Professor Adam Winkler generally likes some gun control, but he’s one of the few people publishing and writing in this issue who takes our arguments seriously. I was happy to read a few days ago his article in the Daily Beast, pondering if the assault weapons ban killed gun control:
There was one certain impact of proposing to ban the sale of assault weapons: it was guaranteed to stir gun-rights proponents to action. Ever since Obama was elected, theyâ€™ve been claiming that he wanted to ban guns. Gun-control advocates mocked this claimâ€”then proposed to ban a gun. Not only that, the gun they were trying to ban happened to be the most popular rifle in America.
I’m glad someone who is not generally in our camp noticed what I bolded there. I can tell you that the 1994 ban is what started me on this path. Had it not been for that ban, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Given the number of people I’m seeing my age and close to my age in this current fight, I’m apparently not alone. Many of us wanted the AKs and ARs pretty much because people who thought they were better than us told us we couldn’t have them. The problem with Winkler’s argument is this:
Yet itâ€™s harder for them to make a persuasive public case against background checksâ€”which primarily burden criminals and the mentally ill trying to buy gunsâ€”or magazine restrictions, which, in allowing people to have 10 rounds plus readily available, already-loaded replacement magazines, didnâ€™t interfere with self-defense.
It’s difficult only in the sense that a lot of gun owners are pretty rationally ignorant, and don’t really understand what expanded background checks mean. It is very difficult to define what constitutes a transfer is a way that doesn’t make ordinary behavior among gun owners legally risky or problematic. Also, magazine restrictions fall into the realm of people who think they are better than you telling you what you can and can’t have, and making preemptive self-defense choices on your behalf when they have no expertise or knowledge on self-defense.Â No, I can motivate just as many people to oppose a magazine ban as I can an assault weapons ban. Many more people have magazines that hold more than 10 rounds than have AR-15s or AKs, and don’t see any reason why the government should stack the deck against them in the rare situation they might actually need more than ten rounds. This isn’t the movies. Pistol rounds are poor fight stoppers, and it’s not like civilians have never before had to face multiple opponents.