Yesterday evening, a discussion of “universal” background checks appeared in my Twitter timeline in response to a tweet that had include an @ mention of me. After several hundred tweets went by, I hopped in to ask the person advocating for federal mandated background checks for private gun sales if he had any data to support that background checks on private sales were actually beneficial in reducing crime. I noted that Maryland had not seen any benefit.
He cited the improvement in crime statistics in New York from 2013 to 2016. I asked what other states, and he said something about it not being possible to sort out the effect of background checks from all the “improved” gun control over that period. I spent a few minutes with the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2013 and 2016 and found that crime got worse in the most states with “universal” background checks during that period. Of course, crime got worse all across the country (this was the era of Ferguson and Baltimore), but, on average, the states with “universal” background checks began the period with crime rates worse than the national average and ended the period with crime rates worse than the national average. The repeatable results from running the experiments in those laboratories of democracy show that “universal” background checks are ineffective at best and probably a failed policy.
The Gentle Reader will probably not be surprised to learn that such a reasoned argument did not impress my interlocutor. At least, he didn’t go on about high-capacity magazines, perhaps because it has come out that the recent shooter used 10-round mags.
Which leads me to another point: The recent school shooter supposedly said that he wanted to be a “professional school shooter.” How did he learn that there was such a thing? Surely, he learned through press coverage of previous shootings.
<sarc>It may be that the time has come to rein in such coverage in order to protect our children. As part of that, we need to seriously consider a ban on high-capacity magazines. After all, no one has a legitimate need for a copy of Time, Mother Jones, or Marie Claire with more than 10 pages. I can already hear the complaints saying that such publications are protected by the First Amendment. Piffle. Even if we grant the writers’ the right to have such dangerous publications in their own homes, they don’t belong in public spaces. The Founding Fathers—including Benjamin Franklin, a printer and inventor—could never have imagined such publications. If it saves just one child, …</sarc>