On the third anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, gun control activists are demanding more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, but are their proposals any different from what they’ve demanded in the past, and just how likely are they to accomplish anything?
During the past three years, it has become increasingly apparent that there is a disconnect between gun control proponents and reality. That might include President Barack Obama and other Democrats who want to make gun control a theme in the 2016 campaign.
Contrary to what they are saying about more guns leading to more deaths, the FBI crime statistics actually show fewer gun-related homicides over the past few years during a period when gun sales have skyrocketed. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the other day that, “ready access to guns and that proliferation of violent weapons of war has not led to fewer gun deaths. It’s tragic that even in the situation where we have lots of guns on the streets that lead to lots of innocent Americans being killed, that the response to that is that a whole lot more guns end up on the streets.”
But that assertion runs counter to the facts.
While the White House and Hillary Rodham Clinton might want to ban so-called “assault weapons,” UCLA law professor and author Adam Winkler has pointed out in an Op-Ed piece published by the Los Angeles Times that it’s a bad idea. He recalled a 2004 study commissioned by the Justice Department that revealed the ten-year Clinton semi-auto ban “didn’t lead to any decrease in gun crime or gun deaths.”
Winkler noted that rifles of any kind are rarely used in homicides and account for about three percent of the total criminal gun deaths in any given year. More people are killed with blunt objects, feet and fists than rifles and shotguns combined.
In the three years since the Sandy Hook tragedy, which was not prevented by Connecticut’s tough gun laws, the gun prohibition lobby has tried to sell its old agenda with new packaging. For a while they have pushed the so-called “universal background check” as their centerpiece, but now that is giving way to a new ploy, denying guns to anyone on the “no-fly” list. Several civil libertarians have pointed out the problem with this approach, specifically denial of a civil right without due process. How would that fare with any other constitutionally-delineated right?
Have we really learned anything in the three years since Sandy Hook? Perhaps only that the gun ban crowd is more determined than ever to turn a constitutionally-protected civil right into a heavily-regulated government privilege, and no tragedy is too large or small to exploit.
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