now.howstuffworks.com offers readers Thought Experiment: What Would a World Without Guns Be Like? If you or I were to write that piece we’d simply look back in history, scanning the scene before AD 1000 when the Chinese invented firearms. Or a few hundreds year hence, before Sam Colt made men equal.

We’d quickly conclude that life sucked for the average human. The strong preyed upon the weak without remorse. As they still do, only more so back then, when armies and/or armed thugs could murder or enslave less-well-armed or disarmed populations with impunity. As they still do, only more so back then.

But that’s not how HSW writer Christian Sager approached the task. He imagines a fictional Mrs. Mrs. Robertson living in modern-day America after “The Disarmament,” when all the world’s guns suddenly stopped working. According to Mr. Sager, things go better without guns!

The paper said around 11,000 more people were alive every year since guns had stopped working. What they hadn’t quantified yet was how many people died because of weapons like the boys outside (impact weapons) were wielding. Mrs. Robertson thought it must certainly be less. There were fewer homicides, fewer robberies and fewer assaults every year now . . .

Some thought without guns, the world would collapse back into feudalism. Other predictions like an unsustainable rise in the population hadn’t come true either, with only 11,000 more people each year. In fact, the biggest problem was what were they going to do with the millions of useless chunks of gun metal they were left with.

I haven’t checked any online legal databases, but I reckon Mr. Sager and reality have been divorced for some time. His thought experiment, steeped in progressive politics, is an exercise in wishful thinking. Nothing more and nothing less.

Our Constitutional republic is based on civilian firearms ownership. Remove firearms from the equation and power would once again concentrate from whence it came, from whom our forefathers wrested it: the government.

As the son of a Holocaust survivor whose disarmed family was slaughtered by agents of the state for the “crime” of being Jewish, I can think of nothing worse.

How Stuff Works should stick to vacuum cleaners.

57 Responses to How Stuff Works Prove Gun Control Advocates Are Insane

  1. These anti-gun people are absolutely mentally retarded. Before guns we use swords before swords we use clubs the human species is a violent and territorial species.

    No matter how Progressive liberal you are you still have the Tendencies to fight hence the constant screaming and yelling and violence displayed by the anti-gunners against the pro-gun community.

    It would almost seem that the only people in this country that are rationally processing information and not emotionally freaking the FL are law-abiding gun owners just more reason why I don’t think these Progressive liberals should be a lot be allowed around a toaster oven they’re freakin morons that are violent and just love doing nothing more than screaming and hollering and people’s faces it’s absolutely ridiculous.

    These anti-gun people need to take a long hard look in the mirror and see what is mentally wrong with the way they conduct themselves in public and in private. When you tell one of these people that you’re a good person and you try to explain statistical facts that are proven by the FBI in the Center for Disease Control for the last all I don’t know hundred years all they do is come unglued and act like you’ve stolen their only child.

    It’s a one-way conversation and I see my way right out of it as soon as it happens because I know exactly what’s going to end up transpiring with them screaming and spitting in my face as they yell at me for doing nothing more then pointing out a few statistical proven facts to them finally asking them have you ever gone and shot a firearm 99.8% of the time they say no and never will.

    And it kind of makes me remember what your mother told you when you’re a little you don’t know if you like something until you try it. LOL

      • +1, do not insult the mentally retarded, at least they have the courtesy of leaning in a chair without a word.

        Leftists on the other hand, well, it doesn’t matter what the topic is. Once a ‘discussion’ starts, it swan dives off a cliff into an abyss of hyperbole and irrationality. The right is more than capable of the same but its less common and on fewer topics, its sometimes hard to find.

        • “One side weary of the other based on the degree to which that other side has been brainwashed and deceived. The other side organically indoctrinated to perceive everything said and done by their opponents as “hatred” and “dark-heartedness.” A very special divide is upon us.” -Bernie Suarez 1/25/2017

          Yeah. What he said…

    • Progressive: The world would be so much better and peaceful without guns.
      That progressives facebook feed: Check out this sweet video of a Neo Nazi getting sucker punched in the face at the Woman’s March.

  2. “…but I reckon Mr. Sager and reality have been divorced for some time.”

    Best line that I’ve read today! Thanks, RF!

  3. Wow, I just finished the article. The author obviously has the stance of, “guns are the cause of crime, not the person” because they practically wave away all wrongdoing in their unicorn world. A bunch of pure handwaving and fluff. Nothing to see here.

    • Yes, the Liberals would have you believe the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Middle Ages were full of peace and harmony. All the wars and bloodshed throughout those times never happened, because the evil firearm never existed.

      Right? Riiiiiight?

      Bring back history classes.

