More gun laws, less gun crime

It is a standard trope among the NRA crowd that we don't need any more laws regulating guns, just better enforcement of existing laws.  In a column in today's News& Observer, Lisa Price makes a pretty compelling argument that, in fact, there is significant room for improvement in our gun laws.  Far from taking away anybody's right to own a gun, there are a number of common-sense ways which simply make it more difficult for guns to easily get in the hands of bad guys.  Nobody needs to be able to buy dozens of guns a month.  If they are, it is a pretty good bet what they are doing with them and where they will end up.  It would be nice if more gun owners could agree with proposals that do not take away the right to own a gun, but simply make it harder for them to get into the hands of those who should not have them.  And no, I'm not suggesting that criminals would no longer be able to get guns, but presumably the harder we make it, the more expensive guns will be on the black market, and that would undoubtedly have an impact.  

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When pro-life leads to more abortions

Thought provoking Op-Ed in Sunday's Washington Post in which a woman writes of how her failed attempts to obtain emergency contraception (the morning after pill) ultimately resulted in her getting an abortion.  In 2004, an FDA advisory panel voted 23-4 to make this available over-the-counter, but the political bosses at the FDA failed to follow the recommendation and have left this product available by prescription only.  The scientific evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of the time this rapid, high dose of ordinary birth control works to prevent fertilization of an egg.  Nonetheless, it is the fact that science does not rule out that this may work to cause a spontaneous abortion of a fertilized embryo that has not yet implanted (I would presume regular birth control could technically do this as well?) which has brought about opposition to the drug's availability from the most conservative elements of the pro-life movement.  I think it is plenty reasonable to make a moral argument (even one which has to work uphill against the science), but I definitely do not think that political appointees should use this to trump science, which is presumably what the FDA should be basing its decisions on. 

In public policy class, I alwalys like to talk about the unintendend consequences of policies.  The sad thing here, though, is that making Plan B (the brand name) harder to obtain almost assuredly will increase the number of women who ultimately receive abortions, surely not what those opposing this drug really want.  Yet, it is hard to call this an unintended consequence, when this particular consequence is so obvious.

For more, including the fear of teen “sex cults” go here

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