osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

On Guns and Slipery Slope

I like guns just fine. I have my MD gun license and am up for the occasional target shoot. I'm pleased Aaron is getting his merit badge for rifle shooting.

That said, I note that we generally have rules around operation of what we call in the law "dangerous instrumentalities," like cars or other potentially hazardous things that can kill people when not used properly. We don't worry that someone is coming to take away our cars just because it takes different training and licensing to operate a family car, a motorcycle, a bus or an 18-wheeler. No one considers it an assault on liberty that you can lose your driving privileges if you are picked up once too often driving drunk, or if a doctor says you are unsafe to drive.

I find it very hard to believe that a law that limits ownership of assault weapons, or prohibits the sale of guns to the mentally ill, or closes certain loopholes in the current laws, is going to restrain my freedom to go down to the local range for some target practice or keep a handgun in my home for self defense. Not every slope is slippery. We have regulated dangerous instrumentalities of all kinds in this country for a very long time, and we've demonstrated we can set a balance between personal liberty, social utility, and the need to protect public safety and welfare.

I will add that the sight of gun owners buying up weapons and ammunition in a panic-induced frenzy because "they're commin' for our guns!" is not really helping foster the impression that gun owners are, by and large, responsible individuals who use and store guns/ammo safely.

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