Some Useful Reading on Guns and Gun Control
Ezra Klein and Jeffrey Goldberg weigh in
As the reports about the heinous school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut continue to stream in, here are some compelling takes of the non-speculative sort.
At the Washington Post, Ezra Klein has posted 11 facts about mass shootings in the United States. The whole thing is worth a read. But this one jumped out at me.
4. Of the 11 deadliest shootings in the US, five have happened from 2007 onward.
That doesn’t include Friday’s shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The AP put the early reported death toll at 27, which would make it the second-deadliest mass shooting in US history.
Over at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a piece for the magazine this month arguing for more guns and more gun control. Below he outlines the futility of the gun-control efforts.
There are an estimated 280 million to 300 million guns in private hands in America—many legally owned, many not. Each year, more than 4 million new guns enter the market. This level of gun saturation has occurred not because the anti-gun lobby has been consistently outflanked by its adversaries in the National Rifle Association, though it has been. The NRA is quite obviously a powerful organization, but like many effective pressure groups, it is powerful in good part because so many Americans are predisposed to agree with its basic message.
America’s level of gun ownership means that even if the Supreme Court—which ruled in 2008 that the Second Amendment gives citizens the individual right to own firearms, as gun advocates have long insisted—suddenly reversed itself and ruled that the individual ownership of handguns was illegal, there would be no practical way for a democratic country to locate and seize those guns.
Many gun-control advocates, and particularly advocates of a total gun ban, would like to see the United States become more like Canada, where there are far fewer guns per capita and where most guns must be registered with the federal government. The Canadian approach to firearms ownership has many attractions—the country’s firearm homicide rate is one-sixth that of the U.S. But barring a decision by the American people and their legislators to remove the right to bear arms from the Constitution, arguing for applying the Canadian approach in the U.S. is useless.
We’ll keep you posted as things develop.
And, it goes without saying, we’d like to express our grief at this terrible moment.