I’m a Second Amendment fan. It’s the First Amendment continued by other means. Every country inhabited by responsible adults should permit people to have weapons to defend themselves. Better safe than sorry.
Of course, there’s a downside. Some very bad people use guns to do some very bad things. They use guns like assault rifles. It’s hard to know what to do about that. It’s not enough to say “no one needs an assault rifle to hunt or defend his home against burglars.” The Second Amendment is not about deer hunting. It’s about killing people, including not only burglars but storm troopers. Yet, we seem all right with the ban on Tommy guns, not to mention SAMs and other stuff that a serious insurrection would require. The fact is that we can’t let very bad people have insurrection-class weaponry, so we all have to do without it.
That we allow any kind of weapon makes one think “We know what kind of girl you are – now we’re just talking price.” It’s a slippery slope, youbetcha. But there are lots of slippery slopes, and we don’t slide down all of them. We let the government set the highway speed limit at 55 without fear that they would lower it to 5, or 0.
The gun-control slippery slope is interesting, though: it’s more a sliding scale than a slippery slope. Because we don’t let bad guys own machine guns and RPG launchers, the assault weapon is the worst thing we face in quantity. But if enough criminals use assault weapons to commit enough crimes, we’re back where we were with the Tommy gun. It’s not that our standards of freedom are slipping down the slope but that the downside of allowing certain weapons is becoming intolerable where once it wasn’t.
Likewise, the non-dealer exception to the background check law is proving quite porous. Too many non-dealers are dealing, at gun shows primarily, which is why people call the exemption the “gun show loophole.” There seems to be some disagreement about whether that exemption is making a difference in the flow of weaponry to Mexico. Something tells me that if the Mexican cartels had to get their guns somewhere else, they’d get their guns somewhere else. It’s one thing to show that the exemption enables bad guys to get guns here; it’s another to show that ending the exemption will prevent bad guys from getting guns somewhere.
Wackos, on the other hand, are another story. The non-dealer exemption allows people who would fail a background check to evade a background check. That shift in who buys where makes the “insignificant” number of non-dealer sales, well, insignificant. What matters is what percentage of dangerous gun buyers buy through non-dealers. If that number is too high, the exemption has to go.