Gun Apologists Use the Worst Analogies

It’s been 5 days since a disturbed individual carried a high-capacity mass-casualty rifle into a school in Florida and committed one of the most violent crimes in American history, killing 17 and wounding many more. The event has sparked the usual reaction of dividing most of the nation into camps:

  • Second Amendment opponents who want it repealed altogether,
  • Weapons limitations advocates asking for “assault rifles” or anything more powerful and efficient than a handgun to be banned,
  • Mental health reform advocates, and
  • Gun rights apologists who refuse to bend on any gun control measures, citing their personal freedoms.

While there are certainly caveats here, and many people who are in multiple camps — for instance, most call for improvements in mental health care regardless of their gun stance — these are the 4 main categories I’ve personally observed people to fall into. Of these groups, there is one whose members seem to rely on memes and analogies the most in order to get their point across — a method that doesn’t serve well for someone trying to win an argument. Let’s take a look.

The following are true examples of arguments I’ve encountered over the past few days from gun apologists, and how I’ve responded. These are tactics that gun apologists are using all over the internet, and the only ones they’re convincing with these arguments is each other. They’re just awful.

Since this is obviously not a real story (I hope), I won’t comment on what an irresponsible example of gun safety it is. All this is, is an illustration that a gun is an inanimate object. I’m pretty sure we all know that already. But it doesn’t hold up. While yes, a gun needs a person to pull the trigger, it’s also designed to make that human more efficient at killing something, which is where the problem lies. For instance, I could make the same argument for cars. Cars don’t transport people, people transport people (driverless cars aside). My car has been parked in my driveway all day and has transported no people on its own. But if I want to go somewhere, it sure as hell helps me travel as many miles as possible in a short amount of time. The point is, I could travel on my own, using my own two legs, and be very inefficient at it. But when I use a tool specifically designed to maximize my impact, I become much more efficient. It’s that efficiency at killing people that gun control advocates are trying to address. Sure, a school shooter could walk into a school with no weapons and start beating people to death with his bare hands. But would he be able to kill 17 people in a matter of minutes, or would he be stopped pretty quickly, possibly even killing no one?

So here’s another stupid analogy that gun apologists think helps them drop the mic and walk away. It obviously refers to passing tighter gun control laws, and that those laws would only punish “law-abiding gun owners.” News flash: 100% of mass shooters have their guns taken away AFTER they become a mass shooter. That’s not preventative. Gun control advocates are trying to prevent the next tragedy. We help prevent drunk driving by passing laws and taking other action to prevent it — restricting licenses for people with a dangerous driving past, setting up checkpoints to randomly test drivers for blood-alcohol content, and in some states, making bars liable for DWI damages if found to be negligent. These are actions that are taken to help thwart drunk drivers from causing accidents before they happen, and they’ve been effective. There’s no reason we can’t make an attempt to prevent mass shootings as well, including inconveniencing “law-abiding gun owners” by limiting the types of weapons they can own or their efficiency. We sure as hell don’t respond to drunk driving with nonsense like, “The only thing that will stop a drunk driver with a car is a sober driver in a bigger, armored car.”

Here’s another analogy that I’ve seen in online conversations:

“100,000 people die per year from medical mistakes, dwarfing the stats for guns and alcohol-related death combined …. should we take away prescription pads?”

Actually, according to Johns Hopkins, that number is closer to 250,000. Regardless, it’s another analogy that doesn’t hold water. When people die from medical mistakes, does half the country say “let’s not do anything about it” and fight against all suggestions of reform? No. Is there a pro-medical-mistakes lobby who donates millions to political candidates so they’ll legislate in the lobby’s favor? No. When we discover errors in medical treatment, we investigate the causes. If lessons can be learned, then changes can be made, oversight can be improved, and we can we work on not repeating those errors to prevent future deaths. And we certainly can’t attribute medical errors to prescription pads. Medical errors are commonly defined as anything from surgical complications that go unrecognized, to mix-ups with the doses or types of medications patients receive, to diagnostic errors, and plain old poor judgment. Prescription pads do far more good than harm. Can we say the same thing for civilian-owned AR-15s? Doubtful.

