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What Gun Control is About

The Curly Effect:

James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston, used wasteful redistribution to his poor Irish constituents and incendiary rhetoric to encourage richer citizens to emigrate from Boston, thereby shaping the electorate in his favor. Boston as a consequence stagnated, but Curley kept winning elections. We present a model of the Curley effect, in which inefficient redistributive policies are sought not by interest groups protecting their rents, but by incumbent politicians trying to shape the electorate through emigration of their opponents or reinforcement of class identities. The model sheds light on ethnic politics in the United States and abroad, as well as on class politics in many countries including Britain.

Gun Control is effectively being used for this purpose by the Democrats, and it’s probably not as destructive to a blue enclave as redistributive policies would be, since gun owners are generally less common in the upper classes, and those that are can afford to get around gun control laws anyway. Sure, you’ll loose skilled trades, but you can import replacements, and they will also conveniently vote the right way.

22 Responses to “What Gun Control is About”

  1. Andy B. says:

    “gun owners are generally less common in the upper classes”

    Serious question: How sure of that are you? Is there data to support it? Or is it a stereotype, a type-casting of the “liberal elite”?

    I’m thinking of the guy I knew who owned umpteen legal NFA weapons, including Browning .50s mounted on both of his armored vehicles.

    I’m also thinking of my youth, when you could become a shooter if you could scrape up $8.95 – $10.95 to buy a rifle out of the grab-bag barrel down at the gun shop; and reload CF ammo with components that made it cheaper than shooting a .22. We grew from there, but if our economic status hadn’t also grown, we might have second thoughts about getting into shooting today.

    • Sebastian says:

      The NFA is a good example of gun control laws where the wealthy can afford the compliance costs. I’ve seen surveys, though I can’t recall now, that gun owning households tend to have higher than average incomes, which makes sense, since it’s not a cheap hobby. But ownership was far less common among wealthy urbanites and suburbanites.

      • Andy B. says:

        Just for economic perspective: I still have a single-barrel shotgun that my father bought for his kid brother, for $7, new. But my grandfather was POed at the expenditure, because $7 was half a week’s salary for a working man at the time.

        The punchline to my father’s Old Story was, he said to his father, “I can go out on the street and sell that gun for most of my $7, anytime. Let’s see you get back any of the money you’ve blown playing the numbers!”

        Anyway, the gun has been in the family for close to 90 years now. I could probably still get at least $7 for it. ;-)

        But, that oral history provides a snapshot of working class firearms economics in the early 20th century.

        • Alex says:

          I don’t think we can draw any conclusions about early 20th century firearm economics based on one personal anecdote.

          • Andy B. says:

            Well, I did say “snapshot”, and qualified that further with “working class.”

            The phenomenon of price-inflation has always intrigued me, back to the time I was a little kid. My father would reminisce about major items costing only a couple bucks when he was young, and as a little kid I would think if you extrapolated back far enough (long before I learned the word “extrapolate”) there must have been a time when stuff was free!

            Today we can read the MSRP of firearms a century or more ago and they seem incredibly cheap; but really, quality firearms were incredibly expensive in terms of working peoples’ weekly salaries at the time. My mother worked for $4 a week at one time.

            I hope I won’t offend you with another anecdote, but at the moment I have close to my elbow the receipt from when I had a ’98 Mauser rebarreled with a Douglas XX target-weight barrel, fitted and chambered by Douglas in 1964. Bottom line with shipping, $42.54. But at the time I was bringing home $49.43 a week. I’ll never forget that number.

      • Richard says:

        Correct for age too. Age brings wealth and time to acquire guns.

  2. 399 says:

    Not that it should reflect on any of the facts in that paper, which at 38 pages requires some digesting and cross-checking to verify its analyses, but I did come across the following factoid regarding the National Bureau of Economic Research that published it,

    “Between 1985 and 2001, the organization received $9,963,301 in 73 grants from only four foundations: The John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Scaife Foundations (Sarah Mellon Scaife) and the Smith Richardson Foundation.”

    What we suspect of George Soros and Michael Bloomberg should be suspected of the Scaife family and Olin Foundation. They support things to support their own interests. The NBER is an academic paper-mill for advancing the careers of conforming academics. What they publish needs to be viewed in that light.

  3. Chris says:

    I read a nssf report showing that gun owners in general and AR owners in particular tend to have above average income and education levels.

    I suspect some of that is linked to just being able to pass a background check. If you have a clean criminal record and don’t get caught doing drugs then your income is likely to be higher.

    I don’t know why the right doesn’t do this back to the left. Ban stuff that lefties love, and encourage them to move along. Lefties evacuate their sinking s___holes due to high taxes and regulation only to infect states like NV and CO. How else do you keep them out or resocialize them?

    • HSR47 says:

      It won’t work though, because they have a sympathetic judiciary, and a sympathetic media.

