Something weird happened at the New York Times op-ed page in the last few days. Two of their liberal columnists made sense. About guns, no less. Did they switch to fluoridated water or something?
First off is Nicholas Kristof, who, it should be pointed out, occasionally departs from orthodoxy, most especially his 2005 “I Have a Nightmare” column that criticized the environmental establishment. (Needless to say environmentalists didn’t react well.)
Well now he’s really done it. His column this weekend is titled “Some Inconvenient Gun Facts for Liberals.”
FOR those of us who argue in favor of gun safety laws, there are a few inconvenient facts.
We liberals are sometimes glib about equating guns and danger. In fact, it’s complicated: The number of guns in America has increased by more than 50 percent since 1993, and in that same period the gun homicide rate in the United States has dropped by half.
Then there are the policies that liberals fought for, starting with the assault weapons ban. A 113-page study found no clear indication that it reduced shooting deaths for the 10 years it was in effect. That’s because the ban was poorly drafted, and because even before the ban, assault weapons accounted for only 2 percent of guns used in crimes. . .
So why does nothing get done? One reason is that liberals often inadvertently antagonize gun owners and empower the National Rifle Association by coming across as supercilious, condescending and spectacularly uninformed about the guns they propose to regulate. A classic of gun ignorance: New York passed a law three years ago banning gun magazines holding more than seven bullets — without realizing that for most guns there is no such thing as a magazine for seven bullets or less.
Not bad, except that Kristof forgets that if liberals didn’t have ignorance going for them, they’d be out of business.
And then there’s Charles Blowhard, I mean, Charles Blow, who says we should “Focus on Illegal Guns.”
Our current discussion about increasing gun regulations often centers on efforts that would mostly affect people who legally buy firearms. Many of them make sense, in theory, but the truth is that they would not be likely to have a huge impact on criminal gun violence, because many of those criminals obtain their weapons illegally.
So, when the gun lobby and gun owners make this case, we must admit that they have a point. . .
Rather than focusing on all guns, the vast, vast majority of which are owned by responsible people and are never used in the commission of a crime, we have to focus on keeping guns out of the hands of this relatively small number of criminals.
Gosh, the Times is halfway to figuring out that the root cause of crime is criminals. Someone call the EPA. Somebody must have slipped something into the drinking fountains.