Floodgates Arguments Gone Wild

As the odds of Congress enacting gun legislation drafted by two senators with “A” ratings from the NRA rise to maybe 20%, the hysteria among Second Amendment Absolutists is rising even faster, viz. this instantly famous Facebook post from U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) opposing any sort of gun purchase background checks (presumably including those on the books). Here’s his deep reasoning:

Read about the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Read that all Tutsi tribe members were required to register their address with the Hutu government and that this database was used to locate Tutsi for slaughter at the hands of the Hutu. (Since the government had the names and addresses of nearly all Tutsis living in Rwanda (remember, each Rwandan had an identity card that labeled them Tutsi, Hutu, or Twa) the killers could go door to door, slaughtering the Tutsis….

I use this example to warn that national databases can be used with evil consequences.

The very next sentence, coming from a congressmen, is one of the most hilariously un-self-aware juxtapositions I’ve ever seen, since it comes right after a suggestion a gun registry is a short step away from genocide:

Preying on the fears of the American citizenry is not good governance.

Defending Duncan, William Teach at RightWingNews makes this half-admission and assertion that’s sort of the Gold Standard for floodgates arguments:

Mother Jones discusses, and does have a point that the Toomey-Manchin legislation does explicitly say that no records will be kept, and, we all know how the government follows the law and protects your liberty, right?

So legislation (drafted, again, by NRA supporters, neither of them by any imaginable definition godless liberals) that explicitly excludes a provision that on some lunatic planet might in a thousand years lead to genocide, is in fact an alarming step in that direction, because government cannot be trusted to obey the law.

Well, in that case, what difference do gun control laws make in the first place? If we’re already living in a totalitarian society, where laws don’t matter, then why bother with politics?

And in the end, that’s what bugs me about these Second Amendment ultras: if you listen to them, their arguments always boil down to needing unlimited gun rights in order to preserve the option of killing soldiers and cops in case they decide their “liberties” have been violated in some subjectively unacceptable manner. And given their taste for floodgates arguments, the alarming thing is that some in their ranks already seem close to the brink of justifying armed insurrection, if, say, the “unborn” continue to be slaughtered or the “looters” continue to benefit from outrages like income taxation.

And they think they’re the only “true Americans.” Lord have mercy.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.