Law professor David Kopel looks at the facts around "universal background checks" and bans on "assault weapons" and "high-capacity" magazines, and explains why these laws won't help prevent violence, only criminalize ordinary citizens.
Kopel is an analyst for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank that's quite right on some issues (the "war on drugs", mass incarceration) and quite wrong on others (capitalism). But even when it's wrong, its arguments are thoughtful and well-informed.
My favorite sentence from the paper rather sums up the problem with firearm prohibition laws: " If gangsters can obtain all the cocaine they want, despite a century of prohibition, they will be able to obtain 15-round magazines."
It is unfortunate that Obama chose to disparage those who disagree with him for their supposed fixation on grubby “politics” and indifference to murder victims. Whether Obama realizes it or not, there are good reasons to be skeptical of gun-control policies. This paper will scrutinize the three most common gun-control ideas that have been put forward in recent years: universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and a ban on assault weapons. These proposals are misguided and will not prevent the crimes that typically prompt officials to make pleas for more gun control. Policymakers can take some steps to incapacitate certain mentally ill persons who are potentially violent. Yet, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that gun laws often cannot stop a person bent on murder. Policymakers should not pretend otherwise.