The Dilbert Rule
In one short tweet, Scott Adams gets so much wrong. If you don’t feel like reading the rest of this, I can easily distill Adams’ message down to its essence for you: “I want to make gun ownership too expensive for a group of people I don’t like.”
But taken line by line, there are plenty of specific problems with his “thought experiment.”
Shall we? Here goes…
“If NEW gun purchases…” Hmm. So whatever gun control scheme is lurking farther into this tweet will not apply to used gun purchases? There are LOTS of used gun sales in this country, whether done privately or in a retail setting. So you boost demand in the used market? I’m not sure that’s what you’re going for, but whatever.
“With high capacity clips…” First, define “high capacity, “ please. (We won’t get into proper use of the term “clip.”) However, I am going to assume that the first time there’s a mass shooting with whatever counts as a “low capacity” magazine, the allowable number of rounds in a magazine will change.
Another “loophole” (I know how you gun banners love this word) in this part of the plan is that all that is necessary for manufacturers to skirt the requirement is to sell new guns without magazines. Sure, it’d be a pain for new gun buyers to have to purchase magazines separately, but it would be a workable way to make sure that no new guns are sold with “high capacity” magazines. We just won’t sell them with magazines at all. (You did know that they’re detachable, right Scott?) Now unless you tie the proposed rule to sale of individual magazines, it becomes completely impotent.
“Required insurance, the way autos do…” Even auto insurance does not cover criminal acts, which is the whole point of Adams’ plan. He’s not talking about accidental shootings here. And if you go and deliberately mow down a crowd of people on the street with your Prius, your Progressive agent is going to give you the big thumbs down on your liability coverage. Even if you bought some sort of gun insurance, nobody is going to underwrite a criminal act. But of course, actually underwriting risk is not Adams’ goal. It is this…
“Would that effectively price most young males out of the market…?” And there you have it. Adams’ objective is to simply use economic pressure to force a specific demographic (young males) out of gun ownership. The bigotry on display here is quite stunning. Even then, it ignores a couple of other factors which would certainly come into play here. For starters, just because the target group of young males may not be able to afford Adams’ gun insurance, this is not a terribly high hurdle. A young male could easily avoid the insurance requirement by buying a used gun not subject to the requirement (see above)…since used guns are usually cheaper, anyway. And then there is the way that a lot of young people needing car insurance for the first time obtain it…their parents pay for it.
“We’d still have plenty of weapons, but mostly owned by the safest demographics.” Adams is actually sort of correct here, except his demographics are confused. Gun owners are already one of the safest demographics in the country. Firearms accidents are way, way down, and concealed carry licensees are proven to be one of the least likely groups to commit a crime…less likely than even the police.
Which brings me to my alternative recommendation, as long as we’re focusing on correlation rather than causation: Require all adults to obtain a concealed carry license. Everybody gets a background check and training, and get to join the safest, most law-abiding group in the country. Admittedly I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here, but it’s not nearly as dumb an idea as Dilbert’s.