Wednesday, October 09, 2002

William Burton has an interesting post on The Gun Thing. I don't have super strong feelings on this issue, but he says something which I really just don't agree with.

Many gun owners see every gun control measure, no matter how benign, as another step towards taking away their right to bear arms. This is true both because of paranoia whipped up by right-wing politicians and pundits who want to manipulate gun owners into supporting their other causes (regressive taxation, reversing environmental laws, et al) and because some gun control advocates sincerely do want to ban all guns. As long as a complete ban on gun ownership is even a possibility, then many (if not most) gun owners will oppose any attempts at gun control.

Once this is done, the majority of gun owners, knowing that their rights are safe, won't object to reasonable gun control measures. A few will, but they'll be much easier to overcome when their hysterical ravings are ignored by the majority of gun owners.

I've seen a lot of people say similar things and it is just plain wrong. I think parallels to the abortion issue are reasonable, and Roe v. Wade hasn't put a stop to people trying to ban abortions and frankly they've had quite a lot of success. It just changed the battle. I don't think "we can't ban guns, so not to worry, but there's only one gun licensed gun shop in your state. Oh, and there's a 5 day waiting period. And we're going to spend money to teach kids that guns are bad." will pacify gun enthusiasts, any more than "Abortion is legal but there's only one place you can get one in the state. Oh, and there's a 5 day waiting period. And we're going to spend money to teach teenagers that those who get abortions are evil." will pacify pro-choice advocates.

The point is, gun control advocates reasonable or unreasonable (a subjective judgement) are always going to be supporting measures which at some level make it more difficult to get guns and increase registration and tracking requirements. Gun control opponents, again reasonable or unreasonable, will generally oppose such matters, and taking away the "gun ban" fantasy won't change that. Or, perhaps more accurately, to the extent that the "gun ban fantasy" is not a fantasy it won't in anyway be lessened by a Supreme Court affirming the individual right to bear arms.