Robert Reich’s “5 Points to Counter the NRA” video.
1. “Gun laws save lives.
Robert Reich is referring to a non-academic study by Louis Klarevas. There are numerous problems. First, Klarevas doesn’t even try to separate out the very few attacks where military-style assault weapons are used. This is an important distinction to make when studying the effects of an assault weapons ban. Without any explanation, he defines mass public shootings as requiring that 6 or more people have been killed. For 30 years, the traditional FBI definition required 4 or more fatalities. In 2013, the FBI changed that to a standard of 3 or more.
Whether you use Klarevas’ or the traditional FBI definition of mass public shootings, the number of attacks with semi-automatic rifles was fairly similar before and after the assault weapons ban. It is easy to see how Klarevas’ definition gives him different results for mass public shootings that involved any type of firearm.
2. “The Second Amendment was never intended to permit mass slaughter.
here is the late Justice-Antonin-Scalia-decision-in-Heller (see pages 22 to 24 for his discussion of the term “well-regulated militia”). The term “the right of the people” is discussed on pages 5 to 7 and numerous other places in his decision.
3. “More guns have not, and will not, make us safer.
Studies. Here is a list of 27 academic studies on just the topic of permitted concealed handguns that show more guns mean fewer violent crimes and fewer murders.
The studies that Reich relies on are overwhelmingly poorly done papers by public health researchers. Take what is probably the most well-known public health research. It claims: “Keeping a gun in the home carries a murder risk 2.7 times greater than not keeping one, according to a study by Arthur Kellermann. The notion that Kellermann’s paper was seriously designed to “assess the relationship between keeping a gun in the home and the risk of being murdered by any weapon” is wrong. My book, “More Guns, Less Crime” (University of Chicago Press, all three editions), explains what the problems are.
4. “The vast majority of Americans want stronger gun safety laws.
Take the claim that 96 percent of Americans support universal background checks. For years, gun control advocates have claimed that universal background checks were supported by 80 to 90% of Americans. But 2016 ballot initiatives in Maine and Nevada tell a different story. A universal background check initiative lost in Maine by 4 percent, and won in Nevada by just 0.8 percent. The initiative only eked out a win in Nevada because of $20 million in funding from Michael Bloomberg — an incredible $35.30 per vote. Bloomberg outspent his opponents by a factor of three. In Maine, he spent $8 million, or six times more than the opposition.
Clearly, there is a real disconnect between surveys claiming massive support and what people think about actual legislative proposals.
The results of these polls also depend partly on when they are taken. Here is a discussion from CNN about how support for gun control changes over time (click on figure to enlarge).
5. “The National Rifle Association is a special interest group with a stranglehold on the Republican Party.
If anyone is financially beholden in the gun control debate, it is Democrats to Michael Bloomberg.
According to OpenSecrets.org, in 2016 Michael Bloomberg donated $23,737,524 to Democratic candidates running for federal office. At the same time, the NRA donated $1,085,100 to federal candidates.
As previously noted, Bloomberg spent $28 million in 2016 on just two initiatives for universal background checks: $20 million in Nevada, and $8 million in Maine. In both cases, Bloomberg outspent all spending on the other side by 3-to-1 or 6-to-1 margins.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg spends about $50 million per year “building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.” This is about twice what the NRA spends.
Bottom line: Bloomberg spent $53.7 million on federal campaigns, two state Senate races in Virginia, and two ballot initiatives in Maine and Nevada. If one adds in spending from Bloomberg’s Everytown and state legislative races across the country, Bloomberg’s spending dwarfs NRA expenditures.
and then watch the video rebuttal: