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12 Rational Responses to Irrational Arguments About Guns

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12 Rational Responses to Irrational Arguments About Guns

Which sport requires an assault weapon that fires 850 rounds per minute?

In a recent discussion about gun control on Thom Hartmann's program, my opponent suggested that gun control advocates like me really have a cultural aversion to guns. That's a standard ploy for the gun set: when reason isn’t on your side, deploy emotional and personal arguments instead.

"Anti-gun"? I could've brought up my own recreational gun use, or even brought out the firing range pass I carry in my wallet. But I'll admit that I've lost a little of my taste for it as our national killing spree continues unabated. What's more, that would've been disrespectful to the millions of Americans who do have an understandable aversion to guns. Personal habits should have no part in a rational policy discussion.

Now that President Obama has made his initial gun control proposals, the crazy's being ratcheted up to a new level. Rational Americans in all walks of life will be confronted with these kinds of arguments. We're going to need a playbook. Here are 12 responses you can use when you're confronted with some of the standard illogical, irrational and emotionally overheated statements that gun extremists use.

1. I'm not anti-gun, I'm pro-kindergartner.

After Newtown, what person in his right mind thinks it's irrational to propose some common-sense measures to prevent similar tragedies in the future?

2. Saying "If we have gun control only outlaws will have guns" is like saying "If you outlaw drunk driving, only outlaws will drive drunk."

Rush Limbaugh's recent variation on the old "only outlaws will have guns" line went like this: "If you have gun control laws, the law-abiding will be the only people that don’t have guns."

This anti-gun control cliche makes absolutely no sense. We lose our driver's license if we're arrested for drunk driving, or if we commit too many other moving violations. But law-abiding people are free to drive. Gun control laws aren't any different.

3. If dead children are a "distraction," what subjects are important enough to be worthy of your attention?

As Media Matters reports, an increasing number of gun-extremist righties have suggested that attempts to prevent more deaths, including the deaths of young people at Newtown, Aurora, Columbine and elsewhere, are really just a "distraction" from more important matters.

Try convincing the parents of dead kids that their personal tragedies aren't important. And if dead kindergartners don’t deserve your attention, what does?

4. So you've got "Second Amendment" rights? Where's the rest of your militia?

The text of the Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Where are the other soldiers? Who’s in charge? And which state are you protecting?  

5. Oh, and congratulations on keeping the Lanza kid so "well-regulated."

Along with Crazy New York Hermit Dude, the Columbine killers, the Tucson shooter, and all the other members of your "militia."

6. If I can't drive without decent vision, I shouldn't be able to purchase weapons of mass killing after beating my grandmother to death with a hammer.

Maybe I’m off base here, but that just seems like common sense to me.

7. "Freedom to own a gun"? I have the freedom to own a car. But I don't have the freedom to buy an M1A1 Abrams tank, or the many kinds of rounds -- armor-piercing, incendiary, point detonation, delay, airburst, and shotgun-like antipersonnel tungsten balls -- manufactured for its 120mm smoothbore cannon.

And I'm okay with that.

If our laws had permitted that, I'm pretty sure we would’ve wised up the third or fourth time somebody drove one up to a school, parked in the school bus lane, and started lobbing cannon rounds into the gym, music room, cafeteria, and classrooms -- while fending off law enforcement with a rain of fire from its three auxiliary machine guns.

8. The only other country besides the United States that considers unrestricted gun ownership a fundamental human right is Yemen …

... and Yemen's having second thoughts.

From the UN's Small Arms Survey: "Only two—the United States and Yemen—is ownership of firearms a citizen's basic right. Figures published in the Small Arms Survey 2007 show that the USA and Yemen also have the highest rates of firearms per civilian, with an estimated 90 guns per 100 people in the US, and 55 in Yemen."

There's a slogan for you: "More extreme than Yemen."

9. Why is it that the people who think our "freedom to own guns" is absolute and inflexible are always the first ones to attack our other freedoms -- of speech, of assembly, of worship (a religion other than their own), of privacy -- in the name of national security?

We have the data which shows that our supposed "gun freedom" is causing thousands of needless deaths each year. Most "gun rights" advocates don't care -- and are more than eager to sacrifice other fundamental freedoms even when the evidence suggests it's unnecessary and even wasteful.

