Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Gun Shouting Match. . . er, Debate

Readers ask, Commentarama delivers: today, we talk about guns. The problem with the gun debate is that it is dominated by misinformation and myth, and is fought on emotion and false reasoning. Let’s cut through it all and talk about the facts.

The Anti-Gun Arguments

At first glance, the pro-gun people seem paranoid. Every time someone suggests some reasonable restriction to make guns safer, they start screaming about this being the proverbial nose under the tent for the eventual banning of guns. But there is a very rational basis for their fear. Many on the left are seeking to ban guns. Indeed, it doesn’t take long to run an internet search to find groups dedicated to banning guns. Or take, for example, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), who stated:
“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America turn them all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren’t there.”
Many of the anti-gun groups talk openly about incrementalism, eliminating guns one step at a time. Other groups, like the Brady Campaign, are dishonest about their motives. They specifically state that they are not opposed to gun ownership, but then advocate the banning of almost every type of gun and the enforcing of such restrictions that gun use would be virtually unattainable by average citizens.

And why do they want to ban guns? In many ways, guns, like cars, represent a boogey man for the left. A gun is power. Leftists do not believe that individuals should be trusted to exercise power. They believe that only the state and its panels of experts should be allowed to exercise power. Thus, allowing individuals to retain such power is anathema to leftists, particularly because the power afforded by guns is the power to hold off or to make timid the state, which the left thinks should be free to call the shots.

But leftists rarely frame the debate in this manner because that’s a losing proposition in America. Thus, they argue instead that guns are dangerous. They note particularly that “automatic weapons” and “assault weapons” are menaces to society and particularly the police. They argue that guns cause crime -- particularly mass killings, and that gun ownership is unsafe because it leads to accidental death and suicide. Most of these arguments are myth.

Debunking The Myths

Sadly, what most people know about guns comes from Hollywood, and Hollywood is about as inaccurate as you can get when it comes to guns. And these inaccuracies are mindlessly repeated by reporters, who get much of their information from anti-gun groups. The myth of the automatic weapon and the assault weapon are the two largest of these inaccuracies.
The “Automatic” Weapon Myth
One of the biggest myths regarding guns is the myth of the “automatic weapon.” An automatic weapon is a firearm that discharges multiple bullets when you pull the trigger. If you accept the image offered by Hollywood or the media, everyone has an automatic weapon and they are using them in street fights every day. Nothing about that image is true.

The National Firearms Act of 1934 placed restriction on the ownership of automatic weapons. These included background checks and registration of owners. In 1968, it became illegal to import automatic weapons. In 1986, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 made it illegal to manufacture automatic weapons. Since the passage of the 1934 Act, only a handful of people have been killed with automatic weapons.

What the media is really talking about are “semi-automatic” weapons. A semi-automatic weapon discharges only one bullet per pull of the trigger, just like a revolver. It does not “spray” bullets.

Nevertheless, anti-gun groups routinely describe semi-automatic weapons as “spraying” bullets. For example, the Brady Campaign states in their FAQs that “semi-automatic assault weapons are designed to be spray-fired from the hip.” Similarly, every Hollywood criminal or villain uses automatic weapons to randomly spray bullets everywhere. Watch any news report and you will hear about the latest criminal to use or carry an “automatic” weapon. These reports often end with pleas from the reporter to ban such evil weapons because cops just can’t compete with the guys who can “spray” hundreds of bullets per second. This is all false.
The “Assault” Weapon Myth
The second biggest myth regarding guns is the myth of the “assault weapon.” The anti-gun groups and the media love to attack “assault weapons,” which are typically described as identical or nearly identical to military weapons. And if you listen to the media, these are the weapons of choice for criminals. But again, this is all myth.

First, the idea of the “assault weapon” is actually a nonsensical concept. Under Federal law, what distinguishes an assault weapon from a regular weapon is largely cosmetic. For example, does it have a bayonet mount (I dare anyone to find the last causality from a bayonet charge in the United States), does a rifle have a pistol grip, or is the gun a copy of another weapon that is fully automatic. In other words, does it look like (not function like) something that the military would use. Of all the items listed, the one that does actually increase the performance of the gun is the inclusion of a “high capacity” magazine. This would presumably give the gun an advantage over other guns that need to be reloaded more often. But that advantage is slight when you consider how long it takes to reload a gun (even revolvers have autoloaders that allow all six/eight chambers to be reloaded simultaneously).

