At the New York Times, Nick Kristof has written a column in favor gun control in the wake of Wednesday's terrible shooting of a local news personality and camera man near Roanoke, Virginia. It's a drearily predictable column in that it reiterates a number of pat talking points about gun control that are easily refuted. Kristof writes:
The lesson from the ongoing carnage is not that we need a modern prohibition (that would raise constitutional issues and be impossible politically), but that we should address gun deaths as a public health crisis.
Ok, fair enough. I don't think Second Amendment advocates are against measures to reduce gun deaths that don't compromise their rights. But seven paragraphs later, Kristof writes this:
Australia is a model. In 1996, after a mass shooting there, the country united behind tougher firearm restrictions. The Journal of Public Health Policy notes that the firearm suicide rate dropped by half in Australia over the next seven years, and the firearm homicide rate was almost halved.
Australia is the model? Really? When Kristof writes the "the country united behind tougher firearm restrictions" he's eliding over the fact those tougher firearm restrictions included the banning of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. (Handguns can be owned in Australia, but licensing requirements are onerous, and large caliber handguns are illegal, as are handguns that hold more than 10 rounds.)
Further, the Australian government confiscated somewhere between 650,000 and 1 million guns. The government reimbursed gun owners using the proceeds from a special tax, and called the program a "buy-back." President Obama also cited Australia's gun laws as an example for the U.S. to follow earlier this year, and yet the reporting on Australia by the U.S. media often fails to mention that this buy-back program was compulsory.
Finally, if Kristof wants to tout that "firearm homicide rate was almost halved" since Australia banned and/or confiscated the lion's share of commonly owned rifles., surely he's aware that, according to a Congressional Research Service report, the firearm homicide rate in the U.S. was more than halved between 1993 and 2013? And this decline in the homicide rate happened (mostly) during a period of expanding gun rights:
From 1993 to 2013, the estimated firearms-related homicide victim rate per one hundred thousand of the population decreased from 6.62 to 3.10.
Kristof's use of Australia is certainly revealing. If Kristof wants to ban and confiscate guns, he should say so plainly and directly because there's no way to praise Australia's gun laws without acknowledging that following their lead would involve banning and confiscating guns. To simultaneously say "the lesson from the ongoing carnage is not that we need a modern prohibition" and "Australia is the model" reveals either Kristof has no idea what he's talking or he's harboring a dishonest hidden agenda.
A new poll from Suffolk University and USA Today finds the majority of Americans do not want to debate gun control in the 2016 presidential election. According to the poll of 1,000 adults, 52 percent say they would not like gun control to be a "significant subject" during the election, with 43 percent saying they would.
“There is more desire to tighten than to loosen [gun laws]," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, in a statement accompanying the release of the poll.
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is being attacked in a new ad for not being liberal enough on guns.
"Bernie Sanders is no progressive when it comes to guns," says a voiceover in the 15-second spot, which criticizes the socialist senator's votes against two gun-control bills. The ad also notes the National Rifle Association's support for Sanders. Watch the video below:
Last week the world of comic books reeled from two bits of sensational news. First, it was -revealed that Archie Andrews, hero of the classic Archie comics, was dead. Or rather, “dead,” as they put it in industry parlance, because only the Archie of one of the Archie books, Life with Archie, had bought the farm. (The Archie of the long-running flagship book, Archie, lives on.) What made Archie’s demise so notable was the manner in which he was dispatched. He was assassinated. Gunned down while valiantly saving the life of his friend. Who’s a war hero.
Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak uses her piece today to implicitly make the case that Obamacare and gun control might have been able to prevent yesterday's police shooting and last month's Navy Yard shooting.
Just this week, news broke that the "world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun" was successfully built and test-fired by an engineer in Texas. The technology involves a special printer that uses melted polymers to generate plastic components for a variety of uses, now including working firearms. Today, in a press release announcing a $200 million program for a "Competition for Three New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes," the White House also touted a $30 million award in a similar competition in August 2012 for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
The National Rifle Association has a new ad defending Republican senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire for her vote against the Toomey-Manchin gun control amendment.
"Seen this TV ad paid for by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg? Don't believe it," the voiceover says. "Kelly Ayotte voted for a bipartisan plan to make background checks more effective." Watch the NRA's ad below: