A common slogan used by gun grabbers is that “guns are designed to kill people”.  There are several variations on this theme; the only purpose of guns is to kill; guns are designed for one thing only…to take a life; assault weapons have only one purpose – to kill as many people as quickly as possible. All of these are false and it’s easy to demonstrate how . . .

First, what are guns designed to do? They’re designed to project force at a distance. They do this by propelling a projectile out of the end of a barrel at a velocity sufficient for the task at hand. The higher the velocity, the more force can be projected at further distances. The heavier the projectile, the more force that can be projected at a given velocity. Guns are machines that allow us to effectively project force at a distance.

To clarify, consider the purpose of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile tipped with a nuclear warhead. What is its purpose?  Much like that of a pistol, it’s to project force at a (great) distance.  But the Minuteman III wasn’t designed to kill people. It was designed to provide deterrence; that is, to stop other people from killing us. No Minuteman III has ever killed a single person, but it was and is used every day to deter attacks on the United States.

This principle is as old as humanity. The most famous adage associated with it is:  Si vis pacem, para bellum (if you wish peace, prepare for war).

People who buy guns in the United States buy them for three primary reasons; hunting, defense, and target shooting.

A majority of guns in the United States are designed to kill things, but they are not designed to kill people.  All hunting guns are designed to project force to kill the game that they are used to hunt.  That is a clear and obvious truth.  Single shot shotguns are seldom used to shoot targets; though they can do so.  They can also be used for effective self defense.  Their primary design purpose is to project force at a distance to kill small game, birds, pests, and even big game, with the proper ammunition.

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This semi-automatic hunting shotgun holds two shots, just like a double barrel gun.  It was designed for hunting. People who push for more restrictions on the ownership of guns claim that they have no desire to restrict people from having hunting guns. Guns that are specifically designed to be used to kill animals.  Guns that can be used to kill animals can be used to kill humans, but that is not their design function.

Some guns aren’t designed to kill at all. Guns made for target shooting aren’t designed to kill anything. They’re specifically designed to place shots accurately and/or quickly on targets for score. Numerous gun designs are specifically marketed for target shooting.

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Some guns are designed to prevent killing. Guns that are designed for self-defense or defense of others fall into this category. Most guns used for self defense are never used to kill anyone at all. Most police officers carry a gun their whole careers without shooting anyone. The guns are there to project force to prevent extreme harm or death, much like the Minuteman III. While many are used for defense, few are used to actually kill a human.

Most guns used defensively are used to defend against people armed with knives, clubs, or just their hands and feet. Many are defenses against animal attacks. Deterrence alone is largely sufficient for humans. About one human is killed for roughly every thousand defensive uses.

Defensive uses of guns occur, depending on the estimates, between 50,000 to 3 million times a year. Justified homicides occur about 750 to 1500 times a year. The FBI under-reports justified homicides (pdf) because of the way they are defined in the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR).

How about military guns? Military guns are also used to project force, and provide deterrence. The vast majority of military guns are never used to kill anyone; they’re used to project force and deter killing.

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The Barrett .50 caliber rifle was developed for the U.S. Military and has been legal for ordinary citizens to own since its invention. It has never been used in an illegal homicide, though it is commonly used in long range target shooting.

Other semi-automatic rifles deserve a mention. While the AR 15 is commonly described as a “military gun” it’s been altered specifically for the civilian market. It’s included in all the political lists of “assault weapons” though it’s not an assault rifle. It is correctly described as a sport and utility rifle. The AR platform is readily adapted for hunting, target shooting, and self defense. It is the most popular rifle in the United States, precisely because of its adaptability and utility. It is seldom used in crime.

A great many guns are like the AR 15; they have multiple purposes and can be used effectively for hunting, target shooting and defense, even though one or two of those purposes may not have been the primary purpose for which they were designed.

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A shotgun designed for skeet or sporting clays can also be used for hunting or home defense. A target pistol can be used to shoot grouse for the camp pot, or defend against a rabid fox; a self defense handgun can be used for target shooting or hunting; even if they’re not the optimum tool for that purpose.

Let’s face it – all guns can be used to kill people. But so can hammers, screw drivers and cars. That doesn’t mean that they were designed for that purpose. There are more than 300 million firearms in the United States. There are about 9,000 murders and 500 accidents committed with those firearms in a given year. Roughly one gun out of 42,000 is used to kill someone. Add in suicides and the ratio becomes 1 in 12,500. If guns were actually designed to kill people, their designers are doing a lousy job.

The next time you read or hear that “guns are designed to kill people”, you’ll know that the writer or speaker hasn’t really thought about what they are writing or saying. They’re spouting a propaganda talking point designed to have you forget about the common uses of firearms, and concentrate on the rare and uncommon.

Guns are designed to project force at a distance. The intention behind that force is up to the operator of the gun.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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98 Responses to No Matter What You Hear, Guns Aren’t Designed to Kill People

  1. You guys should hold a Essay Contest on a end all be all on the fight for our rights (Besides the 2A obviously since it doesn’t seem good enough to some). It should be a good enough essay for the unbelievers to just give up and feel stupid. I can dream Right?

    • Impossible. Considering the attention span, it would have to make its point in less words than I used in this sentence. It’s hard to do that and be convincing, change minds, and cover all of the bases. The 2A is attacked from many angles and it’s hard to convincingly, logically refute those arguments with a blanket statement like:

      “Shall not be infringed.”
      “Not subject to arguments based on social utility.”

      I do like the second one, though, since it covers the majority of the anti-2A arguments. However, you won’t change the mind of somebody who thinks the country would be better off without civilian firearms ownership by saying that our right to own guns isn’t contingent on social utility. They’ll simply want to change the right.

  2. Nope, can’t buy it. Projecting force is not a design of a gun. A gun most simply is a container for high pressure designed to expel a projectile in a desired direction. Every thing else is just physics- an object with mass at a certain velocity equals so much kinetic energy.
    Projecting force may be what it’s used for but that’s more of a military/political definition than that of a gun

    • I took his term “projecting force” not to mean the military sense of it (ie, the way an aircraft carrier “projects power” in whatever region its stationed, etc) but in a literal sense. The mass and acceleration of the projectile result in a force on any object it strikes (F=m*a), and due to it being a projectile, that force can be projected to act at a distance.

