… When I read a post like this, whose whole argument amounts to “American gun policy must be wrong because people in Paris are ‘bewildered’ by it,” I want to run out immediately and apply for a concealed-carry permit.
And I’m still waiting for a serious and thoughtful response to Ross Douthat’s post on the similarities between our attempts to prohibit alcohol and current exhortations to prohibition of guns.
Now obviously booze and guns aren’t the same kind of thing (even if they are regulated by the same federal bureau). But there are some similarities. Alcohol, like firearms, has (as Gopnik puts it, snidely but accurately) “an ancient history in our city.” Alcohol consumption, like firearm ownership, is mostly the preserve of law-abiding citizens doing no harm to anyone at all. Alcohol drinkers are more common than gun owners, but they’re both large and diverse populations: Per Gallup, 67 percent of Americans are at least occasional drinkers, and 47 percent report that they own a gun. (The latter number has risen faster lately among women and self-identified Democrats.) An experiment in making America the kind of “gun-free society” that Gopnik favors would probably run into some of the same problems that bedeviled Prohibition — alcohol is easier to manufacture, but there’s a high demand for guns and a large enough supply already to sustain a black market more or less indefinitely. On the other hand, a sweeping gun ban would probably save lives, just as Gopnik argues — but then the original Prohibition, for all its unintended consequences, probably saved lives overall as well.
I think the key question prompted by Ross’s column is this: Is someone (like the New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik) who advocates gun prohibition being inconsistent if he or she does not also advocate alcohol prohibition? If not, why not?
Okay, so, enough about guns. I’ll now get back to my usual topics.