The slippery slope of gun control


Gun control proposals are part of a grander scheme

by Dan Lucas

Oregon’s “universal background check” gun control bill, SB 1551, is being promoted as a reasonable step toward ending gun violence. Gun control advocates have learned to use safe sounding words to mask their incremental drive toward their long term goal. Like progressives whose true end goal is a U.K. style single payer, government-run health care system, gun control advocates are constantly pursuing an end goal they rarely name: U.K. style complete gun control. A U.K. which the BBC says “has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world,” but also a U.K. that Bloomberg News notes has a violent crime rate more than double that of the U.S.

And so gun control advocates have learned to use terms like “common sense gun law”, “responsible gun ownership”, “closing loopholes” and “sensible laws and public policy that address gun violence”.

But any compromise is dangerous, because gun control advocates have abused the goodwill of gun rights supporters. Gun control advocates have demonstrated that they’re not actually interested in compromise, and they’ve learned how to “boil the frog” — how to pursue their gun control aims incrementally. Each individual increment may seem reasonable in and of itself, but it never ends there.

Gun control advocates have also learned how to exploit tragedies. After certain high profile tragedies that involve firearms they will move for more incremental gun control progress. As we saw last year in Oregon, the legislation doesn’t even have to address the particular tragedy — the four major gun control bills that were being pushed had no relation at all to the tragedies at Clackamas and in Connecticut.

It isn’t that it’s needed, it’s just what they can get through for now: Gun control advocates do not follow a rational discovery process. They start with a goal they feel is a good one, and then they backfill justifications. A recent example of this is Oregon’s SB 1551. In addition to not solving any issues related to the tragedies at Clackamas and in Connecticut, there was no real problem or study that resulted in a call for “universal background checks.” Instead, it came from a national movement that had determined that “universal background checks” were among the least offensive next incremental gun control steps — with the greatest chance of succeeding. Next came partisan polling to show support for “universal background checks.” Note that it was polling, not a real problem or a study that was used to push for “universal background checks.” Polling that simply measures the effectiveness of their messaging, and partisan polling at that.

Instead, they could have looked at actual numbers that show that gun crime has plunged even as gun sales have continued to climb, and that a recent study shows that states that restrict concealed carry weapons actually see an increase in gun related crime. A rational look shows that gun ownership can make us safer, not less safe.

UPDATE (Oct 2015): In the wake of the mass shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Oregon, President Obama called for crafting gun control laws like Australia’s 1996 gun-confiscation program. The NRA published this summary of gun laws in Australia and the UK (also cited by the President) with this quote “What Obama is really proposing, despite some platitudes to the contrary, is the end of private firearm ownership for self-defense – which is essentially what happened in Australia and the U.K.”

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