Posted: Jun 15, 2022 12:01 AM
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No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
–Edmund Burke, 1757
Fear may serve as an effective motivator for individuals facing danger, but as a basis for law-making, it consistently leads to poorly crafted legislation and even dangerous public laws. So it is with gun control, a path on which a bipartisan group of Senators appears now committed.
Fear of domestic terrorist attacks following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and of further foreign terrorist attacks after 9-11, led directly to laws that demonstrably were far broader than necessary to address whatever shortcomings those incidents revealed, and which have seriously eroded individual liberty in the years since.
In the current frenzy to guard against tragic mass shootings such as occurred last month at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, federal lawmakers appear ready once again to use “fear” as a motivating force for legislative action. This week a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, led by Texas Republican John