Sunday, January 13, 2013

A constructive suggestion on gun policy

Some folks have made a letter that offers up some truly radical, and surprisingly constructive, suggestions about gun policy: collect better data and use it to increase our knowledge of the various emprical parameters that would go into a serious social benefit-cost analysis of different policies.

Also implicit in the letter, which I think is a good idea, is holding off on any policy changes until we have better evidence. This has the further beneficial effect of allowing the media frenzy to pass. We adopted very badly designed policies, e.g. the Patriot Act and Medicare Part D, in the wake of past media frenzies. We should learn from that.

I was asked to sign the letter, but declined because in its present form it is still a bit too political for me, particularly at the start. It also annoys me to refer to politicians from either team as "honorable" when 99 percent of them are quite clearly not, but that alone would not have put me off from signing.


Daniel Marcin said...

Aside from the fact that it is addressed to the vice president, I don't see how this is political at the start. Could you elaborate?

econjeff said...

In my view, we should be trying to learn more so as to better inform cost-benefit calculations related to various regulatory regimes for firearms. The introduction focuses only on the cost side of having guns around and neglects the benefit side, which is implicitly political.