Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Can "Red Flag" Laws Unite Dems and Pubs?

   I used to be in favor of some so-called "common sense" gun control measures. Years ago, when I found out how easy it is to get an AR-15, I was, frankly, shocked. I'm not inveterately against background checks for modern sporting rifles ("assault weapons"), nor for very high-capacity magazines, nor for bump stocks...but I think arguments for any such restrictions have to carry a fairly heavy burden of proof.
   It's become clear to me over the past few years that significant elements of the left have a strong tendency to become increasingly radical. I'm skeptical that they can be defeated on any given issue for long--they're simply too powerful. And they've made it clear that they have even less respect for the Second Amendment than for the First. Consequently, I've come to understand the position of, e.g., the NRA: basically, no concession will ever appease the lefter-than-liberal left. So each concession merely brings us that much closer to being completely disarmed. Under those conditions, it makes sense strategically to never concede anything.
   Furthermore, mass shootings are, of course, extremely rare, and result in few deaths and injuries in the cosmic scheme of things.
   Furtherfurthermore, we should be extremely hesitant to give our neighbors, the government, and psychologists the power to take away our firearms. Consider the misuse of "hate crime" laws, "bias incident" reports, etc. Consider also the hard left lean of psychology. We can say with complete confidence that such laws will be abused; the question is how often?
   However, I'm certainly willing to consider red flag laws. If we have good reason to think that they'll work, perhaps they could be implemented on a limited scale--e.g. in certain states, and/or with sunset clauses built into them. Implementing them for five or ten years would likely tell us what we need to know about their efficacy and misuse.
   What most concerns me about such laws is that they're usually not implemented temporarily and experimentally. OTOH, the assault weapons ban turned out to be temporary--thus far, anyway.


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