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I'm having a bit of trouble with that sentence. Is it 'should we spend the political capital to get something passed?"

Yeah, I wasn't very clear on that one, was I? More like, "How much political capital do we have to spend on this and where is the bar / how high can we aim such that we can utilize the political capital we have to get it passed?" The thought/analysis that has been done has been "how far *can* we go" more than "how far *should* we go".

I don't know that rigorouus analysis is possible on this issue. Waiting for analysis that is acceptable to all will result in nothing getting improved.
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But there's always going to be disagreement as to what level of analysis CAN be achieved. Once analysis is doen, how it's accepted and interpretted leads to yet more inertia.


Not much to disagree with there - but that said, some analysis, even theoretical back-of-the-napkin-type stuff, would be more than what we've seen done to date, and would at least have 2 positive results: 1) it would be an early indicator whether a given measure passes the smell test, and 2) it would lend some momentum towards having a debate on the measure by showing any potential opposition that the proponents have at least tried to head down the path of due diligence. What we're seeing now is one side saying, "We should do this 'cause we say so," and the other side saying, "Nuh uh, no sale." Obviously we can never know for sure what the concrete effects of a particular measure are going to be, simply because no one knows the future. But there's data out there where things have been tried before, and we know the results of those attempts, and we can theorize on how things will go down, and we can try to do the best we can to anticipate and mitigate the ubiquitous unintended consequences. Just because we can't know for sure/analyze to within an inch of its life/please everyone is no reason to not even get started with something.

The role of guns in history is important, but they were just tools to implement change. They still just do one thing, the same thing they've always done. Kill stuff. If we really want to kill a lot of stuff, guns are passe. It's an atomic age. It's a drone age. Our top killers sit in cliimate controlled offices in Omaha at video consoles.

I would argue that you've described the role of guns to a state: kill stuff, and lots of it, for a variety of reasons. But if you break it down further they have another, more personal role: equalizer among disparate individuals. From the first time Ook cold-clocked Gluk with a tree branch and took his food, man-made weapons have replaced for we soft-skinned, fangless, talonless, clawless humans what nature gave most of the rest of the animal kingdom, but advancement in those has always favored the strong, or the dextrous, or the quick, to the detriment of those who are weaker, slower, clumsier. Until the firearm. Less than a pound of steel and/or polymer can put a 90-lb grandmother in a wheelchair on equal footing with a 300-lb linebacker-sized dude. I couldn't care less about killing lots of stuff, or being a "top killer", and there's just one reason I would want to kill something - to stop him from doing likewise to me and mine. That's been the role of guns for longer than nations have used them to do the various things they do with 'em.

The people I've met who live and breath guns are, generally, not the most informed intellects. They are not the ones who should be trusted with important matters. They ain't generals or presidents. They are followers. Cannon fodder.

I'm sure there are guys like that on both sides of the issue, perhaps even more weighted towards the side you're talking about (but not necessarily). But they're not the ones out making reasoned arguments that might actually get talked about in the halls of power. Unless we're talking about the tendency of politicians to answer every dilemma with "whichever will get me re-elected", and then you're just talking about the power of the mob, who has the most numbers, and it doesn't matter much how smart or dumb those guys are. But I don't really know any folks like that, I'm not really all that connected to the "gun culture". But I read a lot, and on this subject it's mostly guys like Dave Hardy, Dave Kopel, Clayton Cramer, Stephen Halbrook, Don Kates, etc (more than one of them are published law professors). If there's a "Cletus's blog about shootin' stuff", I've probably never been there.

The cool thing about this country is that this president's executive orders can be challenged in our courts, and in 4 years we get to peacefully select a like individual or a person with a different mindset. Either way, this behemoth of a country will keep on chuggin' along.

Amen to all of that, brother.

JT
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