The main problem with all of the proposed fixes for gun violence in the US is that only extreme measures will make any difference, and extreme measures aren’t going to fly in centrist central DC. Let’s look at the polar extreme fixes that might work:
1) Absolute totalitarianism
Now hold on before you get all bent out of shape. Nazi Germany did a very good job of creating a basically stable low-crime society largely free of unplanned gun violence. Sure, everyone and everything was documented, monitored, tracked, controlled, and constrained. Any potential enemies of the state were imprisoned and/or executed before they even had a chance to deviate from the civil government’s inflexible path even in the slightest. And “undesirables” were exterminated in the millions. But you’ve got to hand it to the Nazis: their draconian policies were pretty effective at basically eliminating gun crime.
There are other countries with strict gun control policies that have not been as lucky as Nazi Germany. But that is mainly because their gun control policies have not coincided with strict enough social policies. If you really want to control gun violence, you have to carefully monitor every aspect of society at the individual level or something is going to slip through.
Half measures don’t work. Stricter gun control won’t do a thing to reduce gun violence outside of the implementation of other intrusive totalitarian measures. You can either control every aspect of society or that one aspect you don’t control will be the avenue criminals exploit.
2) Absolute liberty
Following the Second Amendment absolutely might also work to reduce gun violence. In the long term, an increase in the number of responsible gun owners would reduce gun violence. Take the recent shootings in San Bernardino. It would have been really awesome if one of those innocent bystanders had been an innocent bystander with a gun, right? Honestly, one of the only ways to deal with the unpredictability of gun violence and domestic terrorism is for a large portion of citizens to be armed.
That way you don’t have to wait for the police to show up too late to do anything but get immured in a multi-victim standoff. If a couple people in San Bernardino had had guns, things would have turned out rather differently.
And that is the problem with this situation. Leftists want to respond to gun violence with radical government control measures. Right-wingers want to respond to gun violence with radical deregulation of guns. But what we end up getting is something in between. And in this case, as in so many other cases, half measure compromises are the worst. At this point, we have enough risks from our liberties to allow criminals free access to our country and its guns. And we have enough restrictions and rhetoric to discourage many law abiding citizens from carrying guns.
We have precisely the worst combination of policies. Patrick Henry wasn’t just a good speech-writer. He had it right. “Give me liberty or give me death.” Because half-liberty is worse than death.
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