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The Slippery Slope is Real

This article at Forbes titled, “Gun Policy Is Hard,” gets it right, mostly. I would encourage you to go read it. I’ll wait….

One of the authors assertions is that we shouldn’t so quickly dismiss the suicide argument. I’m not sure what the author thinks can be done to prevent someone who is suicidal from using a firearm without seriously restricting firearms generally. We can’t read people’s minds, and I don’t see any solution that doesn’t involve making firearms generally difficult to obtain, which is a non-starter with us for good reasons. That brings me to the argument I want to address:

Gun-rights supporters often argue every increase in gun regulation, no matter how tiny, is just one step on the path to the ultimate goal: prohibition. The NRA, in particular, has resisted nearly any gun-control proposal, partially because it warns against the boogey man of prohibition.

I think Eugene Volokh pretty successfully and decisively destroyed the notion that slippery slope arguments are a fallacy. The reason we make slippery slope arguments is because we’ve seen it happen. New Jersey and New York both started with licensing, and in New York’s case licensing and registration. Massachusetts also passed licensing and registration. California implemented bans on carrying firearms and enacted stringent waiting periods (15 days). With the sole exception of New York (who’s licensing law dates back to the early 20th century) all these restrictions were passed during the first wave of gun control in the 60s and 70s. All of those states have successfully passed numerous more onerous restrictions since. California’s long slide, which is continuing as we speak, started with the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Ban in 1990.

The reason that has been successful is because each incremental restriction reduced the number of gun owners over time, and thus reduced our political power to fight new restrictions. During the second gun control wave in the 1990s, a lot of gun owners left these restrictive states for greener pastures, and the ones that remained tended to be either politically inactive and/or naive, further reducing our political power in those states.

The biggest predictor of whether or not you support gun control is “Do you own a gun?” If the answer is “yes,” you’re statistically unlikely to support very much gun control. If the answer is “no,” then you’re statistically likely to support more sweeping gun control. We’ve seen in history that even very minor restrictions, like California’s 15-day waiting period dating back to 1976, and the 5-day waiting period dating back to 1965, and the three-day waiting period dating back to 1956….. see where I’m going with this? Each incremental restriction reduces our political power, and over time that has added up to a rout. California is reaching the end. We are facing utter defeat there. An entire state of 38 million people is about to become like New York City, where firearms are not technically banned, but effectively very difficult to obtain and use.

So no, gun owners are not committing a logical fallacy worrying about the slippery slope. It’s real. Ask any state where these “reasonable common sense” measures have taken hold. All of them have only gotten worse over time. There no states that enacted gun control legislation during the first (60s & 70s) or second (90s) wave of gun control that have not gone on to enact more.

14 Responses to “The Slippery Slope is Real”

  1. stephana says:

    Another thing that bothers me is the liberals saying that they won’t take our guns, the NRA is lying when we have Hillary calling for confiscation and buybacks. Smacking these idiots down with the video of hillary calling for this is tiresome, but the game of wack a mole must be played to get the message out to people who might be on the fence. It also shows the ease as which most liberals will lie to back up hillary.

  2. Thirdpower says:

    Every time I’ve shown w/ evidence that x-y-z has happened on multiple occasions, usually resulting from someone claiming that gun owners are paranoid, the goalposts get moved.

  3. Fred says:

    “That’s only true for those criminals for whom having a gun is what makes them commit crimes…”

    Mr. Burrus is just another mouthpiece for the tyrants. And the death of my family is NOT a cost to be calculated for the glorious revolution. Screw that guy.

  4. TS says:

    If they don’t want to fuel the slippery slope argument, maybe they should stop saying, “this is a good first step” every frickin time they pass a new gun control bill.

    And I would invite them to point to one place, just one place where the gun control people said, “we’re good. We have enough gun control. Even if people still get shot, we recognize that any more burdens would not respect the right.” Just one place. Certainly not in California. California has the most gun control, and they also have the most NEW gun control coming this year (including the fourth or fifth expansion of their “assault weapon” ban, and the confiscation of previously grandfathered magazines). Australia and the U.K. Aren’t done either.

    • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

      Exactly. I’ve heard it plenty of times “this is a good first step.”

  5. Brandon Combs says:

    California’s slide started in 1923. It slid faster in 1967, and then gained momentum in 1989. The electorate disappeared and people suffered accordingly.

    • BC says:

      California is the result of decades of one-party rule and a so-corrupt-it-doesn’t-even-bother-to-hide-it-anymore federal judiciary. There’s no principle, no law; everything is just unvarnished will to power. All you have to do is compare how the media, the political class, and the judiciary approached Proposition 8 (which I opposed, btw) with how it’s now approaching Gunmageddon. “People’s fundamental civil rights aren’t subject to a vote!” went straight out the window because guns.

      I say this as somebody who still — at least for now — lives here: it’ll be a great day when this entire shithole sinks into the ocean.

  6. TCK says:

    Well to be to fair the author, he does admit that while he thinks the ‘slippery slope’ is not an absolute danger, it’s happened enough to be justifiable concern.

  7. Chas says:

    It’s worse than a slippery slope. Whatever further restrictions they ever get are immediately carved in stone as far as they are concerned. Nothing that they have ever gotten out of us is ever up for discussion. They will give absolutely nothing back, because they are absolutely closed to any real compromise.
    What they call “compromise” is them settling for taking less from us than they wanted. Like the school yard bully who is willing settle for half your lunch money because you’re willing to put up a fight. They’re thugs like that.

  8. Hate Speech ? says:

    S – 3053 , introduced by Senator Casey ( Pa. )
    would make ‘ hate crime misdemeanors ‘ a disqualifying factor for gun rights. Like so many other laws , it WILL be added onto , it WILL be abused. They WILL change it to read ALL misdemeanors …… as soon as possible !!
    — Stop This Bad Bill —

    • Arnie says:

      Agreed! Hate crimes can and will include politically incorrect speech or internet communication. There is no end to it.

      If a convict is not dangerous enough to be put in prison, then he is not too dangerous to have a weapon, and he retains his fundamental right to keep and bear arms (IMHO).

      – Arnie

      • Arnie says:

        I should qualify “convict” here as one guilty of a misdemeanor, not a felony. – Arnie

    • Alpheus says:

      The entire idea of “hate crime” as being especially bad has always caused me a certain abount of mental ick. This idea that a white man stabbing a black man is especially bad, because the white man hates blacks…but if that same white man kills another white man just so he could go for a joy ride in the victim’s car, that’s an act of love?

      No! Deliberately killing someone *is* the hate crime. You don’t need to make it double plus ungood by introducing racial politics into it!

  9. Will says:

    One way to look at it is that the .gov considers everyone in a victim group to be so powerless and incompetent, and so unable to handle their own affairs, that they have to step in and take control of the legal end of things.

    Makes me want to point at police officers and giggle and howl in mirth, that they need this sort of “delicate” handling. That the police are considered a victim group should point out how stupid the whole hate crime arena is.

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