Politicians know that the groundswell of peaceful pro-gun activism is backed up by something harder. That’s why in the near term they’re most likely to try and erode support for “assault weapons” and legislate them out of existence, as opposed to confiscate everyone’s AR-15s… for now.
December 23, 2019
Eyes on Virginia 2020 – Here’s what to expect
[Via email from Tony.
Scott Adams almost categorically dismisses slippery slope arguments in the general case, not just in the case of gun control. I mostly disagree with him. Here, and in the post this quote was taken from, Culper alludes to my disagreement with Adams.
Adams, in his most recent book, Loserthink: How untrained brains Are Ruining America, elaborates more on this. He says, if I recall correctly, that it’s a slippery slope only until something changes.and then it isn’t. In the case of gun control case he claims travel down the slope will continue only until gun owners stop it. Things that are not terribly unpopular will be enacted, perhaps background checks for retail sales, but that doesn’t affect the probability of gun confiscation. They are two different, unrelated things. Gun owners, and even many non-gunowners, will put up much stronger resistance to gun confiscation and the slide down the slope is stopped.
I don’t see it that way.
As Culper points out, the political response is to make it costly to be a gun owner. Not just in dollars and thing like requiring insurance and difficult licensing procedures but in risk and day to day hassle. I went to the range with a friend in Canada a while back. Each gun had to be unloaded, a trigger lock installed, then locked in a case, and put in the trunk of the car in order to transport it from his home to the range and back. If he were to have lost a trigger lock while at the range he could not have legally transported the gun back home without the risk of going to prison. The “gun-free zone” within 1000 feet of a school is another example of a cost imposed on gun ownership through increased risk of committing a victimless crime.
As these costs increase it decreases the number of people who are willing to pay the “price”. Each of these relatively small price increases is not sufficient to take a bunch of time off work or to donate a lot of money to help defeat it like you would if it were something like confiscation of America’s most popular rifle. Yet, because the increasing cost of gun ownership it means fewer gun owners which means there is less resistance to the next slide down the slope. Whereas in Adams view you get increased resistance as you slide down the slope.
We both see the slope as non-linear but he sees the slope as upturning and stopping further progress and I see it as downturning and increasing progress.
I claim we can see support for my view on two different slopes.
Look at the slippery slope the anti-gun people are on. For decades they fought the passage of concealed carry licensing laws as they slowly swept the nation. Now Constitutional Carry is slowly spreading. I remember people saying licensing our rights was actually a step in the wrong direction for us. It should be “Vermont Carry”, as what we now call Constitutional Carry was called 20 years ago, or nothing because once the right to carry was licensed we couldn’t get back to a principled claim of right to carry without a license. The anti-gun people have been sliding down this slope for something like 30 years now with no end in sight.
On the other side we can see the march of restrictions on “assault weapons” up and down the west and east costal states. Each year they come up with another type of restriction or cost to add to the burden of owning and using them. Had the anti-gun people gone for an outright ban and demand for confiscation, again about 30 years ago, few politicians would have given the ideas support. This year people hoping to become president seem to be competing on who can confiscate them in the shortest period of time. We have slid down a slippery slope. Those early restrictions enabled further restrictions as soon as the legislature reconvened the next year.
On the other hand Adam could say the 2nd Amendment Sanctuary movement proves his point.
Am I missing something? Adams is a smart guy and I may too close to this issue to see the issue clearly. Is there some special case situation that Adams would concede in my examples while being substantially correct in the more general case?—Joe]