      • No, but they would claim that people are “civilized” now, and that easy access to guns hampers individuals and societies from being truly “civilized”. Though I have yet to have one of them present me with a compelling argument as to how people became permanently civilized and how modern man is fundamentally different from humans who lived a thousand years ago.

        • Oh, people are plenty domesticated these days compared to millennia past; but there’s this little thing called “reverting to type” that is a very real phenomenon. Screw history, bring back mandatory reading of The Lord of the Flies (or make it a reality show). Granted, some idiots view that book as an example of why an omnipotent authority is required to pacify Man, as opposed to a thought experiment on the logical conclusion of pure Anarchy.

  4. Some examples of massive human carnage largely perpetrated without firearms:

    – Chun-Qiu and warring states period China
    – Punic Wars
    – Parthian Wars
    – Immediate post-Islam expansion
    – Mongol invasions and conquests of the 11th and 12th centuries
    – The Crusades
    – Mughal invasion and conquest of India
    – Pre-colonial MesoAmerican conquest by the Aztecs
    – European 30 years war (guns yes, but mostly pikemen and cavalry)
    – Rwandan genocide

    Don’t show Mr. Sager Jorge Sprave’s youtube channel where he makes automatic crossbows. He might have an embolism!

    • “But but but… people are permanently civilized now! And Rwanda was just an example of black people acting like black people!”

      -The left, though they would never admit to their own soft racism

  5. One problem that some people have today is they believe that history did not begin until they were born so of course they can never learn anything from it.

    Historically, the strong have always oppressed of the weak, the young have always dominated the elderly and governments have always tended toward tyranny. While civilian armament cannot eradicate these truths, it does give the weak, the elderly and and those not connected powerful government interests who would choose to use coercive force a fighting chance to resist.

    • I mention that because it was on “How things work.” They should probably know how things work there. A three bladed pole-arm is so Sword and Sorcerer as well. Even as a 16 year old kid I knew that was plain stupid.

  6. Go back and look at battles in England pre Renaissance. Quite often one side of the battle would be nearly all wiped out with only mounted cavalry able to escape. Without effective projectile weapons, it would be difficult to break contact and escape the battle area so one side would just whack away at the other till they were all in the dirt.

  7. Just look at the history of human warfare. We can be nightmarish, predatory monsters worse than anything anyone can imagine if given the right circumstances. Firearms allow us to even the playing field when the monsters come calling. The only reason societies hold together as well as they do is mutual benefit. Remove that benefit and over night we’re little more than predators and prey again.

  8. Why would you assume that 11K people per year would be saved?

    I wouldn’t assume that at all.

    Suicides: Yes, it’s possible that some people who use a gun wouldn’t manage to kill themselves and would get the help they need. It’s also possible that the people who use guns are actually the ones serious about dying and would simply find another method. South Korea has the second highest suicide rate in the world and strict gun control. For South Korean’s the preferred methods of suicide are inhalation of pesticides, hanging and falling from a height.

    Murder: There is no reason to surmise that the murder rate would drop. Those willing and capable of cold-blooded murder will probably shift to a blade or other weapon rather than say “Well, I was gonna kill this guy today but I can’t get a gun!”. This is how people murdered each other for thousands of years and I suspect we would rapidly revert to the blade, cudgel etc. Highwaymen have existed for a long, long time. Long before firearms.

    In fact the rate of homicide might, and I do say might because this is a thought experiment not an actual experiment where we can figure this out, drastically rise. We have good evidence that there are at least 100K DGU’s in the US every year. In most of them no shots are fired, merely the production of a pistol by the would-be victim is enough to send the BG packing. Without those firearms a healthy percentage of those incidents may involve emboldened attackers who actually do harm to the victim and in many cases, kill the victim. If you assume, for example, 1/3rd of those are knife based crimes and that one half of knife incidents like this would become knife based attacks you now have an extra 16.5K people being attacked with a knife. If you also assume the above to be true and assume a 33% fatality rate, you’ve actually raised the murder rate by 5.45K or 49.5%.

    Murder has always existed. Were this not the case the Poena Cullei (punishment/penalty of the sack) wouldn’t have been a thing and you could only get stuffed in that bag for parricide under Roman law. So it’s rather clear that people killing their parents was a problem many centuries ago.

    • “This is how people murdered each other for thousands of years”.
      They’ve found remains of pre-homo erectus hominids whose skulls have been bashed in with rocks, so technically we’ve been at this for millions of years. I guess when you find something you’re good at, you stick with it.

    • Actually, the 11K figure does refer to murders by all firearms, and does NOT include the 21K suicides each year in the US. These two stats together make up the 33K “gun murders” per year that the bloomites are so fond of repeating, ad nausium. One of the few things this site did get correct.
      It DOES, however, include justifiable homicides AND legal self defence killings, which have no business being included in such company. But the PTB define “homicide” as; the intentional taking of the life of another, regardless of the justification or lack thereof. It also includes all killings by police.

