Count Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the next loyal spokesperson for gun control.
Now a recent post on Twitter has solidified her political credentials as an anti-gunner. The massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand has united the Democratic Party around gun control, from former presidential candidates Hillary Clinton down to Bernie Sanders endorsing radical variants of these policies.
With Ocasio-Cortez joining her colleagues in the push for more restrictions on gun ownership, gun control now has a young, new face.
Let’s take a look at what she called for on Twitter:
Pass Universal Background checks (#HR8!)
First up, are universal background checks. This legislation is already on the books in 11 states and Washington D.C. The U.S. House just passed its own version on February 26, 2019. It’s very likely going to die in the U.S. Senate because of the Republican control. However, this policy will simply not disappear, and because of that, it must still be soundly refuted in policy debates.
Although gun control proponents consider universal background checks as a “common-sense” policy to tackle crime, dissenters like John Lott argue that these policies are not as great as advertised. In his book, The War on Guns, John Lott argues that states who implemented UBCs have not seen any marked improvements in crime reduction compared to states without UBCs and laxer gun laws, in general. Due to the expansive and restrictive nature of UBCs, which require that all firearms transactions go through a background check, many vulnerable groups such as minorities could be priced out of the gun market.
Ironically, these are the same minority groups Ocasio-Cortez supposedly defends.
Disarm domestic abusers
This point actually sounds reasonable. However, Ocasio-Cortez fails to mention that the Lautenberg Gun Ban of 1996 allegedly bars domestic abusers from owning firearms. Like all government laws, especially those concocted in far off jurisdictions like Washington DC, they do come with certain unintended consequences such as overreach and unjust enforcement.
The issue of domestic violence is something that should be handled by state and local governments. Civil society and prison reformers should also play a substantial role in making sure that genuinely dangerous people are locked up and kept away from the rest of society. However, the topic of domestic abuse should not fall under the federal government’s purview.
Mandate Safe Storage
Mandatory safe storage laws make sense on paper but come with their own set of unintended consequences.
In a 2001 study, Safe-Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime, John Lott and John E. Whitley found several interesting data points regarding safe-storage laws implemented in 15 states from 1996 to 2001:
“The only consistent impact of safe-storage laws is to raise rape, robbery, and burglary rates, and the effects are very large. Our most conservative estimates show that safe-storage laws resulted in 3,738 more rapes, 21,000 more robberies, and 49,733 more burglaries annually in just the 15 states with these laws. More realistic estimates indicate across-the-board increases in violent and property crimes. During the 5 full years after the passage of the safe-storage laws, the 15 states faced an annual average increase of 309 more murders, 3,860 more rapes, 24,650 more robberies, and over 25,000 more aggravated assaults.”
These findings make sense. Criminals hell-bent on breaking the law don’t care about following existing gun laws, whereas their victims are more likely to abide by gun control regulations no matter how detrimental they are.
In any potential encounter with a criminal, seconds count. Safe-storage laws inhibit citizens’ abilities to defend themselves when confronting criminal threats.
Ban bump stocks, semiautos, & high cap mags designed to “kill people.”
Since the Las Vegas shooting, firearms accessories have received considerable ire from the political class. One particular whipping boy has been the bump stock, an accessory that uses the recoil of semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly. Many argue that the bump stock ban helped facilitate the Las Vegas shooting. However, Thomas Massie pointed out in an interview with Reason that the overwhelming majority of mass shootings have never featured the use of bump stocks and that from his experience, bump fire tends to be inaccurate.
Nevertheless, many states have fallen for the anti-gun hysteria and passed bump stock bans of their own. The real question at hand is whether the government should tell people what kind of firearms accessories they can possess? The answer is a firm “No.”
Busybody politicians should keep their paws of people’s everyday lifestyle choices. Crime rates have continued to drop even when states have liberalized gun restrictions across the board. So the sky’s not falling whenever we see gun rights expanded.
At the end of the day, these kinds of issues should be handled at the local and state level. The obsession with the federal government having to solve every problem under the sun has become pathological at this point.
Unfortunately, Ocasio-Cortez just like many of her counterparts sees the federal government as the entity that should be in charge of managing every facet of our lives. Her support for gun control puts her right in line with the control freaks in D.C.
Given her young age and already strong support on social media, she will continue to gain more clout and become an influencer for future generations to come. That should leave any liberty-lover worried.