If you’re wondering why the gun control community favors civilian disarmament, it’s all about personal responsibility. They don’t believe that Americans are responsible enough to own a gun. Why? I’ve got a simple list. But before I trot-out the terrible troika of gun grabbing gibberish, I want to highlight an important point: contrary to their public protestations about “good” vs. “bad” gun owners, gun control advocates do want to grab your guns. But they know they can’t. And not just because the Supreme Court says they can’t.
Gun control advocates know there are several million Ted Nugent-types ready to do the cold dead hands thing. So they focus their efforts on preventing newbies from tooling up. By discouraging new firearms owners (to say the least), they can grab the guns before they’re sold. They’re gun abortionists, as it were.
In this they have been ridiculously successful. Although gun rights are on a roll, let’s not forget that we’re only now emerging from a period where gun control advocates ruled the day. You still can’t carry a concealed weapon in Illinois. New York? New Jersey? Fuhgeddaboutit. My City of Providence Conceal Carry Permit reads number 20. As in twenty ever.
To stop American citizens from exercising their right to keep and bear arms, gun control activists have a simple message: guns are dangerous. Dangerous for unarmed civilians. Dangerous for armed civilians. Dangerous for children. Dangerous for police. Dangerous for society. Too dangerous for you!
Here’s the problem: guns are dangerous. If they weren’t dangerous they wouldn’t exist. What’s more, people get shot. By guns. What’s worse, dangerous people use them. Criminal, mentally deranged and stupid people. There’s no denying this fact. But there is a little matter of context.
It’s your job as a gun owner to provide that context for people who don’t own guns, or own them and support gun control anyway. To do that, you have to counter the three big lies that gun control advocates use to make their case that guns are too dangerous for civilians. Lies that are absorbed by people who’ve never really thought about it. The fibs are as follows . . .
1. People are too stupid to own a gun
It’s certainly true that some people are too stupid to own firearms. TTAG has a whole category’s worth of Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day posts to prove the point. In general, nothing could be further from the truth.
At the risk of insulting the intelligence of the people who insult the intelligence of existing and potential gun owners, shooting a firearm is a relative simple business. You put the bullets in (the hard part), you aim the gun and pull the trigger. If you don’t pull the trigger . . . nothing happens.
Statistics show that firearms are no more dangerous than swimming pools, automobiles and (in the case of children) plastic bags. That’s before you exclude firearms-related suicides and gun crimes committed by gang bangers. My local gun range—open to the public—pays less than a thousand dollars a month for insurance coverage.
The fact that there are tens of millions of gun owners walking around who’ve never shot themselves or another human being also attests to the simplicity and inherent safety of firearms ownership. The general public may not shoot well, but they get it: be careful with guns. Not because they’re smart. Because they’re smart enough.
If you’re fighting this “people are too dumb to own a gun” meme, keep in mind that gun control advocates are, like gun rights advocates, a highly educated group of people. The key difference: gun grabbers are elitists. [This is the main reasons gun control found so much favor over the last century. Elitists controlled the media.]
The easiest way to counter the argument: ask a simple series of questions. Do you think the average person is intelligent enough to handle poisonous cleaning chemicals? Can they cut their food with a sharp knife—and not use it to stab themselves or others? Can most people operate a car safely? The last one may be a bit of a stretch, but they’ll know what you mean.
2. People are too mentally unstable to own a gun
Remember Emotional Intelligence? Gun control advocates have extrapolated a general principle from the book’s core proposition: most people are emotionally retarded. In the gun grabbers’ world view, the average person is prone to flipping out, grabbing a gun and shooting someone. Or a bunch of someones.
Yes, it happens. But tens of thousands of mentally disturbed people aren’t shooting people on a regular basis (or at all, for that matter). Even if there were tens of thousands of mentally challenged murderers, that would still represent a fraction of the total U.S. population. Aas for spree killings, they’re so rare that the President of the United States felt obliged to fly our 747 to Arizona to personally praise the survivors of a recent massacre.
