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By Dr. Michael S. Brown

[DRGO author Dr. Michael Brown replied to a friend of his on Facebook. His description of anti-gun emotion versus pro-rights reason is instructive — as well as being able to remain friends.]

Charles: “Approximately 1.4 million people have died from firearms in the U.S. between 1968 and 2011. This number includes deaths resulting from a firearm, including suicides, homicides, and accidents. Why is there so much push back about saving these lives? These 1.4 million people just don’t fucking count?”

Thanks for asking Charles, unfortunately a truly honest answer must question the assumptions behind your question.

To start with, why lump all the types of deaths together if not to create a more emotionally charged number to score points in political debates? Each type of death has its own etiology and its own solutions. Just blaming them all on the availability of guns makes an honest person wonder about the motive behind that. Why would some politicians and their media allies want us to lump those together? Doesn’t that confuse the issues and impede progress on each one?

Next, there is an extremely important unfounded assumption behind your question and that is that gun control laws will actually make a difference. I’ve spent a lot of words and links here on Facebook explaining why they don’t. With so many different gun laws in the 50 states, it’s pretty easy to compare the results and restrictive gun laws simply don’t provide any benefit to society.

Charles, I’ve tried to explain this to you many times and I think you understand what I’m saying, but you keep coming back to your emotion-based position that there must be something we can do about those deaths and it has to involve limiting access to guns. I’m really sorry that you feel so badly about that, but it’s not your fault and it’s not your job to save all those people.

Humans are a violent species. They will find ways to kill and injure themselves and each other in spite of your best efforts. A man can protect his loved ones from some threats, but you can’t protect everyone from everything. Attempting to do so just leads us farther down the nanny state path which is and will be exploited by both left and right wing politicians. I suspect you can also drive yourself a little crazy obsessing over it.

If you are truly concerned about preventable deaths, you would better spend your time raising awareness of the many diseases and social problems that cause exponentially more deaths.

Perhaps you should examine your deeper motives. My theory is that liberals don’t like widespread civilian gun ownership because that makes it harder for them to impose their will on the people who don’t agree with their agenda. But obviously, that is very simplistic and I’m sure you can do better if you put some time and honest effort into it.

And finally, I want to address an important difference in our thought processes, which is illustrated by your use of profanity.

Non-liberals like me tend to make our arguments with facts, studies and anecdotes about our personal observations on the ground, so to speak. Liberals prefer to persuade by convincing others how strongly they feel about the issue. I guess they think that if they can only impress others with how really, really important something is to them, that others will be converted to their point of view.

This disconnect between our thought processes, I feel, is one of the reasons why liberals are so frustrated and we as a nation are so polarized. I’m not trying to excuse bad behavior by right-wingers, that’s just outside the scope of this post.

So Charles, you’re a really nice guy, but I don’t know what else I can say to help you understand the gun control issue. Perhaps it’s time for us to just let this issue drop?


This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. Without Charles’ response that he is suddenly converted, it doesn’t seem to be anything but wasted keystrokes.

