Come and Take Them

Come and Take Them

The idea that gun-control advocates don’t want to confiscate your weapons is, of course, laughable. They can’t confiscate your weapons, so they support whatever feasible incremental steps inch further toward that goal. Some folks are more considerate and get right to the point.

“I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment,” writes The New York Times’ new-ish conservative columnist Bret Stephens today. Referring as a fetish to an inalienable right that has a longer and deeper history among English-speaking people than the right to free speech or the right to freedom of religion is an excellent indicator that someone probably hasn’t given the issue serious thought.

I mean, Stephens isn’t contending Americans shouldn’t own five AR-15s. He’s arguing that the state should be able to come to your house and take away your revolver or your shotgun or even your matchlock musket.

“From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder,” writes Stephens, before pulling a narrowly catered statistic that ignores the vast evidence that the number of guns does not correlate with the murder or the crime rates. What studies often do is conflate gun homicides and suicides. If Stephens wants to argue that confiscation would lead to fewer suicides, he’s free to do so. But he’s also going to have to explain why countries with the highest suicide rates often have the strictest gun control laws. The fact is that despite a recent uptick in crime, since 1990, the murder rate has precipitously dropped — including in most big urban centers — while there was a big spike in gun ownership.

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Then Stephens compares justifiable gun homicides — shooting a felon while protecting one’s home, etc. — with unintentional homicides with a gun. After some back-of-the-napkin calculation, Stephens concludes that guns are useless as a means of personal protection. Anyone who’s spent 10 minutes thinking about gun control understands there is no…

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