      • This.

        It’s a variant of an internal combustion engine with an open cylinder, acting as a linear motor and using solid fuel.

      • I would agree and how I would read it, except project force is a (pardon the pun) loaded phrase. Project force – exert authority, threaten, etc and as I said the force is just physics in action . Is every rocket an ICBM?

        • Every rocket capable of clearing the atmosphere is capable of being used as a ballistic missile. This is why rocket technology in general is often on the export “no-no” list for bad-actor nations.

          But any rocket can be used as a weapon … Or not. The difference between a Gyro-Jet round and a model rocket engine is more how they’re configured and used than any intrinsic “rocket-ness.”

      • Under that definition wouldn’t it be the ammunition that is responsible for projecting force and the gun itself is meant to serve merely as a guidance system, carry-container and user interface for the ammunition? You don’t randomly select which round to use if you want successful engagement of the target. If ammo selection matters, which we can all agree that it does, then the ammunition’s design goals would be the thing to be contemplating.

        Hunting ammo is designed specifically for lethality against living animals. Wadcutter rounds are designed specifically for making pretty clean holes in paper. FMJ’s are designed specifically to be crap against everything, defensive pistol ammo is meant to reduce blood pressure as rapidly as possible in humans.

        They won’t focus on the thing they should because they’d then have to try to ban hunting ammo and standard defense loads used by every police department and CCW’er in the country and they couldn’t win that fight in a squillion years (a squillion is a whole page full of naughts with a one at the front).

        • The casing of the round cant contain the pressure of the gasses the barrel does that ( which is why getting the right round in the right chamber is so important.

          Basically, if there’s nothing surrounding the charged case it just ruptures, not sending the bullet anywhere

  3. Guns are designed to project force at a distance. The intention behind that force is up to the operator of the gun.

    Exactly. It really doesn’t matter what the gun was designed for or not designed for. Originally guns were weapons of war. Absolutely agree. Modern guns span a wide array of purposes. Some ancient guns from wartime eras have been repurposed today for sport. The operator of the gun determines for that which it’s used.

  4. “designed to project force at a distance” WTF is that? What’s wrong with saying that guns are dangerous and are primarily designed to stop an advisory or take game for food, usually by seriously injuring or killing them? Yes, they can be used for recreational target shooting and competition, but their primary purpose, for the most part, is to cause injury to humans or game. And there is nothing wrong with that…it’s simply the truth. Let’s not play political correctness.

    • No.

      At it’s most basic we can derive the intended function of a device by what it is used for. By far and away most all bullets that leave a gun barrel end up putting a hole in a piece of paper. Yes, this includes self defense guns.

      Thus, guns are made to put holes in paper, and make noise.

      That they can be used in self defense, and to protect life is a secondary use, in terms of measured activity.

      How many guns that leave a factory end up killing people? To say very few would be a colossal understatement! How can anyone say guns are made to kill people, when the evidence is clear, they do not do this.

      It’s science people. Simple maths.

    • Except that’s not the case, for the vast majority of guns out there. I do a lot of target shooting. easily 75% of my guns are target guns. They are optimized and designed for that. They would be REALLY crappy at killing anything. A lot of them are small-bore that couldn’t reliably take out anything much beefier than a squirrell, and would be absolutely idiotic to take out into the woods (due to cost/value, size, weight, ergonomics, etc). These guns were DESIGNED to poke holes in paper. Similarly a LOT of sporting shotguns would be terrible to take on a hunt, but work beautifully at trap/skeet, because thats what they were DESIGNED for.

      The closest you could get to a blanket statement is that (almost) every gun was designed to propel a projectile over some distance. What you do with that projectile, where you aim it, why you want the target hit with said projectile; thats all variable, in many cases doesn’t have any influence on the design of the gun, and is entirely up to the user’s discretion.

    • Oh and this whole “that guns are dangerous” thing, really?

      Do you have a knife in your kitchen? Do you keep them sharp – you probably don’t, as most people don’t. A sharp knife is safer to use. An 8 inch chefs knife can be used to cut someones heart out, which is super dangerous.

      I don’t know about you, I’d rather be shot, most people who are shot with a handgun survive.

      And that’s just your knives, what else is in your home? A swimming pool? A Weber grill? A car? All things that are made for killing people. Sure you can swim or drive to work or make a hamburger, but we all know that cars kill people like crazy, thus they are made only to kill.

      See how idiotic this sounds?

      “Guns are dangerous” Good gravy.

      • Gun are dangerous but they’re dangerous in the same context as anything else you mention. Used properly a kitchen knife is “not” dangerous, but if you drop it on your foot or throw it at someone… A large rock isn’t dangerous until you drop it on your foot.

        As a BJJ practitioner if I get you to the ground, or even if I don’t in many cases, I’m perfectly capable of killing you using the collar of your own shirt to strangle you. T-shirt, dress shirt, polo…doesn’t matter, the principle is the same and unless you’re wearing some really crappily made clothing the collar is more than strong enough for me to knock you out in a few seconds and kill you in 20. If the collar rips I will simply change my grip on your clothes to complete a variation on one of these chokes. Either way, I’m effectively strangling you with your own shirt. Does that make wearing a shirt “dangerous”? I would argue that it doesn’t but I would also say that it does introduce some level of risk to the wearer. Everything we do has some level of risk associated with it.

        At the most basic level nearly anything you can pick up, and some things you can’t, can be used as a weapon. The real weapon isn’t the object, it’s the grey matter of the person wielding it.

        • “I’m perfectly capable of killing you using the collar of your own shirt ”

          Mental note, be polite to Wilson.

          🙂

        • @Mr. 308: (Love that name btw)

          I wouldn’t kill anyone with such a strangle/choke if I could avoid it, but if you picked a fight I would happily use it to knock you unconscious given the opportunity. If you hand me a joint lock or a rear naked, I’ll use that instead. Personally I’d prefer to choke you out and leave you there, it lowers the risk of serious injury to both of us significantly. Of course six seconds of a choke MIGHT kill you if you’re unlucky and have a strange physical build on the other hand you might just knife me while I’m doing this.

