Monday, June 18, 2018 — We, as gun owners, are constantly bombarded by demands to compromise. To give up just a little bit in the name of the greater good. Why on earth are we so hard-headed and inflexible that we can’t bear to give even an inch in order to save lives or reduce crime or make our schools safe? Why are we so unwilling to meet in the middle?
Compromise, of course, is the way to get things done when different parties disagree on things but have a common end that they are both interesting in achieving. It’s for when the big picture is important to both sides even if the details are full of the Devil. When parties compromise, each side gives up some of what it wants in order to get an end result that is acceptable to both. Compromise involves sacrifice, and sacrifice means surrendering something important for the purpose a greater gain.
This means that compromise is not necessarily the right approach to the issue of gun control—at least for gun owners—because the two sides are not working toward a common goal. It is blindingly obvious, even in the face of outright denials, that the ultimate aim of virtually all gun control proponents is to either A) restrict gun ownership so severely that it is practically banned entirely in all ways that are meaningful, or B) ban it entirely. Compromises in this situation are not possible.
Gun control advocates wonder why gun owners are so adamant about refusing to limit magazine capacity to ten rounds or five rounds. Gun owners, on the other hand, claim that the restrictions on fully automatic weapons are already a significant compromise.
Where is the middle ground on this? How can you work your way through these differences? How can we find a solution that works for both?
Honestly, it would probably benefit gun owners, pro-gun politicians, and the firearms industry to simply accept the fact that this is not an issue in which compromise is possible. Save everyone time and effort by not bothering to bargain in good faith in an effort to appease everyone and achieve a consensus.
Ten-round magazine limits become seven-round limits (New York). Or they become restrictions on the capability to remove the magazine from the gun without a tool (California). Restrictions on the capability to remove the magazine from the gun without a tool become restrictions against removing it at all. Compromising with the gun control crowd on ten-round limits are not compromises at all. The gun control crowd will claim that ten-round limits are “meeting in the middle” somehow, a restriction on gun owners that doesn’t infringe too harshly on their rights. And that might even be true in a technical sense. But it’s not a compromise. The gun control crowd considers it one, because it’s “sacrificing” their desire to completely infringe on the rights of gun owners. But the gun control crowd is not actually sacrificing anything. Particularly, it’s not sacrificing its ability to revisit the ten-round limit later.
We are seeing this in almost surreal action across the Atlantic on the streets of London in Formerly Great Britain. Draconian gun restrictions have, predictably, brought about non-stop knife crime. Non-stop knife crime has resulted in, predictably, additional restrictions on knife ownership. Now that this increased knife control has done little to deter criminals, the latest suggestion is to (and I swear I’m not making this up) break off the sharp tips of all knives to make them less, well, knife-like I guess. I’m not really sure what the point (haha) of it all is. Why don’t they just require Londoners to cut their steaks with spoons?
The lesson here is that compromise is impossible when the goals of the sides involved are drastically opposed. If one side gives up something and the other does not, it isn’t a compromise. And that unfair compromise today leads to more calls for more unfair compromises tomorrow.
Will bans on bump stocks make America safer? It’s doubtful. But, despite the fun of the devices, I have long believed that the main benefit of them is to ammunition makers. Many I’ve spoken to wonder if giving up bump stocks is a low-cost way to appease gun controllers, and I cannot say that I didn’t wonder the same thing after the Las Vegas massacre. But what are gun controllers offering to sacrifice in return for gun owners sacrificing bump stocks? Nothing.
So don’t be too quick to meet someone in the middle who isn’t taking any steps in your direction. Don’t give up something small because you think it’s not worth keeping if it costs a deal. Most of the deals that we can make with the gun controllers only benefit the gun controllers.