  2. The problem is, we have allowed the anti Second Amendment crowd to define the terms.
    A firearm is a tool which possess no evil intent on its own. Assigning intent to an inanimate object is the epitome of insanity. Demonizing a weapon on “looks alone” also marks the accuser as an unstable individual who is also insane. Call them out on their illogic and insanity.
    Another dirty tactic the anti-Second Amendment crowd uses exposes children to potential and actual harm by putting them in “gun-free zones”. These people care not one wit about children, but uses them for their own nefarious purposes.
    We need to TAKE BACK the argument…
    When the antis blame the firearm for the actions of a criminal, state that: “a firearm is an inanimate object, subject only to the intent of the user. Firearms ARE used to preserve life and make a 90 lb. woman equal to a 200 lb. criminal.
    When the antis attempt to justify their “gun free zones” counter their misguided argument with “you mean, criminal safety zones” or “victim disarmament zones”. State that “we protect our money, banks, politicians and celebrities, buildings and facilities with PEOPLE WITH GUNS, but protect our children with “gun-free zone” signs”.
    When the antis state that: “you don’t need and AR-15”, counter with, “Who are YOU to consider what I need?”
    When the antis criticize AR-15s in general, counter with: “you mean the most popular rifle of the day, useable by even the smallest, weakest person as a means of self-defense. Besides, AR-15s are FUN to shoot”. Offer to take them to the range and supply them with an AR-15, ammunition and range time. I have made many converts this way.
    When the antis state that: “You don’t need an AR-15 to hunt with”, counter with “AR-15s ARE used for hunting, but in many states, are prohibited from being used to take large game because they are underpowered”.
    When the antis state that: “AR-15s are high powered rifles”, correct them by stating that “AR-15s with the .223 or 5.56mm cartridge are considered medium-powered weapons–NOT “high-powered” by any means”.
    When the antis state that: “the Constitution was written during the time of muskets, and that the Second Amendment should only apply to “weapons of that time period”, state that: “by your logic, the First Amendment should not apply to modern-day telecommunications, internet, television, radio, public-address systems, books and newspapers produced on high-speed offset printing presses. Only “town-criers” and Benjamin Franklin type printing presses would be covered under the First Amendment”.
    When the antis state that “only law enforcement and government should possess firearms”, remind them of the latest school shooting, as well as Columbine, where “law enforcement” SAT ON THEIR HANDS while children were being murdered, afraid to challenge the shooter, despite being armed to the hilt. The government-run murderous sieges at Ruby Ridge and Waco are also good examples of government (mis)use of firearms.
    Gun-banners want ALL guns, even if they attempt to get them a little at a time, chipping away at the Second Amendment. Here are the “excuses” that the anti-gun crowd uses to “justify” their misguided position:
    Handguns–“too concealable”
    Rifles–“too accurate”
    Shotguns–“too deadly”
    The Second Amendment is the most “infringed” of any part of the Constitution.
    This tome can be used to counter any argument against any infringement of our Second Amendment.

  3. Quite often, firearms owners are their own worst enemies. The duck hunters don’t like the AR-15 “black rifles” so they see no problem if attempts are made to ban them. The traditional rifle owners don’t like machine guns, so they have no problem with them being legislated out of existence. Some pistol owners see nothing wrong with certain long guns being outlawed just as some rifle owners would have no problem seeing pistols banned. You see, anti-gunners want them all. They will chip away a little at a time until their goal of civilian disarmament is complete. They have an excuse for banning every firearm. Scoped bolt-action rifles are defined by anti-gunners as “sniper rifles” because they are “too accurate”. Magazine-fed weapons are suspect because of high (actually normal) magazine capacity. Handguns are suspect because they are “easily concealable”. The gun grabbers want them all and have made (flimsy and suspect) excuses for banning every type of firearm. They don’t care how long it takes. and will use incrementalism to their advantage.
    Friends, ALL firearms advocates must “hang together” and realize that an assault on ANY means of firearms ownership and self-defense is an assault on ALL forms of firearms ownership and self-defense.
    There is absolutely NO ROOM for complacency among ANY Second Amendment supporters. An attack on one is an attack on ALL…
    ALL firearms laws are unconstitutional on their face. Imagine the hue and cry if “reasonable” restrictions were placed on First Amendment activities, especially with the “mainstream media”. The Second Amendment is clear–what part of “shall not be infringed” do politicians and the media not understand…of course, they understand full well…it’s part of their communist agenda…
    Even the NRA bears some responsibility for capitulation on matters concerning firearms. The NRA failed when it allowed the National Firearms Act of 1934 to stand without offering opposition, the 1968 Gun Control Act, the NICS “instant check” system, the “no new machine gun for civilians” ban in 1986, the so-called “assault weapons” ban in 1994, and other infringements of the Second Amendment. Let’s face it. What better way to increase membership than to “allow” infringements to be enacted and then push for a new membership drive. Yes, the NRA has done good, but its spirit of “compromise” will only lead to one thing…confiscation.
    If the NRA is truly the premier “gun rights” organization, it must reject ALL compromise…

  4. There are more people killed everyday with a Hammer! More people killed everyday with knives! More people killed every day with cars! More people killed everyday with Cell phones driving cars! Many times more people killed everyday by Doctors. How many Millions of guns out there why is not more killed with guns?

