Give Josh Barro credit for candor. When it comes to guns, the New York Times correspondent makes no bones about the kind of draconian, Second Amendment-defying approach he thinks is necessary.  

Forget about expanded background checks or other such measures. The only way to have a “big impact on violent crime,” according to Barro, is to emulate Australia and “really take away massive amounts of guns that people have, reduce the rate of gun ownership substantially.” 

Barro made his comments on MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki this morning [with Jonathan Capehart guest-hosting] during a discussion prompted by the on-air shootings of two TV station employees in Virginia.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hillary Clinton made her comments about gun reform. What do you make of that? I’ll start with you, Josh.

JOSH BARRO: It’s what I would expect a Democratic presidential candidate to say. But if Hillary Clinton becomes president, she’ll be a president facing a Republican House at least, possibly also a Republican senate. So I don’t think that there will be significant change in gun policy if Hillary Clinton is president. I mean, we already have a Democratic president now and we haven’t had significant change on it.

But I would also note, the things that we talk about in the United States are so at the margins on this stuff that I wonder how they would impact gun violence. If you did something like Australia did, where you really take away massive amounts of guns that people have, reduce the rate of gun ownership substantially in society, you could have a big impact on violent crime. 

But, I mean, changes with background checks will help at the margin, but I wouldn’t expect that to have big impacts on the rate of violent crime in the country, which I think is part of the reason you haven’t had the knock down drag out fight from proponents that could have on this. Because I think there is a sense that while these changes would be positive changes, they would not be sea changes.


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