Archive for May, 2022

I grew up with at least three guns in my house in Oklahoma, including long guns and handguns, and learned to shoot them when I was young. So I’ve been hearing the flawed reasoning of gun rights supporters my whole life. We are hearing them again after the mass murder of children in Uvalde, Texas. I myself didn’t care much about the gun issue until 20 children were slaughtered, along with six adults, in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Then I realized kids were dying every day unnecessarily because people like me were not speaking up about what we knew.

The following is a list of things gun enthusiasts will say to you in the backlash as most Americans demand sensible gun laws. The assertions are going to include outright lies about history and physics, logical fallacies and cute bumper sticker slogans that talk around the substance of the argument. (“Guns don’t kill people” is irrelevant to the question of whether people should be allowed to have them.)

But you can answer these things, because in the end, the words are almost always rooted in childhood defense mechanisms. And that’s because gun fans have been taught to say these things (and not think about them) since childhood.

Them: “Gun laws don’t work. Criminals will just get guns wherever.”

You: “Three hundred thousand gun purchases were blocked in 2020. That’s 300,000 people who were so unable to get guns ‘wherever’ that they risked going exactly to places where they would fail.”

Them: “The founding fathers wanted us to have the strongest weapons so we could fight the government.”

You: “The Second Amendment was written amid a discussion about the best way to put down rebellions against the government. Which is why the militia wording is in there. And founding father Thomas Jefferson curtailed gun rights in his successive drafts of the Virginia constitution. So there is actual written proof that the founding fathers didn’t believe in limitless gun rights.”

Them: “Why do people want to punish good, law-abiding gun owners after a shooting?”

You: “Why do ‘good’ gun owners pursue policies that protect the worst gun owners? Let’s put it another way: If you hate the idea of watering down of schools’ test standards because you think it’s unfair to students who make an ‘A,’ apply that logic to yourself. If gun laws are watered down, it really doesn’t matter how “good and law-abiding” you think you are–because you’ve asked to have no standards in the first place. And thus the rest of us don’t have to treat you with the respect you’re craving because you’ve basically asked us to give you a participation trophy.

Them: “Most liberals won’t tell you, but most gun deaths are suicides.”

You: “Yes, statistically speaking, you have reminded us what these weapons are mostly good for.”

Them: “There are too many guns in this country and you can’t confiscate them all.”

You: “You don’t need to confiscate them. Tough gun laws change the way these guns flow through society, the same way federal monetary policy changes the way money flows through the economy. Good policy affects the points at which guns are allowed to be sold, moved and transferred and the extent to which they are allowed to be loaded and modified. Bad actors are usually caught tripping over these invisible wires because they are often doing something else illegal. When the guns are illegal, they can be seized. When they are seized, they don’t put bullets in children’s bodies.”

Them: “I read about a guy who defended his home with a gun on Monday.”

You: “Great! Now tell me about 30 more guys who defended their home with a gun on Monday and you will be tied with the people who used guns to murder.”

Them: “When seconds count, the police are minutes away. … In other words, better to have a gun.”

You: “Your gun is also minutes away. Because nobody has a few seconds to stop bullets already flying, a struggle already in place, an ambush in progress. In fact, given how much hindsight is involved in gun fans’ explanation of how violence works, the gun always seems to be days, months or years away.”

Them: “The left always demonizes law-abiding gun owners after a shooting!”

You: “If you try to force murder weapons into the hands of teachers to try to hide the fact your solutions are a failure, then forgive people who might think you are an actual demon. You don’t know exactly what kind of monstrous thing you’ve asked somebody so that a questionable belief you have can be preserved.”

Them: ”People have a natural right to defend themselves with a firearm.”

You: “Guns are designed to shoot someone in the back at 100 yards. No one has a natural right to that power. No one has a moral right to that power. The legal right to that power in the United States has always been complicated and is not what you think.”

Them: “We should just arm teachers.”

You: “The gunman you armed will shoot the teacher first. Probably while that teacher is showing a child how to glue something together. And why are you mobilizing the world and all the people in it to dangerous behavior they don’t want to follow and doing so mainly to accommodate the fact that your reasoning has not worked thus far?”

Them: “They did a study and found more than 6,000 people defended themselves with guns yesterday.”

You: “There is no database of 6,000 gun defenses yesterday. There is no newspaper microfiche repository of 6,000 gun defenses. There are a couple of phone polls of very small numbers of people done by researchers who didn’t validate whether the people bragging had actually used their guns in a legal or illegal way–or really did anything other than yell ‘I have a gun.’ The researchers then amplified these mistakes into 2.5 million gun defenses a year, even though this would suggest that gun owners are experiencing a crime wave like nobody else is and that it’s been going on continuously for a quarter century through the Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama, Trump and Biden eras. The fact that the pro-gun figures don’t take year-to-year crime into account is dispositive that they are fraudulent.

Them: “A good guy with a gun stopped the church shooting at Sutherland Springs, Texas in 2017.”

You: “The NRA instructor who shot Devin Kelley did not stop a mass murder. He put a barely happy coda on it when the killing work was largely done. Kelley successfully killed 26 people and wounded 22 others, doing exactly what he’d set out to do. It really didn’t matter at that point if a bystander or a cop wounded him or ended his life. If the NRA instructor had been in the church, he would have likely been another victim or just as likely shot another congregant in the confusion, which is what usually happens when the good guy with a gun is fighting in close quarters. This is another, gaping hole in the ‘good guy with a gun’ theory. It requires dozens of people to act as a physical distraction so that the hero can get a clean shot.”

Them: “It doesn’t matter what liberals say about guns. They murder babies through abortion.”

You: “The idea that you are ready to turn your backs on slaughtered children as a kind of intellectual trade means your argument is a tactical one, not a moral one, and thus morally indefensible.”

Them: “Knives kill more people than guns.”

You: “That’s a lie. You probably meant to say knives kill more people than rifles, in which case you left out handguns on purpose (a distinction without much difference) and so you were still lying. The bigger point you are trying to make is that knives are just as lethal as guns. If that were the case, you would be OK just having knives. You aren’t because your premise is, again, untrue.

Them: “There’s more crime where there is more gun control.”

You: “That’s another lie. It’s based on a book whose author was caught lying. Quoting a liar makes you a liar also. We have every other developed country to show us how well gun control works, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned. The reason we say it doesn’t work in the U.S. is not derived from a scientific analysis. It stems from a desperate defense of culture. And you can use culture to defend almost anything, even human sacrifice. Which really is how you should be considering your argument right now.”

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I would not listen to Greg Abbott give a press conference on a mass shooting in Texas for the same reason I would not listen to Charles Manson give a press conference on the Tate-LaBianca murders.

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