Bialosky: No, I Did Not Argue a Slippery Slope
A response to Matthew Magann '21's "Safety Under The Law."
On Apr 6, 2018, The Dartmouth staff columnist Matthew Magann '21 wrote a piece entitled “Safety Under the Law” about gun rights. The column’s central premise that the National Rifle Association’s argument of a slippery slope toward gun confiscation is a falsehood. He cited my Apr. 1 column in “Townhall,” entitled “Yes, They Are Coming For Your Guns,” as a prime example of this position, but my column does not argue that point.
As stated in my column, I am neither a gun owner nor a member of any gun group. In actuality, I have argued for the elimination of bump stocks in other writings. This country has agreed for nearly a century that automatic weapons are not for public ownership. Bump stocks are intended to convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons; thus, by extension they are against the law.
Though I did argue that the Left has in the past pursued a long-term objective of accomplishing its goals, a slippery slope was not the central argument of my column.
The two principal arguments of my column are as follows. First, that as a Jew, I do not believe any Jew should argue for the government controlling guns. Jews have experienced when central governments control all the weaponry and it has not worked out for them. Second, the primary move at this time by gun control advocates is for banning certain long guns that they have branded as “assault rifles.” I don’t believe that the people advocating for that ban understand very much about guns nor do they understand that semi-automatic firearms have been in existence for over a century.
More importantly, gun control advocates are arguing for the banning of certain guns that cause an insignificant number of deaths each year in this country. Clearly any murder is unjust. But going after guns that cause an insignificant minority of deaths in America, but not going after the hand guns that cause the deaths of more people makes no sense.
My argument is not a slippery slope; my argument is that elimination of gun ownership is central to gun control advocates’ core interests.
Why would a group of people focus their efforts on such an insignificant part of the problem? They are marching and hollering about putting an end to gun violence. Why would this issue be resolved by solving such a minuscule portion of the problem they perceive? I don’t believe these people are stupid. I live by my reading of Sun Tzu that you should never underestimate your opposition. Their agenda is as Justice John Paul Stevens stated: to end up eliminating the Second Amendment and gun ownership by law-abiding citizens in America.
I also make my argument because those who support gun rights have a fundamental belief that taking guns away from law-abiding people will do nothing to restrict guns from getting in the hands of criminals. It may make it a little harder, but criminals will still have guns because they would never turn theirs in and they will know the avenues to acquire guns on the black market. Someone’s local doctor who owns a gun would be clueless as to obtaining a gun or ammunition illegally.
Those who don’t believe guns would be illegally obtained, just refer to the recent Washington Post column about the ATF losing firearms and ammunition.
If the ATF is losing all these guns, what is happening with other agencies? Where are these guns ending up?
Supposed “common sense” gun laws always impact the law-abiding. That is why they are not common sense. If one is interested in creating gun laws to stop crime and murders, then one must go after the criminals. The problem is the people who make these laws have no clue how criminals think or act. Thus, every new law impacts the local merchant, gun collector or target shooter. They don’t seem to take guns away from bad guys.
I suggest readers not focus on strawman arguments about slippery slopes and “common sense” guns laws, and instead educate themselves on actual gun ownership. Spend some time with gun owners. Find out who educates gun owners on gun safety. Go to a gun store and talk to the people there. Better yet, find someone to take you to a gun range and experience shooting a gun for yourself.
No one wants safe gun ownership more than legal gun owners, but to state that the current movement against gun violence argues a slippery slope to oppose any restrictions is nonsense. Eliminating gun ownership is the central core of their being.
Bialosky is a columnist for "Townhall."
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