We often hear these days from people on both sides of the gun control issue that they are all in favor of "reasonable" gun control measures but each accuses the other side of being unreasonable by the positions they take. Is the "reasonable" gun control law a lot like Sasquatch, Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster - some sketchy evidence but no real proof of its existence? Let's take a moment and explore the situation once more.
Is a complete ban on the ownership of firearms "reasonable?" I have often joked that I would agree to a complete destruction of all guns and ammunition if everyone took everything they had and threw them into a volcano somewhere. The problem is I know humans and human nature and somebody somewhere would hold out and keep his guns because he thinks I am so I choose to hold onto mine in case he does (did I lose you?). When our benevolent government officials talk about a total ban, they are not being truthful because they make the exception for government employees to keep their's. In a land where no one owns a firearm, the man who does is king and can very easily become a ruthless tyrant. The best way to keep these persons in check is that all the people are armed and prepared to defend themselves. "But a police officer's/soldier's job is dangerous and that's why they need their firearms." I won't dispute that and will not bar them from access to the weapons they need to protect themselves but the reason their jobs are dangerous is because life is dangerous and if anyone hasn't noticed, I'm just as much alive as the average police officer/soldier and have just as much a right to protect my life, too.
Is a ban on certain types of firearms "reasonable?" Again this is another question of the equality between the agents of government and the people they supposedly serve but now in regards to the level of weapons technology. History shows that when two peoples have come into contact with each other, regardless of the disparity in the sizes of population, the group with the better weapons ends up annihilating or decimating and enslaving the less advanced civilization. The earliest gun control laws in America were in place to keep the slaves from fighting for and gaining their freedom. This situation only ensures the victory of the agents of government over the people and does nothing to make life any safer.
Is complete registration of all firearms "reasonable?" The usual justification for this is it's what the government forces people to do with their automobiles but remember this is only done to collect taxes on automobiles that people intend to operate on the public roadways and not for those motor vehicles kept at the homestead and only driven on private property. Registration is supposed to make it easier to trace a firearm back to its "rightful" (read "registered") owner but that's only if a firearm is left at the scene of a crime and the police find it. And like automobiles, firearms can be stolen and then used in crimes or used in crimes and the owner reports them stolen. What registration really does is give our benevolent government officials an inventory to look for when they get around to confiscating all firearms in the hands of non-government personnel. We merely need to study History again and see that confiscation always follows registration which is sold to the public as a crime control measure (ever wonder why History is not a top priority subject in the government schools?).
Is the licensing of all gun owners "reasonable?" Again the usual example of this is what the government does with people who drive cars but this analogy falls apart, too, because the driver's license only applies to the operation of a motor vehicle on the public roadways and not the ownership of the automobile being used. Many people have a driver's license who do not own a car and many own motor vehicles who don't have driver's licenses and you don't have to have a government-issued driver's license to drive on private property. The government, through its judicial branch, refuses to allow itself to be held responsible for the actions of any person licensed by it no matter the apparent incompetence of the licensee to engage in the licensed activity and the licensing of drivers was sold to the public as way to eliminate fatal automobile accidents (oops...). Licensing, like registration, only gives the government a nice list of persons and homes to begin with when they choose to confiscate all the guns in private hands.
Here we see that what our benevolent government officials consider "reasonable" is usually meant to give them and their minions the advantage and control over the governed. So are there any reasonable measures that might be of some use in preventing the misuse of firearms? I've come up with two.
I'm sure everyone can agree that children (nine years and under) and juveniles (10 to 17 years) shouldn't have unrestricted access to firearms. It is the position of authority and responsibility of a parent to decide when it is the right time for their child to exercise that child's right to keep and bear arms. The government shouldn't outlaw the possession of firearms by young people but only prohibit adults who are not the child's parent or guardian from providing, in any form or fashion, firearms to children without the consent and knowledge of the child's parent(s). Also I believe that most people will agree that we don't want firearms in the hands of persons who are mentally incompetent but I wouldn't leave it to the government to decide who is incompetent and who isn't (I think a lot of our politicians would qualify). History shows us once again that benevolent government officials like to use the power to diagnose psychiatric/psychological disorders to quash political opponents (the former USSR is a good example) so I would leave this decision up to the affected person's family. The government can affirm the family's decision through the due process of law in a court of competent jurisdiction. The power for both of these situations is not left to the government but to that basic building block of human civilization and good social order, the family.
We can see that most "reasonable" measures recommended by the government are usually designed to secure itself from any threat, foreign and domestic, and since it has all the pens and ink it needs to write the laws, it will probably get the "reasonable" restrictions it wants. We can argue and protest but we must resolve to resist at all costs when it comes to our lives and our liberty. One last note for those who might be sent to collect my weapons at some point in the future. When you step across the spent brass on the floor in my home and pry my gun from my cold, dead hands, mind the barrel. It will be red-hot and you might burn your fingers on it...
* For further reading I would like to recommend The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong and Straight Shooting: Firearms, Economics, and Public Policy both by John R. Lott, Jr.