Sunday, December 16, 2012

Call Me A Flip-Flopper, But I Have Reconsidered And Altered My Position On Guns

TransGriot Note: A must read post from Deep Thought's Eli Blake  

I've been remarkably consistent in my views on guns over the past few decades. Essentially, it has boiled down to the following statement, which I had posted in more places than I can count:

I support your right to own a gun. Any gun.

The Constitutional fact that Americans have the right to be armed aside, I fundamentally believe (as a liberal) that you have the right to read, download, drink, smoke, have sexual activity or whatever as you please as long as you are not harming someone else by it, and therefore also to buy what you please (and if it is a gun, then buy it.) In fact, until recently the debate on guns has been moving further and further to the right, where without changing a single position, I had gone from guns being one issue where I generally agreed with the right (when the debate was about registration and limitations on ownership) to where I was more likely to agree with the left (when the debate had moved past that to trying to force guns into more and more places like public buildings and private businesses over the objections of the business owners.) I summarized this several months ago in this post: The Debate on Guns has been Changing.

Recently though, in light of a spate of deranged gunmen killing large numbers of people, the debate has been moving back the other way. And in theory that would move me back to where I had been focused, against any new restrictions. To restrict individual rights, I believe in a high bar.

That bar has been reached. The slaughter of first grade children at an elementary school yesterday has been the point at which I have to reluctantly agree that the harm to society caused by allowing the ownership of a particular category of weapons-- assault weapons with clips capable of firing large numbers of rounds before reloading, and in rapid succession-- outweighs any good reason one could have for owning one.

And the fact is, this weekend was only a third as bloody as it could have been. In the past 48 hours you didn't read about another school shooting in Bartlesville, Oklahoma because of a brave student informant and an alert school administration, nor about a massacre in a hospital in Alabama this morning because of two alert hospital staff and two police officers, three of whom were wounded but who stopped the gunman before he could shoot anyone else.

You can read the rest of it at his blog

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