Gun Owners, Gun Legislation and Compromise (pdf). Why we’re right to distrust and reject “reasonable” compromise.
An important human aspect of firearms ownership and regulation includes the reluctance of gun owners to consent to measures that, viewed in historical isolation, appear quite limited. But this opposition is understandable if placed in historical context. During the rise of the modern gun-control movement in the early 1970s, gun-control proponents publicly proclaimed their objective was a complete or nearly complete ban on private handgun ownership. And they made it clear that lesser measures were but a means to that end. While they subsequently focused on those lesser measures, they returned to the objective of a complete handgun ban whenever that target of opportunity presented itself. When, in the 1990s, a focus on handguns became politically inexpedient, they switched the focus to semiautomatic rifles—notwithstanding their earlier avowals that rifles were not their concern.
Gun owners thus learned by experience that their opponents were not interested in genuine compromise, where each party gives up something to the other. Their opponents had no stopping point, no exit strategy, no “enough is enough.” Under these conditions, real
compromise is impossible. Any concession given would not be a stopping point, but rather a stepping stone to further restrictions.
This conclusion has been underscored by the experience of gun owners in states with restrictive gun legislation, where waiting
periods for purchase started at one day but were later increased to three, five, and then ten days. And initially limited restrictions have expanded to fill over a thousand pages of annotated text. Many of these measures serve no discernible purpose except to make legal firearm ownership as difficult, expensive, and legally risky as possible.
Intelligent actions are usually founded upon experience. Gun owners’ experiences have taught them one lesson: there is no true compromise to be had.
Et tu, background checks?