OSD 173: The evolution of compromise
On give and take.
A group of senators announced a negotiation framework yesterday:
The particulars are in the article but aren’t the most interesting thing about it. The most interesting thing is the generation gap it highlights.
The senators involved with this are well-established — in other words, fairly old. They built their political careers in a world where gun rights were in a very different position. No major sources of news and info about guns other than a handful of old-line media companies. No internet. No Heller. No carry permit tidal wave. And a 26-year stretch, from the Gun Control Act of 1968 to the 1994 assault weapons ban, of gun rights meaning less each year than they did the year before.
Those politicians were molded in an era where success as a gun rights supporter meant striking a deal where you’d lose a little less, for now. Operate in that mode for a few decades, and it’ll do two things. First, it’ll cap your ambitions. And second, it’ll make you forget that those ambitions were ever important in the first place.
So it’s with those blinkered ambitions that they approached this new draft framework. But today things are very different. Old-line media companies are the last place that knowledgeable people get info about guns. The internet exists. Heller exists, and Bruen could supplement it as soon as this Wednesday. Permissive concealed carry is nearly ubiquitous in the US. And gun rights have been making steady gains in popularity and in law ever since 1994.
In these politicians’ formative days, compromise meant negotiating the size of the loss. But today, the only compromise that will fly is one that reacquires the true meaning of the word — everybody gives, and everybody gains. For example, a deal that included the carrot of removing suppressors and barrel lengths from the NFA would be extremely popular in the gun rights world. But the draft framework assumes that the politically feasible number of carrots is zero. That was true 40 years ago. It is no longer true.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, because you can think of it as the last hurrah of the old school thinking on compromise. If it succeeds, it means the old school still has some juice. But if it fails, it means the old, one-sided definition of compromise is now officially deprecated.
This week’s links
Armed and Styled on how small carry guns can be deceptively big for petite people. Includes tips on how to find the right gun for you.
We did a pistol course for the Des Femmes crew in Austin, TX. If that sounds like your kind of team outing, reach out and we’ll do one with you too.
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