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Gun control: Government illusions

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Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 1:36 p.m.
 

Once offered George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” As with “communication,” so with “gun control.”

The Obama administration Wednesday rolled out what some consider to be the most sweeping gun-control measures in two decades. And to bolster the Madison Avenue presentation, it trotted out four children who, and supposedly on their unprompted own, wrote letters to the president about gun violence after the Sandy Hook school massacre. They were but shameless props to better promote the illusion.

Among the more touted pieces of the combination of proposals — legislation most of which has no legs in Congress and ancillary executive orders sure to make more private matters the government's business — are reviving the ban on “assault weapons” and reducing bullet capacity in the magazines of semiautomatic guns.

Never mind that a previous “assault weapons ban” — a bizarre prohibition of certain ergonomic and cosmetic features that penalized law-abiding gun users — had no statistical impact on the gun violence it was supposed to address.

And never mind, too, that reducing magazine capacity is of negligible effect, not only because magazines can be changed so quickly but that other laws — think “no-gun zones” that should be renamed “sitting-duck zones” — make the proposed restriction tragically laughable.

Whether it be guns, the economy or any issue in which government seeks to be our overlord, Americans can ill afford to live the illusions that government constantly creates. And that's what these fights — good and necessary fights — are all about.

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