The Second Amendment as gun control policy

PLA (Dwight Meredith) has posted an extremely lucid analysis of the strategy that should be pursued by gun control advocates.

Dwight discusses gun control in the context of the maryland shootings, and notes that many useful gun control measures - such as ballistic fingerprinting - that would help solve crimes such as the DC shootings are routinely blocked by the NRA because of (valid) slippery slope arguments (leads to registration, leads to banning outright, confiscation, etc.).

The conclusion he draws is that gun control advocates should support the right to bear arms:

"If one wishes to see rational gun control measures enacted, the first step is to agree with the NRA that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to keep and bear arms. The political power of the NRA and the power of its slippery slope arguments will then fade. Reasonable gun control measures may then be debated on their own merits. In such a debate the gun control advocates will have the better argument as well as the better politics."

Dwight has argued this point before, noting that both sides of the gun control debate would be well-served. The interests of the NRA and those who seek gun control measures for safety, are NOT incompatible.

Looking at Dwight's argument, I can't help but feel that it's a win-win scenario for any campaigning Democrat or Republican to adopt as a policy platform, because it apeals to both sides of the debate. The people on the left who would be aghast at recognizing the individual right of gun ownership are probably not going to sign onto any compromise, and are just as an extremist faction as the committed NRAnians who sleep with their .44 under their pillow (think Dale Gribbel from King of the Hill). Most people fall somewhere in between.

It's interesting to look at Howard Dean, Governor of Vermont, who is running for the Democratic candidacy. His position on gun control is certainly the most broadly incusive and rational compared to past Dem. positions:

f you say "gun control" in Vermont or Tennessee, or Colorado, people think you want to take away their hunting rifle. If you say "gun control" New York or L.A., people are happy to see Uzi's or illegal handguns taken off the streets. I think Vermont ought to be able to have a different set of laws than California. Let's keep and enforce the federal gun laws we have, close the gun show loophole using Insta-check, and then let the states decide for themselves what if any gun control laws they want.
Just as we resist attempts by President Bush to dictate to the states how we run our school systems and what kind of welfare programs to have, we need to resist attempts to tell states how to deal with guns beyond existing Federal law.

Dean doesnt go as far as Dwight in that he doesn't mention the Second Amendment, but I think Dwight's proposal would fit better with Dean than any other Dem candidate. Maybe we should bring it to his attention :)

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