One of the sanest, most empirically solid treatments of gun control issues I have ever seen appeared in the Washington Post yesterday in the wake of the Las Vegas atrocity. I am amazed this heresy was allowed.
The usual, orthodox lefty position (e.g., Jimmy Kimmel) is
- I hate guns which makes me a morally superior person;
- There should be “common sense” gun control;
- Opposition to “common sense” gun control is an inherently inferior moral posture and a tacit endorsement of any and all shooting deaths.
It does not matter if “common sense” legislation is demonstrably useless. It is a feature not a bug if it creates costs and burden for law-abiding gun owners — they deserve to suffer because point 3 above.
So imagine the shock of reading this in the WaPo:
Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.
Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.