Much of our national debate about gun control is focused on first principles — is limiting firearms something we should do? Must do? Absolutely should not do?
And that’s important. We can’t decide what to do unless we decide what our goals as a country are.
But if we as a body politic did decide to proceed down that route, what specific policies could we enact, and would they work?
Wired takes a look at five such policies, laying out how new gun laws would work, how they might reduce gun violence — and how they might fail or even backfire.
For example, looking at the popular proposal for limiting the size of magazines:
Pro: Anytime a shooter has to stop to reload increases the chance that victims could escape; that law enforcement or others can stop an assailant; and, basically, fewer people will die. Robert Wright of The Atlantic goes a step further and proposes a ban on firearms carrying more than six rounds or a detachable magazine, meaning a shooter would have to reload bullet by bullet.
Con: There isn’t strong data correlating restrictions in magazine size with drops in gun crime. As the Washington Post’s Brad Plumer points out, the assault weapons ban exempted about 30 million high-capacity magazines, so studying the impact of the ban is surrounded in statistical noise. A shooter can always carry multiple loaded weapons.
It’s a relatively even-handed practical look at one of the most divisive issues in America today.
You can read the whole thing here.