I've always been a 2nd Amendment kind of guy, but within certain limits. The original notion was, I think, that a populace not be disarmed, so that they could resist a government turned tyrannical; which was, at the time, a good idea.
Of course, when we were all using muskets and Pennsylvania long rifles, and the local blacksmith could cast small cannons, if he wanted, that idea was more viable.
Hardware parity, vis a vis the feds versus the general populace, went away shortly thereafter, and has been installed in our customs and laws since before all of us were born. Yes, you can, with the right permits, get a decommissioned tank to park on your lawn; you cannot fuel it, load it with ammo, and take it to the drive-in theater. You don't get over-the-counter 20mm nose cannons for your Cessna at the Walmart.
You can own a fully-automatic assault rifle or subgun, but you have to have the proper licenses, and in those states that allow it, the feds and your local law will know who you are and where you live. Folks who do this seldom, if ever, run amok at the mall, leastways not that I can tell.
But you aren't supposed to have a rocket launcher in the trunk of the Volvo, nor tactical nukes in the garage, and that doesn't bother me at all that you can't. Because I don't trust you, frankly.
There are plenty of guys who think they should be able to do that, and they scare me a lot more than the idea of the government going completely rabid and slaying the citizens wholesale in the streets.
The fantasy that a bunch of West Virginia hillbillies are going to duke it out with the United States Marines, the Rangers, the SEALs, and win is, far as I am concerned, fueled by too much beer, too few brain cells, and DVDs of Red Dawn, either the original or the why-on-Earth-did-you-do this?-remake.
Parity isn't going to happen. Nor should it.
So we accept some limits, most of us, on the hardware.
Now I do believe that the farthest left of the anti-gun folks would indeed melt down Grampaw's squirrel rifle and make saute pans out of it. No guns, period. And that is a slippery slope; however, since we accept that we don't get to take a bazooka to church, there is a line most of us will mentally allow. Those of us who aren't frothing at the mouth on the far left or far right, at least.
If I had to guess, I'd offer that if the no-guns crowd wins one, it'll be a repeat of one they already had and allowed to lapse: High-capacity magazines and nasty-looking semi-auto civilianized assault weapons. Those won't solve a whole lot of problems, but it's like the metal detectors at airports, there is some feel-better attached to it.
It's a band-aid. It won't even slow the bleeding.
Frankly, I'd let those go, but it's a delaying tactic. Once they realize that outlawing black rifles and twenty or fifty-round magazines doesn't stop people getting shot, they'll come back for the next set of shooting irons, and hope to eventually whittle those down to zero.
They have said as much, this isn't a secret agenda. I don't think it's likely to happen any time soon, but it's what they are–pardon the pun–shooting for.
No, I don't have a black rifle. Have no need for one, and if the Red Dawn scenario comes to pass, I don't think it will help. Civilians buy these because they want them, they surely don't need them. I'd rather have a deer rifle, because if I have to shoot it out with despots who can't be outgunned, I'd want to be a long way off, and assault rifles are not tackdrivers at four or five hundred meters.
What to do about so many gun deaths?
What I'd like to see is what Dan Moran and some folks on his Goggle+ page have suggested:
Hard qualifications for carry, then the right to do so anywhere; education, including having the schools offer classes about guns and what they do. Show them bodies like they do in Driver's Ed, make it real. Make such classes mandatory until they can pass a test demonstrating they know it.
Oh, yeah, and reinstated civics classes, too. So people have a fucking clue how the Republic is supposed to work.
Eventually, education must be the key. Civilized people don't shoot each other.
The shooter at our mall recently? He supposedly had an off-duty security guard lay sights on him with his concealed Glock. The guard didn't take the shot because he didn't think he could make it without hitting a civilian. That's what he said, anyway, and if he didn't freeze, that was probably a good thing. I was taught that if you cannot make the shot, you will not take the shot. Miss and kill somebody else, you are part of the problem, not the solution.
More access to mental health, and an ability to keep somebody who is about to go postal locked up until he is not likely to do so, might help.
Some kind of quid pro quo when it comes to legislation.
I know there are compromises that can be made. Back when Oregon didn't issue carry licenses, the NRA and the most liberal Speaker of the House got together and cut a deal: Carry licenses, in exchange for a waiting period. Both sides got something from the trade, and if we are going to do this, that's probably a smarter way to go.
Like a lot of people, I have more questions than answers. But I do agree we need to do something to keep our classrooms and malls and streets safer.