Secondly, and more importantly, the idea that these are the weapon of choice for criminals is simply wrong. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives (ATF), prior to the “assault weapons ban”, assault weapons were used in only 4.8% of gun crimes. After the ban went into effect, this percentage fell to 1.6% of gun crimes.

Similar percentages were found by law enforcement agencies throughout the country. For example, Connecticut found that only 198 of 11,002 firearms confiscated were “assault weapons.” Florida found that only 17 of 7,500 firearms used in crimes were “assault weapons.”

Despite this verifiable fact, various newspapers across the country reported that “assault weapons” were used in 10% of all gun crimes.

Moreover, gun-control advocates, such as Denver Police Chief Ari Zavaras, continued to state: “assault weapons are becoming the weapons of choice for drug traffickers and other criminals,” even though only 14 of the 1,248 weapons then in the custody of the Denver police were assault weapons. That’s 0.6%. And of those 14, only one had been used in a crime of violence.

Anti-gun groups also claim that police officers are being gunned down by assault weapons. This too is a myth. Between 1975 and 1992, of the 1,534 police officers murdered in the line of duty in the United States, only 16 were killed by assault weapons. Of this, the Journal of California Law Enforcement noted:
“It is interesting to note, in the current hysteria over semi-automatic and military look-alike weapons, that the most commons weapon used in the decade to murder peace officers was that of the .38 Special and the .357 Magnum revolver.”
Prevalence of Gun Crime

The anti-gun groups also would have you believe that guns are the tool that allow people to commit guns (some actually think they cause the temptation). But these claims are illogical, are not supported by the statistics, and ignore the benefits that guns provide.
Guns Are Not “The” Cause Of Crime
What percentage of crimes involve guns? If we are to believe the media or Hollywood, all criminals are armed and most use their guns. But a Department of Justice study found that only 36% of criminals convicted of homicide, robbery or assault were armed with a firearm. That’s right, only 36%.

According to DOJ, in 2007, there were 445,000 robberies in the United States, but only 154,000 of those involved a firearm. There were 157,000 aggravated assaults involving a firearm, and another 574,000 that involved some other weapon or no weapon at all. Clearly, crimes occur without the temptation of guns.

Even for murders, where guns were more prevalent, only 10,123 of the 16,929 murders that took place in 2007 involved a firearm of any sort (including shotguns).

And while that may sound like a lot, consider this: First, because of the size of our population, this means that only 1 in every 29,635 Americans will be murdered with a gun. Moreover, to put this into perspective, there are 2.5 million deaths in the United States annually. The 10,123 gun deaths represent 0.4% of the total deaths in the United States. This would place gun murders 43rd on the list of causes of death in the United States behind such other causes of death as diarrheal diseases, maternal conditions, malaria, measles, falls, drownings, and poisonings.
Defensive Use
Further, you need to weigh these deaths against the defensive benefits of gun ownership. Anti-gun groups routinely omit these benefits from their discussions, or try to claim that there are no such benefits. Yet, that is another myth.

Criminologist Gary Kleck co-authored a comprehensive study of defensive gun use. Examining FBI and DOJ data, he concluded that “defensive gun uses by crime victims are three to four times more common that crimes committed with guns.” Another study for the Justice Department found that 34% of felons had “been scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim” and that 40% of felons had “decided not to do a crime because they knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun.”

Indeed, the banning of guns has been shown to increase crime, including murder. When England banned private gun ownership in 1996, crime rates skyrocketed. According to American Enterprise Institute economist John Lott, an examination of information released by the British Home Office showed that the violent crime rate rose 69% following the gun ban (with murders increasing 54%). Interestingly, in the five years prior to the ban, such crimes had been falling consistently.

