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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Busness Week: Clinton Can't Win By Going After NRA

Well this is refreshing!  Paul Barrett writes over at Bloomberg Business Week on how the culture war against the NRA is a losing proposition for Clinton and by extension the Democrats:
Clinton sees the gun issue as a way to motivate her progressive base while simultaneously outflanking her main primary challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders of rural firearm-friendly Vermont. Asked during the debate whether Sanders is “tough enough on guns,” Clinton answered, “No, not at all,” noting he’d voted repeatedly in the early 1990s against the criminal-background-check law. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party likes what it’s hearing from Clinton. “For a major presidential candidate to break the logjam in the way she’s doing is a momentous shift,” says Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

But Clinton may be making a mistake framing her argument in culture-war terms—as a battle against the National Rifle Association, which is a conspiracy-minded extremist group that thrives when under attack. Moreover, while some of her ideas make sense, others, including her emphasis on “assault weapons,” come straight from a tired, ineffective gun-control playbook.
Barrett also points out that every time one of these "high profile" mass shootings occurs, the Democrats trot out their favorite target - "assault weapons."  He notes that need to stop talking about things that we know have no impact on crime:
Focusing on assault weapons remains futile today. In 2014, according to the FBI, less than 3 percent of the roughly 12,000 murders in the U.S. were carried out with rifles of any sort, ranging from wooden-stock .22 squirrel plunkers to AR-15s, the civilian equivalents to the weapons used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Americans killed each other far more often with knives (13 percent) and hands and feet (6 percent) than they did with semiautomatic rifles. Handguns—concealable and plenty lethal—are the source of the overwhelming amount of gun crime, and that’s where the focus ought to be. We need to deny all prohibited individuals access to all guns, not just to particular types of weapons.

But most interesting was what he said about background checks and mass shooters.  While he calls "universal background checks" the "low hanging fruit" for the gun ban crowd as something they could probably get, he at the same time points out a few paragraphs lower how futile this likely would be in stopping a mass shooter:
While background checks may deter an interstate gun trafficker or a gang-banger who bothers to buy at retail, the FBI record system is unlikely to flag the next campus shooter. That’s because most mass killers lack serious criminal records or formal determinations that they’re mentally disturbed. As was the case in Roseburg, these deranged individuals, typically self-hating young men, plan their suicidal attacks carefully and obtain their arsenals legally. 

I don't agree with everything in the long article but there are some very good points.

Hat tip to Jim Geraghty.

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