An article by the Denver Post reports that the number of background checks conducted on private firearm transfers in Colorado under that state’s new law is only about half of what was first reported by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The revelation shines a new light on the debate over repealing the law, which gun control supporters had previously heralded as a success.
The false tally of background checks is newsworthy in its own right. However, at the end of its article, the Post reminded readers of something that applies to the gun control debate generally: the irrationality of some of the people that Second Amendment supporters are up against in that ongoing effort.
The article noted that a co-sponsor of Colorado’s background check law, State Rep. Rhonda Fields, has repeatedly said that the incursion on Second Amendment rights is justified if it prevents even one prohibited person from acquiring a firearm.
“If it prevents even one” phraseology is familiar to all who follow the gun control debate. Last year, President Obama campaigned for his gun control agenda, saying “if there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save, we’ve got an obligation to try.” Vice-President Joe “Buy a Shotgun” Biden agreed with the president, saying “even if what we do only saves one life, it makes sense.”
Such statements are not logical, of course, because they completely dismiss any potential good that might come from the action being restricted or prohibited. This would be true even if the right to arms were not a fundamental, individual right protected by the Bill of Rights, and could thus be subject only to cost-benefit analyses. A valid cost-benefit analysis performed on a gun control proposal would have to consider not only the number of lives possibly saved by the restriction, but the number of lives possibly cost because crime victims did not have arms when and where they needed them (among other potential costs).
Anti-gun politicians know this, but use the “if it stops just one” rhetoric anyway because it appeals to people who simply want to believe that guns have only negative uses. Of course, this viewpoint offers support for any and every gun control measure, including a complete ban on the private possession of firearms. Wherever it begins, that thinking can only lead to an endless succession of additional infringements.
These are the extremists among gun control supporters, to be sure. But they are the ones driving the gun control debate today. They dismiss anyone who disagrees with them and they fixate upon a day when they can bring about the complete destruction of Second Amendment with extreme prejudice.
Sound thought and facts need to go into addressing the root causes of crime and violence and how best to deal with offenders. Yet there is no negotiation on “reasonable gun safety measures” with people holding the view that any gun control measure, no matter how oppressive, is justified if even a single case can be cited where it might have made some difference. There is only our victory or theirs. Our victory can begin with a strong showing at the polls on Election Day, among those of us who believe in freedom in general, and in the Second Amendment in particular.