Ban the Word “Ban”

Slogans are not solutions


Common sense gun control was supposed to be the rallying cry at the March For Our Lives, held in cities across America. However, many radical posters and chants trespassed the boundaries of “common sense” by calling for the repeal of the “outdated” Second Amendment and accusing the NRA of not caring about dead children. The call to simply “ban” all assault weapons rang throughout the marches, even repeated by the marches’ organizers.

These talking points, slogans, and perceived “easy” solutions are not only counter-productive to solving America’s problems but are also contradictory to liberals’ previously held positions.

When President Trump temporarily banned immigration from 10 majority Muslim countries, there was widespread public outrage. One thing dissenters argued was that such a broad, sweeping ban would simply be ineffective at stopping terrorism. Regarding the abortion debate, many pro-choice advocates believe any blanket prohibition will be impotent at best and dangerous to women’s lives at worst. Memories of coat-hanger abortions and other forms of self-harm are enough evidence for their belief that a prohibition is destined to fail.

Yet many people who might agree that a travel ban and/or an abortion ban are unproductive solutions for tough problems were marching through the streets chanting for the similarly unrealistic ideal of a ban on semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles.

This glaring hypocrisy, however, is of secondary importance to the reality that gun buybacks and bans in the UK and Australia were not exactly the panaceas they are made out to be in the US.

Looking deeper into Australia’s gun policy reveals that the data is not so clear. According to Leah Libresco, a statistician for FiveThirtyEight, “neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crimes that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans.”

Adopting this policy would be even more futile in the United States, as the entire issue of gun rights is intrinsically different in the Land of the Free. “Australia’s founding fathers… didn’t mention guns in the Constitution. Recreational shooting is regarded as a fringe sport” and those who enjoy such activities “try to be discreet,” according to writer A. Odysseus Patrick.

American problems necessitate American solutions. Impractical policies that are ambiguously successful in smaller, more homogenous societies are much less likely to work in a country with over 300 million guns in circulation and millions of citizens who are willing to defend their right to own one.

Whether the issue is immigration, abortion, or guns, thinking of solutions in terms of “banning” the thing or action a nation simply does not like is dangerous. More importantly, it prevents the discussion of specific policies based on risk calculations that could truly solve the problem.