Monday, December 17, 2012

A balanced article from.... The Daily Beast?

Yeah,  no great gunnie has something rather clear eyed and good. It walks through the points and the state of law.  Such as what is and is not already banned (machine guns, armor piercing bullets ect).  And with a shocking admission that: "There's Little We Can Do to Prevent Another Massacre."

But there are a couple errors.

The writer  is a bit wrong on revolvers intrinsically having greater recoil than other pistols.  Though that could be seen as a quibble because the slide action does absorb some of the recoil.

The bigger is that she's okay with banning magazines that have more than ten rounds.  However, she does admit that: "Reducing the magazine sizes seems modesly more promising, but only modestly. It takes a few minutes of practicing to learn how to change a magzine in a few seconds." And that such a ban would "in no way prevent people from going on murderous rampages."

So a bit of magical thinking there.

Though she does get to the core of the issue.

Which leaves us with the extreme solutions, of which three seem to be on the table: prevent the media from mentioning the names of the killers, institutionalize more of the mentally ill, and ban all guns in private hands.  The largest problem with all three is that they are so wildly unconstitutional as to be hardly worth discussing.  But those who are willing to say "pass an amendment" should consider the other, practical problems.
 That leaves us with the big one, the argument I've been circling around for 2,000 words: ban guns. Ban them all.   
I'm not going to insult your intelligence by arguing that this wouldn't work.  Guns do not create homicidal intent, as some people have argued, but they do make homicidal intent more lethal.  A bullet is harder to stop, requires less physical strength to deploy, and does a huge amount of damage.  And shooting someone takes a lot less time than stabbing or bludgeoning them.  That is why we now arm the US military with rifles instead of big knives.  Conservatives who argue that a total ban wouldn't lower the homicide rate are being ridiculous.   
America would still have a higher homicide rate than anywhere else, because for whatever reason, America is an incredibly violent place.  

So I'll merely point out what Jeffrey Goldberg has already said, better and at greater length, in The Atlantic: the discussion is moot.  You can't ban guns.  That ship has sailed.

You can't ban them because the Supreme Court has now ruled, twice, that you can't.  You also can't ban them because there are hundreds of millions of guns in circulation in the United States--no one knows exactly how many, but we are either approaching, or well past, one gun per adult citizens.  Other countries that banned guns started with a less absolutist attitude towards civil liberties, and also, a lot fewer guns.    
We don't know where any of those guns are.  So how would we get them?  House to house searches?  I keep getting these mailers from the ACLU saying that whatever administration is currently in power is "gutting" the fourth amendment, but the old girl still has a little life in her--enough to preclude any such measures.  At best, you would take guns away from the people least likely to use them: the folks law abiding enough to trundle down to the police station and dutifully surrender their weapons.   
And that's assuming that you can get to the point of banning guns.

There is just, as Mark Kleiman notes, "no way to get there from here".  And the more you push for a ban, the more pushback you get on lesser gun control measures--the reason the NRA has so vociferously opposed gun registration is that they (correctly) suspect that VPC and its fellows would like to ban guns, and use those lists to confiscate the ones currently in circulation.   For the same reason that pro-choicers resist "leaving the issue to the states" or "reasonable restrictions", opponents of gun control feel they need to hold the line as far back as possible.  They are not wrong to worry about a slippery slope; that is what the other side is hoping for.  

Read it all.  See even gets in about how people with Concealed Carry permits are "the sort of people who are vanishingly unlikely to commit a crime with it." Or that " we can't even keep whole people from being smuggled across [our border with Mexico]. How are we going to make sure that they don't bring guns with them?"

She even has views on the gunnie side and supports the idea of fighting back, but doubts it'll happen.
Would it work?  Would people do it?  I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.   
But I doubt we're going to tell people to gang rush mass shooters, because that would involve admitting that there is no mental health service or "reasonable gun control" which is going to prevent all of these attacks.  Which is to say, admitting that we have no box big enough to completely contain evil.

But she guess that the "we have to do SOMETHING" crowd will get their blood.

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