The last compromise gun advocates should make is based on the words of that conservative hero, Ronald Reagan: “There is no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying a loaded weapon.” In his statement, issued as governor in May 1967, Reagan was referring to members of the Black Panther Party—Second Amendment absolutists—who walked into the California State House openly carrying rifles to protest a gun control bill.
Reagan’s statement—directed at those Black Panthers publicly brandishing their weapons—should be no different when applied to gun zealots walking through a Chili’s restaurant in San Antonio carrying long guns. Or the buffoon with an AR-15 loaded with a 100-round drum who last month walked around an Atlanta airport. Or the nitwit in Gulfport, Mississippi, who menaced shoppers at a Wal-Mart by loading and racking shells into a shotgun a few weeks ago, forcing an evacuation of the store. In all of these states, that near-sociopathic behavior was legal. But how can anyone tell whether these nincompoops parading around with their guns on display are merely acting like a 4-year-old proudly showing everyone his penis or constitute a deadly menace? Ask someone at the posh Omni Austin Hotel in Texas; earlier this month, a man walked around the lobby with a rifle, legally scaring people. Then he shot and killed someone.
In this great compromise, that is all the gun controllers get: a ban on high-capacity magazines and other slaughter accessories, universal background checks and a ban on the public display of weapons. That brings us to what gun enthusiasts should receive in the bargain.