“In 1968 most gun-owning voters knew from experience that reasonable restrictions on the marketplace for sporting arms are not a prelude to a repeal of the Second Amendment. Who or what changed that?”

While seeking an  answer to my query I found the declaration to be not entirely true. Is is factual the a NRA vice-president is united as saying, “the major as a whole appears to be one that the sportsman of America can live with.” However, the Gun Control Act of 1968 was negotiated. 

Provisions for National registration of all guns and licensing of those who carry those guns was stripped from the as introduced bill. This to get enough votes for in House committees. Further, those primarily impacted by the Gun Control Act of 1968 were minority groups not likely to vote—juveniles, felons, domestic violence doers, illegal aliens, drug addicts and the insane.

Even back then—1968—the slogan ‘if guns are outlawed, and then only outlaws will have guns!” was in play. Seen on bumper stickers (a primitive method of social media).

What is the relevance, one might rhetorically ask, of that slogan for the gun debate? And is it true?  By the way, the claim by itself is not an argument.  The implied argument goes like this:

  1. The result of outlawing guns is that only criminals would have guns.
  2. Only criminals having guns is a bad.
  3. Therefore, we should not outlaw guns.

For the argument to work on its face the first claim must be true, which it ain’t. Even without the second Amendment many non-criminal individuals would still process guns—police, FBI, Secret Service, active duty military, organized military reserves and state national guard units (AKA militia).
The fall back interpretation is that law-abiding individuals will be more vulnerable Harm by criminals is guns were outlawed. Police response time being what it is.  A sound position has the right of self-defense well-established in common law and noted and opinions of liberal supreme court justices. In short, the right of self defense and guns for that purpose is found in the Ninth Amendment. 

The flaw is the slogan doesn’t say this second interpretation. Instead the slogan cause those opposed to gun regulation see themselves a besieged minority.  Who can forget Mr. Heston saying in the year 2000,” So, as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: ‘From my cold, dead hands.”

“From my cold dead hands” is what has happened. Gun advocates see themselves as besieged.

Some see a parallel to the start of the USA civil war. Slave owners saw themselves as besieged. Assuming Abraham Lincoln’s goal as President as abolition of slavery they seceded. History shows that President Lincolns goal was preservation of the Union. 

Assuming the goal of gun regulation is outlawing guns is…

Jim Holland

The Goal of Gun Regulation

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