There are some elements in this op-ed piece ("All or Nothing") from the Stanford University newspaper with which I disagree, but on one point, I think its author, economics major Chris Seck, is spot-on.
If we decide that more anti-gun legislation is the answer—a solution popular in this corner of America—we must recognize that gun control must be absolute in order to work. Half-measures like restrictions on “non-sporting” firearms, extended registration periods, or increased background checks are insufficient. We will require a total ban on civilian ownership of guns because if our gun-control laws are rigorous, but not absolute, the vast majority of innocent people will be completely defenseless against the few criminals who manage to procure guns. Half-hearted gun control laws will be broken too easily; they are insufficient against determined criminals.I could not have said that better myself. Laws designed to reduce "the availability of guns" that so horrifies civilian disarmament advocates will of course only reduce that availability to those who obey the laws. Such people, as Mr. Seck points out, are exactly the last we should be disarming, while the people who are most likely to use firearms for evil are exactly the last who would be disarmed. That's a two-pronged strategy for failure.
The only way--the only way--to disarm those who pose a threat to society is to sweep up every gun in private hands. That endeavor would likely be a bit messy.
However, in order to enforce such absolute gun control, severe penalties, including lengthy jail terms and huge fines, will need to be imposed on illegal gun owners. Moreover, active measures will need to be taken to disarm existing fugitives, outlaws, and gang members who already own guns.At this point, Mr. Seck shows himself to be a master of understatement:
This may prove to be a very difficult task politically. The process of enforcing a total disarmament of our population will be costly and may require draconian measures. It may be necessary to modify parts of the Second Amendment."It may be necessary to modify parts of the Second Amendment"?--there's no "may" about it--civilian disarmament would absolutely require drastic measures to be taken with the Second Amendment, and the only "modification" that would really make sense for this kind of agenda would be its utter abolishment. But while we're chopping up the Bill of Rights, we must not commit the massive folly of stopping with the Second Amendment. War on Guns discusses one civilian disarmament zealot's detailed plan for disarming us all (WoG also hosts a superb guest editorial on the subject).
With his sweeps of every home and every business, with no probable cause (and thus no search warrant--at least none issued under due process) Simpson would clearly require the Fourth Amendment to go. As the people inevitably resisted, free speech would need to be reined in--can't have Constitutional patriots whipping the rabble into a frenzy--there goes the First Amendment. Fifth Amendment? Hell, we're already ignoring that, when doing so helps disarm the populace--we just have to step it up a little.
Actually, the federal government's utter lack of authority to pass laws regulating firearms would not be changed by the repeal of the Second Amendment, because according to the Tenth Amendment, any powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution are beyond federal authority--and the power to regulate arms is not one of those Constitutionally mandated federal powers. Granted, the Tenth Amendment is another part of the Bill of Rights that for years has been used as a Charmin substitute, but still, if we want to do this right, we had better get rid of that one, too.
Without really trying hard, I have found the need to repeal half the Bill of Rights, if we are to be serious about a civilian disarmament plan. We might as well get rid of the whole damned thing, while we're at it.
The op-ed piece in the "Stanford Review" that inspired this blog post was called "All or Nothing"--in keeping with the author's (well supported) contention that for so-called "gun control" to actually "work" (make society safe from "gun violence"--by the way, for the sake of argument, I'm ignoring the fact that in a society without guns, if it could be brought about, killers would do their dirty work with other implements), we would have to completely ban private ownership of firearms, and enforce the ban with an iron fist. If we don't do that, then we must get out of the "gun control" business entirely, because partial measures will always disarm the law-abiding, peaceable people faster than it will the violent criminals.
All or nothing? Mark me down for a big ol' plate of nothing.