Answering Arguments Against Gun Control
I am a supporter of the second amendment right to bear arms. Having said that, I am also a supporter of common sense gun control measures. I find many of the arguments against reasonable gun control to be based on hyperbole, faulty logic, and conspiracy theories. I think the time has long passed when we should call people out for faulty logic, instead of pretending that everyone's opinion holds equal validity. Too often in these days of social media, memes and semantic games have replaced logic and critical thinking for many people. So I want to examine some of the most common elements of the gun control argument.
If they take all the guns from law abiding people, only criminals will have guns.
This is the most common argument against gun control. The biggest problem with this argument is that no one is trying to take guns away from law abiding people. If you look at the gun control measures that have been suggested, not one of them takes a single gun from anyone who purchased it legally. They just don't. People usually invoke the slippery slope argument here. If we give them this it will just be a matter of time until they take our guns. This is the sort of reasoning that leads to anarchy. It is always the duty of citizens in a republic to ensure that laws do not go too far. This does not mean that you cannot have any laws at all. There is a huge difference between making it harder for a criminal to get a gun, and taking away your legally purchased gun. Making it harder to sell guns to criminals for whom it is already illegal to buy a gun in no way endangers your 2nd amendment rights.
They should enforce the laws they already have.
This one tends to go hand in hand with the last one. The thing is, the laws we have state that certain people are not allowed to buy guns. These laws are on the books, they exist. So how do we enforce these laws? With background checks. Only, gun control opponents oppose background checks too. They argue that we should enforce the laws we have, then refuse to allow us to enforce the laws we have. It is critical to point out here, that passing universal background checks does not make it illegal for anyone to purchase a gun for whom it is not already illegal. If universal background checks would prevent you from legally purchasing a gun, it is already illegal for you to purchase a gun. This is simply a tool to help us do as the NRA has been suggesting, and enforce the laws we already have.
Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
This ties in again with the whole control versus confiscation idea that so many people seem to have difficulty grappling. They think the idea is to take away all the guns and that people believe it will end all violence. Another version is, if someone really wants to murder someone they will find a way. This is quite likely true. The thing is, killing someone with a gun is easier and more effective than any other method that I know of. And if someone were known to be predisposed to violence, especially gun violence, wouldn't it make sense to keep them from having an easier method to hurt and kill people? If a lunatic were chasing me down to kill me, I know I much prefer my chances if he has a knife rather than a gun.
Criminals don't obey laws.
This one is usually illustrated by using the drug laws and showing that it hasn't stopped drug use. Yet, I don't see these people calling for the repeal of the drug laws. No law will stop all criminals. That does not mean you make it easy for them. This argument is akin to saying, if someone wants to steal your car they will find a way, so you should just leave your keys in the ignition for them. This isn't about stopping all crime. This is about making it more difficult for criminals, mentally ill, and children to misuse guns. That should be something everyone could get behind, if only gun manufacturers hadn't convinced half the population that reasonable safety measures equaled an attack on their constitutional rights.
Reasonable gun control that everyone should be able to support.
This is what I think is reasonable gun control that everyone should be able to support. Universal background checks. Like I said earlier, this does not make it illegal for a single person to buy a gun for whom it is not already illegal. If you oppose background checks I can only assume it is because you are a felon who wants to buy a gun online. I cannot see any other reasonable reason for opposing this. Training and certification. I realize that this one will be a little more controversial. But if we have to be licensed to use so many things which are dangerous but have benign uses, we should be licensed to use a tool whose only purpose is to injure and kill people. Besides, I feel this falls under the area of a well regulated militia. They are not so well regulated if they can't even shoot safely. Rights are not divorced from responsibilities. Even our first amendment rights have limits, and speech rarely kills anyone. Penalties for failing to keep your gun safe. I think that if you have a gun and you leave it lying about and a kid gets it and kills someone, you should go to jail. That simple. If you allow someone who should not have access to a gun to get and misuse yours, you are responsible. I was having a discussion with a rather rabid 2nd amendment supporter, and when I suggested these he fully agreed they made sense, once I had explained my reasoning behind each. He said that I was suggesting gun safety, not gun control, because in his mind gun control means confiscation. When I pointed out that these were the exact same gun safety measures he has been opposed to, and that he was hiding behind semantic games, he quickly discontinued the conversation. That is the biggest hurdle to achieving any progress in gun control. It has become an all or nothing argument, and no one will admit that they may have been taking their position a bit far. The gun rights advocates need to understand though, if people who shouldn't be getting guns in the first place keep shooting people, confiscation will start to be a more serious topic of discussion. And to preemptively answer the people who are going to insist that Obama is absolutely trying to take their guns, I ask you to provide one example of a law or executive order proposed by Obama that takes away a single gun currently in the possession of a citizen. I am not the biggest fan of Obama, but I am smart enough to realize that we cannot make progress in this country as long as hyperbole is the order of the day.
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