Like many bloggers, I have written a number of things and received a number of irate comments (some too offensive to publish) from readers. The thrust of the comments, like the lion's share of conservative blogs, which oppose the gun registry have concentrated their focus on one basic argument, to wit; they claim that there is not enough evidence that the gun registry is adequately useful or effective in the reduction or control of gun violence. Now I have returned what is also a fairly simple argument which essentially runs that such controls on guns can only be seen, like most legal efforts, against the backdrop of a much wider campaign to control guns in society and the real effect of the gun registry is only meaningful if it is one part of an overall normative effort to gradually end gun violence. I have furthered this argument with the simple corollary demonstration that countries with greater level of gun registration and control have, overall, lower levels of gun violence. This is the type of argument made by sociologists like Jurgen Habermas, that laws are part of a normative, rather than a empirical discourse, and their effectiveness can seldom be demonstrated in isolation.
Anyway, the funny point of all of this is that while the anti-gun registry folks have been quite keen to talk about empirical data about effectiveness or lack thereof, I still have not heard a real argument concerning why, in a society where we register everything from cars to dogs, registering a machine, the primary function of which is to kill, is such a huge problem. What are these terrible hardships that these anonymous ranchers and farmers are suffering by being compelled to register guns? A few dollars? Having to fill in a form? You see, if lack of effectiveness were the only issue, it wouldn't be a problem. However, we are now being exposed to an ever increasing number of rather rabid gun owners who rant on about how terrible it is that they are being asked to register guns, what a hardship it is, how significant a violation of their human rights it is. Yet I have never heard a single, not one mind you, how this is so. Every time I have to reregister my car with the province, I think it is a big drag. But I can't ague that it is a terrible violation of my human rights, because it isn't and it would be entirely disingenuous for me to say that is was. Thus, since in the big picture the gun-registry is not that expensive to run I think even if it were only effective in avoiding one gun crime that it has paid for itself. And since I have heard no single argument why its existence is so terrible, I think it is pretty straightforward.