    • I looked up this claim that hammers and knives kill more people each year than guns. I think I have the right resources (I searched google for death by hammers”). According to the FBI, guns (all types) accounted for 11,000+ deaths in 2016, well more than double the number of deaths caused by any other classified manner, including hammers. fists, and knives – combined (4,066). If I can drop a link: If there is a different resource you know of showing more deaths by hammer and knives than guns other than the FBI, I’d really be interested in seeing it.

      • I like to use the FBI data to point out to anti-gunners that knives kill 5x more people than rifles, hands and feet 2x more than rifles, and blunt objects in general kill more people than rifles.

        I don’t think assault weapon ban proponents are generally aware of just how infrequently they are used (and I would hasten to add that justified police patrol rifle kills are also incorporated into those rifle totals)…

      • The actual data is that knives kill more people than rifles do…..over 3x as many people, every single year, than rifles of all types do….with AR-15 making up a tiny number of that rifle number. Then, blunt objects and hands and feet also are used to murder more people every single year than rifles are……. There is no rational reason to ban these rifles if you also do not call for banning knives and blunt objects.

        • Well, since the data indicates that in 2016 there were over 3,000 deaths by firearms without a type specified, and 1604 deaths by knives, I’m not even sure you guys can make that claim. Until you can identify the 3,077 unidentified firearms, rifles could very well exceed the number of knife deaths, 1,604 in 2016. so really you don’t know, unless you qualify with of the defined weapons types, knife attacks killed 4x as many people as rifles. Seems weak. A third of those unidentified weapons could be some sort of rifle, or they may all be .25 cal Raven Arms Saturday Night Specials. Who knows? Likewise, there were 903 deaths in 2016 where the weapon wasn’t identified, but I think can be assumed to not be a firearm of any type, so many of those could be knives or sharp objects. Regardless, as a category, death by firearms exceeds all other deaths by far. The FBI calls these murders, so not sure if the numbers include suicides.

        • It is true that the non-recorded gun data might be anything, but without additional data it is logical to predict they would be roughly proportional to the known ratio of handgun:shotgun:rifle homicides. Running the numbers, this would raise the rifle deaths by 39%. Overall then, rifles would represent 4.7% of all gun homicides, and knives would still remain at more than 3x the number killed by all rifles combined.

  5. My true “friends” aren’t anti-gun. I have a few fakebook friends that suck but they’re pretty much close relatives. And I don’t let them spout BS on my page…if your friend wants you dead he ain’t your friend!!!

  6. The Charles of this country have totally closed minds (not just related to guns). They don’t care to here about the facts. They simply think with their hearts instead of with their brains.
    Many decades ago, I had need of an oral surgeon. After meeting with him, conversation eventually turned to guns. He didn’t have any and saw no reason to, although he wasn’t really anti gun. I offered to take him to the range and let him shoot after a short lesson of firearm safety and operation. In short, he eventually became a gun person. I think this was because he was not a liberal, therefore he had an open mind.

  7. Here’s the problem I run into when arguing for gun rights against someone dead set against them. They are SO emotionally invested they will not concede ground on anything. They are so laser focused on preventing event X (school shooting, terror attack, mass shooting, suicides, or any other “gun violence) that every single point I put forward is immediately “refuted” by whatever number (1.4 million, 17, or what have you) they put forward. No other numbers matter to them, “oh guns saved 75 million loves last year well they took 1.4 million and those included a number of children.” They keep falling back to their comfort number AND reinforcing their initial emotional reaction to the arguement. In my opinion, most will never convert nor will they go to the range because the arguments they’re given by the media contain everything they need to feel as though they’ve won the argument. They have the stat, the emotional appeal, and the reinforcement. You cannot and will not sway them with facts and experiences alone of they are emotionally invested in their side.

