I’ll state right up front that I’m in favor of reasonable gun control laws. By reasonable I mean simple stuff like waiting periods to purchase guns while extensive background checks are performed, bans on owning functioning assault weapons, and preventing someone from buying 6,000 rounds of ammo.
I know that the “any type of gun for anyone” camp will have a problem with that. They’ll try to frame it as someone taking away their rights. They’ll say that it’s taking away their rights if they can’t own an AK-47. The “guns for all” camp has to frame the debate from the "constitutional right" point of view, because it doesn’t work for them any other way.
We have all sorts of laws that are in place right now that are designed to keep the public safe, and they absolutely do infringe on people’s “rights.” Laws like driving on the correct side of the road, not driving while intoxicated, no texting while driving, no underage drinking, etc. We don’t have a “do whatever you want, whether it’s safe for others or not” society. So why should it be any different with weapons?
I know that eventually laws will be passed that will strike an appropriate balance between the right to own a firearm and the public’s safety. History shows us that sanity tends to prevail. Take smoking in public for example. The advocates for smoking anytime and anyplace cried out that their rights were being infringed on, the bar owners cried that they would lose business. Here was another example of the few trying to impose their will on the masses — regardless of how dangerous it was for the masses. Finally, reasonable laws were passed, and everybody got over it. And I haven’t seen a single bar go out of business because of it either.
One thing that really gets me are all the one-liners that are flying around the Internet since the Colorado shootings. I really think that the “guns for all” advocates should stop using one-liners to defend their case. Complex and important issues like gun control can't be discussed with one-liners. The mere attempt cheapens the issue. The childish and immature who come up with and spread these “snippets of wisdom” need to get out of the way and leave the big discussions to the adults.
One-liners are merely diversionary tactics to keep the focus off the real discussion — protecting the masses. Because on those grounds, there’s no way for the “guns for all” lobby to win. How can a simple one-liner even begin to speak to the truth of such a complex issue? Anyone who writes or posts such drivel is hurting their cause, not supporting it. I have yet to see one of any of these one-liners stand up to even the tiniest bit of logic and scrutiny. Here are some examples:
"If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns"
Actually, quite true. (See the “cold dead hand” reference below.) But the goal has never been to outlaw all guns. Not from the mainstream gun control advocacy groups anyway. I’m sure there might be some fringe groups that push for that, but don’t confuse them with people who want reasonable control of firearms.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”
Obvious and correct. It doesn’t even need to be said. But it is used repeatedly to divert people from the truth that a person without a gun can’t kill nearly as many people in the same amount of time as a person with a gun. Especially if that gun is an AK-47.
“We need more guns, not less”
The assumption here is that if criminals knew that everyone carried guns, they wouldn’t try to commit the crime in the first place. Brilliant. That’s the same logic for imposing stiffer penalties or the death penalty for certain crimes. Studies have shown that those aren’t deterrents either. So why think knowing that anyone could shoot a criminal dead would stop them?
Or perhaps the point is that criminals would be stopped dead in their tracks before doing any harm. I most recently heard this from some guy who has his own radio talk show. He was spouting off that if people in the theater in Colorado had guns, John Holmes would have been stopped before anyone was hurt. That is absolute insanity.
First of all, who said no one in the theater had a gun? And if someone did, why didn’t they shoot Holmes? The truth of the matter is that the people in the theater said that at first they thought it was just part of the show. So first a gun-carrying citizen would have to realize it wasn’t part of the show, get their wits about them, get the gun out, deal with the tear gas/smoke, take aim, and shoot. And hopefully not shoot any of the hundreds of people running through the theater trying to get away. The sad truth is that a person wielding an assault weapon can kill and wound far too many people before they could be stopped.
“More people die from car accidents than from guns”
How does this even factor into a discussion about gun control? Is the point that we shouldn’t do what we can to minimize innocent people from dying from the misuse of guns because more people die from car accidents? Or is it that we need more laws around the use of cars? Just another statement of deflection with absolutely no merit on the actual discussion.
“Banning guns won’t reduce crime.”
Probably true, but that’s not the point. This one-liner seeks to focus our attention on the probability that banning guns won’t do much to reduce crime. Go just a little deeper past that statement and any rational person would realize that banning assault rifles and such would make it much more difficult, if not impossible, to kill scores of people while committing those crimes.
I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands”
Hmmm. I take it that this means that you and those who stand with you will ignore the rule of law and take to being criminals if a law is passed that says you can’t have your AK-47. Nice message. However, few reasonable people want all guns banned. Except for a few extremists, that’s never been the message. So you can keep your handgun or your shotgun in your hand. Just leave the assault weapons at the door.
Tragedies like Colorado, Columbine and Gabby Giffords will always happen. There’s no way to stop all crimes of that nature. There will always be the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world — poor, sick individuals who are completely out of touch with reality. There’s no stopping them. But we don’t have to make it easy for them to cause mass destruction either.
I can live with someone owning a handgun or a shotgun for sport and entertainment. But assault weapons? Six thousand rounds of ammo? That seems like lunacy to me. If someone wants to fire assault weapons, let them go to a gun range specifically designed for them. After all, as the one-liner says: “Ever wonder why massacres don’t happen at a shooting range?”