Unconstitutional surveillance? Check. Unconstitutional suppression of Wikileaks and other information outlets? Check. Unconstitutional suppression of demonstrators’ rights? Check. Constitutional and rational gun control?

Never.

10. You say guns make us safer, but we already have more guns per capita than any other nation on Earth.

We also have the highest gun homicide rate of any developed nation. Our rate is 32 times that of Great Britain's, for example.

Are we safe enough yet?

11. "Recreational gun use"?

Which sports, exactly, require an assault weapon that fires 850 rounds per minute?

And is there any mass-killing capacity that would be too much for your recreational activity? 5,000 rounds per minute? 10,000 rounds per minute? Or is the recreational value of high-speed gunfire infinite and unbounded?

12. Statistics show that states with more guns also have more homicides. Have you considered starting your own state?

That would allow you, for the first time, to use the Second Amendment for its true and stated purpose: to protect the security of a state.

All the other gun extremists could join you there. Wouldn't that be great?

Most of us are getting tired of reading the obituaries of public servants, moviegoers, shoppers, schoolchildren, and other innocent bystanders in our local papers. Now we can be safe, you can be happy -- and Wall Street investors can keep profiting from guns and the misery they cause.

The state of “Guntopia” isn’t a perfect idea. We would worry about your children’s safety -- but then, we already do.

by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Replies (11-17):
DSamuels
by Gold Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM
1 mom liked this
Well Feinstein's bill makes a good start. Her bill would ban over 150 rifles, handguns and I believe shotguns, although I'm not sure about the last one.

Hmmm, why is it that when restrictions to certain types of abortion (parental notification, late term, education) are mentioned the outcry is "they want to ban abortion"?


Quoting Sisteract:

No moreso than the govenrment wants to take "all of our weapons"-

Quoting DSamuels:

Umm, a gun that fires 850 or more rounds a minute is an automatic weapon, basically the same thing as a machine gun. They have been so tightly controlled since 1934 that they are very expensive and very rare.



The majority of mass murders are committed by HANDGUNS, not "assault rifles." They are easier to conceal.



Criminals do NOT obey the laws, therefore gun laws don't stop them from obtaining guns. So yes, if you outlaw guns, the outlaws (criminals) will still have them. Why the hell is this so hard to comprehend.



The gun homicide rate has gone down every year for the past 5+ years. This is according to the FBI statistics.



Hmm, some of the cities with the strictest gun control have the highest gun homicides...Chicago and DC. How's that working out?



The US does not have "unrestricted gun ownership." That statement is just plain idiotic.



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Sisteract
by Socialist Hippie on Jan. 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Going to the extreme example is dramatic, and IMO, people then think the extremes justify opinions.

FTR, I have no problems with any of the things you mentioned in terms of termination, but that's a topic for another thread.

Drama and extreme often do not dovetail with reality.

Quoting DSamuels:

Well Feinstein's bill makes a good start. Her bill would ban over 150 rifles, handguns and I believe shotguns, although I'm not sure about the last one.

Hmmm, why is it that when restrictions to certain types of abortion (parental notification, late term, education) are mentioned the outcry is "they want to ban abortion"?


Quoting Sisteract:

No moreso than the govenrment wants to take "all of our weapons"-

Quoting DSamuels:

Umm, a gun that fires 850 or more rounds a minute is an automatic weapon, basically the same thing as a machine gun. They have been so tightly controlled since 1934 that they are very expensive and very rare.



The majority of mass murders are committed by HANDGUNS, not "assault rifles." They are easier to conceal.



Criminals do NOT obey the laws, therefore gun laws don't stop them from obtaining guns. So yes, if you outlaw guns, the outlaws (criminals) will still have them. Why the hell is this so hard to comprehend.



The gun homicide rate has gone down every year for the past 5+ years. This is according to the FBI statistics.



Hmm, some of the cities with the strictest gun control have the highest gun homicides...Chicago and DC. How's that working out?



