Thomas Sowell writes in NRO that President Obama’s televised pitch for his unilateral actions to restrict gun sales and a more general case for tighter gun-control laws “was beautifully choreographed, like a great ballet, and performed with consummate skill and understated eloquence.”
As political theater, it put Donald Trump’s rantings in the shade. As for the substance of what Obama said, there was very little substance, and much of it false, but one of the signs of great artistry was that the presentation overshadowed the substance.
None of the things proposed by the president is likely to reduce gun violence. Like other restrictions on people’s ability to defend themselves, or to deter attacks by showing that they are armed, these new restrictions can cost more lives on net balance. The most we can hope for is that the effects of the new Obama-created rules will be nil, rather than harmful.
“When a reporter asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest at a news conference last month whether any of the recent mass shootings would have been stopped by the administration’s gun-control proposals, Mr. Earnest couldn’t name one,” writes Nicolas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University, in the WSJ.
The president and many others have oversold gun control with glib claims that government really can fix this, if only Americans will give bureaucrats a little more power. That is pure snake oil.
The important policy issues are never even discussed because they are so hard and do not yield easy answers: What about the hundreds of thousands of guns that are stolen in the U.S. every year, which pile up in the black market? What about shared-access guns, where a family has firearms stored in a mutually accessible place? (The shooter in Newtown, Conn., used his mother’s guns.) What can government actually do to protect people in those crucial first seconds when violence sparks?
Read more from Thomas Sowell here, and from Mr. Johnson, author of “Firearms Law and the Second Amendment” (Aspen Casebooks, 2012) and “Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms” (Prometheus, 2014), here.
VIDEO: Obama cries while giving speech