Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Unintended Consequences - Updated

Ran across this post by J.D. Tuccille, and it put to words something that's been bugging me during all the Heller hoopla:

The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey estimates (PDF) that American civilians currently own 270 million firearms. That's already a number far beyond the ability of any government to curtail in a significant way.
So, confiscation has not ever been feasible, not really.

If, on the other hand, the Supreme Court takes the middle road by recognizing protections for an individual right, but allowing for substantial exceptions and conditions for that right, gun control advocates will get the largest measure possible of what they want. Confiscation will be off the table, most outright bans will become impossible, so gun owners will be less fearful of efforts to impose strictures on firearms use and ownership that just nibble around the edges. Gun controllers will probably still have the option of pushing for registration, permits and restrictions on concealed carry -- and they'll have a greater chance of success since the opposition will be less unified and resistant.
(emphasis mine)

So, how valid a point do you all think he makes? I think he's right. We may get bans and confiscation done away with, but at what price?

Like it or not, significant changes in the way Americans own and use guns are simply out of the question. The question now is whether we get strong protections for an individual right, weak protections, or an attack on the concept of an individual right that perversely leaves Americans better armed and more divided than ever.
I think he's right, again. Regardless of the outcome, the fight won't be over.

Update - Via MostlyGenius, we get Joe Huffman thinking along similar lines:
The biggest issue I see is that we are, in a lot of ways, like slaves that have never known freedom. We are about to be freed from a terrible yoke and we have to learn how to use our new freedom on several different levels. If we don't we will mess up and we will still be "gun n***ers", freed, but still "gun n***ers" and subject to all the Jim Crow laws the bigots can muster.

You betcha.

The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance, and all that.

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