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Because gun owners have a history of defying gun control laws (compliance with assault weapons bans in Boston and Cleveland has hovered around one percent). Because the authorities would be inclined to escalate enforcement. And because resistance to such escalation would inherently involve, you know, guns.
In Can Gun Control Work? James B. Jacobs, director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University, concluded, "If black market activity in connection with the drug laws is any indication, a decades-long 'war on handguns' might resemble a low-grade civil war more than a law-enforcement initiative."
And that takes us back to drug prohibition—the eternally failed crusade to make much of the population change its ways, "or else."
It won't work. It can't work. It never has worked.
But the authorities try, and try, and try to make people knuckle under to laws that they find offensive and intrusive. And as people refuse to comply, the authorities raise the stakes, adopting tactics that most of us recognize as violations of fundamental rights and of simple human decency.
A version of this column earlier appeared in newspapers including the Verde Independent.