          The point isn’t that I can strangle you with your own shirt, it’s that such a thing is possible and should be considered rationally. This doesn’t make your shirt “dangerous” per se it means that wearing it incurs a level of risk, one many people about to fight mitigate by removing their shirt. What this means is that we need to be serious about actual risk management and not stray into the irrational territory of gun-grabbers who believe everything can be made 100% safe.

          The question is what level of risk you’re willing to incur. You likely wouldn’t wear a tie, long sleeves or gloves while operating a drill press, but that doesn’t make it impossible for you to hurt yourself with it. These steps merely lower the level of risk associated with using the device to one that you’re willing to accept. There is risk associated with everything we do, the question is how we manage that risk because life, by it’s nature, is dangerous. We look both ways before crossing the street, we don’t pick fights, we practice gun safety and we leave when others don’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t be jogging down the road and catch a stray bullet to the head fired by a gangbanger or some idiot engaging in “celebratory gunfire” miles away.

          I’ll put it this way. Carrying a gun increases your level of risk whether you like it or not. If you’re not carrying a gun the chances that someone can take it off you and use it against you or others is exactly 0%. Even if the chances of someone taking the gun from you are 0.00001% and the chances of you using it to defend yourself or others are 0.1% that 0.00001% is an infinite amount greater than the risk of being shot with your own gun you’d have if you were not carrying it. Now the risk of needing it and not having it greatly outweighs the chances that it’s taken from you but that doesn’t mean the risk of being violently disarmed goes away. The question is, in your rational mind, which is safer since we can never get to 0% risk of a GSW in real life?

          So yes, a gun is dangerous, as is nearly everything in life. It just is. It fires projectiles at high velocity which can harm someone. It’s dangerous same way that dynamite or a car or a kitchen knife or a circular saw are dangerous. It’s all about the user being smart and mitigating the risk of that dangerous object hurting or killing someone. A chainsaw in my hands is pretty safe but not 100% so. In the hands of a drunken guy or child that chainsaw is likely much more dangerous to that person and all around them.

          They key point here is that nearly everything is dangerous as long as it exists. As long as there is a single gun the planet you have a chance of dying from a GSW. That’s just a fact. The problem is we can’t make life 100% safe so we have to ask what makes life safer and IMHO, and in the cold, hard statistics, guns in the hands of law abiding people make life safer for everyone. ND’s will happen, terrible accidents will happen, tragic crimes we can hardly bear to think of will happen, but we’re safer with legal firearms around than we are without them.

        • No, guns aren’t dangerous. They’re just objects that sit there until some agent imparts motion to them, and are rarely dangerous even then. It takes a sentient agent to provide the element of danger.

    • Joseph and Tim, spot on and well said. Guns are “designed” to kill period. If you use them as a paper puncher, wall decoration, door stop, or killing machine is up to the user. It is not only intellectually dishonest to suggest otherwise, it’s weak as hell. It’s also a game that you don’t want to play because if you go down that path, there is no turning back.

      • “Guns are “designed” to kill period.”

        Period nothing, this is an opinion and you support this with nothing at all, not even an attempt at an argument.

        I have made a logical argument, in fact one that is in-arguably correct, that is to say using mathematics, which is a science. You present, nothing but opinion.

        “It is not only intellectually dishonest to suggest otherwise, it’s weak as hell.”

        Your lack of supporting evidence and logic tells me you are speaking from emotion and not experience. Please re-submit your argument.

      • “Guns are “designed” to kill period.”

        An estimated 300,000,000+ guns are in the hands of U.S. citizens, yet the number of deaths attributable to guns hovers fairly consistently at around 30,000 per year. Assuming a 1-to-1 correlation of guns and deaths, that means about one ten-thousandth (0.0001) of the guns in this country are used to kill someone every year.

        Does that mean the other 99.9999% aren’t being used as “designed?” No, I think those numbers demonstrate that guns are not only “designed” for, but are actually used for many, many more things than killing people.

  5. I am fully on board and on the correct side when it comes to gun rights. I agree with the vast majority of political points made on this website, but I must disagree here. Guns are most definitely designed to kill. That is their purpose. Saying that they aren’t is intellectually dishonest. My guns were most certainly designed to kill and they excel at it. Just because most of them haven’t had a chance, doesn’t mean that they weren’t designed for it.

    • I do think your reasoning is faulty.

      Guns were designed to be able to kill, not specifically to kill. 99.9% of gun owners would never want to kill another, even in wartime people don’t really want to kill but they do so for their country or to protect their town or loved ones.

      Guns are not designed to kill, if to kill is the only requirement there are better ways to go about it anyway. Guns are designed as stated above to project force at a distance. And for most people that means giving the ability to defend ones self, and the goal of that is to *save* life and property.

      • Again, this is an intellectually dishonest statement, as is the ICBM one in the article. Guns and ICBMs are designed to designed to project force at a distance by making the target or potential target afraid you will kill them with them, because the weapon was designed to kill.

        • How is it dishonest? I think you are mincing words, they are designed to be able to kill, not to kill.

          Look, we have to agree on a definition of what ‘design’ means here; http://www.dictionary.com/browse/design

          The use here that I see as fitting is “3. to intend for a definite purpose”.

          When people buy a gun they do so with the definite intent of never killing anyone, but to be able to in the event they are forced by others to initiate the use of force.

          Like I said, it’s basic math. The gun does not spend its useful life in killing people, in fact they very rarely do so. I think it’s very intellectually dishonest to ignore this fact. My gun is designed to prevent others from acting upon me with force, they are designed to save lives, and in actual use this is exactly what they have done. My guns have never killed anyone and I certainly hope and will actively work to see to it, to the best of my ability that they do not. And they might save my life one day, or that of my families.

          How you can tell me these things were designed to kill is frankly absurd. It’s false.

      • Mr. 308,

        First, name a useful purpose for a gun other than killing. Target shooting is not a useful purpose; it’s recreation. The useful purpose of a gun is to kill an animal for food or to kill a person, hopefully in self defense.

