The Daily Parker

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"Ghost guns" aren't the problem—guns are

LTU history professor Andrew C McKevitt explains how gun capitalism fuels our gun crisis, not "ghost guns" (or "Saturday Night Specials" or mail-order guns or...):

Ghost guns are the latest iteration of this variety of moral panic, which distracts from and obscures the most direct source of the gun violence that plagues us: American gun capitalism, with its largely unrestricted production, distribution, marketing and sale of civilian firearms unequaled anywhere in the world. That system has placed a staggering 400 million guns in private hands in the United States, virtually all of them acquired through legal commerce — including the common firearm used in the Oxford High School shooting, which was purchased on Black Friday by the suspect’s father.

Moral panics over niche firearms like ghost guns enable Americans to imagine we are addressing an intractable problem. But by portraying the gun issue as an ethical one — delineating virtuous and unvirtuous uses and users of guns — gun panics ignore the economics at the heart of the problem and contribute to worse social outcomes, like greater criminalization, while failing to stem gun violence.

For seven decades, gun panics have shaped gun control politics and policy, resulting in a discussion driven by distinctions between virtuous and unvirtuous gun use. Such a dichotomy obscures the fundamental reality of gun life in America: Gun capitalism has put more than 400 million guns in Americans’ hands.

Gun panics operate on the specter of random violent crime, which has never represented the majority of gun deaths; Americans were and are much more likely to suffer gun violence at their own hands or those of people they know.

Along the same lines, journalist and retired politician David Pepper calls out broken state legislatures, such as Michigan's, that thwart the will of clear majorities of voters who favor stronger firearms regulation.

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