Are Tighter Gun Control Laws Possible?

The following white paper was written in August 2012 in completion of requirements of the NYU Brademas Center for the Study of Congress, after a stint working for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. A PDF version of the paper is available here.

A series of shootings in the summer of 2012 have illuminated yet again the issue of gun control in the United States. Conversations have once again sprung up regarding the need for and constitutionality of restrictions on weapon ownership. However, though debate may continue in newspaper opinion pages and on cable television, no serious discussion of reform has reached the floors of Congress—and none is likely to do so. Tragedies like those that occurred in America this summer continuously fail to reframe the issue or even spark a lasting national conversation. The country is currently in a stalemate on gun control reform, despite indications of public opinion that we need tighter laws.

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Police State

MadisonPoliceIn the wake of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, there has been much discussion of the militarization of law enforcement agencies in the United States. While some reports have focused on the delivery of military-grade equipment to local police departments, TBQ writer Dvora Meyers asked an interesting question: How large are US police forces compared with other nations’ militaries? Keep reading →

Wanted: Fresh Ideas

Even after Newtown, the pro-reform Left runs out of gas on guns.

MAIGpresserOn June 24 I had the pleasure of attending a public discussion on guns featuring Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut. John Feinblatt, senior advisor to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the man behind the curtain at Mayors Against Illegal Guns, was his sidekick. Though both men demonstrated their copious passion and knowledge of the issues and hurdles facing gun reform, their words inspired a disappointingly hollow confidence—a sense of fighting the good fight without an appraisal of the likelihood of progress. Keep reading →

Reframe the Guns Debate

guns2On Thursday of this past week, Reid Wilson of theNational Journal wrote an article decrying the lack of a national conversation on guns. My own most recent column discussed the same issue. Articles like those are necessary to highlight a major shortcoming of our society: Americans are not sufficiently moved by tragedies like that in Newtown, Connecticut, to press for real change. The vitriol directed at Wilson’s column—written a day before Friday’s shooting of elementary school children—focused on a mythical grand plan by liberals to destroy the Constitution, starting with the second amendment. When Jason Whitlock wrote an excellent and impassioned article in the wake of an NFL player’s murder-suicide two weeks ago, gun lovers responded with a collective, “Shut up, sports journalist.” Keep reading →

Deadly Silence

gunsIn the town hall-style presidential debate, Mitt Romney claimed it is “illegal in this country to have automatic weapons.” Neither candidate made a claim farther from the truth all night. It is very much legal to own automatic weapons—both semi- and fully automatic— and their ammunition, much like the arsenal that murdered moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado this summer.

What Romney’s statement and the absence of any challenge to it by President Barack Obama demonstrate is a crystallization of America’s gun control dilemma. America utterly lacks the interest and capacity for a national conversation about guns, let alone for progressive reform. Keep reading →