        Second, your gun is not designed prevent anyone from doing anything to you. It does not erect a force field around you that prevents others from harming you. If a person were to attack you, how would your gun stop that attack? By enabling you to project deadly force against that person. Maybe the threat of deadly force would be enough, or maybe you would actually have to use it. Either way, the fact that your gun is capable of killing the attacker is what would stop the attack. That is its purpose: to project deadly force. In short, it is designed to kill, and that is what you are relying on to keep you safe. If you wanted to rely on something not designed to kill to protect yourself, you would carry pepper spray.

        • “Target shooting is not a useful purpose; it’s recreation.”

          First recreation is itself a useful thing, thus a purpose.

          Second, isn’t not so much target shooting as it is practice. This provides me a better ability to project force if it is needed.

          “Either way, the fact that your gun is capable of killing the attacker is what would stop the attack. That is its purpose: to project deadly force. In short, it is designed to kill”

          This illustrates my point right there. You said it yourself, the gun is capable of killing, this is a different thing that the actual killing.

          Again, I am speaking here in terms of actual real life utilization of the tool, we all agree that the gun is capable of killing someone. My point is that this is not what it is designed for. Yes it’s semantics but I think it’s important.

          How can you say my gun is made only for killing (anti 2a people say this all the time) when it never has, and I never want it to do such a thing?

          I do understand your point and I think people on both sides of this argument have valid points; this is simply my opinion. But I do think it’s an important distinction.

          Wasn’t Sun Tzu saying exactly this: “if you want peace, prepare for war”

          Peace – that is to say, not killing…

        • While Sun Tzu may have said something along those lines, that quote is primarily attributed to Vegetius

        • “Alex says:
          May 5, 2016 at 14:18”

          I stand corrected, didn’t know that one, thanks! 🙂

    • No. You are confusing intent of design with intent of use.

      Firearms are designed to expel a projectile at high velocity; no more, no less. How that projectile is used, by whom, against whom, and to what end, are all completely out of the control of either the firearm or those who designed the firearm.

    • A bullet is not propelled by an “explosion,” but by the expanding gases produced by the deflagration (i.e. rapid burning) of the propellant powder. Yes, there is a difference.

      • …the expanding gases produced by the deflagration (i.e. rapid burning) of the propellant powder.

        You just provided an example of an explosion.

        In fact, it is the containment of the gunpowder inside the cartridge, seated in the chamber, thereby creating sufficient pressure to result in an explosion when the primer is struck, that allows a firearm to fire the bullet properly.

        Even cartridges inside of a fire can/will explode. But with only the containment of the cartridge, and not the additional containment of the chamber, the explosion is so low-power that the projectile will barely have enough force to break through drywall, if even that.

  6. Though I don’t necessarily think the brunt of the editorial will sway the antis, I do think one point sticks out as a great point: “If guns were actually designed to kill people, their designers are doing a lousy job.”

    Not enough mention in the media that gun homicides and negligence are falling. The sky is not.

  7. I’m OK with guns being perceived as being “designed to kill people”

    Because, ultimately, that’s why they’re a relatively effective deterrent. It’s akin to saying, “punches aren’t designed to hurt people…”

    Yeah, they kinda are, and that’s why they work – deal with it. Learn to fight or don’t do sh*t to get punched, by way of example.

    If you’re worried about being shot, then I guess you better get a gun.

    • I’m with you on this.

      Guns, and the bullets that come out of them, have been refined in their design over centuries to kill. It is the effectiveness of this design that makes them effective as a deterrent. May it ever be thus.

      However, it could be argued that the ball ammunition used by both target shooters and military units around the globe is fairly ineffective at killing, given the other choices out there.

      • You do realize that in a combative situation, which is where nearly all human on human firearms use occurrs, the actual goal is to wound, not kill.
        It takes two to three people to effectively give first aid to an injured person.
        This is one of the reasons the military uses such a small caliber firearm, 5.56 mm NATO.
        This is also why there are legal minimum caliber requirements for hunting various game animals.
        For example the 30-30 Winchester cartridge has, by last count, harvested more game than nearly all other sporting calibers combined.

        This is all information that can be found online with a minimum of effort.

        • I do realize that, Robert.
          Of course, if a bullet from a Ma Deuce slices through you, it won’t matter much.

          This is the kind of thing that makes a gun-hating liberal’s head explode. They say the AR-15 is optimized for maximum killing and we try to educate them on why the military uses ball ammo, and why hunters and police officers use hollow points.

        • That is a common misconception, but the 5.56 was never designed to wound. It is designed to kill.

    • Agreed. Guns are tools with an ultimate goal of being able to impact/kill targets that are distant, moving, and dangerous. The fact that we can also use them for non-lethal ends does nothing to alter the fact of why they were developed in the first place.

      Honestly, arguing otherwise is just goofy and is not going to resonate with anyone who is not predisposed to want to believe this already. We have a lot more persuasive power when we admit that guns are tools that are first-and-foremost designed to kill. Every time I hear someone argue that a gun is a tool just like a car, and that both are equally subject to being used for nefarious purposes, I know that person is delusional as to the respective roles played by these very different types of tools.

  8. Quit mincing words, guns were born out of a desire for a more effective way to poke holes in the people on the other side of the battle field or in the game animals used for food on the table.

    You can’t argue that a gun is the most effective tool for self defense and then turn around and act like they were designed for a completely different purpose every time people point out that when misused by evil people guns are used to cause great harm. The logic that “guns kill people” is flawed to say the least but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t designed with that purpose in mind. The Chinese hand cannon (arguably one of the first firearms) was specifically designed to take the devastating effect of a regular cannon and make it man portable for use against human targets.

    By arguing semantics you are undercutting your own argument.

    • Tex, I do take your argument however I would only point out that the statement ‘guns are designed to kill’ as used by the anti-2a crowd is used with the assumed – we we sometime see this in fact used ‘guns are designed only to kill’, which is what I believe is completely false.

      First we really aren’t talking about wartime, this discussion is mainly about the second amendment, and the right of the people to keep and bear. In a war guns are designed to do damage and killing is part of that damage (many argue that they really should be used to wound but that’s a different discussion).

      My point is if we are talking about design we should be looking at what the tool actually does in real life; and that is inarguably 99.999% of the time to put holes in paper. Thus I can’t see how you can say the *only* use of a gun (what it is designed to do) is to kill.

