A Brand New iPhone: The Conservative Argument for Gun Control



As the rates of gun related incidents continue to rise, the gun debate rages on in the legislature. As yet no compromise his been found, but the idea of gun control is not necessarily a purely liberal message.

It was time for me to get a new phone, which of course meant going to the Verizon store, deciding on what new phone to get, and then leaping through hoop after hoop after hoop just to be allowed to give the company money. Because my phone wouldn’t turn on, the employee at the Verizon store wouldn’t accept it as a trade-in, so I had to get a new phone number. Doing otherwise would be committing fraud, the employee would get in trouble, he could even lose his job.

This is almost the very definition of the private sector, everything in the defense of profit. Every industry is like this, providing the least possible service for the highest possible price. Giving me a new phone on an old number wouldn’t have raised Verizon’s stock price, said the Verizon guy, so they don’t let the employees do that. I had to go to a new company, spend nearly an hour on the phone, and have my identity checked multiple times to prove I was who I said I was. All just to be allowed to spend my hard-earned money with a business. The worst part, then, was the period of time I had to wait for the phone to arrive in the mail. A “waiting period,” you might call it.

Buying a gun isn’t nearly as difficult as the iPhone was. If you were wondering, all you have to do to buy a handgun in Colorado is go to a gun shop, provide an ID, pass a criminal background check, and look like a functioning member of society for about 10 minutes.

Sound like too much? That’s okay, you can buy a used gun from another private citizen as long as you pass that background check, or head down to New Mexico, which doesn’t require resellers to perform background checks at all.

This is exactly the opposite of the private sector. No one is on the hook if something goes wrong with that gun, except the person who commits the act. If the gun dealer breaches the rules, then they are held liable, but what happens if a crime is committed with no procedural breach? In the event of a mass shooting, who is held accountable? No one. Miles of red tape protect the government officials whose actions or inactions continue to escalate the issue and allow an obvious problem to continue.

The solution from the conservative standpoint is to end the government’s involvement in the issue altogether, remove federal or state background checks and put insurance companies on the hook for every incident. To require not only a license but insurance, as well, to be allowed to buy a gun.

Consider a car. Every minuscule data point, down to where you park your car every night, goes into the calculation of one’s insurance rates. Rates go up if you’re male, if your car is red, or if you’re driving a Porsche. Actuarial tables already determine how high risk you are for a heart attack, or a car crash, can’t they also determine how at-risk you are to endanger other people’s lives with a firearm? Yes, they can. We’ve proved it over and over again.

In the 80s the Ford Sierra Cosworth was named England’s most stolen car, Sierras couldn’t be parked on the street where they would be at risk of being stolen and taken for joyrides. All of a sudden, insurance rates went up, and up some more, up to the point where people couldn’t afford to own them anymore. Ford had to lower the price to £7000 to sell them at all, and insurance was quoted as much as twice the value of the vehicle itself. The Car thefts and joyride-related criminal incidents leveled back out, and Ford went on to make newer, more secure cars. Guns are the very same. Charge high rates on AR-15s, make it harder to own guns that are consistently responsible for an enormous majority of mass shootings, just like the Sierra.

The words “responsible gun ownership” get thrown around by politicians a lot. Putting insurance profiteering at the center would ensure (literally, insure) that you would only be allowed a gun if you were truly responsible. An actuary can look at any individual and say “well, here’s Bill, he likes to go to the gun club with his buddies, he has a license, no previous convictions, and no history of mental illness, he’s probably pretty low risk.” And be correct down to thousandths of a percent of the time. How is that not ensuring responsible gun ownership? How is it responsible to believe that we shouldn’t treat deadly weapons with more gravity than a car, or a hospital visit? It isn’t. Responsibility means the choice is on you, not a government desk jockey, not a gun dealer, no one else but you.

The leading cause of death among adolescents is firearm-related incidents. Setting aside how horrifying a prospect that is for every child in the United States, the infuriating debate rages on in the halls of Congress. Conservative politicians refuse to budge because ceding any ground on the issue would be political suicide. What could be more conservative than privatizing industry and taking the reins away from a bloated and failing government body? The outright refusal to do anything has continued to enable the use of guns to commit the most horrifying acts of violence possible. The public sector has made it easier to buy a gun than an iPhone. It’s about time for that to change.