Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 6, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

MORE GUN CONTROL NUMBERS....Question: What do 75% and 98% have in common?

Answer: Both are disputed numbers in recent gun control debates.

Assuming I've been able to keep the whole thing straight, here's the nickel version of what's going on. Dave Kopel originally argued that 75% of all BATF gun prosecutions were constitutionally improper, citing a 1982 congressional report. Tapped questioned the validity of the number. Kopel basically responded that, well, it was in a congressional report. Tapped said sure, we knew that, but what's behind the number? Kopel then wrote a piece for NRO saying, well, it was in a congressional report. Tapped responds today with a post suggesting that aside from the sheer majesty of appearing in a congressional report, there's not much substance to the 75% number. After reading the whole exchange, it seems like Tapped has the better of the argument, at least on this point.

What's ironic is that the whole thing was started by an article in Washington Monthly claiming that regulation of gun stores was really lax and something should be done about it. Whether "something" should be done by BATF or some other agency, I don't know, but, honestly, isn't it a little hard to argue that we shouldn't be vigorously enforcing the laws we currently have on the books? Especially since pro-gun advocates keep claiming that's what we should be doing?

Kevin Drum 3:11 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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