Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Dec/12

26

“Sensible Proposals”

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Heather, you wrote:

Anyone who was expecting Vice President Wayne LaPierre to break the NRA’s week-long silence after the Newtown massacre with an olive branch and some sensible proposals regarding better background checks, say, or restrictions on high-capacity ammo clips didn’t know his man.

Well, regardless of what we might think of Wayne LaPierre’s, uh, less than convincing performance, it’s worth acknowledging that one reason that individual gun rights have survived so long in the United States has been the refusal of those who have been most prominent in their defense to make any concessions that could be seen as somehow diluting the Second Amendment. The effect of that stubbornness is that the debate is presently focused on assault weapons, ammo clips and the like, rather than on attacking the core freedom that lies at the heart of that amendment.

In an earlier post on this topic, you noted that the “sounds of the machinery of the federal government cranking into gear must be terrifying to many a libertarian.” That’s very true, and not only for libertarians. One thing that such people have come to understand all too well is that when that machinery starts up, it frequently begins with steps that are indeed quite often genuinely sensible. The problem is that the ratchet rarely stops there. Once an inch has been conceded, the state will take a mile in carefully calibrated increments, each of which are ‘reasonable’ until, of course, the moment that they cease to be.

Paranoia? Let’s just say that it is telling that Mayor Bloomberg is leading the charge for tighter regulation. The epitome of the technocrat who believes that he always knows best, Bloomberg has repeatedly demonstrated that the demands of the state (defined, naturally, by him) trump the freedoms of the individual. His prominence in the current campaign is a guarantee that it will not stop with “sensible proposals”.

And that’s a shame.

1 comment

  • m.d. · December 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks to SR for a reasoned discussion in the posts below. Like most everything else, I find both sides persuasive in different ways.

    I don’t really agree with the theme of this post though. Opposition to sensible regulation- whatever “sensible” might be- on the grounds that it could potentially lead to something not sensible is unworkable. In that case, no drivers licences required, no chemical dumping laws, no zoning laws, etc.

    Whether the second amendment would allow regulation- sensible or not- of gun sales, possession and ownership is (obviously) debateable. Repeal would make sense (sorry, my opinion) but that’s not going to happen. But isn’t there already an unstated agreement that the second amendment is outdated? We already have massive regulation of arms. Not of guns, but I don’t think I’ve seen any explanation of why guns alone are protected by the second amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms (weapons) but says nothing about guns.

    Even the most steadfast second amendment absolutist doesn’t argue that bombs, chemical and biological weapons, poison, etc can’t (or shouldn’t) be regulated. Switchblade knives and blackjacks are illegal in most states I believe, even in states where gun regulation is extremely unpopular. Are those laws barred by the second amendment? Technically, I’d say yes. but if not, why are identical regulations barred if applied to guns? Only when it comes to guns does anyone oppose what they concede would be sensible regulation.

    In any event, there will be no major federal regulaton of guns. Too many congressional districts would vote their guy out for supporting any.

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