      They are designed to protect lives against those who would use force to kill – the design goal is to save lives.

      • Yes, and that is exactly the point. It is a tool designed to save lives whether in the battlefield saving the lives of you and your fellow soldiers, it does so by giving you the means to kill the people onto the other side or force them to surrender under fear of being killed.

        For self defense it functions as a deterrent, the principle component of which is “If you attack me or attempt to harm me or my family I will use it against you which may by design cause your death”.

        That’s why I clearly pointed out the “guns kill people” argument is logically flawed, a gun requires physical action by the holder to do what it was designed to do. So yes their argument is flawed, but trying to argue that because the primary uses of guns today are not used for killing is dishonest, because it glosses over the fact that the primary reason I (and presumably most people) carry a gun as opposed to a club or spear is because it is a powerful deterrent. It is a powerful deterrent precisely because it’s chief design was to be more effective than any other handheld weapon at poking holes in living beings and rendering them incapacitated and/or dead.

  9. And on an added note… cars are not deigned to get people from A to B, they are designed to process fuel to produce force and turn it into rotational vectors to turn wheels/tires. *SMDH*

    And people use that force to get from point A to B…

    *sarcasm on*
    In reality, it was meant to be elevated so we could watch the pretty wheels spin and enjoy this engineering marvel.
    *sarcasm off*

    Seriously?

    • “…And people use that force to get from point A to B…
      …Seriously?”

      Yes seriously, the flaw with your logic is simple. No one is saying that cars are designed to process fuel and that transport is a secondary; and the actual use of cars is in fact transport, 99.999% of the time this is what they are used to accomplish.

      With guns it’s the exact opposite; it’s very rare for a gun to actually be used to kill another person.

  10. As a full supporter of gun rights I have to disagree with this argument. It’s intellectually dishonest and disingenuous. Guns are designed to kill, period.

    “But mine never killed anyone. It just pokes holes in paper.” Any warrior worth his salt has to practice with his weapon. A whole lot of swords never killed anyone. They were used on wooden dummies and maybe in a tournament or two. That doesn’t make a sword a utility knife though. A lot of fighter jets have only ever bombed targets on a range and never fired a shot in anger. That doesn’t make them high performance aircraft for the enjoyment of their pilots. Weapons are weapons, and as supporters of the Second Amendment we had better get comfortable with that fact.

    Speaking of the 2A, this line of argument undermines it. The first clause reads “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state…” That clause implies the use of force against a threat. It says nothing about hunting or target shooting or any other use we might put our guns to. If we believe that defense of self and liberty are a natural right, and that this right is the basis for private ownership of arms, then it is disingenuous to argue that those arms are really for some other purpose.

    Lastly, this argument plays right into the gun grabbers’ hands. “Oh, your guns aren’t for killing somebody to protect life and liberty? Well then, you don’t need that handgun, military style rifle, or any gun that holds more than one round of ammunition. A single shot .22 and a single shot shotgun are perfectly adequate for all of your hunting and target shooting needs. Please turn in all your other guns at the nearest police station.”

    So let’s leave the semantic games to the gun grabbers. We all know why guns were invented and so do they. Let’s argue the principle, the natural right, and the facts.

    • “Speaking of the 2A, this line of argument undermines it. The first clause reads “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state…” That clause implies the use of force against a threat”

      Semantics indeed, but words mean things – and this is critical here and shows the exact same imprecision of the language of your argument.

      “A well regulated militia” is a thing, “the use of force” is an action.

      The militia is there to create a potential for the use of force; the same as a concealed carrier. This does not lead to the condition of dead people, only the potential for dead people.

      I still argue, the gun is not meant to kill, it’s meant to prevent others from killing me. Saying this is just a semantic argument in my mind is intellectually dishonest; I did not purchase guns to kill people, and that’s not what my firearms do in real life.

      Semantics… mincing words… it’s the anti-2a people who are using these tactics against us, and we shouldn’t ignore it but address them with logic and facts. Fact; guns are not used to kill people when looked at statistically, they are almost always used on paper and are there to project force when needed. Exactly the same as a “well regulated militia”.

      • I think you are confusing your intentions with a gun, or the militia’s intentions, with the designed purpose of the tool. The fact is that a gun’s one designed useful purpose is as a destructive device. The one thing it most excels at destroying is living animals. If you need to remove plants or demolish a building or dig a hole, there are better and more efficient tools than a gun. We can argue semantics about how guns are designed to expel projectiles at high velocity all day, but an examination of history quickly reveals why human beings thought there was a need to expel high velocity projectiles, and designed a tool accordingly.

        As you said we have a difference of opinion, and that is fine. Personally I prefer not to play semantic games with the antis. For one thing it’s their game and they are better at it. For another, I don’t believe in twisting words to hide the truth. Beyond that, I think it’s dishonest to claim that a gun is designed for another purpose, and I don’t think any anti will believe the argument. My own preference is to confront them with the truth. Guns are designed to kill people, and there are people in this world who will force you to resort to that level of force. This is a regrettable situation, but it is reality. Therefore good people are wise to arm themselves with devices designed to kill people. Being armed doesn’t mean that you want to kill somebody any more than having health insurance means you want to experience cancer. It just makes you ready in case the unthinkable happens. Most antis are in denial that evil people exist, or that they will ever encounter one, or that a non-professional can successfully defend themselves with a gun. I prefer to disabuse them of these falsehoods, and if they insist on clinging to them, I let them go their way. I don’t believe I can help a person that is so self deluded by denying what the purpose of a gun really is.

    • Agree 100%. Guns are definitely designed to kill people. I don’t know why so many gun rights people have such a problem with that. That’s the whole point of the protection of the right. It’s the right to possess ARMS, i.e. weapons, i.e. tools used for maiming and/or killing.

      If I buy a medieval war hammer, I’d have no problem saying to someone, “Well, the literal main purpose for this thing is to bludgeon people’s skulls and bones, to shatter their skull like a busted melon.”

      Or a medieval battle axe: “The main purpose of this is to let me hack other people up.”

      There is nothing wrong with any of this. Weapons can be used for good or evil. The fearsomeness of the weapon has nothing to do with the user.

