As I Slide Ever Leftward…


I made a sarcastic comment the other day (and the world shudders as everyone who knows me tries desperately to hold back their utter disbelief) which I will neglect to repost here, as it is unimportant except in how it relates to the topic at hand. It got me to thinking about the debate around gun rights, gun control, and the Second Amendment. In particular the same tried and true (some might say tired and worn out) arguments that get trotted out every time there is a shooting event. *

*Note that I am using the term “shooting event” to be as neutral as possible and not to offend. Please feel free to substitute in your own mind “mass shooting”, “school shooting”, “gun massacre”, “lone gunman”, or whatever term best suits your personal worldview.

The particular issue that came to mind for me was the particular hobby horse of a lot of pro-gun advocates when discussing gun control: “We don’t need more gun control laws, we need to enforce the laws we already have.” I’ve heard this so many times over the years and I never really took the time to give it a great deal of thought; it just seemed obvious to me. For some reason today it struck me differently, and I finally have some sympathy for those on the other side of the fence when they hear this, and I’ll tell you why:

This isn’t an answer to the problem, it’s restating the problem without offering a solution.

Think about it: what’s the problem? There are people shooting other people with guns they shouldn’t have. Put that a different way: We’re not enforcing our gun laws properly.

Okay, so we know the problem. What’s the solution you’re offering? Um… the solution you’re offering is the problem itself.

Now, let’s look at it from the pro-gun control side:

What’s the problem? There are people shooting other people with guns they shouldn’t have. What’s the solution you’re offering? Enact more laws to prevent people from having guns.

Look, I may not agree with that solution, but I can at least concede it is a solution.

There’s a second issue, concurrent with the first. Let’s be extra generous and re-phrase the suggestion for the pro-Second Amendment side:

“We don’t need more gun control laws, we need to enforce the laws we already have by giving the government more money, power and authority to do so.”

There, now doesn’t that look more like an actual suggestion for a solution? Possibly even workable? And exactly how many people who have uttered the words “we don’t need more gun control laws” would ever say that complete sentence or anything in the same ballpark? I’m guessing the number isn’t zero, but it’s not a significant percentage, either.

And that’s the rub. You can’t demand the government be effectual while also insisting it be ineffective. You want a small government? Okay, sure. You want a government that can enforce laws quickly, accurately, and consistently? Can do. You want both with low taxation on the side? Sorry, genie’s all out of wishes.



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