  9. I am being serious when I state that the efficiency of hand held firearms has probably kept weapon’s development back. Things could be so much better/worse if other weapons technologies had been explored in the past. We could have hand held, and fully functioning [fill in the blank] by now. Technology will continue to advance but the heart of man will stay the same.

    • Indeed. The author completely ignores crossbows, slings, air guns, rail guns etc… All things that would become normal if gunpowder ceased to work. Either that, or we’d invent a new form of controlled explosive. I’m pretty sure there’s a few compounds which would fill the void within minutes.

  10. As Dougie said above there are numerous examples of killings before guns.

    The record is about 60 000 Romans in on day by Hanibal’s army.

    As I have said many times here my favourite question for antis here in Australia is what is the second or third biggest massacre? Both by fire. No one ever gets it.

  11. A science fiction author – S.M. Stirling, has a whole series of books (Dies the Fire etc) set in our world where guns have stopped working. Needless to say people don’t stop killing each other or defending themselves when attacked. Using pretty much anything that comes to hand or that they can come up with.
    Human nature being what it is Christian Sager isn’t really thinking straight. It’s not the weapon it’s the hand and the mind behind it.

    • That was a good series. An interesting speculation about “what happens if technology no longer works?”, though the fantasy element added in sort of spoils that effect. Still good stories in and of themselves, though…

  12. It’s ironic to hear leftists claim that, in the absence of guns, everything would be sweetness and light after they rioted in Washington during Trump’s inauguration. I enjoy telling them that the YouTube video of Michael Brown intimidating the diminutive convenience store clerk, prior to his fatal encounter with the Ferguson police officer, is what life would be like in a disarmed society.

  13. Russia is a good example of the absurd failure of gun control to curb murder. Russia has a substantially higher murder rate than the United States, but most murders are committed with blunt object, knife or hands and feet.

  14. “Our Constitutional republic is based on civilian firearms ownership.”

    Our Republic is based on freedom of speech. To used words government finds objectionable. Civilian firearm ownership is employed as a last resort when government refuses to listen.

  15. His theory would actually work if it was about the internal combustion engine.

    But but but cars weren’t designed to be used to kill.
    That’s correct. So when a death is firearm related, it is usually the intent of the shooter. When the death is automobile related it usually not the intent of the driver.
    So in which case is the person more to blame and in which case is the machine more to blame?

    • The thing is, what stops guns and cars working is that combustion has been magically stopped.

      This would also mean no fires, so no cooking of food. Cooking food kills parasites in meat so populations would be wiped out from eating contaminated food.

      I never read the series. Even for a sci-fi, adventure, and alternative history fan, I thought the premise was too far fetched. One plot hole too far.

  16. Gun ownership is your duty as a citizen. As a subject, well, not so much.

    “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”― George Orwell

    A man with a gun is a citizen, a man without a gun is a subject. Our forefathers knew this to be true….. Why do so many of us question their wisdom?” ― D. Michael Wiechman, May 14, 1996

    “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people…To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” ― George Mason, during Virginia’s ratification convention, 1788

  17. The guy must have read the cover of ‘Dies the Fire’
    My crossbow has a rail on it, should I install a tac-light or foregrip?

  18. A key omission from consideration by Mr. Sager is the firearms are force multipliers and by that I mean that a 5’6″ man or woman can subdue a 6’2″ aggressor with a firearm but they have little chance with edged weapons.
    They also can do that at a distance, safe from physical contact they would most likely lose.
    Firearms are, as Colonel Colt stated, the great equalizer.
    That alone is why civilized societies have embraced them and used them since their invention.

  19. Actually, I think more people would die.

    Right now more people are killed with hands and clubs. 90% of gunshot victims survive their shootings. However, at close range where it is kill or be killed, with hands, clubs, and stabbing weapons, a perp isn’t going to take a swing and run, which is what they do now with a gun (hoping their shot was fatal).

    You’ll see pack mentality and people beaten to death, and the survival rate for attacks would plummet because you can plug a hole, but you can’t scoop somebody’s brains back in their skull.

  20. A useless exercise in wankery since charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter will always be available in this world, as will tubes and sparks.

    But fully agree with others: any liberal who fully supports equal rights for everyone must necessarily support guns to preserve those rights. Otherwise, history has amply demonstrated that the strongest will seize every advantage without mercy or remorse and beat down all who protest without the means to resist.

    We all get along because we must, not necessarily because we want to.

