Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gun control is not the answer to our crime problem: James Varney

Posted August 26, 2014 5:55 pm by  

One of the enduring myths in our political landscape is the allegedly unassailable power of the National Rifle Association. The real power, of course, is with the rifle.

And a lot of public policy discussions might improve if that fact was not only recognized but also appreciated. As even the left-wingers at ThinkProgress acknowledge, “a majority of Americans believe in a broad right to own guns.”

Instead, there is the mistaken belief that there is widespread support in America for tough restrictions on gun ownership. Most people, of course, don’t see buying a gun as the same as buying a pack of LifeSavers — yet there is a cherished belief on the left that the NRA is the evil empire standing between them and some gun-free utopia.

This view evidences itself in the comment stream at and surfaced repeatedly in a recent meeting | The Times-Picayune had with community leaders. After the horrifying mass murder in Sandy Hook and at other moments, the argument went, the United States could have had real gun control but for the spineless politicians in the NRA’s pocket.

It’s true the NRA is a major lobbying force; it’s true it has a lot of money and millions of members. But all those members attract the smart politician’s interest. In other words, the politician sees where the votes are as surely as the contribution.

Polls consistently show the notion that Americans favor ever-stricter gun control is false. And all around come stories about gun ownership.

Let’s take Chicago, which has endured years of bad press now for its alarming number of murders. That number doesn’t put Chicago anywhere near the top 10 most murderous cities in America, but when there are more than 500 murders in a year and holiday weekends punctuated by widespread gunfire, headlines are sure to follow.

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