Gun-Control Laws Aren’t about Preventing Crimes

In the latest issue of National Review, I write about the lax enforcement of our gun laws and touch on a theme that is worth exploring a little more: Gun control is not about gun crime — gun control is about gun culture.

If we cared about keeping guns out of the hands of felons, we’d be locking up straw buyers. We’d be prosecuting prohibited “lie and try” buyers who falsify their ATF paperwork. And we’d be confiscating guns sold in retail transactions that were wrongly approved because of defects in the background-check system. But, for the most part, we don’t do much of any of that.

Instead of doing the hard work of enforcing the law on people committed to breaking it, we focus almost all of our efforts on the most law-abiding group of Americans there is: People who legally buy firearms from licensed firearms dealers, a group that, by definition, has a felony-conviction rate of approximately 0.0 percent. These are law-abiding people, but they also are, in no small part, the type of people who mash the cultural buttons of the big-city progressives who dominate the Democratic Party both culturally and financially. From that point of view, what matters is not that retail gun dealers and their clients are dangerous — which they certainly are not — but that they are icky.

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