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October 8, 2002

Outstanding post from William Burton, one of the best new weblog writers of the past several months, staking out a sensible, reality-based position on the fraught issue of Americans and guns. [07:49 PM]
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Thomas Nephew ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2002, 01:33 PM:

Well, I'll respond. As the link I've provided asserts: "Burton is wrong. We already have the Constitutional tool to both guarantee the individual right to keep and bear arms, and to effectively regulate gun ownership. We just don't have the political will or talent to do it on the one side, or the will to civilly seek meaningful middle ground on the other."

Since then, Mr. Burton -- who, I hasten to add, does write civilly, thoughtfully, and well on this and other topics -- has suggested to me that a Supreme Court ruling might do the trick, rather than the revised Second Amendment the NRA lobby seems to implicitly demand.

But these rulings don't happen in a vacuum, they happen when meaningful national or state legislation is challenged -- legislation that the gun lobby fights tooth and nail to prevent. The sheer political power of the gun lobby reduces gun regulation proponents to the very piecemeal tactics the NRA types then decry as "salami" assaults on some fundamental right to untrammeled gun ownership. A final exercise:

"Once we've affirmed that the 2nd Amendment does give the state and federal governments the right to regulate arms, we will have taken that off the table. Once this is done, the majority of non-gun owners and non-gun lobby members, knowing that their interests are protected, won't object to reasonable limits to such regulation. A few will, but they'll be much easier to overcome when their hysterical ravings are ignored by the majority of non-gun owners and non-gun lobby members." -- a memo I doubt is making the rounds at the NRA.