Citizenship Question And EU Gun Control

Grind for May 24th, 2019
“At 50, I began to know who I was. It was like waking up to myself.”

– Maya Angelou

Side Effects

The Headline

Business leaders oppose citizenship question

The Grind

The Trump Administration is pushing to add the question – “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” – to the 2020 census.

Companies that rely on census data worry the question will harm their bottom line by producing inaccurate results, especially in regards to immigrants and people of color.

According to government estimates, adding the question could increase the cost of the census by $121 million and lead to a count that is off by more than 6 million.

“We don’t view this as a political situation at all,” says Christine Pierce, an executive with data analytics company Nielsen. “We see this as one that is around sound research and good science.”

Companies opposed to the citizenship question include: Uber, Lyft, Levi Strauss, Univision, and Warby Parker.

The Background

The federal government relies on census data to determine the distribution of congressional seats, Electoral College votes, and federal tax dollars.

Businesses use census data to determine who their future customers will be, what products and services they might want, and where to build new facilities.

“If there is an undercount, that could carry through to our audience estimates and could mean people will make decisions based on data that isn’t as accurate as it should be,” says Pierce, referring Nielsen’s TV ratings.

Nielsen’s ratings are directly tied to $90 billion in advertising.

The citizenship question was approved by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross last March and then blocked by three federal judges. The Supreme Court heard arguments in April and is expected to make a decision next month.

Bolt Action

The Headline

Switzerland to adopt EU gun control measures

The Grind

Despite its long tradition of gun ownership, Switzerland on Sunday voted overwhelmingly in in favor of adopting EU restrictions on semi-automatic and automatic weapons.

The restrictions were issued to all Schengen members in 2015 following the terrorist attacks in Paris.

For the EU, the goal is to make sure automatic and semi-automatic weapons are heavily restricted and that anyone owning such a weapon is known to police.

The Details

The restrictions were met with criticism in Switzerland, where target-shooting is a hugely popular sport and soldiers are allowed to keep assault rifles when they retire.

There are an estimated 2.3 million guns in Switzerland. Nearly 50% of Swiss households own a firearm.

In the interest of maintaining good relations with the EU, the Swiss government encouraged voters to support the restrictions.

Officials successfully lobbied the EU to make exceptions for ex-soldiers to keep assault rifles and promised voters the new rules wouldn’t make much of a difference.

Switzerland does not belong to the EU, but failure to adopt the rules would have meant exclusion from the open-borders Schengen zone and from EU rules which block asylum seekers from applying to more than one country for protection.

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