Gun Policy After Newtown

I’ve held back on commenting on this, as I’ve wanted to avoid the hysteria shown by so many parties on this, whether it’s Piers Morgan, critics of Piers Morgan, Sen. Barbara Boxer, or NRA chief Wayne LaPierre.

If gun control legislation does make its way through Congress and to President Obama’s desk, it will likely be in the form on a ban on so-called assault-weapons. While this is likely constitutional, would it prove effective? That’s highly debatable. Studies on mass shootings by James Alan Fox show that these tragic events are not becoming more commonplace. The peak year for killings on Fox’s line-graph took place in 2003, a time the previous federal assault-weapon ban was still in effect. The infamous Columbine shootings took place while the federal assault-weapon ban was in place.

As one blogger puts it, “In a society of 300 million people, there are going to be a handful of dangerously unstable men.” It’s not going to be possible to stop every unstable person from committing evil. If there’s a policy that can prevent unstable people from gaining weapons without curtailing the rights of law-abiding citizens, I’m willing to listen. But whatever actions are taken need to be well thought out. Guns are used for self-defense. It’s an inconvenient fact we can’t avoid. The more aggressive Congress acts, the more likely it is our government makes law-abiding citizens more vulnerable.

*UPDATE Dec 26: A couple articles worth noting:

The problem of injecting mental health into gun policy.

Ron Paul: “School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.”

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