I want to start with a mini-disclaimer, because I don’t want assign an ideology to Leah Libresco without knowing much about her. But, judging from her original position on guns, I’d say she and your average Crowderhead wouldn’t agree on much. But, people can surprise you. Leah was doing research for FiveThirtyEight on gun deaths.
Take a look at what she came up with:
When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.
Almost all of the features on an “assault rifle” are cosmetic. They do very little to turn the gun into a baby-killing machine.
As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer.
Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.
As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference.
I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.
You can’t help but applaud Leah for her intellectual honesty. She put her prejudices aside to objectively study an issue. Then, she altered her position accordingly. Now, if only she could convince anti-gun leftists to do the same. Not likely, though (see Liberal Comedian Blames All White Men for Las Vegas Shooting? and Jimmy Kimmel Leads Late Night Comedy’s Gun Control Push).
If the left really wants to have a national conversation about guns in this country, it’s impossible to do when they refuse to deal in facts. They’re still trying to convince everyone AR-15s were specifically engineered to snuff out elementary-schoolers and “silencers” turn a gunshot into a whisper.
I hope leftists read Ms. Libresco’s column and learn from it. But, who am I kidding. They’re more likely to burn her at the stake. They can’t tolerate a “heartless” heathen who doesn’t support “common sense” gun control: