This is what gun control looks like in practice. When the New York Police Department tried to reduce violent crime by stopping pedestrians, questioning them, and patting them down for weapons, the overwhelming majority of the people subjected to such treatment were black or Hispanic. And when they were frisked, which happened about half the time, police almost never found guns and rarely discovered weapons of any kind.
That track record contradicted the pretense that the pat-downs were based on the “reasonable suspicion” that the Supreme Court says the Fourth Amendment requires. But according to Michael Bloomberg, a leading gun control advocate who was New York’s mayor when these stops skyrocketed, the whole point was not to find guns but to deter young men from carrying them to begin with.
Given these realities, it is more than a little puzzling that people who are concerned about racial disparities, potentially deadly police encounters, and the life obstacles created by felony records would advocate new gun controls and stronger enforcement of existing restrictions. If you worry about those problems, why support policies that are bound to make them worse?
- Jacob Sullum in D.C. Prosecutions Highlight the Connection Between Gun Control and Racial Disparities