Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Slippery Slope Argument

No matter how angry you may be about the gun rights movement, if you actually start talking to them, you will quickly find that they are in fact a quite diverse, heterogenous group.  While it's easy for us to demonize them, and I for one, would prefer to be able to, that cannot be done. 

Given this diversity, it is remarkable how unified the gun rights movements is in its effects, which are mostly to deny any attempt, even the most modest, to enact gun control legislation. 

in their defense, their first line of argumentation is usually along the lines claiming how much the 2ndA has already been regulated.  And there is some truth to this, if you consider the history of simply federal legislation (merely during the 20th century, for example), as well as the diversity of state legislation.* 

To go back to my point, the gun rights movements employs what I would call a very slippery slope argument, in which almost any gun control advocacy is knocked down on account of the fact that it will lead to gun bans.  

Example #1: the NRA and Jack Kingston blocked legislation promoting research by the CDC on gun violence.  I mentioned this in an earlier post and in fact this is not really news.  The NRA has been doing this now for quite a while, such that the CDC or any governmental body has been prohibited from spending tax dollars on research into gun violence since 1996!  

If you consult the comments on that same post, you'll see that my interlocutor, GMC70 jumps on this slippery slope (slip-and-slide, if you will) riding it directly to the fact that all such research is the work of "liars" ... whose only purpose is to ban guns.

This example is interesting to me because of what I take to be the innocuousness of the program advocated: namely, it's just research!

Example #2: a federal registry of gun owners.  There are two arguments against this (that I've encountered). First, all of this information is already out there, although it is not organized on a federal level and exists differently in different states.  Here the paperwork for gun purchases is cited.  But of course, a gun purchase does not mean the owner will still have the original gun (guns are the kinds of things which are passed down through families, to take merely one example).  This is not a slippery slope argument.  

Second, a federal gun registry will assist gun confiscation.  Australia's confiscation of semi-automatics after its horrific Port Arthur massacre. Also cited, the Nazis (the usual suspects).  In brief, if we allow a federal gun registry, we will be violating the privacy of law abiding gun owners, and these violations are merely the stepping stone to greater violations (gun confiscations).

Example #3: the open carry movement.  Currently there is an open carry political movement, essentially trying to legalize OC across the country. The most visible proponents of this program are a bunch of fucking idiots in Texas (the Open Carry Texas "patriots") who invaded a Chiles not too long ago and then posted the video of their encounter online.  

If you consult the Gun Nuts Media blog, despite its humorous/scary title, you'll find there an interesting commentary on OC, based on the author's 30 day experiment doing OC.  His conclusions are valuable and compelling, regardless of your views.  But he is very critical of groups like OCT because he thinks they bring a lot of negative publicity to the movement.  His comments, however, frequently inspire umbrage among those who disagree with him and who---and here is my point, finally--think that critique is again effectively crypto-gun-control advocacy.  Thus, the slippery slope is from a refined commentary on OC to, being a shill for the gun control movement (and eventually, being for gun confiscation).

I will stop there, but as always welcome comments.  

I have another post on this issue coming up, which has to do with the relation between the gun rights movement and libertarianism and its concomitant suspicion of big government.  

*While I find these arguments somewhat compelling, I would still insist that guns are not a regulated as automobiles and pharmaceuticals, to take only two examples.  But one would need to invent a metric to measure this matter.


  1. 1. gun registries have already resulted in gun confiscations in numerous US states. it's not paranoia if it actually happens. you being too lazy to find those examples doesn't mean they haven't happened repeatedly.

    2. "Currently there is an open carry political movement, essentially trying to legalize OC across the country."

    wrong. OC is already legal in most states. the OC movement is a state-level movement in the few states where it's not legal. like texas, for handguns. in places where it's legal, why would they be trying to make it *more* legal?

    also if you invite people to comment, then you distort their comments, don't be surprised when they don't comment again.

  2. Anonymous, as I always do, I thank others for their comments. I'm sorry you're under the impression that somehow I am distorting others' comments. I do think I've been extremely generous to most of my interlocuters. I guess not enough for your taste.

    1. If a gun registry has been used for gun confiscation, that may mean that someone--like Jerad Miller, for example, was able to get guns that he could not legally own. WOuldn't that be the entire point behind a gun registry--to keep guns out of the hands of people who cannot have them?

    Perhaps I need to make my point more clear: there have been no systematic efforts to confiscate the guns of legal owners. If you can show me otherwise, please do so. However, if your examples are of this person and that person having their gun confiscated--sometimes for good reasons (they are now an ex-con, for example) or for bad reasons, those are some of the breaks of having laws enforced by human beings. Namely, they make mistakes. If you're really concerned, you should think about the people that suffer stop-and-frisk, or, as I like to call it, WWB, DWB, EWB (walking, driving and existing, while black).

    OC is not legal everywhere. And it shouldn't be. Especially as it seems that there is no special licensing for OC. That seems like a huge mistake. It should be regulated just like CC. I'm sorry, but just because you can purchase a gun does not mean you are responsible enough to carry it around everywhere.

    If you could point out the commenter I've distorted, I'd be glad to apologize.

    1. i'm not going to do your homework for you. a few short minutes will show you than numerous states have used gun registries to confiscate guns from law-abiding gun owners

      i don't know or care who jerad miller is, and don't know what your point is. but if gun registries worked like you seem to think they do, criminals wouldn't have guns in states with registries

      your blog is lame. it's like every gun post on dailykos, except without the readers. i won't be coming back

  3. Do you have any comments on the argument of the post? That would be very interesting to me.


Please add a comment, even if you do not agree with me. I encourage alternate opinions.