  11. This is the same kind of mental gymnastics liberals use and it’s equally stupid.

    Saying guns aren’t designed to take a life (human/animal) is asinine.

  12. A gun is designed to project force at a distance. Where that force lands is up to the operator of the gun. Simplest way of putting it.

  13. A kitchen knife is designed to cut veg/meats/etc into smaller pieces. I can also be used to kill your neighbor.

    A sword is designed cut people into smaller pieces. It can also be used to cut veg for a salad or put mayo on bread.

    There is a difference between what an item is designed for (features, size, etc) and what is CAN be used for.

    Guns can fall into similar categories, though the definition between the items is grey. The first gun? Probably not designed for recreational target practice.

    I make sure to only by guns designed not for kill, ’cause they are safer that way. ;D

  14. A Gun is a tool designed for the low probability of stopping a lunatic or lunatics at a distance.

    A car is designed to transport people over distances however due to the low probability of an accident, drivers wear a tool called a seat belt. Everyday millions of miles are driven without any harm to oneself or other drivers.

    Turns out one has a higher chance of getting killed an car accident than being killed by a gun.

  15. Not buying it. It’s too cute by half. Very, very nice try, though.

    Guns are designed to kill, both people and animals. That’s their original, continuing and overriding purpose. It’s nice that modern prosperity and semi-civility have allowed us to develop guns for other uses and to enjoy their other features; but at the end, as at the beginning, guns are about killing.

    Even guns intended for self defense and never actually used to inflict injury, nevertheless carry that purpose and await that direction. It’s disingenuous to declare a given gun isn’t a mean ol’ bad killing gun, because it’s intended for self defense, when it is exactly its ability to kill which gives it self defensive vitality and value. Potential energy implies kinetic energy, just as “Don’t tread on me” isn’t merely a polite request.

    I’m not saying don’t ever use this argument, just that you should be aware of its limits and flaws, and strive for stronger arguments not based on rhetorical prestidigitation.

    • A gun is nothing more than a tool within the context of the mind. Used in the military, yes its a tool used to kill. Used in hunting, to provide. Used in the mind of a criminal, to control or murder. Same tool for a law abiding citizen, it becomes a tool to defend. What’s missing from the anti’s point of view is understanding the level of violence criminal are willing to use in a crime. And that a gun is the only tool that can effectively end attack.

  16. Yep, this is what I tell people who say guns are designed to kill, only a little differently. i tell them guns are designed to launch a high velocity projectile at a target with accuracy, what that target is composed of whether it be steel, wood, paper or flesh is solely the decision of the person holding it.

  17. BS. And anyone on the other side or, crucially, in the middle, will rightfully roll their eyes at such a silly and disingenuous argument.

    Guns were made to kill. From the very beginning they were made towards that end. Almost every basic gun design innovation since then has been towards that end. No amount of technical babbling will hide that fact.

    • [rolling my eyes]
      BS. You are wrong, and pathetically so.

      Guns were made to impart force upon a projectile with a precise trajectory, very rapidly.

      They are tools built for a purpose and that is what they do.

      This BS about “made to kill” anthropomorphizes an inanimate object giving it a will and a human like conscience. This is just more propaganda from the left in their quest to disarm the citizens of this republic.

      This is Alinsky at it’s best, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”, and guns are the target.

      Guns are a tool that do a thing, and it is the operator that decides what that thing accomplishes.

      A hammer can kill, are hammers made to kill? Obviously not. Guns can kill, guns are not made to kill. Those that understand politically oriented rhetoric and simple reason and logic will rightfully roll their eyes at such a silly and disingenuous argument.

      • When I go out to kill a deer, or a duck, or a groundhog, I want a tool that is designed to make that as easy as possible. I want a tool that is designed to kill.

        When I want to stop a two-legged predator, I want a tool that is designed to kill. That is the only kind of tool that will deter said predator or cause him to reevaluate his plans on a moment’s notice. If he did not fear for his own life, the tool would be worthless.

        I don’t know about your guns, but mine are designed to kill. That’s the way I want them.

        • Of course they will kill when used in that way.

          They can also deter and provide protection.

          They can be used for plinking and target shooting.

          They can be used to ignite binary explosives.

          They can be collected.

          I am tallking about the gun grabber who screams “These things are designed for one thing only! To Kill humans!”

          Do you see my point?

        • If your point is that ignorant liberal hoplophobes sometimes make ignorant statements, then yes.

        • Comparing a gun to a hammer is silly. There are different types of hammers, some of which are made to kill. Hammers are a tool used to multiply and concentrate force, whether for driving fasteners like nails, breaking masonry (brick, stone, concrete, etc…), or bludgeoning humans (war hammers).

          When we talk about firearms, the proper comparison would be to war hammers, which are the hammers designed for killing, as all the firearms we use are also designed for killing. No firearms are designed with a utilitarian purpose such as building things.

          Saying guns are only designed to send a projectile down range is just silly.

  18. While we can debate all day about what this gun or that gun was “designed” for, it’s a pretty pointless exercise. The kind of people who use “guns are designed to kill people” as some sort of argument simply don’t care and won’t listen to these kinds of silly wordplay arguments. It’s probably not all that convincing to fence-sitters, either, because it sounds like weasely double-talk.

  19. This is incredibly weak ground. Get a single firearm engineer to say that he designed a gun as a weapon to kill people and you’ve lost this argument. Let’s get real for a second and define a weapon:

    Weapon. noun.

    a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage.

    That could be a Taser, pepper spray, fork, baseball bat, or a 12 gauge.

    Firearm. noun.

    a rifle, pistol, or other portable gun.

    or, from Wikipedia:

    A firearm is a portable gun, being a barreled weapon that launches one or more explosives driven by the action of an explosive force.

    We have Colonel Jeff Cooper safety rules for firearms precisely because a 230 grain .45 slug at 830 FPS or a 62 grain 5.56 bullet at 2950 FPS are going to cause damage to a target or person downrange. Further, the 2nd Amendment protects “arms,” which are man-portable weapons, ammunition, and artillery suitable for use on a battlefield.

