So it is with the attack on gun ownership. We pay attention to court decisions, and to whatever idiot law is percolating through Congress at the moment, but we tend to ignore the day-to-day harassment that makes life difficult—and sometimes impossible—for shooters and for people in the gun business.

An FFL dealer gives up because the record keeping is too much. A gunsmith shuts down because the ATF omits (either by accident or design) to renew his license. A judge or a chief of police sits on a handgun-carry application for a year. If you have lots of time and lots of money, you can fight these tactics but most gun owners and dealers do not, and eventually say the hell with it and give up.

The effect is very gradual but very certain. There are fewer gun owners, fewer gunsmiths, fewer dealers, and fewer guns. And none of this will ever be subject to a vote, or tested in court, or sent through a legislature. The explanation is always “…reasonable precautions taken in the interests of public safety.”

Someday, we may be as “safe” as Great Britain.