The US does not have "unrestricted gun ownership." That statement is just plain idiotic.




jenna_az
by New Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 8:17 PM

I'm going to have to disagree with much of this. While I know that there are some super extreme pro-gun owners out there who make a bad name for us, they do not represent the majority of those of us who support the personal ownership of guns, including AR-15's. Much of the information out there right now that is being used to support gun control is based off of emotion, not fact. And, while states with the "most guns" may have high crime rates, this is because the majority of states with the highest populations have large cities and urban areas highly saturated with the types of people who use these weapons. But, that is still fewer guns per capita (per person) than states with very low crime rates. Take most midwestern states - they have lower crime rates and a much higher gun-per-capita than most states with larger populations. I lived in Oklahoma for work for 8 years and if I was starving, on the brink of dying, there's no WAY I would consider doing a home invasion. Everyone there has a gun, This being said, gun control laws do work to ensure that law-abiding citizens register the guns they do have and do not possess those that are no longer allowed. However, those with no regard for the law (those who usually drive drunk too, I bet) are those who have it in their character to committ violent crimes. If gun bans worked, I would support it to some degree. However, the violent crime rate in Washington D.C., Chicago, Australia (this was a crazy one), and the U.K. spiked after gun control bans went into effect, while the crime rate dropped in areas that passed carry and conceal laws. Most gun supporters are very open to discussion, but I have not heard a single "rational" idea from the other side, either.

Here is my next point: high-powered rifles are actually less powerful than hunting rifles, and can shoot almost as fast as handguns. Sound bizarre? The caliber of a rifle is smaller than that of most hunting rifles that would not be outlawed. And, on the civilian version of the Assault Rifle, the "semi-auto" and "auto" features are not available. I should know - I've fired them in the military and I've fired civilian ones. You can only shoot as fast as your finger will pull the trigger. This is no different than a handgun. And it seems a lot of the negative rap about rifles comes from women, but I bet many of them have not fired both an AR and a handgun before because an AR is much more suited to a woman's body and she has a big advantage shooting an AR over a handgun because women have more core endurance than men, and men have more upper arm and shoulder endurance. Rifles and AR's require more core to keep steady, and handguns require arm and shoulder endurance. Finally, if someone invades my home I would want to be better equipped than those doing the invasion. Many invasions are not done alone these days - it is the trend lately for groups of 2-4 people to commit a home invasion, and often each one is armed. When you are in the safe confines of a shooting range or gallery, or in the class you take to use a gun, it is easy to say that you only need a coupe of rounds. But, when someone breaks your window and you get that almost unmeasurable adrenaline rush and pick up that weapon, your aim may be a little bit off and you'll be a little shaky. Also, you will want to shoot each guy a couple times because we have all heard the story of the one who was not quite dead yet, and what if the guy fell between you and your child? I'd shoot him three more times to ensure our safety. I know from experience that a 20-round magazine goes quickly. And sure, a rifle "can" shoot 850 rounds per minute, but it won't because you can't pull your finger 850 times in a minute. Nor will you have 850 rounds loaded into 42 magazines that are in your pockets. That's without taking time out of that minute to reload a magazine - which, by the way, hunting rifles use too.

Now, I have a handgun that shoots just fine and it would work in most cases if I needed it. However, in order to match the threat of others I would want something more powerful at home. If there was an AR in my house, it would not be there without a gun safe to which NO one - not even my kids - ever - gets the code. Chances are, I will probably never need an assault rifle. And, I never want to have to use it. But, being a female and having the firearms experience I have had, I would never choose another weapon over the AR. The shooter makes it dangrous - not the weapon itself. It is able to be converted to other types of weapons - including hunting rifles (how about that!?), it's adaptable, it's comfortable, it's extremely easy to shoot - easier than a handgun to me, anyway, and it will scare the living hair off anyone who sees it, usually deterring the need to fire it in the first place. Statistics show I will probably never encounter that situation in which I'll need it, but I tell you now that whenever I have heard a noise in the night in the past, I have always picked up the AR first, even though it was next to a handgun. I'm a tiny girl and it's very comfortable. There is just always that ONE time you wish you had it, or that ONE time you have to encounter your threat in the heat of the moment, or that ONE time you might even have to shoot through the arm of a couch or something - that it would all seem worth it.