A county by county examination by Lott of crime rates in the United States, found that right-to-carry states experienced (on average) lower rates of violent crime (27% lower), murder (32% lower), robbery (45% lower) and aggravated assault (20% lower) than states with more restrictive gun laws. Other studies conducted at Vanderbilt University, SUNY Binghamton, Claremont-McKenna College, George Mason University, and the College of William and Mary, have supported Lott’s findings.
Mass Shootings
Anti-gun groups also point to mass shootings, particularly at schools, as evidence that guns are dangerous. But here’s what they don’t tell you. First, many of these shooting sprees could have been stopped if any of the victims had been armed. Secondly, these shooting sprees are very rare. Indeed, while these are highly emotional events, they are statistically insignificant. In the last 10 years in the United States, there have been seven shooting sprees at schools that resulted in three or more deaths. Interestingly, there were only five such shooting in the 23 years before that. This indicates some change in society that should be addressed. But before you blame guns for that change, consider that in the same ten year period that saw seven such shooting in the United States, there were six such shooting sprees in gun-banned Europe, with generally higher body counts.
Accidental Discharge
Anti-gun groups also like to point to “accidental discharges.” They will throw out statistics like the one that firearm related deaths for children in the United States are nine times higher than in the 25 other industrialize countries. Yet, they don’t tell you that almost all of those 25 countries ban gun ownership. And the number of accidental gun deaths pales in comparison to other accidental deaths. Each year, around 1,500 people die from gun accidents. This doesn’t even rate in the top 100 causes of death in the United States. And if guns were as dangerous as claimed, you would think that with 300 million of them floating around the US, these numbers would be much, much higher.
Anti-gun groups also like to point to gun suicides. Yet, many of the same people who point so accusingly to gun suicides, also support euthanasia. Blaming the gun for something they think is already acceptable is at best disingenuous.

Moreover, their statistics are garbage. There are around 30,000 suicides each year in the United States. Of those, approximately 12,000 (40%) involved firearms. However, the anti-gun groups claim, only 30% of Americans own guns. Thus, gun suicides are over-represented. Ergo, guns cause suicides. However, this assertion wrongly assumes a causal link that cannot be shown. Indeed, one would assume that there would be a preference for guns as a suicide method because they are 90% effective when used for suicide, as compared to other methods like jumping from high places which is only 34% effective. Ergo, guns do not make people suicidal, suicidal people prefer guns. Further, ownership does not mean access, unless you assume that gun owners all live alone. Thus, the entire basis for this claim is bogus at the outset.

The Philosophical Case For Guns

So what is the pro-gun case? Pro-gun groups make three arguments (excluding the Constitutional issue discussed below). The first is that guns are merely tools, like hammers, knives or a box of dynamite. Blaming guns for gun crime is as intellectually wrong as blaming money for theft or fertilizer for the Oklahoma City bombing. It is the human actor who is at fault, not the product. Further, arguments that guns are inherently unsafe are also irrational as all products are inherently unsafe to one degree or another. Intellectually, this argument is correct. Though, it must be noted that such an argument does not justify the continued existence of guns, if their dangers are outweighed by their benefits.

The second argument is that guns are “the great equalizer.” They protect the weak from the strong. Many years ago, in discussing the issue of women in combat, the Commandant of the Marine Corp told a very annoyed Patsy Schroeder (D-Mars), that “the average American male can kill the average American female with his bare hands in under a minute.” With a gun, those odds are evened. This argument goes hand in hand with the idea that individuals have a natural right to defend themselves.

The counter argument to this claim is that people with guns are more likely to be the victims of gun death. But such claims are false (and irrelevant). First, these claims typically include suicides. Secondly, they fail to account for the adverse selection problem, where people who live in dangerous locations are more likely to buy guns to protect themselves -- thus, it is not the gun causing the crime. And third, they never factor in the defensive benefits of guns.

The final argument is that guns protect the people from their government. When a government knows that it could meet armed opposition if it tries something truly evil, like rounding up certain citizens, governments are reluctant to engage in such activities. It is no coincidence that one of the first things totalitarian regimes do is to round up firearms. Indeed, this was the primary reason the Founders included the Second Amendment: their belief that a disarmed populous is helpless to resist a government and to prevent it from turning tyrannical.

