The Liberal Gun Owners Policy Analysis Mechanism Explained:
The LGO P.A.M is a tool to analyze regulatory ideas from the liberal perspective that includes the recognition of the prosocial value of armed self-defense and firearms ownership rights. It is a tool for the LGO Think Tank and for anyone who wants to use it for their own analyses. Moreover, The LGO P.A.M is a tool to educate people on the rationale behind regulation and the considerations that should go into the process of modeling, accepting, rejecting, and/or understanding gun laws.
You can observe some examples of our output by viewing our Official Company Positions.
The Upper Gate – The Upper Gate describes our limit with excessive and unrealistic firearms regulation. We argue that many excessive regulatory ideas are the result of two components:
1. Ignorance and bias towards the real value of firearms ownership by The American Democratic Party
2. What we call: “The Culture of Retail Law.” This is the culture of political selling that exaggerates the importance and efficacy of certain regulatory ideas or policy platforms.
Please consider the following quotes from an international violence-reduction paper completed by The University of Cambridge’s Violence Research Center:
“Policy makers are quick to claim credit when crime falls in their constituency. The evidence suggests that policy makers sometimes overstate such claims.“
From the same paper:
“Much of the decline in interpersonal violence in the US and internationally is likely unrelated to the specific programming of violence prevention. Rather, much of the drop seems to be due to either unmalleable social forces (such as economic growth, drug epidemics) or unintended side-effects of policies that targeted other goals.”
This is a very diplomatic way to point out the fact that political machines run on selling policy, and that selling often involves constant exaggeration in regards to the “proven” efficacy of regulatory ideas.
The two political components described above combine in our political reality to create the basis of the behavior of The American Democratic Party, and one of its regular, devolved products: The Strategy of Overlaw. This means “too much law.” Moreover, we deem many of the Democratsic Party’s gun-related, regulatory ideas as excessive because the party (and many in the American “Progressive” culture) fail to recognize that there is a factual, prosocial aspect to firearms ownership and armed self-defense. This is a fact that is embraced by individuals inside of the entire range of Americans on the sociopolitical spectrum, not just conservatives. This recognition of prosocial value (or of social utility) should lead to a better understanding of societal balance (and to a fundamental scrutiny) as it pertains to compromising any idea that is related to self-preservation and /or self-defense. The American Democratic Party (and some American “Progressives”) lack this understanding and scrutiny.
The Upper Gate also serves as a limiter on how much total control the Federal Government should have on firearms ownership.
Examples of Regulatory Ideas Stopped (Unsupported) by The Upper Gate:
The “Assault Weapons” Ban
“High Capacity” Magazine Ban
Universal Background Checks
Feature Bans that have no real mitigative effects
Repeal of Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
Placing semi-automatic rifles into The National Firearms Act
(More specific analyses forthcoming)
The Lower Gate – The Lower Gate plainly describes our boundary with the world of gun-rights absolutists: a world detached from reality. There has never been a time where American society has ceased to produce and maintain firearms-related regulation. There are currently regulations on the books. The future of American society will also produce firearms regulation. This means that there is an entire arena of activity that is needed to gauge and guide outcomes related to firearms regulation – as opposed to just engaging in strategies of regulatory elimination and blocking. While this elimination approach has yielded positive outcomes for firearms ownership rights, it has not changed the fact that firearms regulations are still present and substantial.
This elimination approach is one class of needed activity. We call this class, “The Class of Denial” – where activists and lawyers are attempting to stop and eliminate excessive, unnecessary (or all) firearms regulation. The other class of needed activity is what we call “The Class of Improvement” – where analysts, modelers, and lawyers are attempting to make an existing law more effective or less impactful on the liberties of firearms owners. Within The Class of Improvement there can also be an achievement like the decision in D.C. v Heller.
