Sen. Cory Booker is running for president, and he’s making guns a key part of his campaign. Calling the issue “very personal” for him, Booker is pledging a series of restrictions, including a ban on semiautomatic “assault weapons” and limiting magazine size. During an exchange with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he touted them as a solution to crimes like the recent mass shooting in Virginia.
However, Tapper pointed out that the Virginia shooting was committed with ordinary handguns and the shooter passed a federal background check. Given those facts, Tapper wanted to know how Booker’s plan would have helped. To most people, this seems like a reasonable question. To Charles Blow?
Blow is a New York Times columnist, and he condemned Tapper during a segment of Real Time with Bill Maher:
Journalists have to stop asking that horrible question. That is a horrible question because what we’re doing is picking out one incident out of thirty thousand deaths per year and saying how could you solve this one thing. That is not the objective of gun control. The objective of gun control is to reduce capacity to kill people who should not be killed.
Unfortunately for Blow, most of us are more concerned with facts than intentions. And the facts show that Cory Booker’s policies will lead to more deaths, not fewer.
It's true that around thirty thousand people were killed using guns last year, but over two thirds of them were suicides. While a firearm is an effective means of killing yourself, it's far from the only one. Japan's suicide rate is comparable with America's, while South Korea's and Belgium's are higher---even though all three countries have very little gun ownership. Thus, if American guns were to disappear, those gun suicides would probably turn into rope, bridge, and razor suicides--with the total number of lives lost remaining unchanged. What would change is that victims would be less capable of resisting.
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Some point to how Australia's suicide rate dropped after half the country's guns were confiscated. However, it was already declining before the ban and non-firearm suicides dropped as well, suggesting that there were simply fewer people attempting suicide in general.
Regarding gun homicides, it's tough to see what Booker's proposal to ban semiautomatic rifles would do: the FBI reports that in 2017, only four hundred and three murders involved rifles of any kind. Something that would help? Allowing good people to fight back.
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Over a 1.3 million people in Texas are licensed to carry a firearm, and the state publishes a report on the crimes they commit. In 2018, one was convicted of murder and another three were convicted of manslaughter. If they formed their own country, its per capita murder rate would be 0.29 per one hundred thousand residents. For perspective, the UK (which bans handguns altogether) had a murder rate of 1.2 per one hundred thousand people. And Texas isn't unique: across the country, permit holders are disproportionately law abiding. But while they rarely commit crimes, permit holders do stop them.
People routinely use concealed firearms to defend themselves and others from violence, including mass shootings. Women benefit the most, since unlike other weapons, the efficacy of a firearm depends on its user's skill--not her size or strength. It's the only way that a woman can chase off a gang of men single handedly.
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But a gun doesn't always need to be used for it save someone's life. After all, firearms have a deterrent effect, and the presence of one can dissuade an attacker. That's what a Department of Justice-funded survey of convicts found: eighty one percent of respondents agreed, “A smart criminal always tries to find out if his potential victim is armed.” Meanwhile, seventy four percent concurred that, “One reason burglars avoid houses when people are home is they fear being shot.”
Unfortunately, the ability to defend yourself doesn't always travel across state lines, as carrying a gun can bring felony charges for out of state permit holders. That's why Congressional Republicans pushed legislation that would have required states to recognize gen permits the same way that they do drivers licenses. However, Democrats like Cory Booker stood in the way, calling the idea "insane." He didn't explain how leaving victims defenseless was a saner approach.
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Far from protecting "people who should not be killed," Booker's ideas are either useless or dangerous. So given the evidence, I can see why leftists like Charles Blow don't want people questioning the plan.
They won't like the answers.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.