed with a certain sort of tool is a fucking retard. Assault is assault, robbery is robbery, rape is rape, and thus forth. Who the fuck gives a shit whether it’s done with a gun or a baseball bat?

      You want statistics? Here’s a few for your infantile mind to process, dipshit:

      A small list of examples violent crime rates by country, per 100,000 people:

      1) Britain: 2,034 (that’s their freak, peak low, by the way, which has since risen again.
      2) Austria: 1,677.
      3) South Africa: 1,609.
      4) Sweden: 1,123.
      5) Belgium: 1,006.
      6) Canada: 935.
      7) Finland: 738.
      8) United States: 466 (dropped even farther in 1.5 years since collection of data, note).

      1. Britain is a very violent place. The gun grabbers never want to talk about the number of live break ins that occur in Britain. In the UK some drunken yob can break into your house, hold you at knife point, rob you and rape your wife with no fear of being shot and knowing that you will face criminal charges if you resist.

        In America burgling homes is a contact sport. Thus, professional thieves go out of their way to ensure they break in when no one is at home. Violent home invasions are relatively rare in America compared to the UK and nearly always occur because one criminal is robbing another. If you are not involved in crime your chances of suffering a violent home invasion in the US are nearly nil. Not so much in the UK.

        1. Prohibition makes shit better. The state-owned British Broadcasting Corporation told me so, even though their violent crime rate swirls between 100 and 6 times the rate in our mindbogglingly diverse, hyperpopulated superpower.

          1. 10 and 6, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see a time when it’s 100 times higher.

    6. Oh, and:

      1) American jurisdictions are much, much more liberal with their criteria for classifying and reporting a violent crime as such — like, for example, reporting all crimes instead of only ones that have led to a conviction, like many European jurisdictions.

      2) Violent crime in the United States is highly concentrated in a relatively small number of high-risk locations, unlike places like Britain or Australia, where it’s far more of a general problem than an aberrational trend attributable to special circumstances, like fucktarded drug wars or perpetual control by corrupt progressive of urban strongholds.

      1. *progressive political machines


      Gun crime 60pc higher than official figures

      The true level of gun crime is far higher than the Government admits in official statistics, it can be revealed.

      “””””Figures to be published by the Home Office this week will massively understate the scale of the problem.

      Data provided to The Sunday Telegraph by nearly every police force in England and Wales, under freedom of information laws, show that the number of firearms incidents dealt with by officers annually is 60 per cent higher than figures stated by the Home Office.

      Last year 5,600 firearms offences were excluded from the official figures. It means that, whereas the Home Office said there were only 9,800 offences in 2007/8, the real total was around 15,400. The latest quarterly figures, due to be released on Thursday, will again exclude a significant number of incidents.”””””

    8. Care to make another attempt, asshole?

    9. So I guess we all know what this means, guys, for us retarded libertard negro-hating gun-clingers: If we want to increase our chances of getting raped, assaulted, go to the various European prohibitionist utopias.

    10. And since you brought up the comparison of nations, here’s a snippet for mental digestion:

      “Recall the tragic story of Tony Martin, the British farmer who was awakened one night to the sound of breaking glass and found two burglars in his home. Martin had been robbed six times before. This time, he went downstairs, retrieved a shotgun, and fired at the intruders.

      For this, Martin received life in prison for killing one of the burglars, ten years for wounding the other thug, and one additional year for possession of an unregistered shotgun. The wounded burglar served just 18 months of a three-year sentence and was given $5,000 in legal assistance from Britain’s Legal Services Commission so he could sue Martin for violating his civil rights.”

      Is this the country you want to live in, you fucking prohibitionist? Feel free. There it is, in Europe — all you need is a plane ticket.

    11. We’ll talk about Europe in a few years when its economy has bottomed out and the producers are barely scraping by and have decided they can no longer afford to pay non-disabled nonworkers to do nothing.

    12. And let’s reiterate that including suicide is disingenuous. People don’t have trouble sleeping at night because they worry about being a random victim of suicide.

