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Liberalism’s Gun Problem

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I DO NOT own guns, and the last time I discharged a firearm was on “Second Amendment Day” at a conservative journalism program many years ago. (Yes, dear reader, that’s how conservative journalism programs roll.) My political commitments are more communitarian than libertarian, I don’t think the constitution guarantees a right to bear every kind of gun or magazine, and I think of myself as modestly persuadable in the gun control debate.

Of course that doesn’t mean I really am, since we’re all tribal creatures and gun rights advocates are part of my strange and motley right-wing tribe. But at the very least I understand why the idea of strict gun control has such a following, why it seems to many people like the obvious response to mass shootings — whether the perpetrators are ISIS sympathizers, mad right-wingers, or simply mad — and why the sorrowful public piety of Republican politicians after a gun massacre drives liberals into a fury.

That fury, though, needs a little more cool reasoning behind it. It’s fine to demand actions, not just prayers, in response to gun violence. But today’s liberalism often lacks a clear sense of which actions might actually address the problem – and, just as importantly, a clear appreciation of what those actions might cost.

Read more at NYTimes.com…

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