Since it appears that guns will be an important issue in 2024, it seems to me that what my friends in Gun-control Nation should do is make sure they have all their facts straight about gun violence and gun control.

              In that regard, liberals often depend on reportage in The New Yorker Magazine, which has given us some very important and incisive perspectives on political issues (civil rights, Viet Nam, détente) over the years.

              One of the magazine’s noted reporters in this regard, Amy Davidson Sorkin, has just published a comment about guns in the May 29th Talk of the Town section, and I hate to say it, but when it comes to framing a proper argument about guns, gun violence and what to do about both, she just doesn’t get it at all.

              After correcting Donald Trump for his hideously-stupid comments that he made about guns during the CNN Town Hall (but that was par for the course since everything he said was hideously stupid) Sorkin then goes on to say that we are approaching “a particularly critical moment in the story of guns in America,” based on the easing of judicial restraints on owning and walking around with concealed guns, as well as allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons without any specific licensing process at all.

              The notion that our high rate of gun violence is caused by the number of guns in civilian hands forms a bedrock belief of the gun-control community alongside the other fundamental assumption that guns carried around by civilians who legally own those guns is also a primary explanation for the 100,000+ fatal and non-fatal assaults caused by the misuse of those guns.

              The problem with the more guns equals more gun violence argument, however, is that most of those 400 million privately-owned guns are never used to commit any kind of violent assaults at all. The weapon of ‘choice’ for most shootings is a bottom-loading, semi-automatic pistol holding military-style ammunition, and while such guns are now added to the civilian arsenal at the rate of 3 to 4 million a year, they were basically unknown in this country until the 1980’s, when European companies like Glock and Sig began to ship their guns over here.

The other problem with the argument about the alleged impact of loosening gun-control regulations, is that there has yet to be one single study which attempts to determine exactly how many of those 100,000+ gun-violence events which have become a routine part of the American behavioral landscape are committed by individuals with legal versus illegal access to guns. Until we make at least some effort to figure out the actual connection between the legal status of guns which are used to commit all that carnage every year, what’s the point of even arguing about whether we should or should not be making it more or less legally difficult to walk around the neighborhood with a gun?

              Between 2007 and 2022, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) found open-source references which counted 2,240 individuals killed by persons with concealed-carry access to guns, of whom 1,271 were suicides. In other words, of the slightly more than 200,000 intentional fatal gun assaults which took place over those 14 years, roughly .005% (one-half of one percent) were committed by the types of individuals whose legal access to a concealed weapon makes Amy Sorkin and her gun-control colleagues convinced that gun-carrying Armageddon is near at hand.

              Granted, the data collected by the VPC is hardly comprehensive or exact. But even if we were to double, or triple, or quadruple the shootings committed by individuals who are legally armed, how do you begin to compare that problem to the hundreds of thousands of gun assaults committed by individuals who cannot qualify to be owners of guns?

              This excerpt from Billy Bathgate, is how the novel’s author, E. L. Doctorow, describes the feelings of a teenage boy who just got his hands on his first, real gun:

The gun means nothing until it’s really yours. And then what happens, you understand that if you don’t make it yours you are dead, you have created the circumstance, but has its own free-standing rage, available to anyone, and this is what you take into yourself, like an anger that they’ve done this to you, the people who are staring at your gun, that it’s their intolerable crime to be the people you are waving this gun at. And at that moment you are no longer a punk, you have found the anger that was really in you all the time.

              The kid in Doctorow’s novel who is thinking about how that newly acquired gun will transform him from being a punk to being a big, tough man represents what gun violence in the United States is really all about. And if Amy Davidson Sorkin wants to help us figure out how to deal with the real-life kids whose access to guns will ultimately result in hundreds of thousands getting wounded and killed every year, maybe she should spend a little more time thinking about how to prevent those kids from getting their hands on illegal guns, and a little less time worrying about how legal gun owners behave with their guns.