Some gun control advocates reckon that anyone who shoots anyone is mentally challenged. Ipso facto. The average American may not know Latin, but they know that most people who shoot people are not mentally ill individuals off their meds struggling with inner demons. They’re criminals. Bad guys.
Again it does happen. But whacko, serial and spree killings don’t lead to new gun control measures because Americans know a bald-headed aberration like Jared Lee Loughner when they see one. The fundamental flaw in the gun grabbers’ “We’re All One Step From Madness” argument is that few people have had any direct contact with someone who’s gone off the rails and shot someone. And that’s because, statistically speaking, it doesn’t happen.
Ultimately, thankfully, personal experience trumps media. Equally important, the fear of psycho killers is greater than the fear of someone becoming one. Besides, how do you counter a madman? With criminals you can call the cops or negotiate. (At least in theory.) With a nut-job you need . . . a gun. Hence Arizona’s determination not to do a damn thing about gun control after the Loughner killings.
The best way to counter the Gun Control as Anti-Flip Out meme: make it personal. Force gun control advocates to confront their elitism. I own a gun. If I got really angry or really sad, do you think I’d shoot (name family members)? So why am I so different from other gun owners? I don’t think I am, and I don’t think you can devise a law that stop the crazies without stopping the rest of us. Do you?
By this point, a gun control advocate may start parroting the “If One Life is Saved” argument. Basically, they’re asking you to jettison the very thing that they claim to promote: common sense. Common sense says life is about balancing risk with reward. A fraction of a fraction of the total population of American children may shoot themselves with Daddy’s gun, but society is generally safer from criminals when its law-abiding citizens are armed.
Or is it? The final argument . . .
3. Gun owners are trigger-happy
Gun control advocates (like our very own MikeB30200) see gun owners as wanna-be or proto-vigilantes. They’re just itching to take the law into their own hands at the right end of a gun. And if you “let” average people own guns, they’ll forgo their reliance on civility and the criminal justice system and use their firearms to execute rough justice. Call it The Return of the Wild West (ROTWW).
Admittedly, armed aggression against perceived slight and threats is not an unknown occurrence—especially where it overlaps with the aforementioned mental instability or somehow involves gang signs. Real “trigger happiness”—an average Joe engaging in a road rage revenge shooting or some neighbor-on-neighbor gunfighting—is exciting stuff. But it’s statistically meaningless.
UNLESS you redefine legitimate armed self-defense as trigger happy behavior. As many gun advocates do. So let’s drill down a bit . . .
Nobody knows how many defensive gun uses (DGUs) go down in the US of A. Some say it’s millions per year. It could be less. Or more. Many if not most gun owners never tell the police when they brandish their weapon to successfully thwart a bad guy—given that doing so runs the very real risk of firearms confiscation and banning.
It’s also true that civilians wound and kill more bad guys than cops. But very few of the gun owners who do so go to jail for so doing. Either the court system is cutting gun owners too much slack (a complaint that gun control advocates make on a regular basis), or the shooters weren’t “trigger happy.” Anyone with an ounce of faith in our legal system—the same system that gun grabbers ask citizens to trust instead of a self-defense firearm—will go with the latter.
Distilling this [non]issue to its basics is simple enough: what’s the danger of a gun owner killing the wrong person? Despite the fact that most people are lousy shots, you can round down the odds of a “trigger happy” non-criminal civilian killing an innocent bystander down to zero. It’s not the last thing an unarmed civilian needs to worry about, but I’d buy a lightning rod before I’d don a bullet-resistant vest.
All that’s without considering the benefits of an armed, law-abiding population (i.e. deterrence). Anyway, countering this feeble supposition is child’s play. Do you think that the average person wants to shoot someone? If I gave you a gun, would you want to shoot someone?
Gun control advocates view the common man as stupid, emotionally unstable and aggressive. In this they are wrong. They understand that they must hide this elitism (perhaps even from themselves) to protect their cause. For once it’s exposed, it’s reviled. And their argument with it. Which is how it should be. But don’t expect them to reveal/confront their true colors without your help.
It all starts with a simple question. Do you believe the average American is responsible enough to own a gun?