Bruce Bialosky had a good article up at Townhall.com Monday explaining why we can't make "progress" on keeping guns out of the hands of people like the shooter at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The article is entitled Gridlock and Gun Control, and I urge you to read it. I tend to get somewhat emotional, and rant a bit, but this is a factual report of why so many have adopted a no compromise attitude toward guns (and other issues, quite frankly.) A hat tip to David Codrea for pointing me to this.
Some time ago, I remember responding to a young man who asked the question "Why can't we compromise on reasonable gun control?" I think my first thought was to laugh the guy off, but then I thought better of it. After all, he sounded like a earnest and sincere young man, who hadn't yet been through 40 years of this stuff, and he might not know that we had compromised many many times already, only to have the gun grabbers come back for another bite. Furthermore, he sounded like someone open to reasons, and so I responded. What follows is a moreextensive response to that young commenter.
First of all, our young man must understand that we started out with no gun laws, period. The Constitution says that Congress may not make a law infringing our rights to keep and bear arms, and for a while that restriction on government was honored. But, as always happens, someone wants to build a better place to live, a Utopia*, and the first handgun ban was passed. Fortunately, it was ruled Unconstitutional. And so, we continued along until the Civil War with virtually no gun laws of any kind, and none at the Federal level.
Note that each time a new gun law is passed, the noose around a law abiding citizen's neck tightens ever more tightly, but there is no proof that the laws that have gone before have done anything to stop a determined criminal from getting guns if he wants them. We now learn that Jared Laughner, the shooter in the Phoenix shooting that injured Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was in fact schizophrenic. He had had many run ins with the law, and that Sheriff Dupnik knew about him as well, but he was allowed to buy guns anyway. We learn that the Psychiatrist of James Holmes in the Aurora Colorado shooting warned University police, but they did nothing. He was allowed to buy his guns "legally." Now in the Sikh Temple shooting case, we learn that the shooter was a white supremacist who may also have been prohibited from buying guns. But the press reports he bought his handgun "legally." These are just a few of the high profile cases where background checks, waiting periods, filling out paperwork that eventually winds up in Federal hands, and restrictive concealed carry laws did not stop the shooting.
The gun grabbers in and out of Congress have shown themselves to be extremely incurious about the effects of all these laws, some 20,000 altogether, on the commission of crimes. Instead, they seem to believe that one more law, one more set of magic incantations written on a piece of paper will somehow stop the bleeding; that candlelight vigils will keep the bogeyman away. Look at the Brady Campaign Wish List of things to do next, yet there is no curiosity to find out how effective their previous policy prescriptions have been in stopping criminals from obtaining guns. Simply saying that xx number of people have been turned away by the NICS doesn't answer the question. Having been denied by an FFL doesn't say that the determined criminal might not have gone out and gotten the gun on the black market.
Up through the 1994 Assault Weapon ban, the NRA was often an active participant in restricting our gun rights, in the misguided belief that a worse bill would have resulted without their participation. However you analyse these things, the NRA has finally figured out that each new restriction is only a good first step to the gun grabbers. The gun grabbers are not negotiating in good faith, but instead using the one bite at a time technique of the Progressives. Soon enough, they will come back for another slice of the baloney, as the Brady Campaign Wish List shows. The National Rifle Association, the Gun Owners of America, the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, and countless State organizations like Grass Roots North Carolina have come to realize that the only thing the gun grabbers will accept as "reasonable" and "common sense" is taking guns away from every law abiding citizen, leaving guns in the hands of the State, and criminals (but I repeat myself.)
Compromise means that each side gets something, but also has to give up something. The history of gun control shows that the gun rights community gives something up each time there are new restrictions, and the gun grabbers get something, but I don't see what they are giving up. What did the gun rights community get in return for all those gun restrictions? Presumably, they make us all safer, but that proposition has been shown to be dubious at best. So, in light of the above, why give up any more ground? In the formulation of Mike Vanderboegh, "not one more inch."
* The meaning of Utopia is Nowhere.