The counter arguments to this typically point out the level of gun crime and/or demonize people who make this argument as militia nuts. But as seen above, the crime statistics are vastly overstated, the image the anti-gun groups try to promote of guns is false, and demonization is the lowest form of argument and should be dismissed out of hand.

The Constitution

Finally, we come to the question of the law. This is really the only theory that matters.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. For years, the left argued that this right extends only to state sponsored militia. Yet, only 20% of the population accepted that view. Seventy-three percent believe this Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to own guns.

More importantly, however, the Supreme Court now agrees with the people. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for private use.

However, contrary to what many pro-gun groups claim, this right is not absolute. Indeed, the absolute position asserted by many pro-gun groups does not make sense when examined closely. For example, if no government regulation were allowed with respect to guns, then wardens could not keep prisoners from own guns, and the police could not legally disarm suspects.

And, in any event, the Supreme Court has rejected this argument in Heller:
“like most rights, the Second Amendment is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. . . [This decision] should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
This is indeed typical of all rights. Even the most fundamental rights are subject to regulation. The question is the level of scrutiny that will be applied to the regulation. Some regulations are reviewed only on a “rational basis” test. Under this standard, if the government can come up with a rational reason for the regulation, the Court will uphold it. But more fundamental rights are typically examined under a “strict scrutiny” or “compelling interest” test, where the state must show that it has a compelling interest in the regulation and that it could not have achieved those results by imposing some lesser restriction (the regulation must be narrowly tailored).

At this point, the Supreme Court has not chosen the level of scrutiny that will apply to gun regulation. Instead, the Court found that the District of Columbia’s regulations in Heller were illegal under any of the possible levels of scrutiny. So this issue remains to be addressed in the future, although the court made it clear that such regulations could not interfere with the right of self-defense (the reason it rejected the District’s requirement for trigger locks). Thus, I suspect that the Court will eventually need to adopt the stricter standard.



CrispyRice said...

Great article. I didn't know that assault weapons were used so little in crime. To listen to the reporting, you never hear of crimes with anything but cop-killer bullets and assault weapons.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Excellent and detailed analysis. Incremental gun confiscation is one of my favorite bugaboos. And those who do not even go that far are just as dangerous. They're the ones who say "we don't want to ban guns, we just want to make them safe." Now that means that once they have performed all their voodoo, my gun (which I own for home defense) could be rendered entirely useless. The violent felon is breaking down my door. But no problem. I will rush to my separate gun-case and unlock the cabinet and get my gun. Then I will rush to the other cabinet, where I am required to keep my ammunition separately. I will then load the gun, and hope that the battery that allows my "smart-gun" to recognize me as the proper owner of the gun has not gone dead. Oh, by the way--the felon murdered me right around step two.

Unknown said...

CrispyRice: Not only are those assault weapons rarely used, but our geniuses in Congress don't even know how to describe them properly. Gun advocates have summed it up pretty well. Anti-gun people don't like "ugly guns."

AndrewPrice said...

CrispyRice, as I say in the article, "assault weapons" are used in less than 2% of gun crimes.

Lawhawk, That's one of the problems with this debate. If you can't trust the motives of the other side, then it becomes difficult to accept even reasonable proposals. I will be curious to see how Heller eventually effects the gun-control landscape.

JG said...

LawHawk: I respectfully disagree. Those aren't the "ugly guns." Those are the cool ones! ;)

I understand that the 2nd amendment is not an "absolute right," as you state it, as indeed none of them are. However, I don't think unlicensed open carry is the same as the proverbial shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. And, considering the amount of accidents and death LICENSED drivers cause each year, I'm not convinced a licensing process is an effective way of ensuring safe gun ownership.