    Those on the fence or not accustomed to civilian firearm ownership may be persuaded with facts and positive experiences but they WILL default to anti gun because for them that’s just what they’ve always known. Our fight is to take in these potential converts and influence them.

  8. Humans are a predatory species, 500,000 years of evolution has not completely suppressed that instinct, the left thinks it can be legislated away with the stroke of a pen. Our best defense against an immoral attacker or tyrannical government is a gun. I intend on keeping mine, regardless of what unconstitutional laws are created, as God and the founders intended.

  9. Just don’t associate with liberal Democrats, period, if they ask why you are acting differently, then do a Mad Maxine on them, maybe, just maybe they will get the picture, or better yet , go away.

  10. “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    ― Ayn Rand

    Those seeking to disarm us help those who seek to enslave us.

  11. The “you don’t need…” argument always bothers me. I always ask if they need a car that will go 100MPH, 75MPH, or even 50MPH? Do people need Harleys? Mansions? So many things people don’t need. The argument about need is baseless. You argument experts will know the term for this type of argument.

    • “You don’t need to save all those people.” I’m gonna use that one next time, see what happens. It’s cruel, but it’s also true. It’s also fortunate, because if we truly *need* to save all these people (versus “want”) then we are unable, regardless of politics.

  12. Liberals think they can solve everything by spending one more dollar, passing one more law, creating one more government agency. We have border patrol which has failed to keep 20 million illegals out. We have a DEA which has failed to keep drugs out. We have an intelligence apparatus the likes of which the world has never seen that has failed numerous times to prevent terrorists attacks like 9/11. We have background checks for guns yet the wrong people routinely get access. We have the best military in the world that couldn’t win in Afghanistan. Commander their now says it is hopeless. We have SNAP yet starving kids. We have welfare yet we have more poor. We have a department of education yet half of the kids in NYC graduate and can’t read. Some crazy stat like that. We have more people locked up in prisons per capita than China. On and on. Society is broken. It’s internal. Inside us. No law. No dollar spent. No new agency is going to fix a broken human being. God is the answer. Jesus is the answer. That’s reality folks.

    • You said it! And I don’t even talk to anyone who might be a liberal and I darn sure won’t bring up the subject of guns to anyone whom I don’t already know and trust.

      It’s not just about closed liberal minds anymore; it’s about self protection. In these times a liberal who knows you own guns might just be up to having you SWATed or Red Flagged because the penalties for perjury or making false official statements have been abrogated by Red Flag, and bringing a world of hurt on you based on false premises brings no consequences on the snitch.

      Convert an anti-gun liberal into a Person of the Gun? Not for me.

  13. And all this ‘friend’ heard was:

    Bla bla bla…I don’t care about all those poor unfortunate dead people…bla bla blaaa bla…big government is coming to get us…blaa bla blaaa…you’re stupid for feeling what you do…blaa bla blaaa…I love my guns more than whatever deeply concerns you because I’m a violent, heartless, paranoid ‘gun nut’.

    That Facebook post was nothing but a waste of several hundred keystrokes.

  14. One point four million divided by 43 years is 32,500 firearm related deaths per year and two thirds of that number are suicides. Instead of looking at the number of 14 million in isolation why not put those numbers up against reality?

    32,500 firearms related deaths in one year totals 0.1% of the US population. 32,500 firearms related deaths per year is less than 14% of the number of deaths by medical malpractice each year. 32,500 firearms related deaths per year is still fewer that the total of all automobile related deaths per year.

    Interestingly, those 32,500 firearm related deaths per year rank the US at number 88 on a list of most firearm related deaths per capita among all 188 nations in the world who report statistics. The number of firearm related deaths – per capita – in the US is FAR below many nations with severe gun control laws.

