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Opinion

Both sides of gun control debate need to wise up

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Gun Control,Firearms

Gun control advocates and opponents alike - as well as journalists covering the debate - should devote serious reading and thinking time to Dan McLaughlin's even-handed analysis on Red State of the history of the Second Amendment and the ignorance about it that is too often displayed on both sides.

This thoroughly documented and well-written essay is guaranteed to give second thoughts to advocates on both sides about so many of the cliches and truisms they thoughtlessly toss around as unquestioned truth.

We know from long experience that when you ban something there's a public demand for, it gets less common, more expensive and more under the control of the criminal class. --- Dan McLaughlin

For example, how many gun registration opponents know that the very first Congress passed a federal law in 1792 that required qualified able-bodied males to own a military style long gun? Or that the same law required them to produce their weapons periodically for inspection by government officials?

On the other side, how many Brady Law advocates are aware that prominent among their predecessors in the debate was the Ku Klu Klan, which during the Reconstruction years lynched free blacks who refused to give up their guns?

McLaughlin also marshals a great deal of good old American common sense, as in these summary graphs:

"Moreover, we know from long experience that when you ban something there's a public demand for, it gets less common, more expensive and more under the control of the criminal class - but it doesn't go away entirely. That's true whether you are talking about guns, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, abortion, prostitution, pornography, or illegal immigration.

"That's not a reason to give up on banning any bad things, but it means that you have to look down the road at what you do next, and in this case that's a world where the illegal gun population would not decline nearly as much as the legal gun population. There may be something like 300 million guns already out there in the U.S., which can not feasibly be confiscated. If you like the War on Drugs, you'd love a War on Guns."

This is a must-read for everybody involved in the gun control debate.

Mark Tapscott is executive editor of The Washington Examiner.

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