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Blast from the Past

Anyone who knows Philadelphia City Paper knows it’s about as close to Worker’s World Daily as you can get without being Worker’s World Daily.  This article from eight years ago, other than some minor details, it could have been written today.  It highlights Project Exile, which has morphed into Project Safe Neighborhoods.  It’s not a program, from a principle standpoint, I was ever comfortable with, since it implies that all federal gun control is constitutional, and that all violations should be death with severely.  As applied to violent criminals, I have little problem, but as applied to someone who, say, puts too many foreign parts in his rifle, well, let’s not get crazy.  I don’t trust federal prosecutors to always make that distinction.

But Project Exile’s value was demonstrating to the public that more gun laws were not needed, which has done a lot to stop the clarion call for more gun control every time crimes or mass shootings attract a lot of media attention.  It was important for the public to understand that there were a) already a lot of gun control laws on the books and that b) they weren’t being enforced rigorously.  For City Paper to have covered this issue in a balanced and positive manner, as did many other typically anti-gun media outlets at the time, was a public relations coup.  What is achievable in terms of gun rights is mostly limited by public opinion, most of whom believe in a right to own a gun, but who are also willing to accept some restrictions.  Much of the population, with no familiarity at all with firearms, their capabilities and limitations, would accept more restrictions than you or I would.  The “enforce the laws we already have” meme has been a powerful one, and it’s one that resonates with much of the public who are on the fence.  It’s both sincere, in the sense that most of us agree with locking up violent criminals, and a tactic.  It does not preclude us from working to improve the existing laws to be less infringing of the rights of honest gun owners.

One Response to “Blast from the Past”

  1. A friend of mine just emailed me one of your articles from a while back. I read that one a few more. Really enjoy your blog. Thanks.

    Jason Whitmen

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