- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
Debunking The Arguments Against Gun Control
As the title should suggest I am in favor of gun control. I strongly believe that with the correct level of controls in effect, we can preserve the citizens right to bear arms while still protecting ourselves from the violence that is far too common today. Both sides have a wealth of statistics to point to that prove whichever side they happen to identify with, and statistics and studies that seem in favor of the other side are dismissed as inaccurate, or biased in some way. Unfortunately this is true of all statistics, it is very easy to stack numbers to look the way you want them to. The most impartial of studies can be very misleading if you don't understand exactly what was studied, and how it was done. Acknowledging this I wanted to challenge myself to support gun control in a convincing manner without using any statistics, only easily understood logic. So I will tackle several points below that are common in the constant debates on this issue and discuss how simple logic without the need of any statistics to back it up can help understand things.
If We Outlaw Guns, Then Only Outlaws Will Have Guns
This is one of the favorite arguments of the pro-gun crowd. However it just doesn't hold up to even simple logic. First and foremost there has never been any proposed regulation or law that would have called for disarming law enforcement. I like my cops well armed and well trained, and so does every other law abiding citizen. Soldiers are another point, there's never even been a suggestion that our soldiers should not be armed.
Criminals in every country get guns, less in some than others because it is more difficult but the point remains that guns are used by criminals around the world. Even accepting this it still logically follows that making guns less prevalent with the citizens in general would also lower the amount of them used in crimes. Criminals aren't born with a warrant for their arrest already active, they started somewhere, and when that average citizen decides that times are hard enough to justify robbing a convenience store to make ends meet, if they didn't have access to a gun already, they would be far more likely to give up because it's not so easy to do, or use a far less deadly weapon at the very least. Why would a criminal have a gun though? When they expect armed response, or think they need a gun in order to pull off whatever crime they have in mind. This is why you don't really hear about unarmed bank robberies often, the criminals know someone there will be armed and if they want to rob the place they need better firepower or more people. If you take the above statement to the utmost extreme and ban all guns, why would criminals continue to use guns at all? There would still be some who already have a gun and figure why not, but being less likely to meet armed resistance they will also be less likely to fire themselves. Criminals are not going to needlessly add charges against them if they don't need to in order to steal whatever they were after, and for the vast majority of criminals out there murder was never their intent, it just came to that when things went badly. With guns as unregulated and easy to acquire as they are now we practically force anyone considering criminal acts of any kind to involve a firearm if they have any chance of success. Also due to the large amount of guns out there, criminals even need guns to protect themselves from other criminals, who they know will also be armed. It's a self supporting system that can't end without lowering the number of guns in circulation significantly.
The Laws Here Worked, or The Laws Here Didn't
It is simple fact that local laws inside our country will never be able to effectively limit ownership of anything, least of all guns. Laws on a state or lesser level can't be effective because our states and cities have open borders and are incapable of limiting what is brought in by normal citizens. Guns are not cheap items that anyone interested in wouldn't be willing to drive even a few states away from home to get if they had to. Then they are free to bring them home with virtually no risk of being caught as there are no inspections of any kind to worry about. As long as there are states or cities with less regulation there will be people going there to get their guns with less hassle, even if those guns will be illegal back at home.
As things stand now with so many differing local laws it's almost impossible to own a gun and not be in violation of some law if you ever travel any distance with it. Laws are numerous and confusing before you ever consider the conflicts with other areas near and far. The only way to make things less confusing and even possible for legal gun owners to stay legal is to make gun laws at the national level. No matter how liberal they end up being, this is what we desperately need, consistent laws across the nation regarding guns.
Gun Suicides Are Meaningless In This Debate, Suicidal People Will Kill Themselves Anyway
Many shooting deaths each year are from suicides, both sides agree with that, though the people in support of less gun control rightly say that a suicidal person will find a way. The reality though is that the gun is far more immediate, easier to access, to setup, and to use. A shot to the head and nobody is rescuing you, you're already dead by the time anyone could possibly find out, even if they heard the shot. Almost no other method is as reliable and instantaneous, and often people are found and saved then receive treatment they badly needed when they don't use a gun. The gun effectively eliminates possibility of failure and treatment. A person with a momentary desire to kill themselves and a gun will die, while the same person trying to hang themselves can fail for any number of reasons, and even if everything goes right it takes a while to setup during which time they could back out. Even if they do go through with it, if someone is close enough to hear and investigates it is entirely possible to save them. Pills work the same way, it takes longer to gather and consume the pills, then they need time to take effect. All that extra time is time the person is thinking about their situation and could back out. There is also the possibility that their particular selection won't even be fatal, or that someone discovers them in the act or soon enough after to save them. None of this can happen with the suicide by gun.
Switzerland Issues Guns To Every Household And Has Virtually No Violence
This is one I really can't believe the gun advocates use so much, but I see it at least once a week restated somewhere. It is based on truth yes, but far from the way it sounds. Another statement that is basically true would be "Switzerland does not allow any citizen without law enforcement or military training to handle firearms." The big difference here is that Switzerland has virtually no citizens that don't have military training. You don't enlist in the army there, you turn 18 and go to your mandatory training where you are issued your equipment including a firearm after being examined for fitness and competence, and if you fail those checks you don't get a gun. Aside from the drastically different way they handle the army and the far better training they get than citizens here do, the Swiss are a fundamentally different people than Americans. Crime is very rare in general there, communities are small and mostly self governed with little interference from the national level leaders. Sad as it is to admit they are for more moral than Americans as well. The entire Swiss public transit system is maintained by the fares it collects from those using it, they don't use tax dollars to support it at all. Swiss public transportation all relies on the honor system to collect those fares. There isn't any kind of system in place to stop you from riding for free, just virtually nobody does. Try that anywhere in America and see how long you stay in operation.
