Friday, November 15, 2013

Connecticut Law Review Symposium

I am encouraged to report increasing evidence that gun control is an old white guy's movement.  The panelists at the symposium were generally either clearly pro-gun, or giving data that gave serious doubts as to either the need for or effectiveness of broad gun control laws.  The most notable exception was Professor Penrose of Texas A&M, who argued that our Constitution is really suited to an eighteenth century world, not a 21st century world, and proposed amending the Constitution to repeal the Second Amendment and allow states to pass whatever gun control laws they wanted.  In conversation afterwards, she agreed that overturning Roe v. Wade (1973) and Lawrence v. Texas (2004) were appropriate, because states should be free to pass their own laws on abortion and homosexuality.  Professor Merkel last week make the same argument at the Indiana Tech Law School symposium in opposing judicial review -- that the majority should be trusted to make their own laws, instead of letting judges overturn state laws.  It is amazing how much gun control advocates are willing to give up in order to justify restrictive gun control laws: abandoning "free to choose" and gay sex just to ban guns.  Oh my!

The only really vigorous supporters of traditional gun control other than Penrose (and even she was careful not to directly say what she was supporting, other than "states rights,") were Richard Aborn (formerly chair of Handgun Control, Inc.), Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) and Governor Malloy of Connecticut, all of whom spoke at this event.  It was most entertaining to listen to Aborn argue that gun rights groups keep using "gun bans" to scare their members into opposing "reasonable gun control."  Then Aborn launched in an explanation of why assault weapons needed to be banned, and yes, he used the word "ban."  A rather blue collar member of the audience proceeded to take Aborn apart by pointing out that guns that were not "assault weapons" under the 1993 Connecticut assault weapons ban are now assault weapons under the 2013 law, and this incremental approach to banning makes it impossible to trust Aborn when he says that he doesn't support banning guns -- except for the guns that he wants banned twenty years ago, and then today, and who knows what ten years from now?

I was startled to see Aborn admit that he has no problem with concealed weapon permit laws, insisting that he has no problem with lawful gun owners, just with illegal guns.  And what are illegal guns?  They are legal guns that are now owned by people that are not allowed to own guns.  And assault weapons, if he has his way.  But notice carefully: illegal guns are the problem -- not illegal gun owners.

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