Required Reading

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Ross Douthat explains “liberalism’s gun problem” for New York Times readers:

The clearest evidence shows that Australia’s reform mostly reduced suicides — as the Brady law may have done — while the evidence on homicides is murkier. (In general, the evidence linking gun ownership rates to murder rates is relatively weak.) But a lower suicide rate would be a real public health achievement, even if it isn’t immediately relevant to the mass shooting debate.

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.


Read the whole thing, of course.

My first thought is that letting law-abiding white people own firearms essentially unimpeded while cracking down hard on “poor and minority communities” is a feature, not a bug.

I suppose there are two possible reasons for that “feature.”

Is it that white Progressives secretly fear black and brown people, and don’t trust them to exercise their Second Amendment rights? Or do Progressives want to keep minorities agitated and in fear of the police, in order for Democrat pols offer “progressive” solutions?

Or, of course, both.


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