Firearms ownership rights and the American Gun Community would be on very poor footing if it were not for Attorney Alan Gura and this decision. Gura is not an ideologue lawyer. He’s nuanced and understands the limits of ideals within the jurisprudential reality. Because of this, he was able to work effectively within The Class of Improvement. Most gun-activist lawyers are only able to embrace The Class of Denial and, as such, would have been unable to handle the Heller case successfully. Absolutism is not always the best road for gun rights.
The realm of the ideologue champions The Class of Denial and demonizes The Class of Improvement. Our conclusion is that both are necessary for optimal outcomes because reality shows that to be the case.
Moreover (and most importantly), The Background Check is obviously human-kind’s minimum requirement for firearms ownership in advancing society. We see no human future without such a mechanism. As such, it would benefit society to continue to study The Background Check and make attempts towards continual improvement. The limit at our Lower Gate is The Background Check.
The Workspace: The Workspace is the bin of consideration and analysis for all proposed or existing firearms regulation. If we deem the regulation excessive, ineffective, or out-of-balance, it gets shoved out of The Upper Gate – out of consideration. If the idea is an improvement to The Background Check, and it passes muster, it is placed within The Acceptable Body of Firearms Regulation. If some other proposed regulation proves itself to have a realistic, promising effect on a substantial problem, it gets placed in “The Acceptable Body” along with a measure of continuing scrutiny.
Examples of Regulatory Ideas That Are Currently In The Workspace:
The Red Flag Law (ERPO)
Safe Storage Laws
Regulatory points related to marijuana use
Regulatory points related to mental health diagnoses
The Acceptable Body of Firearms Regulation: We also have nicknamed this “The Acceptable Body.” This “bin” describes the existing or proposed firearms regulations that we have analyzed and found to achieve:
1. The desired behavioral effect in relationship to a problem
2. The proper balance with human liberties
3. Potential for continuing improvement
The Acceptable Body represents a collection of regulations that may or may not exist in our regulatory reality. A regulatory idea may be presented for analysis and we may deem it worthy of going into The Acceptable Body even if it has not been officially proposed in congress. Again, these analyses exist in the realm of rationale and are presented to educate and challenge. A regulatory idea may already be a passed law or not. It may be something congress is currently debating or not.
In almost every instance, regulatory ideas that have made it into The Acceptable Body will have caveats attached to them. These caveats are necessary for the potential or future application of the idea. These caveats are also likely to represent the ongoing need for scrutiny and evaluation.
There may also be regulatory ideas that have made it into The Acceptable Body that are accepted due to regional sensitivity. An example of this could be an open-carry support law that is applied in a state that has a long history of open-carry along with a long history of little crime associated with open-carry scenarios or general, gun-related scenarios. Regional and cultural sensitivity is a major part of legitimate scrutiny. There is no reason whatsoever that the citizens of Pinedale, Wyoming need to have the same gun regulations that are being applied to Chicago, Illinois.
Examples of Regulatory Ideas Included In The Acceptable Body of Firearms Regulation:
The Background Check
Pennsylvania’s Approach To Concealed Carry Licensure
Some Safe Storage Law Concepts
The NFA’s approach to select-fire weapons
Regionally Sensitive Open-carry support laws
State Reciprocity for Concealed Carry License Holders
Regulations in regards to air travel
(Specific ideas and analyses forthcoming)
Strategy of Overlaw – A Strategy of Overlaw is a plan to create a never-ending collection of regulations in the pursuit of addressing a problem. Unfortunately, many American Progressives (and The Democratic Party) have spent the twentieth century developing Overlaw as a foundational expectation for what society calls “liberal” culture. The reality is that Overlaw frequently betrays both the facts involved in efficacy and the balance and respect that actual liberals should be paying towards human freedom. If a person believes that regulations are the main solution to problems, and believes that more laws mean more progress, then that person is often being illiberal, not liberal. Laws with scrutiny when appropriate, always measuring actual effect and effects on liberty – this is a principal equation for liberalism.
