And yet again the subject of “reasonable compromise” and “common sense regulation” comes up regarding gun control.
Leaving aside the question of whether it is at all valid to compromise on fundamental human rights (The rights to Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of happiness are meaningless without the right to defend them, and the right to defend them is meaningless without the right to the effective means of said defense) or if we’re in the territory of Goldwater’s statement: “I remind you that extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and let me remind you again that moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Let’s take a look at what an actual compromise might look like.
You want to ban semi-automatic rifles with certain features that you call “assault weapons”? Okay, let’s look at what might be a compromise for that.
How about, instead of an outright ban, we classify those weapons–once carefully defined so that we know exactly what is, and what is not, restricted–as NFA weapons under the same category as actual machine guns. After all, there’s no justification for making these firearms more restricted than actual machine guns, is there?
However, even this would put a severe restriction on the most popular categories of rifles in America, affecting tens of millions of gun owners so we need to have some concessions in return.
How about: to get the restriction you want, we get the following in return: Federal preemption (no State may have more restrictive state laws on these weapons than does the Federal government. After all, if the person passes an NFA background check, pays the $200 tax, and gets their local chief Law Enforcement Officer to sign off on it, surely that should be good enough) I think this and a repeal of the Hughes Amendment would be a fair compromise.
Sound good? Willing to push the Brady Campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety, and all the other anti-gun groups out there to support it?
If this doesn’t sound like a good idea to you (and I’m talking to the folk who want to ban/restrict assault weapons here–the folk who don’t, I’ll get to in a minute), then you need to be honest that you don’t want compromise. What you want is capitulation.
Now, for those who oppose such restrictions, trust me. The folk who want to restrict/ban “assault weapons” (actually all guns, but this is what they’re going after at the moment) will never support or even accept such a compromise. Oh, someone might claim they would, secure in the knowledge that it will never happen, but none of the anti-gun organizations will support anything but “take more rights”.
Because when they say “you’re not willing to compromise” what they mean is they are not willing to compromise. All they are willing to do is take and take and take. What they mean by “compromise” is for us to give up some of our rights without a fight making it that much less they have to actually fight to take later.