The logic of gun control legislation has always rubbed against reality’s grain. The most obvious problem is that gun confiscations, regulations, licensing, etc., all affect peaceful citizens directly, but criminals hardly at all. Take what we learn from three-year-old study using data from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Firearm Tracking Unit (FTU):

The top-line finding of the study — that the overwhelming majority of gun crimes aren’t committed by lawful gun owners — reinforces a common refrain among gun rights advocacy groups. They argue that since criminals don’t follow laws, new regulations on gun ownership would only serve to burden lawful owners while doing little to combat crime.

Christopher Ingraham, “New evidence confirms what gun rights advocates have said for a long time about crime,” Washington Post, July 27, 2016.

Nevertheless, gun control advocates continue to demand that law enforcement and government bureaucracies make it harder for law-abiding gun owners to obtain, keep, and carry their firearms.

So, are gun control advocates earnest, or do they have other commitments that undergird their support for remedies that are unlikely to work?

A conjecture

In my experience, folks who approve of gun control tend strongly to oppose “stop-and-frisk.” This provides a major clue to their actual policy values. Stop-and-frisk is an integral method of gun control in that this procedure — unlike registration and background checks, etc. — directly takes “unlawful” weapons from random or suspicious pedestrians. It is an effective method of gun control, such as it is. Conservatives tend to love it because it focuses on de facto criminals and “suspicious” folks, and conservatives like riding herd on those targeted by police suspicion. But why would non-conservative gun control advocates be against stop-and-frisk? It is effective, while other methods are not. It does indeed get prohibited guns “off the street,” which is allegedly the whole point.

The common opposition to stop-and-frisk practices by gun control advocates suggests to me that they do not actually care about solving the problem of violent crimes with guns. Instead, what they want is to control people they don’t like. And who are those hated people? Well, progressives do not like normal gun-owning Americans, who tend not to vote for their candidates and who are not likely to be vegetarians or into “spiritual but not religious” regimens and the like. Those gun owners are “conservatives” and are all-too-apt to be enamored of barbecue and NASCAR and patriotic country-and-western songs. The progressives’ most-hated enemies are, in the words of Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles, “the common clay of the new West; you know, morons.” (This is a major cultural marker.)

Because gun control makes the lives of progressives’ opponents less pleasant, gun control ably serves to play up the basic democratic enticement. The real reason most folks become and stay political in a democratic society is to lord it over the other tribe, to make people who disagree with them do their will.

The default mode of the Administrative State

And so it comes to pass that this sort of attitude feeds the common State practice of anarcho-tyranny, riding hard over peaceful people while letting the criminals run free.

Note how this anarcho-tyrannical modus of law and order feeds (and is fed by) gun control advocacy.

By being tyrannical to normal folk, but letting the anarchs wreak havoc, governments can always find excuses — chiefly in the inevitable decaying social order — to meddle in the lives of non-threatening people. The Washington Post article I quoted, above, does not go on to advise giving up on the gun control dream, but instead frets about finding ways to prevent guns from leaving good people’s hands to bad people’s — in effect, still targeting peaceful people’s behavior.

It is easy to see why folks in government might prefer anarcho-tyranny to overbearing police power over suspects — in profiling the peaceful government agents risk less. But why would non-governmental people prefer that modus operandi? It is the underdog meme, I think, the commitment to protect the other — which in this case gets carried to an absurd extreme.

The traditional Law and Order approach feeds the anarcho-tyrants’ ire, too. Riding herd over suspects seems so “mean.” And here we come to what does appear to be the main divide between left and right. But before we condemn the left wholly, note how shaky the right-wingers can be: they decry gun control, but love stop-and-frisk, which is nothing more than gun control made effective.

Both sides love profiling, of course. The right seeks to profile the “usual suspects,” and the left profiles the peaceful.

More rational crime control procedures?

Not on the table.