What 's The Most Common Misunderstanding About Gun Control Work?

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In the wake of the recent mass shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood that claimed three lives, President Barack Obama called the incidents of gun violence in America “not normal.” “Enough is enough,” Obama said. According to one count, there have been 351 mass shootings in the United States in 2015. The frequency of these shootings has led many to call for new approaches to guns and violence in America. In a Nov. 5 national survey, for instance, 52 percent of respondents said they support “stricter gun laws.” (The number who said they supported “gun control” was smaller.)

In an interview, James Jacobs, director of Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University School of Law, a professor of constitutional law, and the author of Can Gun Control Work?, discusses what he sees as the challenges facing those who would like to change the country’s approach to gun violence and gun laws.

What’s the most common misunderstanding about gun control?

There are so many misunderstandings that it’s hard to know where to begin. For one, we need to remember that we’ve have had a remarkable decrease in violent crime and gun crime in the U.S. since the early 1990s, even though the number of firearms has increased by about 10 million every year. There’s no simple correspondence between the number of firearms in private hands and the amount of gun crime, and I often find it somewhat strange that there seems to be a perception that things are worse than ever when, in…

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