As of right now, our 2nd Amendment Rights are already infringed. There’s no question. And, that infringement is just one of the reasons that the 2nd Amendment is still at serious risk today, regardless of any recent victories.
Now, that’s not to say that the 2nd Amendment is going to be repealed tomorrow. The political system in the United States simply doesn’t move that fast.
But, now is not the time to get complacent. There are still battles to fight. And, as long as gun violence is a premier issue in the news, there will be calls to restrict the rights of law abiding gun owners.
Although we should remain vigilant all the time, this is why we need to be especially careful to avoid complacency right now, or else we might end up exercising with extreme caution our natural right to bear arms.
Deceptively anti-gun administration
Although Donald Trump ran as a Republican, it’s still important to remember that he’s from New York, one of the most infringed states in the union. And, Donald Trump was registered as a Democrat as recently as 2001 (he’s also changed political parties as many as five times).
Obviously, none of this proves Trump’s position on gun regulation one way or another. However, it’s probably safe to say that Trump likely ran as a republican, at least in part, because he believed running as a republican gave him the best chance to win, not because he firmly believed everything the party stood for in 2016.
So, even though Trump took a pro-gun approach in his campaign for the presidency, it seems likely that he would break that promise if he felt that it would improve his chances of victory in 2020. In fact, he’s already admitted that he would consider a ban on suppressors.
It’s easy to feel like the current administration puts our gun rights in a fairly safe position because they’re part of the party that’s usually pro-2nd Amendment. But, that actually makes our position more precarious because our party bias can create serious blind spots.
Infringement is already the norm
One of the most troubling arguments for more gun regulations is the idea that the pro-gun community should compromise.
This argument isn’t troubling because it lacks a basic understanding of what a compromise is (very rarely do any calls for compromise offer to give anything back. Instituting red flag laws in exchange for repealing the regulations on short-barreled rifles, that would be a compromise. Most calls for compromise are just requests for the pro-gun community to give up).
No. This call for compromise is disturbing because it implies that people don’t realize that significant gun regulations have already been passed. Gun owners have already compromised on the issue more than once.
This means that people think we’re still at or near zero gun regulation, which simply isn’t true. But, that’s problematic because people who think we have no gun regulation can easily be swayed to believe that we need gun control.
That’s why all these calls for “common sense” gun control and “reasonable” regulations are so well received, even by some gun owners. And, all these easy-to-persuade people vote. Any candidate in 2020 could garner votes on a platform that features significant gun control legislation simply by leveraging the fact that people don’t know that we already have gun control legislation, coupled with clever use of the prevalence of gun violence in the news.
The slippery slope
Yes, the slippery slope is a logical fallacy. But, it’s only a logical fallacy if one event has no effect on the likelihood of the next event happening.
In the case of gun legislation (actually, most legislation), the fact that gun regulations have already been put in place is actually a huge factor.
In court cases, judges study how laws have been applied in the past to determine how to apply the law in current cases. In politics, laws that already exist are cited as evidence that more laws of that sort would be beneficial.
Yes, these arguments might still be a logical fallacy. Maybe previous cases actually don’t offer a good precedent for a current case. Maybe other existing laws aren’t similar enough to provide good evidence that more laws would be effective.
But, the problem with logical fallacies, is that they work. People are convinced by logical fallacies all the time.
So, our current level of infringement provides a slippery slope that leads to further infringement. And, that slippery slope is a powerful tool for clever people.
Most socially aware readers probably noticed that mass shootings have yet to be mentioned. That’s because mass shootings actually undergird all of these potential threats to the 2nd Amendment.
The current administration could easily take a more anti-gun stance for the 2020 election in response to calls for more gun control in the wake of any more mass shootings.
Mass shootings give undereducated Americans the impression that we’re still living in the wild wild west, and people can really buy a gun as easily as they buy a cup of coffee.
And, for those who are more educated about existing gun legislation, the prevalence of gun violence in the news makes it easy to think, “We’ve got some gun control right now, and most law-abiding citizens can still have their guns. More gun control couldn’t hurt.”
All this isn’t to be alarmist. Again, the 2nd Amendment isn’t going to get repealed tomorrow. But, we do need to be wary of continually gnawing infringement and stand our ground in any coming 2nd Amendment battles.
Because every battle we lose sets a new starting point that will eventually become the norm, and, unless all gun regulations are somehow repealed or gun violence is magically eliminated, we’ll always be on that slippery slope.