A self-ban program for guns?

An anonymous reader wrote into the Nudge blog with an interesting proposal based on the gambling self-ban programs. What about a self-ban program for guns? he wondered. Or at least a program that makes it more difficult for someone to purchase a gun by possibly requiring an affidavit signed by a nominated friend that the gun would be used for a legitimate purpose, or requiring a longer waiting period for those on the list.

The reader proposed aiming the program at people suffering from depression. The reader mentioned that he had purchased guns on two occasions, but had gotten rid of them before any harm could be done. People with anger management problems or those with children might also be a key audience for the program.

Addendum: Like the gambling self-ban program, this one would be completely voluntary.

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12 Responses to “A self-ban program for guns?”

  1. MD Says:

    I feel like I have to comment here – you guys are starting to lose me.

    Nudge (as I understood it) was more about how to use subtle designs or processes that would influence behavior in one way other another, but in ways that were barely perceptible. Or, that it was about how those of us designing processes and … stuff… should be aware of how our designs influence individuals or crowds in ways we had not intended.

    But lately on this blog I just far too much that fits into the ‘command and control’ category than anything even close to the concept of “Nudge”.

    Your post on guns today is good example. You jump to a conclusion that half or most citizens disagree with, and then dictate from there:

    ‘Guns bad. Stop gun buyers. Need to make them jump through more hoops.’

    That’s not a nudge.

    Same with a posting a few weeks ago about how government should just add punitive taxes to get people to act a certain way.

    Not even close to a nudge.

    I think the original concept, ideas, and implications are fascinating. But these postings about how we should have more taxes or paperwork is not all that interesting – no matter which side of the political spectrum you are on.

    Any chance we can return to the research or more academic observations?

  2. NC Says:

    I have to agree with the post from MD. At best the idea is poorly written. At worst is seems to confirm notions that “nudge” economics are highly correlated to partisan political ideology.

    Let’s get back to the good stuff, not just forwards from anonymous emails!

  3. Leland Conway Says:

    Your nudge theory is immoral and its the antithesis of liberty. The phsychological feild has a term for it, its called manipulation. The Nudge theory does nothing but disguise manipulation and passive aggressive behavior – both considered by the credible phsychological field to be disorders. The Nudge theory encourages both dishonesty and elitism. You seperate society into those who can perform nudges and those who must be nudged. But who choses which of us go into which category? You try to disguise this as some non-political “neither left nor right” movement, but this theory is just another example of liberal fascism trying to disguise itself. If you truely examine your motives you will find that they are simply to decieve. Consider “MD’s” post above when he mentions the theory intends to be “barely perceptable.” Why? Why be “barely perceptable” if your intentions are good. What are you trying to hide? If you operated on principle, there would be no need for your deceptions because truth is light itself and needs no mask.

  4. penis enlargement medicine Says:

    Or at least a program that makes it more difficult for someone to purchase a gun by possibly requiring an affidavit signed by a nominated friend that the gun would be used for a legitimate purpose, or requiring a longer waiting period for those on the list.
    this should be apply in country.

  5. Tom Says:

    New York already has a form of this, requiring several character witnesses to apply for a concealed weapon permit. But like the other two commenters stated, it’s not a nudge. It’s also an unfair idea.

    While many of us may be extroverts, surrounded by friends as often as possible, why should we put a loner at a disadvantage? There’s nothing inherently wrong with a “Thoreau” lifestyle. For someone who doesn’t have any friends – or doesn’t have any who would sign the papers (e.g. liberal friends) – why disadvantage that person to purchasing a gun?

  6. Jake Says:

    Consider this a nudge… for more posts to the blog :-)

  7. Realist Says:

    Gun owners already suffer enough from the tyranny of good intentions.

  8. mal Says:

    “At worst is seems to confirm notions that “nudge” economics are highly correlated to partisan political ideology. ”

    I don’t think we’ll see a post suggesting a way to increase gun ownership of law abiding citizens and how that might decrease crime…

    at the very worst, I think we’re going to start to see a lot of back door imposition of authoritarian law, soon ‘nudge’ will mean a good shove.

  9. MD Says:

    I see Leland’s point, and sympathize with his concern for, and desire to, advance a more open and honest approach. And I think when this applies to politics it’s especially important.

    But Leland, try this: Don’t think about a white polar bear.

    See? Too late, you did. And that’s more of what we’re talking about here. I think we’ve all pointed out that the gun control example has nothing to do with nudges. But so many more of the nudge instances are along the lines of decisions (even unconscious ones we all make) that have the effect of steering our behavior. When I want my kid to not have candy, I ask he wants carrots or an apple. I’m not going to try to explain the long term danger of sugar on his teeth. The latter is more ‘honest and open’ but far less effective – and not a nudge anyway.

    I agree that there is a constant whittling away at our liberty, but knowing more about how you’re being nudged will help you retain that liberty. So… I’m with ya, but rather than rant…. learn.

  10. Richard Whitney Says:

    Here is a nudge:
    Let the populace know about all the gun owners who have protected themselves by owning a gun. It would be easy to gather the stories; they happen all the time, and the NRA publishes them regularly. But they are the only ones informing the public about this. The mainstream media has decided to ignore those stories, because they do not fit the nanny-state, government-control agenda of the media. So a nudge in this direction makes the citizenry better informed in the bargain.
    More people will be aware that their peers own guns and that it isn’t guns but people who kill. There is a gentle change of values, more like Switzerland, or Israel.
    The alternative expressed in this ‘self-ban’ actually nudges the perps to bolder actions. They have no trouble obtaining guns, and their defenseless victims have been disarmed by nudniks.

  11. Rob O. Says:

    Since there’s obviously no way that our society is going to wise up and ban handguns, I’d like to see firearms manufacturers provide some nudges to encourage rifle purchase over that of handguns. This is a win-win: the firearms companies don’t suffer a loss of livelihood (which a ban would seem likely to cause) and consumers are steered towards safer choices.

    Just think of how many fewer senseless & tragic shootings there could be by virtue of the firearm’s form factor. You can certainly still provide ample protection for your family with a rifle – perhaps even more – but the size and means with which a rifle must be wielded would seem to be a game-changer.

  12. arizona guns Says:

    Your post on guns today is good example. You jump to a conclusion that half or most citizens disagree with, and then dictate from there. Guns bad. Stop gun buyers. Need to make them jump through more hoops.’

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