Here’s a news story from 2014 that gun apologists use to “prove” that banning guns won’t end mass casualty violence. While they’re right that banning guns (or even certain types of guns) surely wouldn’t end attacks altogether, it would severely limit an individual’s efficiency. Gun apologists actually prove this point by sharing this. In the China attack, 10 attackers killed 29 people. That’s 2.9 per attacker, in a very crowded area. In Las Vegas, it took just one shooter to double the fatalities of the China attack, and the assailant didn’t even have to approach any of his victims. The Vegas shooter killed 58 people from a hotel window. 58:1 vs 2.9:1. You don’t have to be a mathematician to realize which weapon is deadlier. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take my chances against a “mass stabber” over a mass shooter any day of the week.

This is basically the same as the knife argument above. This isn’t about end-of-year tallies. It’s about efficiency, and it’s also about victim demographics. Of the 400 cases each year (which is actually attributed to all blunt objects per FBI statistics, not just hammers), how many were innocent school children? My money is on “less than 17.” I’d venture a guess that of the 400, there weren’t any mass casualty events via hammer. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ll take my chances against a “mass hammer-swinger” over a dude with a semi-auto rifle. It’s just too goddamn easy to shoot up a movie theater, school, or concert. Can we at least try to make it harder somehow? It may be your constitutional right to own a firearm, but nowhere in the constitution or case law does it say you’re free to own any weapon you want.

So here’s the problem. Gun apologists are always presenting themselves and their comrades as “law-abiding citizens.” Do you know who else was a law-abiding citizen the day before they committed their first crime? Nearly every mass shooter. I find myself having to explain this a lot when in these types of conversations. Feel free to do the same. I’ve found it to be pretty effective, and it’s even made some gun apologists stop and think for a moment. It’s quite simple but revealing. I’ve even created the meme below, since the idiotic “drop a meme and walk away victoriously” tactic seems to be so popular with gun apologists. Might as well address them in their own language.

Here’s to hoping change happens quickly, so we don’t have to have the same conversation a dozen more times before 2018 is done.

 


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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

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31 thoughts on “Gun Apologists Use the Worst Analogies

  1. Yeah, I don’t give a shit about “gun control.” I’m all-in for “mass-fuck-murder control”, however.

    It just so happens that reducing the incidence of mass-fuck-murder would be greatly enhanced by reducing the availability of mass-fuck-murder weapons. So, let’s go with the low-hanging fruit and see what happens?

    1. He also said something like, “if guns don’t kill people try pointing your finger at them and going ‘bang!’ – see how that works.” 🙂

  2. If you make it criminal to have guns only criminals will have guns. The upside is that this makes it far easier to distinguish the criminals from the non-criminals while the general criminal-thwarting ability of the non-criminal community stays roughly the same.

  3. The gun-hammer comparison cracks me up. As a general rule, if the gross misuse of one of your examples is effectively identical to the proper use of your other example, then the things you are presenting are hardly comparable.

    The proper use of any firearm results in the wounding or killing of a living thing. The improper use of any firearm results either in no living thing being harmed or killed, or the wrong living thing being harmed or killed. Firearms have no reasonable potential for constructive use; at best, one might use a gun to start a fire (eventually, dangerously, and very inefficiently). They are also entirely incapable of being used for ‘defense’. Defense implies the capacity to prevent harm, which guns cannot do; they are not a shield, and outside of a Hollywood movie would be useless in trying to physically deflect an attack. ‘Gun defense’ is better understood to be ‘coercion through the threat of deadly force, or the preemptive use of deadly force.’ Neither of those are truly defense, they are justifications for coercion or assault.

