Andrew Goddard, the father of a Virginia Tech student who was wounded in the 2007 campus shooting, stated that McDonnell “listened intently” Saturday over a conference call with the families of the shooting’s victims and survivors. Goddard further commented that he was hopeful that after appealing to Gov. McDonnell, the governor would keep Virginia’s one-gun-a-month law in place.
While it is questionable that keeping the law in place will prevent future catastrophes like the one at Virginia Tech in 2007, it is also unclear why anyone would want to buy more than one firearm a month. On the last point, however, that is a choice that only the individual should be able to make.
On the one hand, no level of government should be able to regulate what a private citizen chooses to or not to buy. Take ephedrine for example. What is, when used properly, a harmless drug was taken off the U.S. market when some individuals abused it and fell ill or even died. America’s choice to purchase and use this drug was taken away, arbitrarily.
On the other hand, there is the “public interest.” Was taking ephedrine off the U.S. market in the public interest? If so, then guns and most household items should be taken off the U.S. market due to their clear potential to cause harm. Fortunately for gun advocates, their arsenal of lobbyists is considerable.
When any level of government begins choosing winners and losers without clear scientific evidence that doing so is in the public interest, it goes down the path of arbitrary policymaking.
As much as I would like to stop gun violence, it’s not clear that buying one handgun a month as opposed to twenty is going to halt any crimes with firearms. If there is any such evidence, I would love to see it.
Until there is evidence, let’s go with reason and not with how we “feel.” To take a phrase from my friends on the political right, it’s a “slippery slope.”
That all said, my thoughts and my best wishes go out to the survivors and families of the 2007 campus shooting.