Last Thursday, Connecticut’s governor released the latest in a string of misguided proposals for stricter gun control laws in the “Constitution” state. He called for:
Making Background Checks Universal and Comprehensive
Banning Large Capacity Magazines
Strengthening the Assault Weapons Ban
Promoting Safer Gun Storage
Improving Enforcement of Existing Laws
Though I didn’t find any clearly stated logical arguments in Malloy’s announcement, I can ferret out a few unstated assumptions: like his apparent belief that a ban on magazines holding over ten rounds would prevent a Sandy Hook-style tragedy (as if the time it takes to change magazines matters when your targets are elementary students and unarmed teachers), or that Lanza could not have done the same with Joe Biden’s double barrel shotgun and a pocket full of shells, for that matter, or that a background check on Lanza’s mom would have made a difference.
As for a ban on so-called assault weapons, I have already explained why these weapons are necessary, in short, for the same reason they are necessary for the police and military.
And while I agree that poorly stored firearms may be a reason for common law liability in some cases, statutory enforcement of gun storage is likely to make more people less safe. A locked firearm is not as readily available for self-defense. Will the State assume liability if people a murdered while trying to extract their firearms from their safe? The risk associated with keeping guns handy must be weighed against the risks associated with their being stolen, and this must be done on a case-by-case basis.
This is part of the problem with statutory approaches in general. They generalize, as I have discussed previously in the context of wood stove regulation. But the bigger problem with these approaches is they punish people preemptively–before they have actually hurt anyone. The use of force is not appropriate when threat is not imminent or past–force against force, and only against force. It’s called the non-aggression principle, and it’s the only path to a truly civilized society.
Finally, laws produce all sorts of unintended consequences.
So while I respect Malloy’s intention to “make us all safer,” I hope he will reconsider his proposed solutions. Sure, laws can make you “safer.” “Crime” rates were apparently quite low in the USSR. Of course, that’s if you don’t consider crimes committed by the government against the citizens.