Monday, December 21, 2015

Spinning gun control, the NYT and the "public health issue."

 In a Dec. 21, 2015 editorial on the  recent republican candidates’ debate,  the NYT appeared unhappy because the debate "was devoid of questions and comments about the public health issue of gun violence. "  A Dec. 21 article supporting gun control was under the tag line "health."

This spin ignores the fact that gun control is a Second Amendment, crime control, law enforcement and criminal justice issue.  Gun control, as always, will be enforced by the criminal law with stop and frisks, arrests, searches, trials, jailing and imprisoning.  Labelling it a "public health" issue hides what will be happening.  It avoid the issue of whether such tactics will work to reduce gun crime. If, as the Times earlier editorialized, the "assault weapon" ban will include weapons already legally owned, the situation will be worse.  The coercive power of the state will be on display.  Does this sound like a "public health" solution to you? We should all remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and euphemisms.

For more on this topic, see this article. See also my article "Ideological and Civil Liberties Implications of the Public Health Approach to Guns, Crime and Violnce"  Journal of Firearms and Public Policy, vol. 10, Fall 1998, pp. 111-142. Scroll down to journal page 111.

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