      1. lol.


        nice one


    13. Suicides were only included as a statistical ringer.

      Here are the state by state comparisons of the laws used for the article.


      Here are the rankings of gun homicides per capita.

      Paints a different picture.

  11. “Would it make you feel any better if they was pushed outta windows, Meathead?”

    -Archie Bunker on Gun Control

    1. In all seriousness though, the murder rate in many large American cities was much higher in 1811 than what it was in 2011. And most murder victims then weren’t killed with a gun.

      1. Obviously we need to outlaw all sharp or heavy objects.

        1. No, no — we need to ban everything.

          1. We could outlaw murder.

            1. That’s just treating the symptom, not the cause.

      2. The brutal, harsh truth that almost no “respectable” pundits have the courage to say is that America’s violent crime problem is really a black underclass problem, exacerbated by our idiotic drug laws. Over half of the homicides in this country are committed by African-Americans (even though they only make up 13% of the population), and the overwhelming majority of those homicides are a direct result of the black market in illegal drugs.

        Outside of those unfortunate blighted underclass urban neighborhoods, America today is basically as safe as Europe.

        1. Safer.

        2. Let’s not forget that something like 75% of homicide victims are also minorities. Minority-majority neighborhoods are the worst affected by crime in a lot of ways (which I also strongly suspect is the case in Europe too). For your average White, upper-class political writer not living in Detroit, Memphis, or New Orleans, homicide should be about as much of a personal concern as getting struck by lightning, but of course it makes for better editorials to fret about how every single American is in imminent danger.

          1. This was cited here awhile ago. It’s the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality weekly report. This one’s from January 2011. (3 MB pdf)

            In it, at page 69 of the report (71 of the pdf) you’ll find homicide rates broken out by race and age of the victim. The results may surprise the hell out of you; they certainly did me. A black, non-hispanic male over 70 years old, has a higher rate (10.4/100k) of being a homicide victim than any age cohort for white males. Highest for white males was 6.4/100k for 25-29 year olds. The rate for black males 20-24 was 109.4.

            Assuming that the trend in perpetrators mirrors the trend in victims: We have a bad minority violence problem and not necessarily a gun problem.

  12. OT: Michelle Obama is leading the American Olympic team today. Holy fucking shit. Shoot me now.

    1. In the opening ceremonies? A position usually held by an athlete who has earned it? Will she be holding the flag? Is there no end to her impudence?

      1. I heard it was some female fencer who was leading the team. But if it is that bitch, I am going to vomit.

        1. I heard that said, verbatim (“Michelle Obama will be leading Team USA today, but by the time I got to the TV, it was off the subject.

          I hope to God that leading the team in the opening ceremony isn’t what they meant.

          1. *Team USA today”), but…

          2. The Obamas really are the brides at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. Everything is always and will always be about them.

            1. I know. I’m already dreading his post-Presidency. He’s my age, so the odds are I will never be free of him.

              1. One thing about it though. He is going to leave office as a very unpopular and devisive figure very much like Bush did. But unlike Bush who had the good sense and decorum to drop off the public’s radar, Obama is going to be all over the place annoying and embarrassing Democrats for decades to come.

              2. I am really hoping that someone doesn’t decide that he’ll be a better martyr than a candidate. You thought the hagiography surrounding JFK was nauseating…

                Agreed that he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to avoid the spotlight, post-Presidency. In fact, can’t you seem him being nominated to the Supreme Court, if he gets a 2nd term and his coattails enable another Democrat President? He did teach Con Law, after all (which is more than I think Kagan ever did.)

      2. She’ll lead the delegation to the Opening Ceremonies, not in them. Per this article. FTA:

        It has become a tradition for first ladies to lead the U.S. delegation. Laura Bush headed the delegation to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and Hillary Rodham Clinton led the delegation at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

  13. While I believe it is our given right to own a firearm, I don’t think our founding fathers necessarily intended on us having semi-automatic rifles when they wrote the Declaration. I do think that stricter regulations are necessary, mainly in the online gun sale department.

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