I deny any predictability in politics, but there are many hurdles on the way to enacting any new Federal gun control laws:
- Economics: we have enough guns to arm each American citizen, resident alien, and illegal immigrant. Confiscation without compensation is politically impossible, whereas confiscation with compensation would be economically ruinous. Besides, the state of global economy leaves little room for compounding the Congressional constipation that hold captive any possible means of its resuscitation, by yet another polemical bottleneck.
- History: though I am far from the absurdity of their right wing anarchism, I admire the panache with which the Tea Party has commandeered the House of Representatives in the wake of the enactment of Obamacare. Moreover, our elected officials are by law old enough to remember the Republican Revolution ushered in by the 1994 AWB, and preponderantly most mindful of remaining in office. Any other motives they might have would be trumped by concerns for reëlection.
- Law: the SCOTUS rulings of the last four years imply that keeping and bearing effective small arms in common use is Constitutionally protected, and their regulation cannot be upheld but by passing at least the intermediate scrutiny test, through showing that it furthers an important government interest in a way that is substantially related to that interest. Black rifles and handguns, the most likely targets of gun banners, are especially unlikely to pass this test in virtue of their utility and ubiquity. (Ironically, the former ascended to their status of the most popular long guns in the U.S. as a result of the 1994 AWB.) Update: Moreover, Justice Roberts’ reading of the Commerce Clause in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. ___ (2012), appears to leave as little room for the Congress to debar Americans from owning certain goods, as it does for it to require their purchase of broccoli.
- Stupidity: no idea is so sensible that our political debate cannot dumb it down fatally, and will not do so inevitably. Ideas most likely to elicit a consensus, such as criminal liability for unsafe storage of firearms, can and will be reduced to prospective measures repugnant to most gun owners, even as they remain inadequate to most nanny staters.
That said, the Gun Ban Games will be loads of fun to live through.
Of course the Connecticut shooting spree is a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. However, we must also consider if this is not also a lesson to us all; a lesson that my political views are correct. Although what is done can never be undone, the fact remains that if the world were organised according to my political views, this tragedy would never have happened.
Many people will use this terrible tragedy as an excuse to put through a political agenda other than my own. This tawdry abuse of human suffering for political gain sickens me to the core of my being. Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this. In any case, what this tragedy really shows us is that, so far from putting into practice political views other than my own, it is precisely my political agenda which ought to be advanced.
Not only are my political views vindicated by this terrible tragedy, but also the status of my profession. Furthermore, it is only in the context of a national and international tragedy like this that we are reminded of the very special status of my hobby, and its particular claim to legislative protection. My religious and spiritual views also have much to teach us about the appropriate reaction to these truly terrible events.
Countries which I like seem to never suffer such tragedies, while countries which, for one reason or another, I dislike, suffer them all the time. The one common factor which seems to explain this has to do with my political views, and it suggests that my political views should be implemented as a matter of urgency, even though they are, as a matter of fact, not implemented in the countries which I like.
Of course the Sandy Hook massacre is a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. But we must also not lose sight of the fact that I am right on every significant moral and political issue, and everybody ought to agree with me. Please, I ask you as fellow human beings, vote for the political party which I support, and ask your legislators to support policies endorsed by me, as a matter of urgency.
It would be a fitting memorial.
I thank the social media commentariat for clarifying that school slashings perpetrated in China by mad people, are providentially mitigated by good laws that forbid civilan gun ownership, curtail political dissent, subdue public assembly, ban weird religious worship, and harvest valuable organs of executed enemies of the state. But in light of my brief career as a dissident in a totalitarian state, using China as a moral or jurisprudential authority for honoring and upholding our Bill of Rights appears on a par with advocating sex with virgins as a cure for AIDS.
Methinks the homophiles are protesting too much by resolving to ignore the obvious charitable reading of Justice Scalia’s insistence on submitting law to moral scrutiny. Consider that their most compelling current jurisprudence calls for equal protection of homosexuals as distinguished by immutable characteristics of their sexual preferences. Suppose that tomorrow, psychiatrists declare the preferences of coprophagia, apotemnophilia, or kleptomania to be equally immutable. Would it be reasonable to demand that restaurants served excrements on par with conventional nutrients; that surgeons be compelled to amputate healthy limbs on their owners’ demand; or that bankers and shopkeepers surrendered their stock to anyone organically beholden to the advantages of theft over honest toil? Might it not make more sense to submit equal protection to moral judgments? Anyone who thinks this far-fetched is welcome to contemplate the immutability of schizophrenia as grounds for mandating equal treatment for its patients.
As savvy politicians are wont to observe, victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan. The progenitors of WebEx number four: high-powered financier Scott Sandell, salesman extraordinary Subrah Iyar, brilliant engineer Min Zhu, and his bodacious daughter Erin Yier Bargeld. Here is a graphic representation of their relationship:
Majority on divided three-judge Seventh Circuit panel invalidated under the Second Amendment an Illinois law forbidding most people from carrying a loaded gun in public, concluding its opinion:
We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside. The theoretical and empirical evidence (which overall is inconclusive) is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment therefore compels us to reverse the decisions in the two cases before us and remand them to their respective district courts for the entry of declarations of unconstitutionality and permanent injunctions. Nevertheless we order our mandate stayed for 180 days to allow the Illinois legislature to craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public.
Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner wrote the majority opinion, in which Circuit Judge Joel M. Flaum joined. Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams issued a dissenting opinion.