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August 16 2019

Presidential Candidates’ Gun Control Proposals Are Not The Whole Story

by Laura Carno

Another week means another spate of new gun control policy proposals from the camps of the Democratic Presidential Candidates. But are they telling the whole story?

As the Democratic candidates try to out-socialism one another, they are also trying to out-gun-control one another. What they aren’t telling us is that their policy proposals won’t make us any safer, no matter how nice they might sound.

To be clear, we all want deaths using firearms —or using any other method— to go down. But it’s important to implement solutions that have been demonstrated to be helpful. It’s not enough for a proposal to feel right or to sound good; it must actually work.

First, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, is calling for 10 different changes, half of which she would do by executive order. Warren claims that the goal of her proposals is to reduce “the number of people who die from guns by 80%.” A lofty goal to be sure, but how does she propose getting there? 

In one of her ten proposals, Warren calls for tripling federal excise taxes on the purchase of firearms, and increasing taxes on ammunition to 50%. She doesn’t say how that will help reduce violence (it won’t), but we do know that those law-abiding citizens in the poorest neighborhoods will be priced out of the market if they choose a firearm for self-defense. The wealthy will still be able to afford to buy the firearm of their choice, and ammunition with which to practice. And criminals have many options at their disposal to circumvent legal purchases, and will not likely be subject to the taxes.

In another proposal, Warren promises to, “bring the vast majority of private sales, including at gun shows and online, under the existing background check umbrella." What she doesn’t mention is that gun show and online purchases of firearms are already federally required through the NICS check. All sizzle, no steak.

Second, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand calls for not only banning so-called “assault rifles,” but goes further with her proposal to prosecute those who refuse to comply with her mandatory buy-back proposal. To be clear, a mandatory buyback program, with penalties of prosecution, is nothing but a confiscation program. Being monetarily compensated for the confiscation doesn't change the fact that the gun owner would have no choice. 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that there are some 16 million modern sporting rifles in America, nearly all of them owned by law-abiding citizens. And with an average of 438 murders each attributed to all rifles, including hunting rifles, is the confiscation of 16 million honestly-acquired rifles the way to stop those murders? And 438 is well below the numbers killed each year using knives, hands, and feet. So what is Senator Gillibrand’s proposal to address those murders? Crickets on that one, so far.

Finally, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also calling for a ban on so-called “assault rifles,” is proposing the use of, “smart gun technology,” which purports to allow only the gun owner to unlock the functions of the gun with her fingerprint or other biometric means. The idea sounds logical on its surface —and who doesn’t love a high-tech solution— but there are reasons that law enforcement officers don’t use “smart-gun technology.” According to Police One, there are issues with reliability with these sorts of firearms. Anyone who has ever tried to unlock an iPhone with their thumb knows that it’s not 100% successful on the first try. When their lives are on the line, law enforcement needs something that works every time. Ordinary people, who choose a firearm for self-defense, need that same reliability.

Facts matter. Throughout this season of Presidential politics, we will examine the details of the candidates’ proposals. But we will also report on what they aren’t telling us.

 

 





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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