‘Gun Safety’ Isn’t the Issue

Nicholas Kristof in New York, 2015. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images)

I’m trying to get out of the habit of writing columns that are responses to other people’s columns, but this Nicholas Kristof piece on gun policy—full of sloppiness bordering on intellectual dishonesty—needs a response.

Kristof’s argument is that we can use “gun safety measures” to reduce violent crime in the United States. But most guns sold in the U.S. market are not lacking in safety features—the problem is not “gun safety” but the fact that people point perfectly functional, well-designed firearms at other people and then pull the trigger for the purpose of killing them. “Gun safety” is not the issue. Murder is the issue. Suicide is, by the numbers, an even greater issue. 

But that’s a view-from-35,000-feet issue. Kristof’s nonsense is worth addressing point-by-point.

Kristof writes:

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