    The “guns aren’t designed to kill” is a weak argument that could be easily destroyed on a number of different levels. I absolutely believe that civilians have the right to own arms, also known as “weapons of war.” I don’t believe that firearms must have a “sporting requirement” or must be “suitable for sporting use” in order to be protected by the 2nd Amendment. If a single engineer states that a gun was specifically designed as a killing weapon – take a sniper rifle for instance – then we just “lost” that whole segment of firearms to the anti-gun community. Obama et all are trying to make exactly this argument – that “weapons of war designed to kill” do not belong in civilian hands.

    Don’t fall into this trap. My Glock, Sig 226 Tac Ops, AR-15s, AR-10s, police-style “assault” shotguns, and .338 Lapua Sniper rifle could all be considered battlefield weapons. Whether they are designed as man-killing weapons or “sporting” firearms is immaterial. I have a right to own them. And so do you.

    • You seem to be mixing in a whole number of things here.

      The anti-2a crowd is simply pushing the assertion that ‘guns are designed only to kill people’, I agree this distinction is immaterial, but it helps foster the belief in the slow thinking voter that guns=evil and that the state is right to remove these things. This is neither directly tied to the second amendment nor is it related to whether or not a firearm is a battlefield weapon or not. They speak in the general and refer to all firearms, even though sometimes they will target specific ‘battlefield weapons’ their rhetoric is just idiotic blathering anyway as most often they are talking about AR family guns that are not military firearms anyway.

      In a mechanical sense a firearm is a tool designed to send a projectile downrange by means of an expanding propellant (not an explosive but a propellant) initiated by some chemical reaction. That is it.

      As I have pointed out from a functional standpoint if we look at what these things are used for, it’s putting holes in paper. It is very unlikely that any single example of a firearm will end up killing someone.

      How can such a thing be ‘designed only to kill’ when killing someone is one of the least likely uses that will ever occur? This is absurd.

      • You missed the point. A hypodermic needle is designed to pierce skin. A squirt gun is designed to shoot water. A Winchester 70 Ultimate classic is designed and marketed as a deer hunting gun. The M24 was designed as a sniper rifle. An AR-15 is a myriad of things from a patrol rifle, 3 gun weapon, deer hunting rifle, etc. HST hollow point bullets are designed to expand in human tissue. The M855 and M193 were designed to be used against human targets and light vehicles. So was the Mk 318 Mod 0 and M855A1. Of course guns and ammo have different design parameters and purposes. Some are actually designed to kill. Good Lord, ask the designers. The M1911 was designed as a military sidearm to be more effective than the .38 Special against human attackers.

        I’m not buying guns are *only* designed to kill. But guess what? Some are. Same thing with ammo. If it’s designed to kill or not, it’s still protected by the 2nd Amendment. Arguing that some guns and ammo are not designed to kill is both wrong and stupid.

        • “The M1911 was designed as a military sidearm to be more effective than the .38 Special against human attackers.”

          In the immediate sense, yes. But in the larger sense the sidearm was designed and built to provide our side with superior force such that we can win against an enemy causing him to surrender and to stop the fighting. So again we have a case where the arm is ultimately designed to save peoples lives.

          Nothing occurs in a vacuum. This is my point; it is the anti-2a activist that makes these accusations “guns are only designed to kill humans”, and this by itself is absurd. It’s a short sighted, slow thinking political statement, that is all.

          Guns are designed to protect the man who has one, not just to kill.

  20. The “arms” we have are designed for combat effectiveness. They are evolved from a set of compromises (weight, handling, control, etc.), optimized to give the user the best chance of surviving a lethal encounter. (The same attributes also makes them effective at murder, including mass murder – e.g., Glock 19, AR-15 – but that is not by design, nor is it the intended use.) Our rank and file civilian police forces and private citizens alike employ the same type of firearms for the same reasons: combat effectiveness. They always have.

    The language of our Constitution – “the right of the people to keep and bear” – indicates the main benefit and intent is one of deterrence. It is not “the job of the people to shoot and kill enough bad guys to make gun ownership seem worthwhile enough to the critics,” nor do we have guns so we can “shoot tyrants.” We have guns so we don’t have to face murderers empty handed, and so we won’t have tyrants in our future. That is the real job, the duty of the people, to exercise our rights effectively to these ends. And to educate others that that is what the right of the people is for.

    peopleofarms.com

  21. I like the sport and utility rifle description of the AR-15. Modern sporting rifle (MSR) sounds fine but is all modern and could be a little scary because of that. It’s also saying it’s just used for sport but SUR means it can be used for sport or utility so to antis it will sound like it has more of a useful purpose. Also they can then relate them more to SUV making them seem more harmless.

    • The only problem with that is, most of the people who want to ban “assault weapons” probably also wouldn’t mind banning SUVs, too. “Sport utility rifle” probably isn’t going to get you much traction with that crowd.

      I like to avoid the whole issue and simply say “rifle”. ‘Cause that’s all it is.

  22. I think it’s a losing argument to try to push the line that guns are not designed to kill. Of course they are. What is important is that the fact that guns are designed to kill is a good thing. They are the great equalizer. They’ve made it possible for the weak to protect themselves from the strong all over the world. Any person with access to a gun has the opportunity to not be a victim of those who would use force against them, whether that’s a criminal, a terrorist or a government. The right to effectively fight back is a fundamental human right.

    No reason to be ashamed of that.

  23. To further my points, take the .338 Lapua. It was designed as a long-range sniper round capable of penetrating military grade body armor at 1000 yards. That’s pretty much designed to kill. It’s not designed to bake a cake, teach Spanish, or fight cancer. Now it can and will be legitimately used to punch paper, blow up water jugs, or go buffalo hunting. Heck, someone could use it to hunt prairie dogs. Go out and pursue happiness in whatever responsible manner you see fit, and I’ll do the same.

    I don’t care what it’s used for, as long as it isn’t used to commit a crime. The 2nd Amendment protects all legitimate uses of the .338 Lapua, including self defense and target practice. Again, the round was designed to be used as sniper ammo.

  24. A firearm is a tool designed to insert a hefty piece of foreign matter into the soft tissues of a living creature in order to disrupt its regular business day to such a degree as to incapacitate or kill it. Redefining it as a mere force projector rather than a weapon designed to thin out a given herd is specious at best.

