University of Tennesse Law prof Glenn Reynolds—the Instapundit—half-jokingly calls for an IQ test for politicians after witnessing the lack of knowledge among folks in Congress. His jumping-off point is the recent comments by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) that plainly showed she doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to the gun magazines she wants to regulate so much. In describing magazines, DeGette said:
"I will tell you these are ammunition, they're bullets, so the people who have those now they're going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won't be any more available."
As Reynolds points out, "Um, ah . . . no. Completely wrong, in fact….Magazines aren't 'bullets.' They're, basically, metal boxes with springs. You fill them up with bullets, and put them in a gun." He continues:
DeGette's remark was akin to that staple of hippie parodies, the old fogey worried about people "shooting up marijuana" — an obvious mistake that made clear the fogeys didn't have a clue about the realities of what they feared.
It's an embarrassing admission of ignorance and incompetence.
But ignorance and incompetence are on regular display among our political class. Its members are good at what they do — but what they do, really, is raise money and win elections. There's no particular correlation between those skills and any other kind of competence. In fact, given their record of passing increasingly dumb laws, if there's any correlation at all, it's a negative one.
Reynolds notes that gun laws are hardly the only area of "regulation-by-dimness" and concludes
Politicians getting smarter on their own is probably too much to hope for. But maybe if voters wise up, a smarter crop of politicians will follow.
Read the whole thing at The New York Post.
And read Jacob Sullum's take on DeGette's uninformed comments from last week. A snippet:
The Denver Post notes that the audience "chuckled" after DeGette's remarks… and that Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, "responding as the audience was laughing, urged people who hadn't shot a gun to 'get to the facts,'" adding, "Let's be educated as we make this decision.'" DeGette's office says she "misspoke"—just like [Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.)] did when she described a barrel shroud, one of the assault-weapony firearm features she wants to ban, as "the shoulder thing that goes up."
McCarthy and DeGette are co-sponsors of the High Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, so it is particularly galling that they clearly don't know much about the very things they want to ban or regulate.