My good buddy AD has a post
today about gun control and the Second Amendment in which he references a post
by another good buddy of his, Mule Breath. Between the two of them they wax rhapsodic on the Rights of Americans to own guns, and blast any attempts at gun control with slippery slope arguments about "first they ban these guns, then those, etc." The point is also made that laws apply only to the law-abiding -- by definition, in fact -- and will not deter the criminal element in their quest to obtain and use firearms. This is true.
There appears to be an assumption that the essence of "law-abiding" as applied to gun ownership refers to the concept of "time and place." There are safety rules at shooting ranges, are there not? If you're not allowed to shoot in the lobby, doesn't that "limit your rights"? They have posted hours of operation, do they not? I notice that you don't get all hot and bothered at the idea that your "rights" are limited by the hours that the range is open. Time and place, fellas; time and place.
I would like to propose a new approach that should pass muster even with the most die-hard of you 2A supporter-types. Instead of regulating the "who" and "when" (background checks; gun licenses) and the "what" (which guns) how about simply restricting the "where."
How about this: No guns allowed within the city limits of Philadelphia (New York; Los Angeles; whatever municipality you wish.)
The fact of the matter -- frequently overlooked/ignored by gun proponents -- is that firearms are responsible for a truly appalling amount of urban carnage in cities all over the United States. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has been quoted
responding to those protesting gun control by saying, "I have the right not to be shot." Frankly, in the context of urban living, I believe the right not to be shot trumps the rights of every Tom, Dick and Rasheem to own enough firepower to subdue Mogadishu.
Make all guns illegal within city limits. All guns; all gun shops; no guns in the city, period. It may not work right away, but it turns out that perilously few urban shootings are actually the result of law-abiding gun owners using firearms to "protect" themselves against bona fide criminal activity. Over a very short time the carnage would fall dramatically.
Want to shoot? Keep your guns at the range -- outside the city. Don't like it? Move. Simple as that.
There is ample precedent for such local ordinances. Want to contract legally with a prostitute? Only in Nevada. Gambling is similarly regulated. Why the big deal over firearm control on a geographic basis?
It would be inconsistent for 2A
proponents to object to this idea while accepting other limitations on gun use. AD, wouldn't you be upset if someone left a handgun lying around at KatyBeth's school? (I know that KB knows better than to mishandle it, but can you say the same for every kid in the school? How about the spawn of the idjit that brought it in the first place?) You all seem to accept that gun ownership comes with responsibilities. You even pay lip service to the fact that not every gun owner fulfills those responsibilities. I believe the creation of geographic areas where guns are not allowed would create an acceptable balance between the rights of gun owners and users, and those who prefer not to be exposed to the dangers of the misuse of firearms.
There is absolutely no chance of any slippery slope argument with this approach either. There is no way any of these gun-free zones would ever be expanded one millimeter beyond where the inhabitants want them, because all of the
law-abiding gun-owning citizens regularly elect like-minded legislators. That's the problem in Pennsylvania at the moment. The pro-gun legislators in the middle of the state have passed laws prohibiting municipalities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from passing any such laws. After all, it's not their children being gunned down on the way to school.
So there you go: a rational attempt to balance the right to own guns with the right not to be shot. After all, what's the difference between a hunting license and prohibiting guns within a certain geographic? Reasonable regulation.