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A writer's epiphany: Guns save lives

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Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, 8:51 p.m.
 

Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic's national correspondent, has just had a moment of semi-clarity: “The ideology of gun-ownership absolutism doesn't appeal” to him, yet he's now “sympathetic to the idea of armed self-defense, because it does often work ... .”

He writes thus in his lengthy piece, “The Case for More Guns (And More Gun Control).” He pines for tighter restrictions on gun purchases, yet acknowledges that armed, law-abiding citizens do discourage crime.

Admitting liberals' vision of a no-guns America is unrealistic, he notes the estimated 280 million to 300 million guns in private hands and a 2011 Gallup poll showing 47 percent of adults keep at least one gun and only 26 percent favor banning handguns.

Mr. Goldberg even acknowledges that after passage of concealed-carry laws, Ohio's firearms crime rate “remained steady” and crime rates in Florida and Colorado dropped.

Making guns harder to obtain is, of course, incompatible with the Second Amendment's “shall not be infringed” language and the U.S. Supreme Court upholding individuals' right to bear arms. It's also incompatible with the Pennsylvania Constitution, which says that right “shall not be questioned.”

Still, Goldberg's half-epiphany is a sign that common — and constitutional — sense might be gaining in the debate over guns, potentially providing common ground for shaping a safer, freer America.

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