Politics & Policy

Questions for Gun Controllers

If a policy doesn’t produce the intended results, why pursue it?

In the wake of the Newtown massacre, a call has gone up for a conversation about our gun laws. To that end, here are questions for advocates of gun control who are pushing for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, among other new restrictions, to address school shootings.

What’s the functional difference between an assault weapon and a semiautomatic rifle? You do understand that the answer is “nothing”? An assault weapon is not an automatic weapon. It is semiautomatic like most guns now sold in the United States, i.e., it fires every time the trigger is pulled. What sets it apart is its scary-looking features.

What’s more powerful, the Bushmaster .223 used by Adam Lanza in his slaughter or the average deer-hunting rifle? If the answer is the average deer-hunting rifle — indeed, many states ban the Bushmaster .223 for deer hunting because it is too weak — will you attempt to ban them, too?

What gun law would have stopped Newtown? Please be specific. Adam Lanza’s mother didn’t have a criminal record. Neither did he. If the Bushmaster .223 had been banned, he could have done the same with a semiautomatic rifle. If all semiautomatic rifles were banned — something that would never pass Congress — he could have done the same with a semiautomatic handgun. If high-capacity magazines had been banned, he could have reloaded with smaller magazines.

#ad#How many guns are in the United States? The answer is 280 million. In a country with that many guns, how is gun control possibly going to succeed? If you ban a small subset of new guns for sale, what are you going to do about the rest? Let’s say you succeed beyond anything that is remotely possible. Let’s say you somehow stop the new sale of guns altogether and somehow decommission half of existing guns. What are you going to do with the other 140 million guns?

Does the Virginia Tech massacre affect your view of the efficacy of an assault-weapons ban? In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho perpetrated the deadliest shooting in the country’s history. He killed 32 people using two semiautomatic handguns.

Why has violent crime declined in the United States during the past 20 years even as gun ownership has ticked up? According to Gallup, nearly half of adults have a gun on their property, the highest number since 1993. Why has crime declined even as gun-control laws have been liberalized?

The assault-weapons ban passed in 1994 and was in effect for ten years. The paradigmatic school shooting took place at Columbine High School in 1999. Why didn’t the assault-weapons ban prevent it?

There have been hundreds of murders with guns this year in Chicago, where gun laws are restrictive. What new gun laws does the city need to stop the tide of mayhem? There have been hundreds more in New York City, where the mayor is the foremost anti-gun scold in the country. What new gun laws does New York need? 

Why aren’t violent crimes routinely committed at gun ranges teeming with people who own multiple weapons, some of them quite dangerous-looking, and who enjoy shooting them?

Why do gun-free-school laws never succeed in stopping lunatics bent on murder from taking guns to schools?

NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre proposed posting armed police officers at schools in his widely derided press conference last week. Would you feel at least a little bit better if an armed officer were guarding your child’s school? Please be honest.

In places where gun laws are the tightest, why do so many people own guns anyway? In your zeal against guns, do you favor stop-and-frisk policies to catch people carrying illegal guns in major urban areas?

In your view, to make a public policy worth pursuing, should it have a discernible connection to its stated goal? Or is it enough that the policy be well-intentioned and opposed by the NRA? Actually, there’s no need to answer that. It’s obvious enough already. 

— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. © 2012 King Features Syndicate

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

Most Popular

Elections

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
Film & TV

A Sublime Christian Masterpiece of a Film

‘There are two ways through life -- the way of nature and the way of grace,” remarks the saintly mother at the outset of The Tree of Life, one of the most awe-inspiring films of the 21st century. She continues: Grace doesn’t try please itself. It accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked, accepts insults ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More