Mason in the News

Posted: March 21, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Tuesday, March 18, USA Today

Critics Take Aim at Gun Buyback Programs

“Gun buyback programs from Miami to the San Francisco Bay are coming under fire by critics who question whether the bucks are reducing the big bangs. ‘It’s like trying to drain the Pacific with a bucket,’ says Alex Tabarrok, research director at the Independent Institute, a think tank in Oakland. ‘More guns are going to flow in.’ Tabarrok and others say the programs are feel-good events that do not reduce gun crimes and are abused by gun dealers seeking to unload junk merchandise at a good price. None of the guns are turned in by criminals, Tabarrok says, and many don’t even fire. ‘It presents an opportunity for politicians to grandstand,’ he says. ‘This is not about being pro-gun or anti-gun. It’s about which policies actually work.’ Tabarrok, who also teaches economics at George Mason University in Virginia, points to a 2004 study on firearms and violence by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academies. It concluded there is no evidence the buybacks reduce gun violence.”

Wednesday, March 19, Time

Gun Control Laws in the Cross Hairs

“At issue in the case, D.C. v. Heller, is the city’s ban prohibiting possession of handguns that were not registered as of 1976. The Court’s verdict, which could be issued in June, will reshape the legal landscape for this hot-button issue. ‘An entire provision in the Bill of Rights is really at stake in this case,’ says Nelson Lund, a professor of constitutional law at George Mason University School of Law, referring to the first 10 amendments to the constitution. If the Court determines that the right to bear arms is conferred only upon state militias and not individuals, Lund says, ‘The Second Amendment would become, essentially, a dead law.’ The Court’s ruling is likely to breathe life into it. The question is how they will tackle the thorny issue of how far individual gun rights extend. ‘If they say it’s an individual right but D.C.’s statute is permissible under the Second Amendment, then the Second Amendment won’t have much practical effect,’ says Lund. ‘The D.C. statutes are essentially an attempt to disarm the civilian population. If that’s permissible, then what isn’t?’”

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