The Second Amendment Is To Protect Citizens From Government
This is probably the most disturbing argument in favor of guns I have heard. Basically they are saying that they would use their guns to fight back against laws they don't agree with. First that's not a battle that you are capable of winning as a citizen no matter how well armed. Having guns can't under any circumstance protect you from government tyranny. The government has bigger guns, more soldiers, better training, and doesn't need any of that as one private with an xbox controller and a small screen in front of him can take out a single room in your house without so much as raising a dust cloud in the next one if you are deemed enough of a threat. This is only slightly less likely to happen than anyone claiming their guns are to protect them from the government actually shooting a cop or soldier trying to enforce the law. There would be exceptions yes, but if you really try to put yourself in that situation, a cop shows up at your door and says they have a warrant to search for illegal weapons, even if they were incompetent enough to let you, would you really go grab a gun and start shooting this person who is only doing their job? Very few people could answer yes to that.
The First Thing Dictators Do Is Disarm The Public
First, they have to already be in a place of power to do that, so it can't really be the first thing they do can it? Now this would apply to an occupying army after an invasion, but think about this for a moment. The force that just wiped out your military and still has enough of a force left they feel confident to occupy the territory is not going to have any problems disarming the citizens. You are no threat to these people. Dictators are born when leaders already in power start abusing that power and claiming more and more of it. At first they are widely loved and popular, only long after things have progressed far enough to allow them to repress all resistance do the more extreme actions come about such as disarming dissidents, who by that time could well be most of the population. Our system of government simply wouldn't allow this to ever get started. Power is spread out with so many checks and balances that nothing short of an invasion and complete dismantling of our government could ever put a dictator in place.
My Guns Are No Threat To Anyone
Do you own a large enough and well built enough gun safe that nobody could ever crack it or take it elsewhere to have a better chance to open it? Are you immortal and will never age and suffer declining eyesight, or any kind of dementia? Do you carry your gun in your hand at all times and simultaneously aimed at every person near you in public? Is your home incapable of being robbed while you are not around? Is your mind fast enough to take advantage of your telekinetic abilities to control every fragment of every bullet you ever fire and guide them in harmless directions? If you answered no to anything here then your guns are a threat under the right circumstances.
If you don't use a gun safe that can't be cracked then it's entirely possible for someone to steal your gun. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a criminal breaking in. Any guest you invite into your home, any workman that comes to fix something, even your spouse or children could take your gun without your knowledge. The same applies to guns that you transport in a vehicle. Even with a safe, if it is small enough to be transported then the person intent on stealing from you (whether they know it's a gun inside or not) can simply take the safe with them and use as much time as it takes to finally get in to it. A glass front cabinet may as well be a stack of guns with a "Steal Me" sign on them, glass isn't hard to break, and even if it was made from bulletproof material, the wood around it then becomes the easiest way in, and still quite possible.
Even if you are perfectly competent and responsible with your guns now, they aren't going to go away as you get older. You will still own the same guns. What you won't have forever is perfect eyesight. Unless you die early from disease or violence, then at some point age will impact your eyes, and when that happens you can miss things you wouldn't have when you were younger that vastly change a situation's safety. I have been seeing a lot of a certain video passed around lately, congratulating an older man carrying a handgun for shooting two teens that attempted to rob a cybercafe. The pro gun people have fell in love with this video apparently and choose to ignore how horrifying it really is. This old man who apparently is legally allowed to carry a firearm in public missed the fact that the only gun they had was badly and visibly rusted and incapable of firing. There was only one gun between them, and yet without even attempting to allow them to give up he just started firing, at both of them, even the one without a gun. In a panic the two 19 year old kids dropped their weapons and while unarmed and crawling away he shot them some more. Then when they left the scene entirely and were running the old man opens the door and fires after them again. They nearly died from gunshot wounds and he didn't even face charges, not even for shooting the one that only held a bat.
If you allow anyone to pass you on the street without a gun already aimed at them and ready to fire, then that person could turn out to be a mugger. A mugger doesn't announce at 20 paces they are going to mug you and wait to see if you want to draw a weapon and defend yourself first. The first moment you know you are being mugged you will already have a gun trained on you or your companion, or there will already be a knife at someone's throat. In this situation if you have a gun the only possible things the gun can do is get stolen, get you killed when you try to pull it despite them being more ready to instantly harm you, or be missed by the mugger and either totally irrelevant or used by you to shoot a fleeing criminal who is no longer actually threatening you.
In any situation when you fire a bullet there is a possibility of ricochet and fragments that fly in unpredictable directions. You can lower these chances but nothing can eliminate them entirely, especially in urban environments where there are more surfaces that would fragment themselves or allow a bullet to bounce off. All of these instances do demonstrate some threat from your gun, and you can't make them totally safe while they are still usable as a gun. The chances of misuse, danger, or loss of your weapon vary wildly between people but there is no person who can own a weapon and it be totally incapable of being a threat to anyone else.