Responding to Gun Claims and Logical Fallacious

Parkland School Shooting

Since the Parkland School Shooting I have heard several arguments in regards to gun rights and forced solutions. Most defenders of gun ownership do so through logical fallacious and dubious claims. I thought I would capture many and write appropriate responses.  Just for disclosure, I am a gun owner.

“The government wants to take my guns.”

No.. no.. no they don’t. Besides, have you even thought about the logistics of such an operation? Who’s coming? Police? No, they wouldn’t give up their guns. Military? No. They wouldn’t give up their guns. Maybe Obama will come knock on your door and ask nicely.

“I don’t want to register my guns because the government will know what I have.”

You are paranoid. Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in Europe and they register their guns. Registering your guns will create greater accountability around ownership and provide more efficient tracking to solve gun crimes.

“Gun control doesn’t work, just look at Chicago.”

Chicago doesn’t have gun control. It has gun annoyance. No real gun control exists anywhere in the United States. You might be prohibited from buying a couple different weapons or magazines in Chicago, but you can drive 20 minutes away or take the El a couple stops out of Chicago and buy whatever you want.

“Gun Control doesn’t work, Chicago has the highest gun rates.”

Actually Memphis, New Orleans, Detroit, and St. Louis all have higher gun homicide rates. And again, America doesn’t really have gun control. It should also be noted that the highest homicide rates are in the southern states, where the highest ownership levels are as well.

“We don’t need background check laws, you are already required to pass a background check.”

Great, what’s your issue with making it a law if we already do them? Also private sellers to a private party don’t require a background check. I believe that’s where the Columbine guns came from.

“Gun control doesn’t work, we are safer with more guns.”

Did you know you are more likely to be killed with a gun in the United States than in Turkey, Iran, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Kuwait, Somalia, Jordan, Vietnam, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Albania. Also our gun homicide rates are more than 10x any nation in Europe, Canada, Japan, and Singapore.

“We can’t worry about guns right now since we have to focus on stopping terrorists.”

Over there past 10 years there have been 92 people killed in the US by terrorists. There has been 120,000 killed by a gun (double that if you include suicides).

“Our country has a mental health problem.”

Our mental health issues are no better or worse than most industrialized nations who don’t have mass shootings and high rates of gun homicides.

“We need better mental health to keep guns out of the hands of killers.”

Agreed. What’s your suggestion? The vast majority of gun crimes are not committed by known mental health cases. Most weapons used in crimes are bought legally and not stolen. Are you suggesting everyone has a mental health exam before purchasing a weapon? See if that gets support by the NRA.

“Bad people will always get guns if they really want them.”

So why worry about mental health cases if they can just get guns anyway? And also “no” to this claim. Again, look at just about every other industrialized nation. Bad people do not get guns.

“If everyone had a gun we would stop mass shootings.”

Possibly true. But domestic homicides would increase, teenage suicides would increase, more accidental shootings would increase, and more people with mental health problems would have access to guns.

“We should arm our teachers.”

You better check with them. Polling shows they have a different opinion.

“I need to have a gun to protect my family.”

Odds are the gun you own will be used for your teenager’s suicide, shooting a neighbor or family member, and if your husband/boyfriend is abusive, on you.

“Let me share a story when a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun.”

Let me share 32,000 stories each year where Americans lost their lives because of a gun.

“More people are saved by guns than killed by guns.”

What are you possibly reading to make you believe such a ridiculous claim? The only data used to justify this response is the Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz study that says 2 million uses of a firearm for defense every year which has been highly debunked. The study relies on a very small sample, taken from phone polling, including police and military, including hunters who felt threatened by animals, and was conducted at the height of gun violence 20 years ago.

“We have gun laws. We should enforce those first.”

The NRA has been highly active in crippling the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). Currently we have the same number of resources as 15 years ago including agents, funding, and rules for engagement. ATF agents can’t compile computerized records, are prohibited from using crime gun trace data, don’t have the resources to validate gun inventories, and are largely undercut when it comes to any real authority. We might have gun laws, but we have no enforcement mechanism.

