The need for ‘gunsplaining’

David French of National Review Online explains how ignorance involving guns hampers the debate over their future in America.

It’s become popular on the left — thanks in part to a widely-shared Washington Post op-ed by Adam Weinstein — to scorn so-called “gunsplaining.” Weinstein defines the term as the habit of gun-rights advocates to “bully” gun-control supporters with technical jargon. Think the “AR” in AR-15 stands for “assault rifle”? Then you’re too dumb to talk about gun policy. Did you confuse a magazine and a clip? Then you’re too ignorant to talk about background checks.

There’s a kernel of truth in Weinstein’s critique. There are gun-rights supporters who revel in jargon and belittle those with inferior knowledge, but the problem of “gunsplaining” pales in comparison to the mass-scale ignorance of the gun-control movement and — critically — the mainstream media. It’s an ignorance that contributes to bad policy proposals and threatens constitutional rights. It’s an ignorance that has the potential to empower criminals while rendering law-abiding citizens more vulnerable to foreseeable threats.

This ignorance manifests itself in multiple ways. First, it’s common to see activists and marchers consistently say things that just aren’t true. You could see examples of this all over the March for Our Lives this weekend. …

… Second, they’ll advocate “solutions” that won’t make a dime’s worth of difference to mass shootings or to gun violence more broadly. Our nation’s gun-violence problem is highly concentrated in a small percentage of the American population: people with prior criminal records who largely obtain and possess their guns unlawfully. Even if you focus on mass shootings — as a famous Washington Post fact-check noted — various “common sense” gun-control proposals would not have prevented a single modern massacre.

Third, the proposed solutions betray an extraordinary ignorance of the realities of gun ownership.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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