Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that its stores would no longer sell “assault-style” weapons and nobody under the age of 21 would be allowed to purchase firearms of any kind.
That’s fine; that’s a capitalistic oh-well moment, that’s all. But why insult the intelligence of the American people in the process? The corporate statement accompanying this announcement contained a disgusting line of thought that has no place in American policy-making society, and it’s one that’s commonly used by the left as the lead-in to some sort of strangling piece of legislation.
It’s one that goes like this: If only one life can be saved — fill in the blank.
Politicians cite this with eye-rolling frequency.
If only one life can be saved, this ban on children riding in the front seat would’ve done its job.
If only one life can be saved, this prohibition against pain meds will be justified.
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If only one life can be saved, this requirement that cough medicine be taken off the over-the-counter sales’ shelves will be worthwhile.
Politicos, ever on the alert for the winds bringing votes, are always trying save people’s lives through regulations and laws and legislation that have the cumulative effect of leaving the citizens in a permanent state of No Can Do — in a society where all is regulated and individual freedoms are stripped. The lifesaving results of these regulations are more often than not negligible. But it’s an easy sell; the old “if only one life can be saved” is a solid go-to for politicians because it makes them sound caring and concerned, and doesn’t require a high standard of proof to show the ends, the loss of individual rights, justify the regulatory means.
Now comes Dick’s.
Dick’s, a private company with a lot of bread that’s been buttered by gun sales, announced via a corporate letter that it’s not only putting a stop to sales of “assault-style rifles” in all its stores, including Field & Stream, as well as sales of high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, and of all firearms to those under the age of 21. But also, the company goes further, calling on legislators to do pretty much the same — and the company does so by invoking the weak, very weak and deceptive “if only we can save one” argument to boot.
How to prove a life saved by a sale not made? Elephant, meet room.
But Dick’s has left the building.
“[W]e implore our elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass the following regulations,” Dick’s corporate letter from CEO Edward Stack read. “Ban assault-style firearms, raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, ban high capacity magazines and bump stocks, require universal background checks … ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms, close the private sale and gun show loophole.”
Then this, in closing: “Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct — but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.”
No. Stripping guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens based on an unproven fantasy land idea that doing so can save one life is not common sense. It’s what the anti-gun zealots argue.
And it’s just as easy to flip it and say this: We need to arm teachers in the schools because if only one student can be saved by an administrator fighting off an intruder, then it’s worth it.
We need a federal firearms law that allows all law-abiding citizens to tote their guns anywhere and everywhere, across all state lines, because if only one person is saved by an armed individual fighting off a surprise assault from a crazed attacker, then it’s worth it.
We need a concealed carry law that crosses all state lines and supersedes all state bans, because if only one person is saved from this deterrent-type policy, then it’s worth it.
See how that works?
“We support and respect the Second Amendment,” Stack said in his corporate letter.
Well, no, not really — not when that so-called support and respect of a long-held societal right, a God-given and governmental-backed right, is so easily tossed to the side for an argument that just doesn’t make sense. That’s just called a cave. And justifying the cave based on the maybe-save of one? Well, that’s just called a lie, and an intelligence-insulting one, at that.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.