    1. Would you then disarm police and armies? There is sport target shooting which is fun. While I appreciate your definition of the proper use of a firearm, I cannot agree that a gun is useless in self defense. Recently, a man protected a police officer that was being attacked with his concealed carry permitted handgun. I have personally protected my home and family with a handgun against a person who did not care that we had a big dog and knew we were home ( did not have to shoot him and would only do so if absolutely necessary). There are many other examples out there if you look for them of a firearm resulting in a good, or at least better, outcome than it would have otherwise. Should every idiot that wants a gun have one? Of course not! Should an ex-offender never be allowed to protect his home and family for the rest of his life? Again, of course not. I would support not allowing someone convicted of a crime involving a gun not being allowed to have one while on parole to prove they are now planning to live legal lives. If they do not plan to live a legal life, they will find a way to get a gun in any case. There should not be a life sentence placed upon one that has done their time. No one can predict the future of an individual nor should they try.

      1. There are a few points you make, so I’ll try to do this in some semblance of order.

        First, regarding police and armies: police, by the nature of their job, deal with the most dangerous individuals in society far more frequently (and almost always in some form of confrontation) than the average citizen. They are also far better trained, and held more accountable in their actions, than the average citizen. I would argue that we would do well to move our philosophy of law enforcement toward non-lethal means of subdual as a first response, but if all else fails the use of lethal force may be justified. So I would say, put the time and money into better non-lethal methods, require law enforcement to exhaust non-lethal options, but allow the particular agencies and districts to choose whether to include lethal weapons in their arsenal.

        As for disarming armies, that makes no sense. Armies are intended to be lethal forces, their primary purpose is to defeat an enemy through attrition. While military resources can be used for constructive and humanitarian ends, they are hardly the most efficient means of doing so.

        What I said for police goes ten times over for untrained civilians, regarding using firearms for defense. I don’t know what story you mention where a private citizen protected a police officer, but more than anything it implies the officer handled the situation poorly to that point. Likewise, I don’t know the circumstances of your home invasion, but I would ask this: did a gun provide any better threat than the possibility or actual use of items like a taser or pepper spray? Moreover, if you had a choice between using a gun on an intruder, or escaping the house and avoiding the intruder completely (giving you the opportunity to call the police from safety), which would you choose? And if you didn’t know your house was broken into until it was too late to escape, why would you defend your home with a gun and not a home security system?

        If you value human life over inanimate property, if you would rather see non-lethal methods implemented in all types of confrontations (and don’t support the military outside of national defense), then it is hard to imagine any situation that is made better by the presence of a gun.

      2. In the countries with extremely tight gun controls and the highest penalties for illegal gun ownership – gun crime in minimal and even unlawful killing by the usually exceptionally highly trained specialist armed polices squads is almost unknown.
        Of course if any moron, homicidal maniac and punk kid and all the dumbest of police are armed – the deaths associated with the use of guns are the highest. (Welcome to America)

        According to Fatal Encounters, the database created by former Reno News & Review editor and journalism instructor Burghart (which tracks all deaths resulting from interactions with police), a total of 1,388 people were killed by police in 2015, 318 (23%) of them black, and 560 (40%) of them white. So roughly 23 percent of those killed by any police interaction in 2015 were black and just over 40 percent were white. According to those statistics (adjusted for racial demographics), black people had a 2.7 higher likelihood of being killed by police than whites.

        The craziness of America is looked upon with amazement and disgust by the citizens of more civilised western democracies.
        The demand to own the most ridiculous and offensive and murderous weapons by members of the NRA is the demand to arm every punk, moron, homicidal maniac and mass murdering child with weapons that were designed for the war-field.
        The demand to own weapons is the demand for idiots to own weapons to murder the families of those making the demand to own weapons.
        The rest of us willingly and happily gave up our weapons to disarm all the crazies and we have lived in greater peace defended by specialist armed police of the kind that dealt with terrorists in London (who were murdering individuals with knives) within 8 minutes of the incident commencing.

        It’s little wonder that America had the dubious “honour” of being ranked the world’s 5th most ignorant nation in last year’s https://www.unilad.co.uk/politics/these-are-the-most-ignorant-countries-in-the-world/ survey?

