Having just proclaimed my doubts about gun restrictions on practical and individual rights grounds, I have a pointed question for those who advocated gun rights.
If you could make the world weapons free, would you?
It seems to me that you can object to gun limits on two grounds. First, practicality. That is say it won’t work. The intent of gun laws may be good , but they are unenforceable in practice, especially against people who already have no problem with breaking the law. The second is on principle alone. Even if gun laws could reduce murder and other crimes, I think I prefer the freedom to own weapons to that.
I think those who advocate for gun rights usually use arguments of practicality, but tend to feel more passionately about the first. Political success seems more likely by focusing on the impracticality of gun limits regardless of feelings on principle.
My question if answered affirmatively would make that clear. So how about it?
So the worst gun disaster yet. Gun controls are again being pursued by many.
My thinking on guns has evolved mostly against it, or at least pursuing it at this time. Why?
First, past experience suggests that a lot of arguments will be exchanged, but nothing will happen. Already we’ve seen a filibuster to push gun limits and it failed. President Obama has spent a lot of political capital on this issue to no avail. I think if Sandy Hook didn’t move the needle on gun control, then nothing will. Over time gun ownership is declining, and in a few more decades, the political practically might be there, but it isn’t now. That said pursuing it will just divert attention from other issues and in the end accomplish nothing. Why do that.
Second, if any limit actually passed, I’m certain there will be massive evasion of the new limits. Given the passion in favor of an unfettered second amendment right, I can’t imagine that all gun owners going to enthusiastically comply with the new laws. It seems more likely to be a parallel to Noble Experiment of Prohibition: reducing respect for laws; and widely disobeyed. To truly enforce limits on guns in a country with such a large stock of weapons and fondness for them would require the most draconian enforcement. If you assume we can’t round up illegal aliens practically, then I don’t think you can argue we can do the same with illegal guns.
Third, even if obeyed by some it almost certainly will not stop most mass shooters – like in Orlando. The Orlando shooter with his security background seems likely to have had a number ways to acquire weapons legally or otherwise.
A significant reduction in gun ownership could save lives. I don’t think it would have those in Orlando however. The lives that fewer guns would save would victims of crimes of passion perpetrated by their family and friends. Even this result would require a LOT fewer privately held guns. Again, making that happen would require massive and very intrusive enforcement. I don’t want to see the intrusion on private rights that draconian gun regulation would entail on principle. Even if gun restriction could save live, I do believe weapons ownership is a right in a free society, and should not be infringed upon.