  25. A car, a hammer and a gun are all tools. All can be used to kill but they can also be used for other purposes.

    The fallacy of the argument is that it ignores the intent of the user and the circumstances surrounding the specific event. It is these things, NOT the specific design of the tool, which determine whether or not any person may be killed and whether any such killing is justified.

  26. Your example with the Minuteman III, and nuclear deterrence is backwards. It is a deterrent *because* it was designed to kill so many people, not the other way around. Just like all weapons (but especially true with nukes).

    Weapons are made to be lethal and imply lethal force.
    People are deterred by the implication of force.

    The force HAS to come first. If our nuclear deterrence consisted of the largest arsenal of water balloons, it wouldn’t be a very effective deterrent. You could make the argument that they were made never intending to be used, but that also defeats the point of a deterrent.

  27. just two ‘out of the box’ comments————as stated above, most firearms fired put holes in paper.—-I have seen higher priced paper made of various amounts of linen.—if a bad guy is wearing paper, and is threatening someone with force, should holes be put in that paper?—————————I thought the saying went: God created man, Sam Colt made them equal.”——–were there not wars started from persons and governments trying to make people less equal?

  28. I am not totally serious, but we could say the current purpose of a gun is the separation of money from lovers of loud controlled noises by the manufacturers of guns. Exploited gun lovers of the world unite!

  29. Me too. I’m okay with “guns are designed to kill people”. As along as im within my own ethical standards and I’m not breaking any laws, I don’t give a flying fcuk what others think.

  30. I prefer keeping the definition to “ALL guns are designed to kill people” so that ANY gun restrictive legislation will affect ALL guns. That way, we finally get rid of all those nuisance laws incrementally degrading our right to keep and bear arms.

  31. Guns are designed for killing. They are a tool yes, but a tool that is a weapon. There are weapons that are blades, too. Even though not all bladed tools are meant for killing, there are plenty that are meant for killing, such as swords. Not all bludgeon tools are meant for killing either, such as sledgehammers and nail hammers, but war hammers most definitely are meant for killing. Firearms, for the most part, are weapons. They are meant for killing.

    And this is something that we should embrace. If someone says to me, “That AR-15 is a weapon of war!” I’d say, “Of course it is! That’s why I own it. In case I have to make war on someone in self-defense.” That’s the whole purpose of the right to arms. The right to possess WEAPONS, i.e. tools expressly designed for killing.

    Saying that guns are not designed for killing feeds into the anti’s arguments. The public needs to be educated that guns are very much designed for killing and that they are very much weapons of war, because war can also be a personal thing. If someone is trying to kill you, that person has declared a state of war on you, and you have a right to make war back on them in self-defense. All of this is a protected right (or supposed to be).

    I don’t know why so many gun rights proponents twist themselves into logical pretzels trying to deny this.

  32. Far too many people are conflating intent of design with intent of use.

    The intent of the design of a firearm is simply to propel a projectile at high velocity. The intent of the use of a firearm is myriad, and does, in fact, include the taking of life. But the use of a firearm is dictated by the user, not the designer.

  33. Firearms are designed to send a projectile down range, that’s it. Whether it is used to kill or not is up to the person behind the trigger.

  34. Look at the historical record. Firearms were invented principally as weapons of war between Humans, which means a more effective way of “…making other bastards die for their country…” ** before you die for your country. Their use for food procurement, societal personal defense, recreational/entertainment shooting and criminal activity came along afterwards.
    I think Dean Weingarten is one of the smartest cats in this alley, but, sorry, this argument is unconvincing.
    It still comes down to a firearm being a tool, an inanimate object, and it still comes down to what the Human who possesses this tool(s) CHOOSES to do with it. It still comes down to one faction arguing, speciously, that the other is not good enough, morally responsible enough, honest enough and respectful enough of the rights of other Humans to be allowed to possess these particular tools and be trusted to do no intentional harm with them. That other faction is wrong about us POTG and the facts demonstrate that conclusively.

    ** “No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country.” Attributed to U.S. General George S. Patton, paraphrased by me.

  35. Mr Weingarten seems to have established a monopoly on TTAG crazy talk. Between saying that black people as a group are more likely to shoot a cop, to claiming that OC is inherently safer than concealed carry to now claiming that a gun’s ability “to project force” was not first-and-foremost rooted in the pursuit of killing…these kinds of goofy assertions do nothing but suggest that TTAG is out of touch with reality.

  36. I have a reasonable number of firearms. Some I bought, some were ‘grandfathered’ to me by family members.

    To the best of my knowledge, none of the firearms I own have never even been pointed at a human being, let alone been fired at a person.

    Several of the firearms I own have never even been used for hunting. They have played havoc, though, with various items made of clay, paper or cardboard.

    (Although I do have several firearms used to kill animals, some of them were used in hunting for meat. Others are used for varmint hunting …. which landowners will tell you is their preferred method of clearing their property of rodents who predate the crops; they would much rather invite varmint hunters onto their land to kill ground-hogs and rabbits, because if they had to use poison it would poison an entire food chain.)

    I have, however, fired on humans.
    But none of the firearms I used for that were owned by me.
    They were owned by my uncle.

    Uncle Sam.

  37. I see a difficulty in differentiating between two things:guns as a class, and specific guns.

    Guns as a class weren’t designed to kill so much as to deliver sufficient damage to an enemy to make him ineffective against you; in terms of leaders, they’re designed to inflict sufficient damage to the other guy’s forces to make him concede the matter at issue.

    Individual guns may or may not be designed to specifically serve the function of the class, and those which are may never be used to serve that function, but they retain the utility of at the least threatening to carry out that function. That’s where deterrence come sin; a foe is aware of the function of the gun as a class, and would prefer not to experience the implementation of that function as the target.

  38. Got it, so the U.S. military didn’t design assault weapons to kill people, and private gun manufacturers and companies aren’t designing these weapons to kill because each weapon is actually designed to be used at a distance to shoot various projectiles, only the shooter to decides if the wounds are fatal. This makes sense now I feel better knowing the mentally ill, criminals and even terrorists aren’t buying these weapons with the intent to kill.

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