2012-12-27

Advice To Gun Control Advocates

So, gun control.

I have avoided writing about this because, let's face it, we've heard it all before already. The current debate is no different than any of the other debates we've ever had on gun control, and the outcome will be more or less the same as all the previous debates. Perhaps we will end up with another ban on assault rifles. I repeat, another ban. Or, perhaps the so-called "gun lobby" will have their way instead and the current legal regime with respect to guns will escape more or less unchanged.

One thing is for sure: We are all arguing about it again.

Now, I have a suggestion for those of you who are in favor of gun control. Maybe - just maybe - you'd gain more traction with your friends, colleagues, and family members if, rather than arguing for a legal ban on whatever, you simply argued that people should voluntarily eschew assault rifles.

The benefits of that position are:
  1. No one would accuse you of wanting to take their rights away.
  2. A large majority of gun owners already agree with you.
  3. You might actually stand a chance at talking someone out of purchasing an assault rifle, whereas if you threaten to take their right of ownership away, that person is more likely to hurry and buy an assault rifle before the ban goes into effect.
  4. You demonstrate a little good faith, and a keener interest in affecting positive change rather than merely enforcing your will on others.
Remember the "temperance movement?" How much more effective do you think it would have been if, rather than arguing for a Constitutional ban on alcohol, they had merely promoted voluntary sobriety? (Faithful Stationary Waves readers can draw parallels between this and my own position on illegal drugs.) We could have saved ourselves a lot of crime and punishment had Prohibition never happened. But everyone - and I mean everyone - can come together and agree that responsible drinking is a better choice than irresponsible drinking.

You don't need to be backed by the law to impact society for the better. State your creed and live by it. Take every opportunity to promote your point of view, but keep in mind that a truly persuasive person can convince me to do something reasonable if he himself is being reasonable. I will think twice about doing something potentially destructive if you give me a reason not to do it.

But why would I ever pay attention to someone who threatens to call the cops and have them arrest me if I don't do what they say? "Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins."