From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder. “States with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides,” noted one exhaustive 2013 study in the American Journal of Public Health.
.. The F.B.I. counted a total of 268 “justifiable homicides” by private citizens involving firearms in 2015; that is, felons killed in the course of committing a felony. Yet that same year, there were 489 “unintentional firearms deaths”
.. The Minutemen that will deter Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are based in missile silos in Minot, N.D., not farmhouses in Lexington, Mass.
.. The Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, the New York draft riots of 1863, the coal miners’ rebellion of 1921, the Brink’s robbery of 1981 — does any serious conservative think of these as great moments in Second Amendment activism?
.. Conservatives often say that the right response to these horrors is to do more on the mental-health front. Yet by all accounts Stephen Paddock would not have raised an eyebrow with a mental-health professional before he murdered 58 people in Las Vegas last week.
.. What might have raised a red flag? I’m not the first pundit to point out that if a “Mohammad Paddock” had purchased dozens of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition and then checked himself into a suite at the Mandalay Bay with direct views to a nearby music festival, somebody at the local F.B.I. field office would have noticed.
.. they argue their case badly and — let’s face it — in bad faith.
.. There is no “gun-show loophole” per se; it’s a private-sale loophole, in other words the right to sell your own stuff.
.. The civilian AR-15 is not a true “assault rifle,” and banning such rifles would have little effect on the overall murder rate, since most homicides are committed with handguns.
.. The N.R.A. has donated a paltry $3,533,294 to all current members of Congress since 1998
.. equivalent to about three months of Kimmel’s salary. The N.R.A. doesn’t need to buy influence: It’s powerful because it’s popular.
.. guns recovered by police are rarely in the hands of their legal owners, a 2016 study found.
.. Americans who claim to be outraged by gun crimes should want to do something more than tinker at the margins of a legal regime that most of the developed world rightly considers nuts. They should want to change it fundamentally and permanently.
.. Gun ownership should never be outlawed, just as it isn’t outlawed in Britain or Australia. But it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either.
.. Donald Trump will likely get one more Supreme Court nomination, or two or three, before he leaves office, guaranteeing a pro-gun court for another generation.
.. Some conservatives will insist that the Second Amendment is fundamental to the structure of American liberty. They will cite James Madison, who noted in the Federalist Papers that in Europe “the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” America was supposed to be different, and better.
.. I wonder what Madison would have to say about that today, when more than twice as many Americans perished last year at the hands of their fellows as died in battle during the entire Revolutionary War.
.. The true foundation of American exceptionalism should be our capacity for moral and constitutional renewal, not our instinct for self-destruction.
Beyond that, the conservative answer is: more guns.
.. But that’s an argument for greater discrimination in terms of who should get to own a gun, not less. The United States has, by far, more guns in more hands than any other country in the developed world.
.. Gun advocates often make the claim that the mere presence of firearms deters crime. But research from Stanford’s John Donohue suggests that “right to carry” state laws have led to a 13 to 15 percent jump in violent crime.
.. New York City, with the most aggressive enforcement of gun laws of any major U.S. city, has seen its homicide rate drop to levels not experienced since the 1950s.
.. By contrast, in the permissive gun state of Missouri, St. Louis has the highest per capita murder rate of any major American city.
.. Nor is it remotely true, as gun advocates contend, that gun bans necessarily result in increased murder rates. The homicide rates in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have all fallen since enacting strict national gun control.
.. There’s a good case to be made for owning a handgun for self-defense, or a rifle for hunting. There is no remotely sane case for being allowed to purchase, as Paddock did, 33 firearms in the space of a year. But that change can’t happen without a constitutional fix. Anything less does little more than treat the symptoms of the disease.
.. What about the preservation of American liberties and the encroachments of bureaucratic liberal despotism?
one of the most telling documents might be a yellowed, four-page psychiatric evaluation from 1960 that details the father who raised Stephen Paddock until he was 7 and who loomed over the family even after he disappeared.
.. “I get the impression he enjoys being an interesting subject of examination,” the doctor wrote. He concluded that Mr. Paddock was bright, with no history of “mental defect,” and was able to stand trial. But, the doctor added, Mr. Paddock had a “sociopathic personality.”
.. Benjamin Paddock had boasted during his psychological evaluation that his run-ins with authority started early and rarely stopped. He was an only child, pampered by his mother and not disciplined by his father. “I got away with an awful lot,” he told his evaluator. “I went where I felt like it, disrupting everybody’s schedule.” By 12 he was driving his own car.