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Boychuk: Americans shouldn't fall for Barack Obama's gun proposals

A rifle and a hand gun on display

A rifle and a hand gun on display at a shooting range.. (Jan. 4, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

Whatever else may be said about Obama’s 23 “executive actions” on guns and violence, this clearly wasn’t the outcome that gun control advocates had in mind.

That’s the problem with these national “conversations” — people actually expect a give and take.

Every American was horrified and saddened at the slaughter of 26 innocent women and children in Newtown. But most Americans — including, it’s fair to say, a healthy cross-section of conservatives and liberals — recognize that nothing short of repealing the Second Amendment, confiscating every handgun, rifle and shotgun in America, and locking up every marginal character in the land would have prevented the crime.

None of those are realistic options, however much CNN talking head Piers Morgan and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg might wish them to be so.

As for what the president laid out at the White House the other day, most of the ideas are merely palliatives — feel-good measures. Some are foolish, and a few are downright offensive.

For example, Obama would continue the trend of treating gun ownership as a health problem. The president wants “clarification” that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t prevent doctors from asking their patients about guns in the home. It doesn’t. All the law says is that health care providers can’t “require” patients to give up that information, and insurers can’t use that knowledge to deny insurance. But that doesn’t make it right, or any of a doctor’s business.

Yet Obama and Vice President Joe Biden both said that if “there’s even one life that can be saved, we’ve got an obligation to try.” Assuming such an outcome is even possible — it is not — it wouldn’t be the least bit desirable. It’s a recipe for unlimited government.

Americans shouldn’t fall for such emotive nonsense.

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty,” Patrick Henry said. “Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.”

Especially if it’s in the name of saving “even one life.”

Ben Boychuk is associate editor of City Journal.