Many years ago, Mark Moore observed wryly that a good way out of the gun control morass would be for the congress to (i) require an individual license to possess any firearm, hand grenade, etc., and (ii) to charter (and fund, of course) the National Rifle Association as the sole agency empowered to issue such licenses, to any citizen for any weapon it sees fit. I think Mark was onto something. The gun advocates have the letoff of disapproving gun possession post facto for crazies who commit mayhem, and protecting it for anyone who hasn’t yet blown away innocent citizens.

I can almost taste my desire to see the official any-weapon-for-anyone-anywhere lobbying bullies presented with applications by sketchy or scary characters, knowing that if something goes down, the NRA will be on record as having specifically approved of his getting hold of an AR15 with lots of big magazines. Full automatic, and a few thousand rounds of cop of cop-killer teflon cartridges, of course, because the real patriot has a duty to be better armed than anything he might come upon in the pursuit of his peace assuring. Especially, better armed than the oppressive official thug anti-liberty enforcers on the SWAT team.

And if they refuse such an applicant, their awkwardness vis-a-vis their more verbrennte members will be equally enlightening for all.

If only.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Michael O'Hare

Michael O'Hare is a Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.