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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reason Magazine Gun Ban Scenario is Very Plausible

Sebastian over at the blog Shall Not Be Questioned has a post on a article that looks back a few years after hypothetical new restrictions on semiautomatic weapons have been enacted.  It is an article that includes some well placed links to articles that help support the thesis laid out.  The article's point is that even after the ban, the country is even more divided but no less armed.  I agree with Sebastian that it is a very plausible scenario.

Let's look at some of the scenario. The author starts out by point out that after years of failure at the legislative approach (with some exceptions in places like California and New Jersey), the strategy chosen by the gun ban lobby was to shift the a campaign of making gun ownership socially unacceptable, similar to what was done with tobacco in the 90's. Then, the author suggests, legal changes would be possible.  He links to an article from yesterday's Market Watch to show this is already under consideration.

But unlike the 90's when there was no alternative to the anti-tobacco messages in the media, today, such anti-gun messages played only to those pre-disposed to agreeing with them:
That's "sort of" because, while anti-gun messages were a big hit with some media platforms, they were immediately countered by vigorous counter-efforts through opposing channels by pro-gun groups. That was something that never happened during the battles over tobacco. American culture—and media, with it--was far more fragmented than it had been in the days of unchallenged anti-smoking ads.

So the anti-gun message found an audience among those who were already predisposed to listen. These were people whose politics were generally left of center, and who followed media outlets to match. The result was declining gun ownership among those who were already wary of the practice. Before the anti-gun campaign, researchers found that "44% of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party say they own a gun, only 20% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say the same," but now the number of left-leaning gun owners started to fall even further.
But, and here is the cautionary note because we are seeing it playout in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting with the President's directive on "bump stocks" and even offering to consider raising the age to legally purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, the cultural onslaught (like what we are seeing with the Florida students demanding something be done), assisted by the a fumbling bunch of Republicans, had enough impact to flip congress and the White House, and with it, major changes—including on gun control.  The article points out that millions refused to comply with the new bans, again, linking back to articles about how only a small number of people complied with real confiscation and registration schemes in places like Connecticut.

The article goes on to describe the specific changes and how the gun issue became more partisan issue than ever.  It is a good and very believable read and I highly recommend the article.

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