The Corner

Politics & Policy

Kevin Drum Misses the Point on Guns

Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies assist with the destruction of approximately 3,400 weapons during the 22nd Annual Gun Melt in California July 6, 2015. The confiscated weapons will be melted down to convert the weapons into construction steel rebars for use in local highways and bridges. (Bob Riha, Jr./Reuters)

This Kevin Drum post responding to my piece on the Democrats’ bad-faith arguments regarding gun control is willfully obtuse. For starters, California doesn’t have “feeble” gun laws, it has the strictest gun laws anywhere in the country. Any stricter and they probably wouldn’t pass Constitutional scrutiny (even some of existing limits are being challenged.) And besides, even if Drum finds California laws meager, they’re still more stringent than the ones Democrats want to pass in D.C. And those restrictions — the ones we’re dealing with in the real world — have been shown to do nothing to mitigate school shootings, and did not even intersect with with this shooting.

Drum writes:

You might also want to note that whenever there’s a mass shooting, then by definition the laws currently on the books didn’t stop it. Ditto for murder, robbery, rape, carjacking, and so forth. You can play this juvenile game forever. Pay no attention to it.

“[M]urder, robbery, rape, carjacking” are criminal acts. A gun is a tool, not an act, and owning one is a right. If laws passed to alleviate “murder, robbery, rape, carjacking” limited the liberties of victims but empowered criminals, we’d be paying attention.

Drum also asks someone to ask me why I put scare quotes around the word “slaughter.” (No problem. I’m a pretty accessible guy!) First, because Chris Murphy uses the word to scaremonger the issue by absurdly accusing Mitch McConnell of enabling shooters. As noted above, California proves that the Democratic bill on McConnell’s desk would do little but inhibit law-abiding citizens from practicing their Constitutional right (which, let’s face it, is point of many of these restrictions).

Second, Murphy uses the word “slaughter” to demagogue and create moral panic. Communities need to do more to figure out how to stop broken people from committing horrifying acts, but the chances of a child being shot in an American school over the past 20 years is somewhere around 1 in 600,000,000. Your child has a far higher chance of choking, drowning, falling down the stairs, or being in a car accident than of being involved a school shooting. Schools are safer today than they were 20 years ago. Gun homicides are at near-historic lows. Using phrases like “the slaughter of our children” or “epidemic of gun violence” is hyperbolic and deployed only to create hysteria for political reasons.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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