  21. Cain and Abel. Moses. David. They all kiled (or were killed by their brother) sans guns. Feudalism ended in Europe mainly because knights on horseback couldn’t stop a a gunshot-as crude as a matchlock or arcabus was.Heck Cortez conquered millions with a few armed conquistadors. Dude is a dope…

  22. The CDC concluded that firearms ownership is a substantial crime deterrent. Which would mean if guns disappeared crime would go up.

    They aren’t arguing against settled gov’t science are they?

  23. I wonder why Christian Sager didn’t imagine an America with a hundred thousand gang members with big fvcking knives.

  24. Key quote: “…trying to imagine what the modern world would be like without guns. We don’t know what the answer would really be. No one does…”

    The article should have ended there. Those were the only true words from the author.

  25. Rational thought can not live in a socialistic irrational mind. (Yes, I know, socialistic irrational is redundant).

  26. If all guns stopped functioning Arabs would start screaming north into Europe with no resistance. ISIS could conquer some serious land because they are crazy and our technological advantage would be gone. South American immigrants would flow over our border and literally take people’s homes from them. It would be hard to stop the hordes of crazy violent people. Who knows what would happen in Africa, but they might actually make out the best as they don’t have anything others want.

    Thinking about it as firearm technology has increased we actually have less lose of life in wars.

  27. For an equally relevant hypothetical, what would the social implications be if everyone suddenly got telekinetic mind powers? Did this moronic drivel even have a purpose beyond mental masturbation? It’s as stupid as Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ but presented as plausible policy instead of a pipe-dream.

  28. Poisoning was a hugely popular method of homicide before firearms and would enjoy a sharp revival were firearms to be disabled. The official homicide rate might drop, but the real homicide rate would be little changed.

  29. What a lovely first-hand report from the world in 2017, without guns.

    Oh, wait that didn’t happen? Then what’s this guy reporting?

  30. What the anti-gun cultists want is a world ruled by large, strong men armed with edged weapons and clubs.

    I believe we tried that.

    It was called “the dark ages”…

  31. Or you could have just watched television. There was a miniseries about two years ago that turned off all power around the Earth. Ammunition for firearms was basically either used up or confiscated. The series had people resorting to bows, crossbows and farming implements to defend themselves, while despots and gang MADE THEIR OWN FIREARMS to keep populations in check.

    It was one of the most honest series portraying a gun free society that I’ve seen ever. To the point where I’m surprised it ever got on TV.

  32. How things work…

    Firearms, “guns” in the vernacular, are small, portable machines that apply stored chemical energy for personal defense at a distance, distinct from hand weapons or bare hands. A lever or impact weapon is limited to the strength of the person wielding it, while a firearm’s impact is determined by the weapon itself. Thus, the slang term “equalizers.”

    Through the “fire” of firearms, my tiny, 90-year-old mother can deploy as much energy as the hulkingist slab of assault meat, or the most amplified chemically-crazy, when using the same arm. By safely directing stored energy to throw a projectile, personal fire arms somewhat equalize people’s ability to protect themselves though smaller, slower, weaker, or otherwise physically limited; characteristics often found among oppressed and exploited groups, identified in other ways: the old, the infirm, women. In a world with firearms, less physically adept people can substitute skill, deliberation and preparation for raw strength and aggression, in situations of assault, robbery, and so on.

    As mechanisms, modern firearms are remarkably safe, discharging *only* in the direction pointed with such precision that rifle performance is routinely discussed in terms of “minute of angle”: roughly 1″ at 100 yards. Pistol (hand gun) performance is routinely discussed in terms of multi-shot groups of a few inches, fired off-hand, at ranges of 7 to 25 yards. “Accidental” discharge is practically impossible. Nothing happens if the charge is not properly placed, and the (shrouded) firing activator manipulated in a specific way, *and* the firing mechanism is conventionally held in an inoperable condition by (usually multiple) physical disabling devices. Even then, the projectile will go where the gun is pointed.

    Modern fire arms are cartridge fed, meaning the per-shot elements are pre-assembled in a sealed, consumable cartridge, something like cartridges for inkjet printers. (Manufacturers’ claims that printer cartridges last for more than one use are demonstrably nonsense – I’m looking at you: HP.) Because a single shot may not stop an assailant in a defensive encounter, modern, cartridge-fed firearms – particularly handguns – are designed to allow the user to fire a sequence of cartridges without releasing the weapon or changing its orientation. (Contrast with pre-cartridge “muzzle-loading” arms, which can require up to a minute’s manipulation using external tools, to fire again.)

    In a world without guns, smaller people are at the mercy of larger, in a way they are not in a world with these equalizers.

    There, FIFY.

  33. If this guy talked about how guns actually work, he’d have to come out against the conclusion he started with.

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