My advice would be to not listen to those radically-thinking, one-sided people you know and to actually have an intelligent discussion with someone like a police officer, who encounters somebody every day that was able to defend themselves because they had a gun. Fewer than 3% of all violent crimes are done with AR's - they're typically committed with handguns. AR's play such a small part in our nations's problems, and I prefer it over a handgun, knife, or baseball bat. I wish no oe needed them but that's not reality. And an AR cannot justly be compared to an M1 Abrams. And kids who have tragically died in the few mass shootings these past several years are not a "distraction" because they are not important enough - they are a "distraction" in that gun control "extremists" use them to add an emotional component to their argument rather than providing solid evidence that a gun ban has a favorable effect on crime rates, which history shows us has been proven otherwise. Please just be open to both sides and perhaps take a class on how to use an AR. It might become your best friend.

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

10. You say guns make us safer, but we already have more guns per capita than any other nation on Earth.

We also have the highest gun homicide rate of any developed nation. Our rate is 32 times that of Great Britain's, for example.

Negative. Apples and oranges. The US rate is a more accurate number. It includes ALL gun homicides - including law enforcement - the largest percentage - and citizen justified homicide, the next largest percentage. On the other hand, the UK rate does not include either one, and only includes cases where a citizen is CONVICTED of a gun homicide. And Americans tend to report crimes to the police more frequently than Brits.  So the figures are as different as night and day.

A better comparison is violent crime rates per 100,000 people. When you outlaw guns, people are going to use other methods of violent crime, in addition to criminals using guns. The UK's rate of violent crime is about 2,500 per 100,000. The US's rate is 466 per 100,000. So the US, despite having a population 6 times as large as the UK, has a per capita violent crime rate about 20% of the UK rate.

Hmm.

Stephanie329
by Bronze Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 8:58 PM
Oh my goodness, that is funny - except for the threatening part.

Quoting mikiemom:

all so very true, I used a couple of these on a rabid friend of a friend on facebook. My actual friend said I had the redneck steaming and frothing at the mouth, the jack-rabbit actually threatened me on facebook

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SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Jan. 26, 2013 at 2:37 AM

That's funny - None of these reasons sound rational to me... Emotional and deeply felt, perhaps - but not logical.

GrannyM.
by Bronze Member on Jan. 26, 2013 at 9:27 AM
abcnews.go.com

ABC News

 

Newtown residents to join pastors, parents in march for gun control on National Mall in DC

The Associated Press

Organizers said they are expecting thousands of participants for the rally on the National Mall, including about 100 from Newtown and buses from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. Others are flying in from Seattle, San Francisco and even Alaska. They will gather Saturday at the Capitol Reflecting Pool at 10 a.m. and will begin marching down Constitution Avenue toward the Washington Monument at 11 a.m. A rally is planned on the monument grounds at noon.

Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington's Arena Stage, and her partner organized the march, inspired by the December massacre that killed 20 first graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, she said. The gunman also fatally shot his mother and committed suicide.

"With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it's as if I move on," Smith said. "And In this moment, I can't move on. I can't move on.

"I think it's because it was children, babies," she said. "I was horrified by it."

While she's never organized a political march before, Smith said she was compelled to press for a change in the law. The march organizers support President Barack Obama's call for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as for universal background checks for gun sales. They also want lawmakers to require gun safety training for all buyers of firearms.

As a theater person, Smith said murdering a child is something you can never show in theater. Even in the Greek tragedy, "Medea," the main character kills her children, but that happens off stage, Smith said.

After the Connecticut shootings, Smith posted something on Facebook and drew more support to do something. The group One Million Moms for Gun Control, the Washington National Cathedral and two other churches eventually signed on to co-sponsor the march. Organizers have raised more than $46,000 online to pay for equipment and fees to stage the rally.

Lawmakers from the District of Columbia and Maryland are scheduled to speak. Actress Kathleen Turner is expected to appear, along with Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund and Colin Goddard, a survivor from the Virginia Tech massacre.

Smith said she supports a comprehensive look at mental health and violence in video games and films. But she said the mass killings at Virginia Tech and Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., all start with guns.

"The issue is guns. The Second Amendment gives us the right to own guns, but it's not the right to own any gun," she said. "These are assault weapons, made for killing people."

———

March on Washington for Gun Control: http://www.guncontrolmarch.com/



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