EJ Dionne reminds one, albeit inadvertently, that the definition of pragmatism in Washington is to be seen to be doing something rather than actually accomplishing anything sensible or proportionate. To wit, contrasting anti-terrorist regulations with gun control measures:
In other spheres, we act reasonably when faced with new problems. When Richard Reid showed that nasty things could be done with shoes on airplanes, airport security started examining shoes. When liquids were seen as a potential danger, we regulated the quantity of liquids we could take on flights. We barred people from carrying weapons onto airliners long ago.
If we can act pragmatically in the skies, why can't we be equally practical here on the ground?
I'm far from unsympathetic to sensible proposals that might make it harder for the wrong sort of people to purchase guns, but the notion that gun legislation should be modeled on the sort of panicked, knee-jerk, idiocy that has become de rigeur at airports is not an idea, I think, that should be pursued. There may be a virtue in creating the impression of greater security at the expense of convenience and comfort but it's far from clear that that is, in fact, the case.