    But none of that make any difference to the gun control fanatic. They have been brainwashed by the globalist campaign to socialize and control the world. Guns must be eliminated from private ownership before armed government agents can safely take over!

  15. There is another group that uses emotionalism to make their argument. And who avoids facts. They are called RACISTS. But no one wants to call their well dressed, well educated, upper middle class family members and friends racists.

    Doctors see (broken family) single mothers on welfare who have no health insurance show up at their E room needing care for an injury caused by a person from another broken family. We need more Traditional one man one woman families, where the father and his guns protect the family. An intact traditional family is less likely to be on welfare. They are more likely to pay their bills on time. They are more likely to be self disciplined and control themselves.

    It seems a supportive traditional family is only “needed” for the upper classes. And the socialist progressives will insure the Welfare Industrial Complex is well funded.

    But it seems many of the upper middle class are supporting public policies that destroy the traditional family. The inner city suffered the worst. But now there are policies are causing San Francisco and Seattle to implode as well. The acceptance of defecating in public and no organized doctor group has come out publicly against it. This speaks volumes about the moral bankruptcy of them. These quacks make big speeches about stopping the spread of HIV. But they said nothing about defecating in public.

    All the major hospitals and medical research centers are located in major cities. When defecating in public because acceptable where they live. What will they say then? Will they then become JUDGMENTAL then? They are very JUDGMENTAL when it come to supporting racist gun control policies.

  16. These people talk about saving children…………

    Children murders without their consent or input below.

    >One billion five hundred thirty-two million three hundred sixty-five thousand four hundred eighty-seven 1,532,365,487 Children legally killed Worldwide since 1980

    >Sixty-one million two hundred thirty thousand six hundred seventeen Children legally killed 61,230,617 in America since 1973

    So far this year Children legally killed 288,590 in US.

    Using False number Commie anti-gunner provided between 1968-2011 Guns saved 129 million lives… which makes their argument mute even with over inflated numbers plus adding suicides and justified homicides,accidents etc..

    Guns save more than 2.5 to 3 million lives per year per CDC and College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
    Florida State University the facts are undisputed among experts end of conversation.

    • The fact that like so many others, you attempt to convince me that you are a god, tells me all I need to know about you and your half-baked opinions.

  17. We hear so much BS from party that supports the drive-thru killing of children on demand.

    How come if a pregnant woman is killed there are charges for taking 2 lives if the unborn is not a life?

    Ronald Reagan
    “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

    • If a pregnant woman is caused to miscarry, it is not considered a crime of any kind, which should give you the answer to that.

  18. I wonder why there are no groups named something like:
    – Doctors for Responsible Lifestyle Choices
    – Progressives for Responsible Lifestyle Choices

    Take, for example, the morbidity/mortality toll of smoking or obesity.

    What if doctors admonishing their patients were effective? What if governments regulating the sale of commercial products were effective? Wouldn’t it be the case that there would be no lung cancer from smoking? No high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke from obesity?

    The fact is that doctors (and other earnest members of the health care professions) have limited influence over their patients’ choices as to how to live their lives. Governments have seen their impotence at regulating consumer choices. Despite admonishments and controls, smokers will roll-their-own and eat themselves into early graves.

    There remain some things that societies and governments can do. Societies can advocate for and teach safe practices. Safe driving, safe machinery operating, safe gun handling. Governments can enforce laws against driving without a license or felon-in-possession.

    The facts are that those who advocate what they euphemistically call “gun safety” have absolutely no interest in promoting safe gun handling. Those responsible for enforcing felon-in-possession have a very limited appetite to prosecute these crimes when ticking-off another conviction can be so easily plea-bargained.

  19. avatar "If there is a question as to whether there is life or death, the doubt should be resolved in favor of life"

    How can 1 be for abortion and pretend to be a proponent of life claiming that guns kill so many..and its so horrible for 1 person to die yet millions of children or legally aborted as a form of birth control>?

