…people are really sure that if we pass the assault weapons ban, something useful will be done, even though it’s a ban on deadly weapons in the same way that prohibiting flame decals would be a ban on fast cars. This law intending that we only get shot with non-scary-looking guns wouldn’t actually ban anything, since everything pre-ban would still be perfectly legal — it would just cost more. Despite all the Occupy Wall Street protests about the sociopathic 1%, apparently we’ll all feel safer if only the wealthy have the ability to kill lots of people at once.
However, you can’t explain this to fans of gun control legislation, as the people most fervently for it don’t know anything about what they’re trying to outlaw (or for that matter, human psychology, based on their frequent predictions that the wild west will break out wherever concealed carry is allowed). They hear “semi-automatic” and think “machine gun,” and it’s obvious that they don’t even know what these gun bans do. So here’s a great idea that should make everyone happy: Let’s just pretend to pass gun control legislation.
What we can do is pass a law banning a bunch of made-up things that sound scary, and many gun control proponents already have great ideas along this line. For instance, I read a column in which Howard Kurtz mentioned a ban on high-magazine clips — we can certainly do without something that nonsensical. And I’ve heard the press before mention armor-piercing hollow points and plastic guns (actually, I think we already banned that made-up weapon in the ’80s). And as long as the NRA and Wayne LaPierre go apoplectic about it (“This ban on sorcerer-enchanted guns is just a slippery slope toward eliminating all witch-hexed weaponry!”), gun control proponents won’t know the difference between this and actual gun control. And this will help protect our most vulnerable people out there: politicians. Because long after the gun control advocates move on to other things, like who they want to tax next, gun owners will still be annoyed by any actual gun control legislation. One of the greatest fears politicians have is seeing an angry guy with lots of guns charging down the street, because they know he’s probably on his way to commit an act of voting.