A ban wouldn't make it hard to what?

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One for the misnegation files — Leah Libresco, "Guns Like The AR-15 Were Never Fully Banned", FiveThirtyEight 6/14/2016:

The review for the DOJ concluded that bans on specific models or features of assault weapons had little to no discernible impact on gun deaths. If the law had any effect, the report said, it was most likely the result of bans on large-capacity magazines, which contain 10 or more rounds. (Large magazines allow shooters to keep firing without pausing to reload, a point at which their targets could run or fight back.) Calculations based on homicide reports in Jersey City, New Jersey, suggested that restricting large-capacity magazines might lower the number of gunshot victims by up to 5 percent. However, there are a huge number of high-capacity magazines already in circulation. The report authors concluded that a ban on them probably wouldn’t make it hard to keep a determined shooter from legally buying a pre-ban magazine and pairing it with an AR-15 equivalent.

[h/t Rick Rubenstein]


  1. J.W. Brewer said,

    June 15, 2016 @ 9:57 am

    FWIW I've met Miss Libresco in real life (or whatever The Kids Today call non-internet face-to-face interaction) on several occasions and can attest that her poor monkey brain is several standard deviations above the median human's poor monkey brain in functionality. So a good reminder that the inadequacy-of-our-poor-monkey-brains explanatory thesis for such sentences is a powerful one, and no respecter of persons.

  2. Brett said,

    June 15, 2016 @ 10:42 am

    This one reads to me like an editing problem, confusion between "… would no make it hard for a determined shooter to …" and "… would keep a determined shooter from…."

    [(myl) Indeed. Sometimes cases like this are the result of an incomplete edit, either combining two phrases, or starting with one good form and intending to get to another, but not making quite all of the needed changes. But even in such cases, the associated processing difficulties make it harder to catch the problem in a quick proofreading pass.]

  3. cameron said,

    June 15, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

    @J.W. Brewer,

    I'm not sure if The Kids Today still use the expression, but back in The Day, in this case the 90s, we used to refer to the context of real-world interaction as "meatspace".

  4. Jerry Friedman said,

    June 15, 2016 @ 10:07 pm

    J. W. Brewer: The problem with the world is the mean human's poor monkey brain.

  5. Pflaumbaum said,

    June 16, 2016 @ 3:43 am

    Some would say it's the rich human's mean monkey brain.

  6. DWalker said,

    June 16, 2016 @ 12:19 pm

    This bolded sentence wasn't as hard for me to understand as some others have been. I think it's correct (but awkward), right? A ban wouldn't make it hard to keep a determined shooter from buying…

    Which means that a ban wouldn't have much effect. If a ban WOULD make it hard to keep a shooter (no matter how determined) from buying, then the ban would be helpful.

  7. BZ said,

    June 16, 2016 @ 1:07 pm

    No. We want to keep the shooter from buying.
    To make it hard to keep the shooter from buying is to make it hard to achieve our result
    To not make it hard to keep the shooter from buying is to not make it hard to achieve our result, the opposite of the intended meaning.

  8. Jason said,

    June 17, 2016 @ 2:13 am

    The intended meaning isn't very coherent either.

    If a "determined shooter" is /legally/ buying a pre-ban high capacity magazine, then the proposed "ban" is fairly toothless and wouldn't require much "determination", would it? On the other hand, if the proposed ban retrospectively applied to all high capacity magazines, as in California, one could legitimitely debate the efficacy of the ban in preventing a "determined" shooter from obtaining a pre-ban (now illegal) magazine. Sounds like the author got lost in the mire of policy alternatives and ended up conflating them.

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