      • Alpheus says:

        That, and the Right (even, to a certain extent, religious folk) have a strong tendency to leave well enough alone. So, what would we ban, anyway?

        Come to think of it, I can think of a few things I’d like to ban: construction permits, zoning laws, occupational licensing, and public education are things that immediately come to mind….

        • Andy B. says:

          “religious folk) have a strong tendency to leave well enough alone. So, what would we ban, anyway?”

          Abortion and homosexuality for a start.

          • Alpheus says:

            Even in those cases, religious people range from “we should ban it” to “it’s immoral, but it shouldn’t be illegal”. And in the case of abortion, there are also Libertarians who are in favor of banning or limiting it, as protecting the innocent is one of the few things that they believe that government should be doing.

            So, like I said, to a certain extent, even religious folk have a tendency to leave well enough alone.

            • Andy B. says:

              “Even in those cases, religious people range from “we should ban it” to “it’s immoral, but it shouldn’t be illegal”.

              To make an analogy, that’s like liberals who may not be highly motivated to ban guns, but they aren’t going to stand in the way of those who will. Who is going to resist banning that which they find “immoral”? That becomes a problem when everything must be rendered down to two factions seeking raw political power. Subtleties in “belief” are necessarily erased.

              A reminder of some of my Old Stories: I was once the County Libertarian Party Chairman, so I am reasonably familiar with what Libertarians used to think, and with the rap our “religious” element used to apply. Let’s just say I did not find it to be sincere. I will stop with that.

              • Alpheus says:

                Since we’re talking about “Ban[ing] stuff that lefties love, and encourage them to move along”, motivation is a major factor. Religious people may be willing to *talk* about banning homosexuality, but they’re not really willing to get excited about it.

                So, unless we can get ourselves worked up enough to ban leftie sacred cows, this proposed strategy simply isn’t going to work.

  4. Joe_in_Pitt says:

    Doesn’t cost much to be a gun owner, especially considering any guns you buy could easily outlast you with a minimal amount of proper care.

    What does cost money is having shooting as a hobby. Sure, you could buy a modest firearm in your early years, throw it in a safe, and be a gun owner for life. Shooting regularly (whether for fun or to keep those skills fresh for SHTF scenarios) is where you need to make some money, especially if you’re in a suburban or urban environment where you need to buy your ammo and range time.

  5. Andy B. says:

    I thought a bit more about the “Curly Effect” and it occurred to me that it was simple “gerrymandering” by other means; when you can’t take your district to your voters, you have to bring your voters to your district, and/or drive out the constituencies that aren’t your voters.

    I can’t quote numbers today, but here in Bucks County Republican majorities put all the shit like public housing in what were inherently Democratic districts, without providing adequate compensation. This is a way outdated number, but at one time the county was compensating Bristol Township and its school district, $30,000 a year for hosting literally hundreds of housing units and kids in schools, who paid virtually no local taxes. So, one could not be blamed for thinking it would result that mainly people with no choices would make up the populations of those quasi-urban municipalities.

    The result was, two representative districts that were dependably Democratic — and whose reps were kept in place by the Republican County Chairman, with whom they played ball on the issues the County Government really cared about — patronage. “Ideology” was just a cruel joke on voters.

    One of the D reps was insanely anti-gun, and hated my guts. Every two years the Republicans would find a softheaded useful idiot to be a sacrificial candidate, but give him or her no meaningful support — some lawn signs and big signs at an intersection or two, but not much else. I worked in one of their campaigns one year, and got GOA to do a mailing into his district. He got a big 27 percent of the vote, so when the Republicans let him run two years later, switched to being anti-gun, and got less of the vote yet.

    Sorry for more Old Stories, but the relevance is, the “Curly Effect” apparently is used lots of ways. On the broader issue of “gerrymandering” (de facto or otherwise) I observe that both parties love it all to pieces, where they have the power to use it, and hate it with an equal passion and seek “reform”, where they don’t. Both are totally full of shit.

    • Alpheus says:

      Indeed, it is certainly true that both sides love “Curly Effects” for their sides, but not for their opponents.

      Lately Democrats have been complaining about Gerrymandering. I don’t know if I care one way or the other about its use, personally, but I can’t help but notice that those same Democrats weren’t complaining about Gerrymandering all those decades they were using it for winning elections!

      One other example isn’t so much as a Democrat vs Republican, as it is factions in the Republican Party, but I remember when Senator Bob Bennett didn’t make it past the convention — losing to an upstart named Mike Lee. No one seemed to have a problem with the Caucus System before then, but as soon as a fairly popular politician (particularly in certain circles) lost via the system, cries to reform the system became commonplace.

      It seems that losing is never the fault of the candidate, calling for introspection — it’s always the fault of the System, whatever that System might be! (And, conversely, there’s never anything wrong with the System when the right people win!)

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