Friday, January 14, 2011

Now Is Not The Time

As is to be expected, I guess, Congress and the media are talking about legislation to regulate guns and ammunition in the aftermath of the Tucson tragedy. My reaction that I didn’t see anyone clamoring to regulate matches after the Southern California wildfires is not actually logical, but might be understandable given where I live. Saying that “there’s too many guns in this country” is all the rage now. Well, I would say there’s too much dry foliage in Southern California, too.

I am not an opponent of reasonable firearm control legislation, and I don’t buy the “slippery slope” argument that claims the one law leads to more laws and to eventual disarming of the population. Nonsense. We have been licensing drivers for many, many years and I don’t see many people being denied the right to drive. Not enough, actually, but that’s a different topic.

But passing laws in the aftermath of disaster is almost always a mistake, because action based on emotion is usually over-reaction. Such laws, written and passed in haste, tend to be poorly formulated and to poorly serve the intended purpose. “Act in haste, repent at leisure.” Too often that is the eventual result, and such laws wind up having to be repealed. Often, nothing is done to replace them and the net result is the loss of an opportunity to have reasonable regulation in place.

Grief counselors will tell people who have suffered trauma that major decisions should be postponed for a period of time until emotional balance has been restored. Why would we think that the same principle is inapplicable to establishing law which will regulate us for years? Acting in the midst of emotional imbalance is simply not good judgement.

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