This is a continuation from my yesterday’s article, in which I countered “Virtual President” Bill Whittle’s arguments against gun control. Here are my counter arguments against some more common anti-regulation arguments.
1. People kill people, guns don’t.
Let us together examine the logical validity of this very common argument that come from gun advocates. Yes, of course. People kill people. Bad people kill people. But bad people without a gun are just bad people. With a gun they are murderers. A gun, by itself, is just an inanimate object. But it is the tool of choice that is used by people who want to kill other people. It is the most efficient and default choice. You can do your job of killing someone most efficiently using a gun. No contact needed; you can do your job from a distance, with very little skill. You can fire multiple shots. Success is guaranteed to a much larger extent. Faster the weapon, more the harm. The job gets done so quickly that the victim has no way to run or hide, most likely giving the murderer in most cases a chance to run. You say, guns are not the only way. Let’s address that now.
For that matter, even bombs and grenades don’t kill people, people kill people. Should even bombs be allowed in private hands?
2. Even cars can be used to kill people, you don’t ban them.
Gun control activists say you can kill with a car, a knife, a hammer, etc. and it is impossible to ban or regulate them, so why are guns being singled out. Now, let us look at the comparison.
If some crazy person wants to use a car as his weapon, first of all he cannot go into a classroom with a car. He cannot go into any building, any playground, any theater. That limits his choice to the road, and makes many places intrinsically safe against this “murderous weapon”. Even on the road, once he begins his attack, it is much easier for the crowd to save itself by getting out of his way; just going on the sidewalk can save you, something you can’t do when faced with a gun-toting criminal. Yes, there will be some casualties, but nowhere as close to those possible if the attacker used guns. If you look at the list of vehicle ramming attacks on this page, you will see that the number of dead is much lower and the chances of injured people surviving is much higher.
Similarly, with knives and hammers, one has to have physical contact with the victim, one at a time, and the number of people an attacker can kill remains limited. It will be much easier to overpower and stop a knife wielding person than it will be a gun wielding person. In the often cited China knife attack, an anomaly rather than a rule, it took a group of eight terrorists in a coordinated attack to kill 31 people. Imagine what havoc they could have created, had they been armed with guns.
Another thing some people conveniently gloss over is that the only purpose of a gun is to kill, whereas automobiles, knives, hammers, are tools of convenience without which life is not possible. You may say the gun has other purposes (self defense, hunting, target shooting, etc.), and I am addressing those below. Also see my last article.
Last but not the least, if you really want to compare guns with automobiles, think of how much regulation is in force in use of automobiles. A new driver has to take a written test, a vision test, take safety classes, drive under a learner’s permit for 6 – 9 months, then take a driving test; only then is she allowed to drive an automobile. In addition of all that she is required to buy liability insurance, to cover for the possibility of her car hurting someone. Are you ready to apply similar rules to use of guns? I have heard an argument against this one too. “Driving is a privilege, gun owning is a right.” Well, rights come with responsibilities, and some restrictions; don’t they.
3. But I need it for my self defense and self preservation.
I also talked about it in my last article. It is a myth born out of paranoia that guns are a tool of self defense and self preservation. In any responsible home that needs to be defended, you will need to keep your guns locked away, most likely unloaded, just so that kids don’t get to them. That need for keeping the kids safe also renders the gun useless in an emergency. On the other hand, as documented on this website,
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 130,557 deaths in 2013 from unintentional injuries, the 4th ranking cause of death in 2013 overall. From 2005-2010, almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings.
Accidental gun deaths occur mainly in those under 25 years old. Over 1,300 victims of unintentional shootings for the period 2005–2010 were under 25 years of age. Adolescents are particularly susceptible to accidental shootings due to specific behavioral characteristics associated with adolescence, such as impulsivity, feelings of invincibility, and curiosity about firearms.
Miller, Azrael, and Hemenway reported in a 2001 study that regardless of age, people are significantly more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns, relative to states with fewer guns. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels.
A statistically significant association exists between gun availability and the rates of unintentional firearm deaths, homicides, and suicides. In the United States, over 1.69 million kids age 18 and under are living in households with loaded and unlocked firearms, setting the scene for possible tragedy if firearms are not locked and stored properly. A study from 1991-2000 showed that twice as many people died from unintentional firearm injuries in states in the U.S. where firearm owners were more likely to store their firearms loaded.
Now you decide if guns are a good tool for self preservation or self destruction.
4. It’s the culture, the video games, the movies, not guns.
The next excuse that is given by people who don’t want any blame to be placed on guns is to curse the perceived cultural changes in America. Supposedly violent video games and violent movies are numbing people’s minds against violence. Well, I personally am not a big fan of video games, so by all means go after them too. But still, I don’t think a clear link has been shown that indicates that a particular murderer was an avid video game player or a violent movie watcher. No evidence to support link between violent video games and behavior, says this research report from University of York researchers.
The complaint of kids being undisciplined is ages old. My personal opinion is that overall, a majority of children today are more morally grounded than previous generations. They are less likely to support hateful ideologies like racism, slavery, homophobia, and misogyny than their previous generations. There are some bad apples, as always, and what makes them put their evil designs into action are guns. So, keep them away from guns.
Then there are these memes circulated that we are not allowing God into schools, that is why these murders are happening. I don’t understand how an omnipotent and omnipresent God can be “pushed out” of schools, and how the all-compassionate can be so cruel as to punish innocent students, who had nothing to do with this.
There is so much more on this “culture” front. People are missing the ability to punish their kids. They want to arm the teachers with tasers and guns. The craziness just does not stop.
In order to keep a weird version of 2nd amendment unchecked, they want to kill the first amendment which separates religion from state and allows freedom of expression.
5. AR-15 is not an assault rifle.
Very often people will argue that we are unnecessarily targeting the AR-15 and “AR” does not even stand for Assault Rifle. I think there is a need to understand each other here. We, the ordinary non-gun-owners may not be fully knowledgeable about gun classifications, bore sizes, bullet types, attachments, etc. and most of us do not have a desire to get educated. What we are concerned is is the speed at which a gun or device discharges bullets. If a gun or a gun with an attachment is capable of discharging 45 bullets in one minute, making it easy for a killer to kill without reloading, then we feel it should not be required by people who need a gun for hunting or self defense. If there are other guns that can do this, those should be regulated too.
6. Bad guys will get guns anyway.
Another very common argument is that bad guys will get guns anyway, and by introducing gun regulation we are stripping law abiding citizens of guns. Well, nobody is proposing to strip law abiding citizens of guns. What we are proposing is that it should be harder for criminals and mentally ill people to get guns. Also, the argument that “bad guys will do bad things anyway, so we shouldn’t have regulation” is a very disingenuous argument. There are thousands of arguments against it. We can’t buy prescription medicines without a doctor’s prescription, but bad guys get them anyway, so should we do away with the requirement of a prescription? Murders are against the law but people kill anyway, so should we no longer make murders against the law.
If the law dissuades even one of ten attackers, that will mean many lives saved.
7. Good guy with a gun vs Bad guy with a gun
The final argument is that a good guy is needed to stop a bad guy with a gun. This is also usually proven to be a myth. Yes, in case of law enforcement officers whose job is to enforce law, it is true. But for the ordinary people, it is hard to be armed all the time with a gun ready to shoot. More often than not, the gun proposed to be used for self defense stays locked at home or in a car or in a holster when the situation happens.
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