“Gun crimes mainly happen because of gun free zones.”

No, gun crimes mainly happen because the United States has a firearm for every man, woman, and child. The US has 5% of the world’s population and 45% of the world’s guns. Japan’s entire country is a gun-free zone. You are more likely to be accidentally shot by a toddler in the US than by any other person in Japan.

“95% of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones.”

95% of places where citizens go are gun-free zones so I am not sure the argument here. Churches, restaurants, government buildings, schools, bars, concert halls, stadium events, workplace environments, and even the NRA headquarters are all gun-free zones. To make the connection that gun crimes happen disproportionately in gun-free zones (because criminals don’t care about gun free zones, right?) you would need to prove that a disproportionate number of gun crimes occur in gun-free zones as a percentage of total space.

“There are as many car deaths as gun deaths, should we ban cars?”

This might be the most idiotic response known to mankind. A car’s primary purpose is a lot different than a gun’s primary purpose. Plus, you use a car like a kajillion times more than a gun so let’s compare deaths per use. We could take the same steps to prevent gun crimes as we do auto accidents including tests, licenses, safety instruction, and registration. Let’s also tax ammo (like gas) so we can pay for all the overtime police are working due to mass shootings.

“I left my gun on my porch and nobody died, therefore guns don’t kill people.”

Seriously? How old are you?! Sounds like an argument my eight year old would make. How about I surround my house with mines. If you step on one that’s on you because mines don’t kill people.

“I like to go hunting or shoot trap.”

Great, long rifles and shotguns are rarely used in homicides. I own a shotgun, I enjoy the sport. I fully support firearms that are used for hunting and I think most Americans would agree. In fact, Swiss firearms are almost exclusively long rifles and their homicide rate is a fraction of ours.

“The 2nd Amendment protects my right to bear arms.”

No. The 2nd Amendment protects the right for your state militia to bear arms. When the Founding Fathers ratified the Bill of Rights they were deeply skeptical of federal armies and the states were organized to unify for protection. We have come a long way since then, especially given the scale of our federal army.

“I have a bunch of quotes from our Founding Fathers that prove my right to own guns.”

Most of those quotes are fake or taken out of context. George Washington only had one real quote about gun ownership and it was specifically in the context of military procurement. Also, that painting you own of George Washington kneeling next to his horse at Valley Forge is a fabrication – that never happened. You’re welcome.

“The Supreme Court has affirmed my right to own firearms for personal protection and sport.”

This is actually true. But it took over 200 years for the SCOTUS to come to this interpretation behind the 2007 District of Columbia v. Heller court case. It also took activist conservative judges that controlled 7 of 9 of the high court’s seats to do it. Before 2007 there were several cases brought before the SCOTUS that affirmed the true intention of the 2nd Amendment – state militias.

“The Supreme Court has always backed my right to bear arms.”

Not even close. Consider this quote by Conservative Chief Justice Warren Burger (1969 to 1986): “If I were writing the Bill of Rights now there wouldn’t be any such thing as the Second Amendment…This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.” It wasn’t until the NRA started gaining national attention and large donations in the late 1970’s and 1980’s that the context and meaning of the 2nd Amendment was perverted.

“Our kids are playing too many video games and watching violent movies.”

Currently there are a dozen or so nations including South Korea, Japan, Netherlands, France, UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia that spend more per capita on video games than the United States. Each market equally buys violent and military type games. Gun homicides and mass shootings are substantially lower than the US. You are over 100 times more likely to be killed with a gun in the US than Japan or South Korea.

“Obama had armed protection so clearly you are a hypocrite.”

If you want to own a gun and go through the same training and background checks as the Secret Service, police, or military, I would probably be OK with that. They also have strict guidelines how to store, track, manage and register their firearms. The majority of individuals do not have a problem with law enforcement using firearms to protect the public. With that being said the police in England don’t even carry a firearm. I can’t even fathom getting America to that point.

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