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John Kerry's illogical and irrelevant gun-control argument
The secretary of state seems to think that the fears of foreign exchange students should influence domestic gun policy
Secretary of State John Kerry on would-be foreign exchange students: " They think they're not safe in the United States and so they don't come."
Secretary of State John Kerry on would-be foreign exchange students: " They think they're not safe in the United States and so they don't come." Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
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n this latest installment of "gun debate hyperbole," we will be discussing Secretary of State John Kerry, who tells us that foreign exchange students will not come to America because they are afraid of guns. Really? No seriously, Secretary Kerry, I mean really?

As you all know, the secretary of state spends quite a bit of time on the road, and Kerry is no exception. And it turns out that he has been conducting a rigorous scientific experiment on why foreign exchange students are not coming to the United States. He revealed his findings during an on-air interview with CNN's Japan correspondent, Jill Dougherty, from Tokyo:

We had an interesting discussion about why fewer students are coming to, particularly from Japan, to study in the United States, and one of the responses I got from our officials from conversations with parents here is that they're actually scared. They think they're not safe in the United States and so they don't come. [CNN]

There are many, many reasons that we might do well to rethink the way we regulate firearms here in the United States of America, but I can tell you that this is not one of them. Firearm regulation is a polarizing and emotional topic, but there is one thing I suspect most Americans can agree on — that we should not shape our domestic laws based around foreign opinion.

Secretary Kerry's job is to represent the United States abroad and, of course, making sure that talented young people are interested in coming to the United States is part of that job. But when he heard irrational Japanese parents tell him that they would not allow little Johnny to go overseas because they were afraid that he was going to get shot, the right reaction would be to politely explain how utterly irrational their fear is. Indeed, the odds of dying as the result of a discharged firearm here in America is roughly 514,147 to 1. Parents worried about their child dying here in America should be far more worried that Skipper will die from exposure to the cold (474,844 to 1 odds), have a cycling accident (340,845 to 1 odds), fall down the stairs (157,300 to 1), or fall victim to the forces of alcohol (150,681 to 1). At least then, the parents would be evaluating their risk properly.

Jeb Golinkin is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and writes about U.S. politics and policy for TheWeek.com. From 2008 to 2011, he served as an editor and reporter for Frum Forum/New Majority. Email him at jgolinkin@gmail.com.

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