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Uncommon Sense – Part 1

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing the likes of Paul Helmke or Carolyn McCarthy discussing firearms, this post series is for you. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think that legislation should have to prove its efficacy to some degree in order to be vigorously pursued. More than that, those people claiming to represent us should not be voting on issues they have not read and/or do not understand.

“How does this relate to Senator McCarthy or lobbyist Helmke?” you ask. Consider the propositions put forth by Helmke and his group at the Brady Campaign, as well as the obvious lack of knowledge McCarthy displays when asked about even simple firearm questions. I’m sure she’s been prepped in case she encounters the question again, but just in case not, here’s the clue. A “barrel shroud” is a shroud that surrounds the barrel (generally to protect the user from burning themselves after shooting a few rounds). I know, I know, it’s a bit complicated to have the definition be so easy, but the fact she got on national television and couldn’t even identify what it was she desired to ban scares me.

In the same way that  McCarthy is unable to identify the commies gun parts she is hunting, Helmke seems unwilling to examine the effectiveness of his groups’ proposed laws. Both he and McCarthy claim that assault weapons should be regulated because they pose an immediate threat to the public, yet Christopher S. Koper, writing for (yet not officially representing) the US Department of Justice, concluded that “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.” Moreover, even after looking at the data (charts to come in a later post), the correlation between the desired legislation and the effect seem unrelated at best, opposed at worst.

What’s uncommon in my view is the boldness to come forth and look at the real numbers, refusing to stand by something for an ideological viewpoint without having the empirical backing to support it. Lacking empirical data for plans that remain untested, it seems sensible that a sunset clause should be mandatory for at least the first iteration of a bill. Unfortunately, we’re left with lobbyists on pedestals claiming “all we want is common sense rules that will block <group> from getting <item>.” In my uncommon sense, these arguments could only be strengthened by using reality. The short of it: don’t legislate from emotion, but from effectivity.

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