        The UK is a prime example of exceedingly strict gun control and almost no gun crime.

        The gun homicide rate in England and Wales is about one for every 1 million people, according to the Geneva Declaration of Armed Violence and Development, a multinational organization based in Switzerland.

        In a population of 56 million, that adds up to about 50 to 60 gun killings annually. In the USA, by contrast, there are about 160 times as many gun homicides in a country that is roughly six times larger in population. There were 8,124 gun homicides in 2014, according to the latest FBI figures.

        After a mass shooting at a school in 1996, the British government pursued legislative bans on assault rifles and handguns and tightened background checks for other types of firearms. As of 2013, a total of 200,000 guns and 700 tons of ammunition were taken off British streets. Military-style weapons and most handguns were banned, the Washington Post reported.

        Gun ownership in the U.K. is far, far lower than in the U.S. as well. On average, Britain has 6.5 guns per 100 people, (mostly shotguns owned under annually checked circumstances by gun licensed farmers) compared to America, which has 101 guns per 100 people, (with few or no checks at all) according to the Small Arms Survey.

        The demand for everyone ans anyone to own a gun is the demand for every lunatic, moron, punk kid, homicidal maniac and psychopath to also own a gun with which to murder you and/or your family neighbors and friends.

        The rest of the educated, free, secular and democratic (more) developed world looks on in amazement and disgust…

        Gun control (like universal health care) is an all or nothing deal if it’s going to work. You cannot expect tight gun control in one state to be effective if nearby other states allow every moron and punk to be armed with assault rifles.

        (The third cartoon below appears inaccurate since the gun nut is depicted on a pile of ammunition instead of a pile of the dead bodies of his fellow citizens…)

        https://woodgatesview.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/gun-nut-cartoon.jpg
        https://ethicsalarms.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/antigun-cartoon.gif?w=500&h=343
        https://barryonenergy.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/gun-contol-cartoon.jpg

  4. Good article Kevin. I get the same arguments, with the hammer/car/knife also killing people probably the most common. I make three points in this case… 1. The hammer/car/knife has many legitimate and beneficial purposes, while an assault weapon has just one… killing people. 2. When hammer/car/knives are routinely used to intentionally kill dozens of people at a time, then by all means, lets impose stricter regulations on them. 3. Cars are highly regulated and require a test and a license to operate. Making firearms more like cars is just fine with me.

  5. I am a gun owner, hunter and shooter. However, improving background checks is a common sense move. Adding (or improving existing) processes is a no brainer and an easy “compromise” for 2nd Amendment enthusiasts. The argument against it would be people worrying about a slippery slope. However, the danger of not “compromising” on tougher background checks is the banning of certain firearms altogether. I’d rather “start” (and that’s where people on both sides get sassy) with administrative changes prior to all out banning of firearms, types of firearms, magazines etc which may be on the horizon. Also, it seems to me that there are often warning signs ahead of these incidents (with the exception of the Vegas shooter). Personal, parental, medical, psychological and educational responsibility all need to improve as well. It’s easy for me to say, since I don’t have children, but I’d like to think I could do a good enough job as a parent to improve the chances of having a functional child when all is said and done… even if that means tough medical, psychological or disciplinary decisions… or just take an active role in a POSITIVE way. I see kids, even in my extended family, that are put behind the 8 ball from the start due to poor/lazy parenting. Before we ban guns, I’d like people to look in the mirror and make responsible choices if/when it comes to raising children. That would help tremendously.

    1. I trust you’re not an NRA member then, because you know they aggressively oppose any kind of background check *AT ALL* and especially improved background checks. Those “second amendment enthusiasts” violently oppose anything like that. Even enforcing existing background check laws at gun shows is anathema to them.

      As to “warning signs”… you don’t think a desire for a civilian to own military weapons might be a clue?

