Gun control advocates regularly assure gun owners that they only want to tighten gun laws; they do not want to take people’s guns away. This assurance has seemed necessary, particularly in light of the disinformation campaign to convince people that “Obama wants to take away your guns.”
President Obama does not want to take away people’s guns. More’s the pity. I most certainly do want to take away your guns, particularly military-grade weapons, and I suspect that many Americans, in their heart of hearts, would like to do so also.
Australia has shown that substantive gun legislation is possible. (See “Here’s the deal with the Australian gun control law that Obama is talking about.”) That country instituted new controls on firearms after a 1996 massacre of 35 people in Tasmania. Semi-automatic and automatic weapons were banned and, most significantly, a mandatory buy-back program was instituted. The country has not experienced a mass-casualty shooting since.
Admittedly, as long as any guns remain, certain people will use them for nefarious purposes. Absent guns, those same people will find other weapons. Nevertheless, the assault rifle has become the weapon of choice for mass murder because of its ease-of-use, lethality, efficiency, and specificity. It is tautological that removing such weapons from circulation cannot but eliminate the sort of tragedy experienced in Orlando a week ago.
The right to bear arms, like any right in the Constitution, is not unlimited. We do not allow individuals to purchase Stinger missiles, howitzers, or nuclear weapons, all of which are “arms.” There is no reason the government cannot draw the line between lawful and unlawful arms somewhere other than where it is currently drawn.
A few days ago, I suggested what I consider reasonable gun laws that seem meet and proper in light our our nation’s experience with gun violence. (See “Gun Control.”) In that essay, I did not consider implementation. Obviously, a buy-back program would be a fair way of implementing certain provisions of my program.
I found myself curiously undisturbed by the Orlando tragedy. I should have been seriously upset, but mass shootings have simply become business as usual in America. What has followed has been totally predictable, including moments of silence in Congress, followed by a lack of legislative action.
It’s time to make mass murder rare again by changing our gun laws. Express your outrage to our politicians, and pray for the souls of those gunned down in Orlando.