Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dumbest Arguments from Gun-Rights Advocates

After the massacre in Aurora, I was tempted to write a long, angry piece about how big a problem guns are in our country.  However, tons of other people jumped into the fray with their own, half-assed opinions, so I decided to hang back.  Instead, I decided to make fun of those opinions.  Here’s a sampling, with my responses.

If we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.
In the United States, we have something called “laws.”  You may like laws or hate them, but it’s hard to find anyone who thinks laws do nothing.  We outlawed murder, rape, theft and, because we had those laws, those crimes diminished.  If we make rape, theft, and murder legal, people would commit them more.
Also, look up ballistic knives.  A ballistic knife is a spring-loaded blade that can shoot out from the handle.  A while ago, the United States made ballistic knives illegal.  Do you see a lot of outlaws committing crimes with ballistic knives?  No.  Why?  Because we made them illegal.

If nobody had guns, we’d all kill each other with knives or sticks or rocks.
This point is true.  If guns all magically flew off into space, and we had a gun-free world, murders would all be committed without guns.  However, there’d be a huge drop in the murder rate.  Killing someone with a rock is a long, difficult process.  A killer wouldn’t be able to murder an entire movie theater full of people with a rock.

It’s my right to bear arms in the Second Amendment.
When the Constitution was written, a gun was a flintlock rifle, not a device that can fire a hundred bullets in a second.  If you want to own a bajillion flintlocks, I have no problem with that.  You can still hunt or defend your home with a single, preloaded blunderbuss without being able to massacre an entire shopping mall.  There’s no need to have as much firepower as a small regiment to go kill a deer or scare off some moron who wants your microwave.

Gun owners defend the people against government tyranny.

This is the US Army.  You really think a few disgruntled citizens with pistols can slow this down? 

This is an F-18.  How can a man (or even ten men) with an assault rifle defend his home against it?
Face it, the United States has the best-trained, best-armed military in the world.  If you think you can last half a second against our military, go talk to David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.

I need to defend my home from intruders.
In 1986, a man named Arthur Kellerman got a grant from the CDC to study the effects of gun violence in the United States.  He found having a gun in your house made you less safe.  He did a new study in 1988 to compare cities with and without firearm restrictions, finding the restrictions saved lives.  In 1993, he refined his first study to respond to charges of anti-gun bias by trying to remove the bias; he got the same result.

When you have a gun in your home, it is almost three times more likely that someone will use it against you than you will use it to protect yourself.

Gun control didn’t work in Chicago/Switzerland gives everyone an assault rifle.
I would rate these arguments as the “least stupid” of all the ones I list, because they cite actual evidence.  Yes, Chicago banned gun sales and ownership for a couple decades and the homicide rate didn’t go down.  Yes, every man in Switzerland is given an assault rifle and that country has a much lower crime there than we have here.

The problem is the Chicago ban only covered small areas.  If you can drive ten minutes to skirt a ban, how effective is it?  The problem with the Switzerland comment is that Swiss gun ownership comes with mandatory military service (and the knowledge how to safely use and store a gun), and even Switzerland stopped giving out ammunition with those guns.  That’s right, even the country that gives out assault weapons like candy doesn’t want anyone to actually use them.

Cars kill tons of people, why don’t you outlaw them?
This is the argument I would rate “dumbest.”  While cars are involved in a great number of deaths in our country, cars do something other than kill.  Cars are also constantly being modified to make them safer, not only for the driver but for anyone who might be hit by a car.  What are we doing to make sure guns don’t kill the people we shoot at?


sadaust said...

In California you can have a gun that is full-auto or holds more then 10 rounds in a clip if it's semi-auto

Matthew Kagle said...

Do you consider that a good thing?

sadaust said...

I don't think it's a bad thing, but you can go to almost any other state and get that type of gun anyways.

John Catuira said...

Chicago only applies to small areas? You mean the entire city? Yes, the ban applied to the entire city. Even when the ban was deemed unconsitutional, gun control laws are still some of the strictest in the nation. Yet the city still suffers from the a high crime rate. The same can be said of New York City.

And I don't know what CDC study you were looking at the one released in 2003 stated that "the Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence".

In fact, statistics have shown that crime increased after gun laws were passed in Chicago and Washington DC just to name a couple examples.

Gun control is intellectual low-hanging fruit for an issue that's much more complex than merely pointing at a single factor like gun control.

Matthew Kagle said...

We can debate correlation vs. causation until the cows come home. My point about Chicago was that it was enacted over a small geographic area compared to the rest of the country. You can (on a Sunday night) drive outside the city limits of Chicago in about ten minutes and get a gun. How useful is that?

Yes, the CDC didn't implement any actions based on Kellerman's study. With a politically sensitive issue like this one, I can imagine what the results would be. The point for me, however, is that they're not even allowed to STUDY gun violence anymore. Makes it sound like they're afraid of what the CDC will discover.