      “If only we’d seen some sort of warning sign…”

      “But he bought hundreds of rounds of ammunition, high capacity magazines, and a modified stock designed to help him empty those magazines faster”

      “What’s your point? it’s the parents’ fault, right?”

      1. I am a NRA member. Members of any group can and should have differing ideas.
        Shooting is a sport and hobby.
        There are many stakeholders that can do better. All of us.

        1. The NRA used to be for sport and hobby shooters, but is now run by mad nutcases who are quite happy with crazy people having guns. So perhaps if you are a member and you disagree with this you should maybe write to them and tell them? Except they will ignore you completely, because most of their money now comes from donations from gun manufacturers, and it’s often tied to the number of guns sold. So guns sold go down so does their income.

  6. Ken Davis’ statement demonstrates how ineffective screening gun purchasers is in preventing murders!

    How about: All citizens of countries where their guns were taken by the government were free until they weren’t!

    1. What the fuck have guns got to do with freedom? Is it there is bullshit romantic idea that if you get a tyrannical government you’re going to somehow overthrow them? Given that gun owners tend to be conservative and tend to have supported just about every tyrannical move made by any American government………..

  7. This is not about saving lives. There are many other causes of death that cause many many times the fatalities. These others causes could be mitigated more easily than gun violence and actually work to save lives. Unfortunately, those topics do not have the shock value to make them interesting enough to use as political speaking points. As usual, the masses are being manipulated. If you check the actual numbers, you will see that gun deaths due to violence is an extremely small percentage of deaths by many other means. If you want to posture to attempt to have everyone see you as a good person then keep on posing. If you want to actually save many many lives, then lobby to curb the causes of more significant numbers of deaths. Sure, people kill others with guns. People have been killing others since there have been people. They killed with arrows and spears and swords before guns. Even if there were no guns at all, people will still find a way to kill. You cannot put a band aid on a problem and call it solved because it never will be solved. Go to the source of the problem! People and our society cause these problems. Work on those issues and the rest will follow.

    As long as there are bullies, religions, power mongers and/or greedy, there will be deaths of innocent people. How many millennia will it take before we recognize and analyze the past and use that knowledge to design the future? If you really want to know what you can do to help the gun situation and many other situations here it is: 1. Teach your children to be decent human beings that care about other human beings. 2. Do not allow those mentioned in the first sentence of this paragraph get away with their acts of self centered apathy for the rest of us. 3. Recognize and help the victims of those who perpetrate these acts upon others.

    Once we heal our society and our people, we will have a safer more peaceful world. This will necessitate restructuring society and making some choices that will not be popular among those wishing to continue their abuse of society. But, it must be done!

  8. Should every idiot that wants a gun have one? Of course not! Should an
    ex-offender never be allowed to protect his home and family for the rest
    of his life? Again, of course not. I would support not allowing
    someone convicted of a crime involving a gun not being allowed to have
    one while on parole to prove they are now planning to live legal lives.
    If they do not plan to live a legal life, they will find a way to get a
    gun in any case. There should not be a life sentence placed upon one
    that has done their time. No one can predict the future of an individual
    nor should they try.

  9. The UK is a prime example of exceedingly strict gun control and almost no gun crime.

    The gun homicide rate in England and Wales is about one for every 1 million people, according to the Geneva Declaration of Armed Violence and Development, a multinational organization based in Switzerland.

    In a population of 56 million, that adds up to about 50 to 60 gun killings annually. In the USA, by contrast, there are about 160 times as many gun homicides in a country that is roughly six times larger in population. There were 8,124 gun homicides in 2014, according to the latest FBI figures.

    After a mass shooting at a school in 1996, the British government pursued legislative bans on assault rifles and handguns and tightened background checks for other types of firearms. As of 2013, a total of 200,000 guns and 700 tons of ammunition were taken off British streets. Military-style weapons and most handguns were banned, the Washington Post reported.

