Politics: Megan McArdle ends the discussion: Why gun control cannot solve the problem

Published by: Dan Calabrese on Tuesday December 18th, 2012

Dan Calabrese

By DAN CALABRESE - The most brilliant piece ever written on the subject. Seriously.

If you're not familiar with Megan McArdle, CainTV readers, allow me to introduce Megan McArdle. She writes for Newsweek (which, I understand, is not real popular with our audience) and for the Daily Beast. I wouldn't describe her as ideologically conservative, and certainly not what many of you would accept as a "true conservative." So I don't always agree with McArdle by any means, but what I really like about her work is that she takes an honest look at whether policy prescriptions will actually work.

That's why I consider her new piece on gun control, especially in its context as an envisioned preventer for future Sandy Hooks, may be the absolute definitive piece ever written on the subject. It is long. Read it all. It is honest. You will be impressed. It is thoughtful and oozing with common sense.

The long and short of it is this: The only thing that can work is a total ban on guns, and that is a) impossible; and b) not desirable. Every other proposal you hear being tossed around (limits on certain kinds of magazines, attempts to ban gun ownership by the relatives of the mentally ill, etc.) simply has no hope of making any difference whatsoever, even if you could somehow pass it and implement it effectively.

Here's her bottom line:

It would certainly be more comfortable for me to endorse doing something symbolic--bring back the "assault weapons ban"--in order to signal that I care.  But I would rather do nothing than do something stupid because it makes us feel better.  We shouldn't have laws on the books unless we think there's a good chance they'll work: they add regulatory complexity and sap law-enforcement resources from more needed tasks.  This is not because I don't care about dead children; my heart, like yours, broke about a thousand times this weekend.  But they will not breathe again because we pass a law.  A law would make us feel better, because it would make us feel as if we'd "done something", as if we'd made it less likely that more children would die.  But I think that would be false security. And false security is more dangerous than none.  

The whole piece is brilliant. Read it.