Michael Rosenwald’s essay, “Most gun owners support restrictions, Why aren’t their voices heard,” Washington Post, October 9, 2015, broadly assails Americans opposed to yet even more gun control in the United States. Rosenfeld’s writing displays both lack of respect for the factual foundation of gun policy matters, as well as a failure to explain to readers how collective political decisions are actually made in any polity, especially an American one.
For example Rosenwald quotes “Patrick Tomlinson, a science-fiction writer and gun owner in Milwaukee who favors universal background checks and longer waiting periods for gun purchases.” But in real-life – not science fiction - neither federal nor Wisconsin law imposes ANY waiting periods for gun purchases.
Rosenfeld then swerves to claim that “[gun] owners also strongly support prohibiting ownership for those convicted of domestic violence and barring people with mental illness from buying guns.” But actually, domestic violence convictions already bar firearm possession nation-wide, even for mere misdemeanor convictions.
And as for Rosenwald’s implied endorsement of a “mental illness” bar to possession of firearms, again Rosenfeld drops the ball, failing to note that absent an American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and constitutionally sound due process based finding of dangerousness by a competent court or board of inquiry – mere mental illness cannot itself be a disqualifier for the right to possess a firearm even if the Second Amendment was repealed.
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Finally, Rosenfeld rolls out the myth of so-called “high-powered assault rifles,” no-doubt referring to semi-automatic one-shot-per-trigger-pull rifles like AR-15 style rifles. The AR-15 style of rifle has pistol grips which – though part of every pistol - and help gun owners better control their firearms – somehow by anti-gunners’ logic, mysteriously transform ordinary long guns into “high-powered assault rifles.”
But there is nothing frankly “high powered” about AR-15s, firing a .22 caliber bullet, compared to common and vastly more powerful .30-06 caliber deer hunting rifles carried about town and in the woods by many or most American men, boys, and an increasing number of women and girls, at some point in their lives.
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Michael Rosenfeld misses the boat when he claims that gun owners’ “voices are missing from the debate.” On the contrary, the electorate is listening to all voices, and rationally voting to protect their rights.
If there is a problem in the political process as applied to gun rights issues, it “is not the communication of the candidate’s views and personalities to the electorate, but [rather] the communication of the electorate’s interests to the candidates.” The electorate knows its best interests and cannot be persuaded by a biased press of the left or the right to vote against that self-interest. Wannisky at 9.