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The slope isn’t slippery; it’s not even a slope

Any time we bring up gun-safety laws, someone warns about the “slippery slope.” Ivonne Rovira knocks down that argument.

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Photo by STNGR Industries / Unsplash

Publisher’s note: This column was written a few days ago, before the multiple shooting incidents in Louisville yesterday. I thought about not running it; but after thinking about what it says versus the events of the past few weeks, I decided to go ahead and publish it.


Comments about the so-called “slippery slope” of common-sense gun laws emerge with every mass shooting, of course, but you don’t need to wait around until then. This trope is ubiquitous.

The canard is that, if you pass red-flag laws, or ban bump stocks, or — God forbid! — ban actual weapons of war (the AR-15 is the civilian version of the military’s M16), then you’ve embarked on a slippery slope to total gun confiscation and Communist China, Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, or Nazi Germany (take your pick).

But that’s stupid on its face, because we’ve been here before and somehow managed not to turn into a totalitarian state.

Somehow, the United States had an assault-weapons ban from 1994 until 2004 and — surprise! surprise! — managed to avoid devolving into George Orwell’s 1984. Imagine that! Also, unsurprisingly, gun massacre deaths dropped precipitously during those years and rebounded once the ban was lifted by Republicans. Maybe that’s why even everyday Republicans back an assault-weapons ban.

But the assault-weapons ban isn’t the only instance of a non-existent slippery slope. Americans can’t legally own bazookas, hand grenades, landmines, bombs, or missiles — all the weaponry you’d need if you really were going to take on the U.S. government to prevent tyranny. So that stupid argument falls apart right from the start. But that doesn’t stop everyone from insurrectionist Congress members Bob Good, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Lauren Boebert to the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to National Review from making that same stupid argument.

As the title says, it’s not a slippery slope. Common-sense gun laws are just that: common sense.

BTW – A lot of people criticized George Santos and some other disreputable Republicans for sporting AR-15 pins instead of the ubiquitous flag pins. Not me. If someone ranks the NRA above kids and country, I appreciate the transparency.

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Ivonne Rovira

Ivonne is the research director for Save Our Schools Kentucky. She previously worked for The Miami Herald, the Miami News, and The Associated Press. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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