Some Mild Thoughts on the Gun Control Debate
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Why would I write about guns right now? Seriously. Why? I’ve been avoiding social media debates so I don’t get drawn into the frustration vortex that is the gun control debate.

I don’t need to say anything. Everyone else is saying things and saying them better than I can. People are expressing sympathy for the victims in Orlando better than I can. People are asking questions of leaders better than I can. People are analyzing this problem better than I can. I don’t feel up to the task to address those things.

And yet this debate has crept into my consciousness. I see it every day. The thing that is bothering me is that I keep seeing the same stock talking points coming from pro gun people. They’re surprisingly weak and they keep being made over and over again.

So, that’s what I want to talk about. Here are a few.

Perhaps you’d like your First Amendment rights taken away too?

This one’s annoying because no one defends any other amendment with the same amount of strict purity reserved for the defense of the second. To draw an analogy, defending the right of a mentally ill person to quickly and easily purchase an assault rifle would be like defending my right to take a bullhorn and yell, “Eat my ass, bitch!” repeatedly at your grandmother while she sat in church.

Are you going to defend that? No? Well, I guess you hate the Constitution!

Let me try something.

I hate our president. Death to America.

I just wrote those two sentences publicly. I won’t be going to jail. Secret police won’t kill me. That is the First Amendment. My First Amendment rights are intact. (I also don’t believe either statement.)

So, to draw another analogy, do you have a big closet full of pistols, shotguns, and rifles? If you’re a responsible gun owner, background checks won’t affect your guns. It’s not a stretch to say that your Second Amendment rights are intact as well.

So, I guess I’m not supposed to defend myself or my family?

Defend yourself, your home, your family. Do it with guns. Do it after a background check. Do it after a waiting period for certain guns. Do it after the gun show loophole is closed. Don’t do it with an assault rifle. It’s not necessary.

“Shall not be infringed”!

“Well regulated militia.”

More guns equals more safety.

I’ve actually seen this. I think it’s an offshoot of “only a good guy with a gun…” (see below). It’s easily disproven. Just look at statistics in Australia and Europe and even the gun statistics broken down by state in the U.S.

Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.

I’ve never fired a gun in my life. I’m just guessing that it takes some skill. Police officers and soldiers, I assume, practice shooting their weapons. My problem with the “good guy with a gun” theory is that is assumes a perfect outcome for the righteous. I just find that it’s a tall order for the good guy with a gun to carry his weapon at all times, be able to accurately assess danger either before it happens or while it’s happening, draw his weapon, fire at a moving human target (who, in case you forgot, is also armed), and get a first time shot that, at the very least, incapacitates the possible assailant. Then this good guy – who just shot someone – must defend himself, while his gun is drawn, to other good guys with guns or police officers in the vicinity.

This one is insidious and it upsets me because it plays into a Rambo Die Hard Clint Eastwood mentality. This isn’t an actual strategy. It’s a slogan, one that oversimplifies a serious problem.

Well, why don’t we ban ____?

This one has a lot of staying power. I saw someone saying “well, why don’t we ban planes because of 9/11?!” Why don’t we ban hands because the can be used to choke people? Why don’t we ban water because people can drown in it? Why don’t we ban time because people die of old age?

The classic one is “well, why don’t we ban cars because people die car accidents?” Cars aren’t banned, they’re regulated. You need a license. That license can be revoked. There are speed limits. Citizens can’t drive tanks on the highway. You’ve heard this all before, right?

I remember an argument I saw between two people over guns regarding the fact that guns in the home significantly increase the likelihood deaths in the home. The pro-gun guy started with cars but then progressed all the way to baseball bats. “Well, why don’t we ban baseball bats?! That’s a weapon that used to be called a club!”

I dismissed it at first because it was just too silly to take seriously. But, after some more thought, I realized something. If the presence of a baseball bat in the home significantly raised the likelihood of murder by baseball bat, they would absolutely be banned. No question.

Actually, the definition of an assault rifle…

No. Stop. Don’t redefine the terms of the argument mid-argument. It’s weak. People try to take control of the debate with semantics. Just don’t.

Obama’s Coming After Our Guns to Bring About the New World Order With The Illuminati

Hi, Alex Jones! What’s Billy Corgan like in real life?!

You’re a fucking idiot.

Ooh, the classic. Well played. Unfortunately, I’m not an idiot. I’m just not. I’m reasonably intelligent. I have a college degree. I am employed. I take care of my personal expenses and finances. On a very basic level, it would be hard to prove that I am, in fact, a fucking idiot. But here’s the good news: you aren’t a fucking idiot, either (probably). It is more likely that we just happen to strongly disagree. It happens. We can talk about it some more. Make your case but, please, try not to use any of the talking points above.


One thought on “Some Mild Thoughts on the Gun Control Debate

  1. Rob, congratulations on not being a fucking idiot. Further proof to this is that you actually contemplated the requirements to be, in fact, a fucking idiot. Such contemplation and assessment automatically exempts you. Carry on good sir.

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