    Ronald Reagan was opposed to abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother. He was quoted as saying: “If there is a question as to whether there is life or death, the doubt should be resolved in favor of life”. In 1982, he stated: “Simple morality dictates that unless and until someone can prove the unborn human is not alive, we must give it the benefit of the doubt and assume it is (alive). And, thus, it should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

    • No one is for abortion, there are those who oppose freedom for half the world, and those who realize it is none of our business. What is *your* concern?

  20. According to John Hopkins Patient Safety Study there are on average over 250,000 deaths each year due medical errors. Thats a helluva lot
    more than the 36,000 annual gun related deaths (that includes all gun deaths including suicides, homocides etc).

    Maybe Charles the doctor should look at fixing his own profession first.

  21. Of those 1.4 million, roughly 60%, or about 850,000 people, were suicides. Countries with stricter gun laws do not show a correlational reduction in the suicide rate. And simply limiting access to guns will not limit access to knives, razors, poisons including anti-freeze, sleeping pills, Tylenol, rope, trains, or tall buildings. You do not solve suicide by banning guns; indeed, statistics suggest that you do not even have an ascertainable effect on the suicide rate by banning guns.

  22. The table below shows the motor vehicle fatality rate in the United States by year from 1899 through 2017. For 2016 specifically, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 motor vehicle crashes, an average of 102 per day. …. not include injuries resulting from incidents in which no fatalities occurred.
    I guess we should outlaw cars. An old argument, but, lets get some perspective. How many deaths from tobacco?

  23. Banning gunms to stop crime is like removing brakes from cars to stop auto accidents

  24. That’s actually well written … to influence 3rd party readers.

    Let them rant, while you’re reasonable. Accept the goal (less deaths, safety, or more life), and try to solve it reaonably. Weave direct and meta- comment.

  25. “Well, yeah, it’s a shame that some of the .5 to 2.5 million times / year people use guns to stave off violence, they actually have to shoot. Not most of the time, though, which is good.”

    “Oh, yeah, there’s a bunch of things we could do to help people not die so often, however they do it.”

  26. “Oh, yeah. We’d have less of those if guns for defense got to assaults quicker. You know the biggist indicator of how many people die in a spree killing is how fast defenders get there?”

    However you do it, you want to:

    – Decouple “saving lives” from “getting rid of guns.” (Convenient, because it doesn’t track.)

    – Make them own “disarm for what?”

  27. The colors of the graphic at the top of this article should be reversed. It is the Communists and Fascists that want to disarm law-abiding citizens. Communism has long been known as the Red Menace. The Leftists, Communists & Fascist of the U. S. A. are a True Red Menace to our Constitutionally guaranteed Freedoms.

  28. Show me any time in human history before the advent of firearms where killing others with weapons was not SOP. You cannot. It is not the availability of a certain weapon,others have been and will always be substituted. It is NOT the weapon but the hand that wields it.

  29. The difference between pro-gun and anti-gun people is that the former hunt, compete, plink and defend themselves with firearms while the latter have rejected all of these. In the mind of an anti-gunner, a privately owned firearm can never do him any good but might do him harm. For him, it’s not win / lose; it’s break even / lose. That’s a chasm I see no way to bridge.

  30. 40,000 die from drug o.d.
    36,000 from the flu.
    34,00 from traffic.
    200,000 from preventable medical errors.
    710,000 from heart disease.
    30,000 from guns (fbi stats) of those 65% are suicides, 15% by cops, 17% by criminal activity,3% are accidental…
    With a population of 324,059,091, that means .00925% die from gun related actions.
    So if anti gunners would focus on reducing heart disease by 10% that would save twice as many people as all gun deaths, or a 10% reduction in medical errors would be 66% of total gun deaths…So why focus on guns…it gives government more control, and that’s the operative word “control” not “gun”…

  31. Best answer to these types of attacks, which is really what they are, is:

    Charles- this is The United States of America. You are entitled to your opinions and I am entitled to my God-given rights. Have a nice life.

  32. People like your friend Charles didn’t come to their opinions using reason or fact so no amount of either is going to make them change their minds.

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