Why “if we can just save one child…” is a bad argument
In any case, I don’t think it’s right to assign zero value to the preferences of gun enthusiasts, a mistake some anti-gun voices make. Liberals insist that living in a pluralistic society means teetotalers ought to refrain from banning alcohol, though some of them regard it as the stuff of the devil; that social conservatives ought to refrain from banning abortion, though some of them regard it as murder; that even people who get occasional speeding tickets or are at fault in an automobile accident get to keep driving because they have the right to do so. Are guns really in a totally distinct category? Or are they just valued in a distinct subculture of American life? The fact that it’s a very different subculture than mine makes me more wary of insisting that the preferences of its members ought to be paid very little mind in shaping future public policy. Personally, I wouldn’t trade much safety for liberty to have guns, as I don’t care about them, but I’d definitely trade a significant amount of safety for the privilege of living in a free society and enjoying whatever aspects of it make me happy, so long as I don’t do harm to others. It still seems to me that certain gun restrictions could be tightened without transgressing on any significant preferences save two I care less about accommodating: exaggerated fears of slippery slopes and the powerful tribal desire to stubbornly cede no ground at all. I can generally support gun control in accordance with the aforementioned values.