    Gun ownership in the U.K. is far, far lower than in the U.S. as well. On average, Britain has 6.5 guns per 100 people, (mostly shotguns owned under annually checked circumstances by gun licensed farmers) compared to America, which has 101 guns per 100 people, (with few or no checks at all) according to the Small Arms Survey.

    The demand for everyone ans anyone to own a gun is the demand for every lunatic, moron, punk kid, homicidal maniac and psychopath to also own a gun with which to murder you and/or your family neighbors and friends.

    The rest of the educated, free, secular and democratic (more) developed world looks on in amazement and disgust…

    Gun control (like universal health care) is an all or nothing deal if it’s going to work. You cannot expect tight gun control in one state to be effective if nearby other states allow every moron and punk to be armed with assault rifles.

    (The third cartoon below appears inaccurate since the gun nut is depicted on a pile of ammunition instead of a pile of the dead bodies of his fellow citizens…)

    https://woodgatesview.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/gun-nut-cartoon.jpg
    https://ethicsalarms.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/antigun-cartoon.gif?w=500&h=343
    https://barryonenergy.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/gun-contol-cartoon.jpg

  10. I am from Mexico. We do have strict gun laws. But bad guys arrange themselves to have forbidden guns from the army. Do they kill people. Every day we wake up with the news than another mass grave was found. Personally I do not think that strict laws can do anything. Something is wrong In the hearth of humans, if the hearth is full of hate for someone you do not even know

      1. Automatic guns are forbidden, and everyone needs a special permit to carry or have guns on Mexico. So in spite of strict laws we have nasty violence. What I mean to say is that bad guys will do anything to get those arms with or without a permit. I read that many USA shooters Were not allowed to carry guns? And they still got it.. I am not againts better control of guns…they might help to stop somehow.. but I have my doubts. Look a Palestine. Ppl do not have acces to guns, they use cars to kill israelíes..should they implement a better control of selling cars? Forbidden cars will stop Palestinians to kill israelíes? No. And no

        1. Your cars analogy holds no water. Please let me know the last time someone killed dozens of kids in a school with their car. And the primary purpose of a car is transportation, not killing. The primary purpose of a semi-auto rifle is killing. It has no other use. Semi-auto rifles are the weapon of choice for mass murderers because of their efficiency and the ease to which they’re obtained. While gun laws don’t solve the problem entirely, they at least make it a lot more difficult for the average citizen to commit an atrocity like we are regularly seeing in the US. We’re not talking about cartels and gangs. That’s a different problem. We’re talking about maladjusted high school kids, or even adults, with an ax to grind.

          1. I assure you, it will not be long before a kid use a car to kill other kids. Specially if guns are banned. If someone wants to kill they will kill. Yes I agree gun laws, it will make it more dificult, but is relative. Do you know, I read mass shooters kill while being in drugs. Or because they have mental issues. And so far, in almost 3 centuries of USA ppl having guns, mass shooting is a recent problem. Right? Correct me if I am wrong. If this a combination of issues, How USA authorities will deal with mental issues, drugs an weapons? All 3 factors are involved. This is very complex. The last shooter was known by police and they did not do anything. He was banned of using weapons. He was depressed. A enraged soul. Nothing stopped him. Society is very ill. Let me also tell you that in Mexico violence is not limited to cartels. When we deshumanize people and evil becomes legal, society lose the sense of right and wrong.

          2. “Correct me if I’m wrong.” No problem.

            #1: I have yet to hear of a mass shooter being on drugs.
            #2: Yes, people can kill each other with cars, but you’re missing the point. It’s the EFFICIENCY that’s the issue. One shooter killed 17 people with a rifle inside a school in 3 minutes. A person cannot drive a car into a school and kill 17 people. The Las Vegas shooter killed 48 people from a hotel window. He didn’t need to come anywhere near his victims. These are things that would not happen, or be as severe, using a car.
            #3: The Florida school shooter was not banned from owning weapons. He was a legal gun owner.

