With 300 million guns in private hands in the United States, it’s very difficult to devise a non-intrusive, “common-sense” approach to regulating their exchange by individuals. Ultimately, you need more than background checks; you need many fewer guns in circulation, period. To their credit, many gun control supporters acknowledge this point, which is why there is a vogue for citing the Australian experience, where a sweeping and mandatory gun buyback followed a 1996 mass shooting. (...)
Does that make “getting to Australia” a compelling long-term goal for liberalism? Maybe, but liberals need to count the cost. Absent a total cultural revolution in America, a massive gun collection effort would face significant resistance even once legislative and judicial battles had been won. The best analogue is Prohibition, which did have major public health benefits … but which came at a steep cost in terms of police powers, black markets and trampled liberties.
I suspect liberals imagine, at some level, that a Prohibition-style campaign against guns would mostly involve busting up gun shows and disarming Robert Dear-like trailer-park loners. But in practice it would probably look more like Michael Bloomberg’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, with a counterterrorism component that ended up heavily targeting Muslim Americans. In areas where gun ownership is high but crime rates low, like Bernie Sanders’ Vermont, authorities would mostly turn a blind eye to illegal guns, while poor and minority communities bore the brunt of raids and fines and jail terms.
Here the relevant case study is probably not Australia, but France. The French have the kind of strict gun laws that American liberals favor, and they have fewer gun deaths than we do. But their strict gun laws are part of a larger matrix of illiberalism — a mix of Bloombergist police tactics, Trump-like disdain for religious liberty, and campus-left-style restrictions on free speech. (And then France also has a lively black market in weaponry, which determined terrorists unfortunately seem to have little difficulty acquiring.)
Friday, October 07, 2016
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 11:38