Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Economist Surveys American Gun Laws

This short article on American gun laws is not particularly hostile, reviewing changes both for the good and bad over the last couple years, leading off with the new law in Georgia.

It certainly illustrates how we aren't clearly "winning" the overall political fight, and need to keep the pressure on.

The article states:
"Laws making it harder for the mentally ill to buy guns passed in 16 states. Virginia enacted similar legislation in April. Bills to disarm people convicted of (or under restraining orders for) domestic abuse are pending in 14 states; such measures have been enacted this year in Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Overall, the war over guns is a wash (see map)."
I don't know that these descriptions are accurate, but gun laws restricting the mentally ill only become worrisome to me when they exceed the "adjudication" standard and creep into liberally classifying people as "mentally ill". It's a hard line to draw - I'm not one to say where the right balance is - but one line we need to hold is preventing arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, or selective prior restraint.

Far more worrisome laws have been passing in states like New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia, and California, to name the big ones. Lawsuits are pending against all of these, but to describe the new state-level gun control laws as simply limiting access by the mentally ill and abusive is a misleading summary.

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