Our gym posted a "no gun" sign a couple of weeks ago, which led to a lot of discussion about "responsible" gun owners (whatever that means. A cop friend of mine got in on it, saying that, while yes, those signs do nothing to practically protect patrons or employees (i.e. 7/11) it makes business owners feel better about the mythical concealed carry person spraying innocents with bullets trying to deter the actual criminal. To which I responded, that I can understand a person unfamiliar with concealed carry culture to have that view, any person who regularly carries is someone who practices the highest gun safety standards. One time I was with a group (of fellow right-wingers) and some cop was there speaking saying the best form of self-defense is to run (which I'm sure was a great comfort to the paraplegic in attendance, but whatev.) and the issue of self-defense came up, and one of the old women in there was arguing against being able to carry in places like malls or colleges, because "I have a concealed carry license and I can't shoot worth a flip" and I said, "Do you carry regularly?" and she said, "No, of course not! I can't hit the broadside of a barn!" Exactly. People who do carry regularly are at the range staying in practice and improving their shooting, follow signage restrictions, and don't go around flashing their guns - even in my crazy right-wing circles. It's a serious responsibility in the view of those who are law-abiding citizens.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I guess we'll be facing years of new statutes, litigation, and constitutional arguments. That's to be expected. Heller finally established the individual right, and now we have to deal with what that means. I think too many people have looked at Heller and decided that the fringe has been declared to be correct--gun ownership is unrestricted. You and I know better. The future attacks on gun ownership will come in the form of restrictions on ownership and use.

Let's see if my best guess is right, and if you agree with my argument. The states which hate guns will try to establish "reasonable restrictions." Those will be the first statutes to fall, since "resonableness" is not the test. When a fundamental constitutional right is to be restricted, it must be based on "compelling state interest." Ya think?

Unknown said...

JG: If you read carefully what I've said in the past, you'll find that I'm in total agreement with you. Given my argumentative nature, that's a rarity. LOL Also, please note the query I just posed to Andrew (it was really rhetorical, since I'm pretty sure he and I are on the same track on that issue).

ScottDS said...

What service! Thanks for this article. As usual, I learned a lot.

Re: “like most rights, the Second Amendment is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. . ."... it looks like this line of reasoning was rejected...?

That goes back to my question from earlier. While driving home from the gun show, my dad (who owns a couple of guns) and I both agreed that there -might- be some weapons ordinary civilians shouldn't own, just as a matter of practicality.

Forgive me. I'm still processing this article so my brain might've missed one or two things. :-) I'll have to come back to it later.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, My position on regulation is probably pretty similar to yours. I think experience has shown that gun regulations tend to only affect the law abiding.

I think I agree with the ban on fully automatic weapons. And I do support licensing because I would like to see a requirement that anyone who obtains a license take a gun safety course, and because I would favor a background check to prevent criminals and the insane from getting guns.

Beyond that, I'm not too convinced much else makes a lot of sense.

AndrewPrice said...

JG & Lawhawk, Beyond my own opinon, lies the law. In that arena, I think that you will find that for the most part, it will remain business as usual in the near term in terms of regulations being passed.

One by one, they will be reviewed by the courts. There will be splits as different circuits apply different standards. Eventually, I think the Supreme Court will come down with the stricter standard (though that's not guaranteed). Then it will get a lot harder for most "safety" regulations to survive the court challenge. In fact, the Supremes appear to have indicated that they will disapprove regulations that interfere with the ability to use a gun in self defense.

But some regulations will continue to surive. Only time will tell us which.

I suspect that the next attack on guns will come on the manufacturing end, because while you might have a right to own a gun, you don't have a right to make or import a gun.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, We aim to please!

Legally speaking, the Heller decision would seem to say that. But keep in mind, this is what is called "dicta" meaning it is not necessary to the decision itself and can be disregarded by later courts.

Do I personally think there should be limits? Yes. There are limits on criminals and the insane. There are also limits on machine guns already -- as noted. I have no problem with those. I also understand that you cannot buy rockets and grenades, and I don't have a real problem with that.

But I don't see any valid reason to ban any semi-automatic rifle or pistol. One bullet is one bullet. And the fear of these weapons is largely based on myth and misinformation.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Aha! We agree on one issue today. And you're probably right about them going after the manufacturers next. But if previous court cases are any indication, they'll fail there as well.

