On: Bogus Arguments Against Gun Control
Earlier this week, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history occurred. A record that I’m sure will be broken much too soon. Just like after every mass shooting (it’s sad that they’re so commonplace that it didn’t even feel weird to write that sentence) the subject of gun control comes up. There are always extremists on both sides, but even very reasonable people use extremely unreasonable arguments to explain why they think we don’t need enhanced laws surrounding gun control. So I’ve come up with a list of the most common arguments I’ve seen, and why I believe they’re bogus.
Just to be clear, I am not anti-gun. I am a gun owner. I often go to “ladies night” at the local shooting range for friend dates. But I do believe that there are some guns that private citizens should not have access to, that guns should always be properly stored, and that if we’ve decided someone is unfit to own a gun, we should actually enforce that, whether it’s through mandatory background checks for ALL gun sales or by other means. I will probably write another post about what I think good gun control policies would look like, but for now, here are my responses to people who think we don’t need stricter gun control.
Bad guys will still get guns. I don’t think anyone believes that when something is made into law, everyone magically follows it. Life isn’t an all or nothing approach. We still put speed limit signs up even though everyone drives faster, we still say murder is illegal even though people still do it, and all you can eat buffets still don’t allow doggie bags even though your grandma puts a ton of shrimp in her purse before she leaves. Laws aren’t there so that people will instantly do the right thing. They’re there so that when people do the wrong thing and get caught there are repercussions, and when people see someone getting punished for doing something illegal, it makes them think twice about doing it themselves.
Cars kill more people than guns. That’s why cars are highly regulated!! I’ve seen the same argument with alcohol, cigarettes, deer, etc. All of which are highly regulated; well, except the deer. We still can’t get them to cross only at those signs we put up. You can find lists all over the internet of things that are more regulated or harder to get than guns, and none of them have the sole purpose to harm another living thing like guns do.
I need a gun to protect myself. Most people aren’t talking about taking away law abiding citizens’ self-defense weapons, just guns with the only purpose of hitting hundreds of people in 4 minutes, and making it harder for the people who aren’t supposed to have guns get them. (Sidebar: the main people who want you to think the government is going to take your guns is the gun lobby. Nothing makes people buy more guns today than telling them they won’t be able to buy them tomorrow.) If people at the Route 91 harvest festival had guns, there would probably be at least twice as many deaths. There is nothing they could have done to stop someone shooting from 32 floors up a quarter mile away. It has been proven over and over again that guns are accidentally discharged, often by TODDLERS, more often than they are used in self-defense. So how does this argument still hold any weight??
People can kill people in other ways (bombs, knives, etc). That’s why it’s illegal to make bombs! And if we find evidence that someone was making a bomb, we arrest them. And just because there are other ways to do something bad, doesn’t mean we should give up on trying to stop people from doing that bad thing in the easiest, most effective way. Imagine if I told you that I’m not going to lock my front door anymore because if a bad guy really wants in my house he’ll just break a window anyway. You might say, that’s crazy, you should still lock your door. It’s a simple way of protecting your house without much effort, and some bad guys are just looking for an unlocked door and will move along with just that small hurdle in their way. And I would do that thing where I tap my finger on my nose like, bingo, you just made my point for me. Just because there are other ways to do something, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to limit one of the ways.
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Talk about captain obvious. This one is actually technically correct, but since we can’t outlaw all people (and believe me, sometimes that sounds like heaven) we need to put laws in place to make it as difficult as possible for people to kill other people, especially large amounts of other people at once. And we need to punish people who break these laws and have weapons with no other purpose than killing lots of people, before a single life is lost.
Second amendment rights, protect ourselves against the government, this is how Hitler came to power. There is just so much here (and yes, I’ve seen all of this in a single argument several times). First of all, there are many ways the second amendment can be interpreted, and I’m not a legal scholar so I won’t try to interpret it myself. What I will say, is that when the constitution was written, women and people of color didn’t have the same rights as men, and we corrected for that, as well as many other things that we’ve deemed lacking over the years. The concept of amendments is exactly so that we can adapt as things change and advance. When the constitution was written, people had muskets, and it took 20 seconds for a trained soldier to load one, so there’s no way the founding fathers could predict the types of weapons that are often used in mass shootings today.
As far as protecting yourself from the government, you realize the government has millions of trained soldiers, tanks, missiles, you name it, right? Even with all the guns in the Mandalay Bay hotel last Sunday night, you would still be no match for the government. And finally, Hitler didn’t rise to power because he took guns away from citizens, he rose to power because he was a very persuasive speaker who was able to get a broken country to follow him. A country that was looking for a scapegoat and was ready to accept an entire race of people as the reason for their problems. Why does everything always have to come back to Hitler? Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t make them the Hitler of whatever. Just stop.
Did I miss your favorite argument against gun control? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Maybe you will have one that actually changes my mind.