Unfortunately, as it pertains to firearms rights, The American Republican Party is historically more appropriate – and operates much more closely to how mature liberals should be operating. This is not an acknowledgement of their devolution into pure obstructionism or lack of respect for other important rights. It is an acknowledgement of their historic relationship to scrutiny.
Strategies of Overlaw often betray the reality of actual effects on human behavior and can often disrespect human rights and liberties. There is no existing evidence which supports the conclusion that Strategies of Overlaw deliver superior behavioral effects when compared with other, more comprehensive and tailored approaches to problems. Laws, by their nature, are poor preventatives and can only produce somewhat of an effect when it comes to deterrence. Moreover, political change-over every two, four, or eight years means that maximized regulatory approaches do not often lend themselves to sustainable solutions.
The Incrementalism Flush Valve – The I.F.V is a mechanism that flushes a regulatory idea from our workspace when The American Democratic Party plans on using the idea in a Strategy of Overlaw. Strategies of Overlaw rely heavily on incrementalism – the unceasing increase of additional regulation. This “flushing” means that we will not take the law seriously as presented, but we may then go on to analyze the idea as if it were presented as a single idea. Does this mean that, since all ideas from the Democrats are tied to incremental movement towards Overlaw, all ideas currently presented from The Democrats will get flushed from serious consideration?
Yes. That is exactly what this means. Overlaw is illiberal and the idea that Overlaw is an effective approach to problems is not based in fact. We are liberals. We are here to achieve progress, sustainably, with reality and fact-based approaches – not political salesmanship.
Almost all of the ideas in the current Democratic platform get flushed inside of P.A.M, but we will analyze many ideas as if they were not tied to incrementalism – in order to gauge value.
The Thirteen Fundamental Questions For Policy Analysis
The LGO P.A.M is the mechanism of a working think tank for regulatory analysis. It is not, fundamentally, a political mechanism – although it certainly can be and should be applied to the world of politics. The LGO Think Tank is not interested in the superficial, transactional nature of the American political apparatus. We are interested in the road where hyper-politicization and gamesmanship is traded for exceptional rationale. This is not likely to become a reality anytime soon. However, someone has to set a standard for proper rationale in the liberal reality. We waited around for ten years to see if someone else would do it. No one did. So, we are setting a standard for ourselves.
We begin our analyses by recognizing American context. While it is also important to consider global universals, the reality is that we live within a unique cultural and jurisprudential context – a context that is fundamental to our cultural reality. Once we acknowledge context, we then set our first priority: considering the actual effectiveness of a proposed or existing law. This is in contrast to the more superficial considerations of laws in the transactional, political arena – an arena which may or may not care to consider actual behavioral impacts. Behavioral impacts are the foundation for all of the prevention and deterrence that laws are attempting to affect. We have thirteen standard questions that we use to begin a regulatory analysis. Before we engage P.A.M, we answer these questions:
It should be no secret that Liberals are willing to consider the submission of some liberty for better societal outcomes. This is a principal feature of Liberalism and it is what often sets us apart from conservatives. But it is also important to highlight that an actual liberal mechanism is simultaneously guarding against the constant temptation to surrender liberty in exchange for the guarantees of governmental power. The true liberal mechanism is one of careful consideration and adjustment with principles and limits.
As such, The Liberal Gun Owners Policy Analysis Mechanism will run counter to the more superficial, transactional aspects of the American political reality. It will also run counter to the habit of most American liberals who just go along to get along – another cultural habit that is enormously illiberal.
Doing things properly is bound to bring different, more effective results, in our estimation.
The purpose of P.A.M is to serve as a modeling and analysis device – a device that the American political reality should be using themselves. Examples of P.A.M being applied to different potential and existing regulations are forthcoming. These analyses will include regulatory ideas such as :
- The “Assault Weapons” Ban
- The Background Check
- Red Flag Laws
- Tiered Licensing Systems
- Safe Storage Laws
- Waiting Periods