I’m broken when it comes to college students. I know there are pro-gun college students out there, but I’ve encountered legions more who are as ignorant on guns as they are any other topic relating to the real world.
So when I clicked on the link to a post at the Vassar Political Review, I wasn’t expecting to be anything but annoyed.
Instead, I found one of the most reasoned defenses of the Second Amendment out there. Here are some highlights:
One highly popular gun control proposal is a ban on assault weapons. Its popularity is largely due to sensationalized media coverage of mass shootings. And not only is the coverage itself sensational, but mass shootings are also the only kind of shooting that receives national media attention, despite representing less than 1 percent of all murders. Since mass shootings are disproportionately committed with assault rifles, the natural conclusion to draw is that if assault rifles were to be banned, there would be fewer gun deaths. I do not believe the facts support this conclusion.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, there are about 33,000 gun deaths annually. About two-thirds of those are suicides while about one-third are homicides. In 2016, according to the FBI crime statistics, 374 Americans were murdered by rifles compared to 7,105 by handguns and 1,604 by knives. Moreover, almost 80 percent of American gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. After all, if you are intent on committing murder, why would you draw the line at stealing the gun or obtaining it from the black market? Given these statistics, it seems unlikely that a national assault weapons ban would solve anything. Assault rifles already make up a tiny percentage of total gun deaths, and the criminal can and will obtain the weapon illegally if he must.
Anyway, an assault weapons ban has already been tried in the United States. In 1994, President Clinton signed into law a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that barred their further manufacture or sale to the American people. The law expired in 2004, and while crime fell during that ten-year period, a comprehensive study concluded that there was no proof the ban contributed to that decline. The same report, commissioned by the Department of Justice, stated, “should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
In fact, the statistics, in general, do not bear out the supposed correlation between highly restrictive gun control and low crime. For example, California’s state constitution has no provision protecting an individual’s right to bear arms. On top of that, the state has the strictest gun control measures in the nation yet also the most gun homicides at about 1,800 in 2017. Though California makes up 12 percent of the national population, it accounts for 16 percent of firearm murders.
Then there’s the author Teddy David’s takedown of the argument regarding Australia’s gun ban.
Looking outside the United States to countries where gun rights are not constitutionally enshrined can be informative. Following the Dunblane school shooting in 1996, the United Kingdom passed measures including a ban on handgun ownership. Nevertheless, gun crime continued to rise sharply during the 90s and only began to subside in 2005. In Australia, following a gun buyback program in 2003, gun crime continued to decline at the same unremarkable rate it had before the legislation. Gun buybacks, in general, cannot be effective since it is likely that the only firearms collected would be from already law-abiding gun owners.
Seriously, read the whole thing and remember these facts that David points out. He’s right, for the most part. The only point of disagreement is that criminals won’t use buyback programs.
I disagree because I can see it being a hell of a way to dispose of a murder weapon. After all, no questions asked is no questions asked.
Besides that, I’m in near total agreement.
This is a handy reference to have on hand for your next internet debate on gun rights.