ScottDS: I would just add to what Andrew said that "reasonableness" is not the test when it comes to a fundamental constitutional right. That said, I agree that the automatic weapons ban could remain in effect because it does fit into the "compelling state interest" test, which is the correct test to apply to limiting fundamental constitutional rights.

Writer X said...

I really didn't understand guns or the even the need to have a gun until I moved to Arizona. I remember being quite surprised (maybe alarmed is a better word) when I saw pickup trucks with gun racks and people carrying sidearms. Contrary to what you hear in the newspapers lately, every Tom, Dick, and Harry in AZ does NOT walk around with a sidearm. But Arizona does have its fair share of hunters.

Anyway, once I understood more about guns and gun safety, I became less afraid and more appreciative of them. You can't just listen to one bad gun story and extrapolate that to mean that everyone who has a gun is irresponsible. Ban guns? Yeah, I'm sure the criminals will all turn their guns into Feinstein's office. No question.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, The problem is that most people have never held a gun or even seen one up close. So all they have to go on is what they see in Hollywood, which is highly unrealistic, or what they hear in the media, which is highly sensationalistic and biased. The media also promotes anecdotal evidence (which is basically worthless) as if it were somehow absolutely trustworthy and entirely representative of reality.

The truth is that the vast, vast, vast majority of people use guns wisely and safely. They use them for sport, for hunting, and for protection, and no on ever gets hurt.

They should target gun crime, not guns if they want to solve these problems.

patti said...

those who don't want to own guns, don't have to. those of us who do, and want to, will still protect you if necessary. just make sure and thank us for not caving on this issue.

in the state of texas you can carry concealed if you pay out the cash for a class that runs about 10-12 hours (with the shooting proficiency portion). you must register your fingerprints with the state and the fbi. you must take and pass a test (both shooting and written). it is time-consuming and the last time i was in class, it was filled with folks wanting to do the right thing, or by any liberal name, gun-wielding wackos.

by the way, as a gal from west texas, and surrounded with unlocked guns from an early age, i can honestly say that i do not know of one accidental shooting concerning those guns. we learned to have a healthy respect of firearms from a very early age.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, That's my experience as well. I've never met anyone at the range who was careless or acted like a jerk with a firearm. There is nothing to fear from these people.

So you should be suspicious of anyone peddling fear on these issues (or any other issue in fact).

MegaTroll said...

Great analysis. This really puts it all together. Thanks!

StanH said...

Great read Andrew! I think one of the best examples of well meaning “gun laws or restriction.” Luby’s restaurant massacre in Texas 1991. Luby’s had a sign that no weapons are allowed in the restaurant a law abiding citizen was meeting her parents for lunch so she took her gun out of her purse and left it in the car. Maniac enters, kills 23 and wounds 20 her parents were killed. What if she had her gun? There are several of these what if stories.

The assault weapons ban was another dumb maneuver by our Washington wunderkind. Lawhawk I believe that two of your representatives helped by going through a gun magazine and picked guns randomly that “looked” dangerous, …wow!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Thanks! I think about Luby's whenever the issue of self-defense comes up. I also wonder what would have happened at Columbine if one or more of the teachers had been allowed to be armed.

The truth is that the police are a reactionary force. They don't prevent crime, they clean up the mess. That's why people need to be able to defend themselves.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, Let me amend my statement above. I could support licening, though I would prefer a database of people who have lost their right to own a gun. With the data basing being something that gun dealers and police could access.

StanH said...

I live just north of Kennesaw GA. The small town fifteen miles north of Atlanta passed a law that everyone must own a handgun. Everybody knows the story by now, violent crime is non-existent, I wonder why?

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, as you note, the answer is simple. Criminals aren't looking for a challenge, they want the easiest target they can find. So if they know someone is likely to be armed, they will move on and hit some other location.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. That's what happened in England. Once criminals knew that no one would be armed, it became open season.

Reynald said...

Gun owners in Canada ? why past Liberal governments did not establish a national register of those individuals banned from firearms ownership due to criminal conviction or because of mental illness. We are still waiting. What we have in its place is national firearms registration that is ruinously expensive and has resulted in NO provable improvement in public safety.

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