When Democrats "gunsplain"

Two enjoyable minutes from the Free Beacon featuring some obscure moments and some classics. My favorite remains Mike Bloomberg, arguably the country’s most prominent gun-grabber, whiffing on what an “assault weapon” does.

There’s an op-ed at WaPo today complaining that it’s the right, not the left, that has a problem with “gunsplaining.” It’s a diversion tactic, argues Adam Weinstein, to steer the conversation away from the damage guns do and why they should be more heavily regulated towards trivia that supposedly proves how ignorant the left is on the subjects. Eh, depends on the “trivia.” I think your opinion on guns may be worth listening to even if you don’t know that the “AR” in AR-15 doesn’t stand for “assault rifle.” But as the clip demonstrates, not all of these misunderstandings are so marginal. The mistake made by Bloomberg and others, that “assault weapons” are automatic weapons and are freely available for purchase, is non-trivial. The fact that so many have difficulty defining “assault weapons” at all while intent on banning them is also non-trivial. And it’s not just the ignorant average man on the street who’s guilty:

Something similar happened after the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012, when the New York state legislature passed a bill banning non-existent “muzzle breaks” (as opposed to muzzle brakes), semiautomatic pistols that are “semiautomatic version[s] of an automatic rifle, shotgun or firearm” (it was unclear what this was supposed to mean), and loading more than seven rounds in a ten-round capacity magazine. These provisions were later struck down by a U.S. District Court Judge for their incoherence.

“Gunsplaining” isn’t about silencing the other side with gotchas (or it shouldn’t be), it’s about making sure regulators know precisely what they’re doing and why. You’ll get better, more narrowly tailored policy from legislators with better information. For instance, ask the average gun-control fan whether “silencers” should be banned and you might very well be told yes on grounds that, supposedly, the silencer makes it easier to commit crimes. In reality, silencers don’t “silence.” They simply reduce the sound of gunshots from literally deafening to extremely loud but non-dangerous, which is why they’re more accurately known as “suppressors.” Their purpose is to protect the hearing of gun owners. If someone had “gunsplained” that to Hillary Clinton, perhaps she wouldn’t have supported restricting them.

Or maybe she would have anyway, since the gun debate is frequently more about emotion than pragmatism. If it weren’t, we would spend more time debating gun control as a measure to reduce suicides than as a measure to reduce homicides, especially mass shootings. The latter are horrendous, all the more so when children are the victims, but rare. The former aren’t rare and are horrendous in their own way. Yet it’s the latter that drives national gun debates, not the former.

This is a sound point too about the difference between “mansplaining” and “gunsplaining”:

“Mansplaining” is offensive because it involves a man assuming he knows more about a topic than a woman purely because he’s a man. “Gunsplaining” really does involve superior knowledge, though, but Weinstein wants to treat that as a liability. Go figure. Anyway, I’m sure with smart, serious, virtuously ignorant Democrats like the ones in the clip steering national policy, everything will work out.

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