When someone says the United States ought to adopt Australia’s gun laws, he is really saying that gun control is worth risking violent insurrection.
The massacre in Charleston, South Carolina of nine members of a Bible study at a historic African-American church has horrified the entire country. Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old avowed white supremacist, has confessed to the shooting. As news of this cold-blooded murder spread, attention turned, as it inevitably (and understandably) does after such incidents, to the subject of the presence of guns in American society.
Yet it quickly became apparent that America’s moribund gun control debate would remain moribund. President Obama’s declaration that the country “needs a change in attitude” had a rote quality to it, as did Hillary Clinton’s ringing endorsement of “common-sense gun reforms.” As for Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-New York) exhortation to pass legislation she recently introduced to require gun owners to obtain liability insurance on the grounds that “[i]f you want to buy that Uzi, the thinking goes, you should also have to pay for the risk that gun poses to society as a result,” the less said the better.
Calls for stronger background checks on gun purchases or a new ban on “assault weapons” have become formulaic. They’re like winding a Victrola: the record resumes spinning but it plays the same old song. Another tune in the gun-control songbook, however, is worth listening to. Not as many sing it, but nonetheless it is instructive as it shows the chorus of the media and gun-control advocates at their laziest and most uncurious, and at their most disingenuous if not dishonest. What song do I mean? I forget its name, but it goes something like this.
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