Paul Barrett and I have a friendly but somewhat strained “relationship”. But today he wrote something I completely agree with. That he works for Bloomberg means I fear for his job. From his article in Bloomberg Buisnessweek, Why Gun Control Is Basically Dead:
Dispassionate observers must question the simplistic liberal slogan that more guns equals more crime. The U.S. has seen a two-decade period during which private gun ownership has continued to soar (some 300 million firearms are now in civilian hands), while crime has diminished.
The strategy adopted by well-meaning activists post-Newtown may undermine their cause. Consider Moms Demand Action, which is allied with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization started by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg Businessweek parent Bloomberg LP). Watts, the Moms leader, describes her campaign as “a war for the culture.” She talks about firearms as a symbol of an America she doesn’t “recognize.”
Watts is fighting on the NRA’s preferred battlefield. Gun rights organizers have become expert at framing any gun control proposal as an attack on their culture. In a Dec. 6 “grassroots alert” to members, the NRA sounded its usual theme that President Obama and gun control backers push an agenda seeking to “fundamentally transform America” and will “exploit any occasion, no matter how crassly, to promote it.”
Gun control advocates often appear not to appreciate that their country, for better or worse, has a widespread and deeply rooted gun subculture that isn’t going away. No lesser body than the Supreme Court, in decisions issued as recently as 2008 and 2010, has interpreted the Constitution as enshrining that reality.
Barrett has spent a lot of time associating with gun people. It would be a stretch to say he is “one of us” but I think it is fair to say he understands and respects us while only partially agreeing with us.
This understanding, his Harvard law background, his living in New York City, and his calm, cool approach means he has a better view into the political and culture gun rights war than most. That he says “gun control is basically dead” is a very good sign we are winning the war more than just superficially.