            Like I said, an assault weapons ban would not solve the issue of people wanting to kill each other. But it would make it more difficult to pile up body counts like the ones we’re getting used to seeing in the US. And yes, as I’ve said, there is not just one solution to this issue.

          3. I just asked you to correct me in the fact that in the last 30 year,s have been more mass shootings, than in the almost 3 centuries that USA have with the use of arms among the population. I assume you are USA citizen well knowledgeable in history of your country. Anyway, As I see, you ignored the real question.
            #1- I read documented facts about the use of drugs: https://www.cchrint.org/school-shooters/ and https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/28307-from-prozac-to-parkland-are-psychiatric-drugs-causing-mass-shootings
            #2- Efficiency? as per my opinion is as deadly as a weapon. You forget too soon: July 14, 2016 – After a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice, France, a man drives a 20-ton rental truck into the crowd, striking and killing 86 people. https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/world/terrorist-attacks-by-vehicle-fast-facts/index.html

            For number 3, I read that the murderer was banned from purchasing guns, I think it was a fake news, as I cannot find the article anymore.

            I really hope that Mr Trump and will make a difference in implementing something effective to stop this violence, and that no previous president has done.. Until then Mexico and USA will keep crying our dead. At least you can have some hope, I lost my hope for Mexican authorities. Mass shootings are happening in a daily basis and the Mexican government simply leave unresolved many crimes. Right now, Mexico has more dead than Syria. Nobody talks about it. Empty villages. complete families disappeared. South American Migrants simply murdered, because they refused to join cartels. .I offer my condolences to USA and my own people. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  11. Kevin, this was an excellent essay. Please keep up the good work.

    Here are some of my relevant thoughts:

    Bad Arguments Against Gun Regulation:
    1. “The only way to stop a bad man with a gun is by a good man with a gun.” Absolutist thinking. Prevention of a bad man from getting a gun is much better than trying to stop the bad man once he has a gun.
    2. “There is no way to stop a determined person from killing another with a gun.” Straw man argument. Of course this is true, but it is irrelevant since the goal is not to stop all unjustified gun violence, but to reduce its frequency and lethality. Perfection is the enemy of the good.
    3. “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Overly simplistic thinking. People with guns sometimes kill people unjustifiably or by accident, and this happens way too often in our own country. The problem is a person-gun interaction effect.
    4. “They are trying to take away our right to own guns.” Straw man argument. Virtually nobody has this goal. Gun regulation, not gun prohibition, is needed.
    5. “If you give them an inch, they will take a mile. If you allow them to regulate guns, then they will take away our right to arms along with our other rights, and we will become a totalitarian state, like Nazi Germany or current North Korea.” Slippery slope argument with scant evidence to back it up. For roughly 230 years we have increased regulations in our country which has not yet become a totalitarian state. Also countries with constitutional democracies like our own have become dictatorships very infrequently.
    6. “Aggression is the nature of mankind, and so there will always be gun violence.” Another straw man argument. Of course this is true, but it is irrelevant. Reduction of the frequency and lethality of gun violence is the goal, not its elimination.
    7. “If the Second Amendment was good enough for our founders, then it is good enough for us today.” Denial of change. In colonial times, it could take a minute to fire one bullet from a gun. Today guns are available which fire over a hundred rounds a minute. The times have changed, and so the Second Amendment needs to be re-interpreted or limited for our modern times.

  12. If I hear that “mental illness is the issue, not guns,” I will scream.
    Use your head besides a hat rack. Other nations certainly have mentally ill persons, but very few deaths by guns. Why? Because very few people have guns in other nations, and other nations have very stringent gun control, and stringent gun laws.

  13. just another nutjob liberal that doesnt understand guns or the constitution, and the purpose of the 1st and 2nd amendments. always cherry picking to fit their agenda.

  14. The “law abiding gun owners” thing drives me nuts because much of the time people conflate “legal gun owner” with “law-abiding gun owner.” It’s possible to commit misdemeanors, even violent ones, and still legally be able to own a gun. Personally, I think that should change.

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