Julian Sarafian wrote an article for The Daily Californian that just screamed out for the Bruce Krafft treatment. But since Bruce is indisposed at the moment, I’ll do the honors. Usually articles that claim to impart some scrap of knowledge on the uninformed reader are labeled as “X For Dummies.” It implies that the reader is the dummy, and the author the informed individual. In this case, the title of the piece (“A Dummy’s Guide to Winning Gun Control Debates”) implies that the owner of the guide is a dummy, which would be the author. So the author is calling himself an idiot, and based on the illogical and fact-less content of the article, it’s hard to disagree . . .
Rarely does a day pass before I hear or see another incredulous pro-gun argument in one medium or another. I see the memes on Facebook that say, “This woman fought back a burglar with a GUN! TAKE THAT, GUN CONTROL!” and the like. So I thought I would take a second to create a simple guide to dismantle and disprove the myths of the pro-gun, NRA-funded ideologues.
That’s cool. You won’t mind that I similarly dismantle your arguments, will you? I hope not, because it’s about to happen.
1. Gun control doesn’t work.
Anyone who knows how to use Google can disprove this argument. It’s common knowledge that the states with the most stringent gun control policies hold lower rates of gun violence than states with the least control. Look at Australia: In the aftermath of a mass shooting in 1996, Australia enacted sweeping gun control, including an assault weapons ban and increased background checks. How many mass shootings have occurred since then? You got it. 0.
I think that Julian is using the term “state” to mean “country.” At least I certainly hope so, because there’s a direct correlation between states in the union that score high in the Brady Campaign’s rankings and the level of violent crime committed with firearms each year. States with strict gun control have more shootings, and states with lax gun control have less. Places like California, a state that’s the poster child for both preferred Brady firearm restrictions as well as for gang-related shootings. But that’s probably a coincidence.
So what about countries with strict gun control laws? Australia is one example, but let’s take a look at another country that once had lax restrictions on firearms and has since become one of the most restrictive in terms of firearms ownership: Honduras.
Honduras used to have relatively few laws regarding the ownership of firearms. Possession wasn’t regulated and there were almost no restrictions on the guns Hondurans could own. Then in 1985 the country changed from a military dictatorship to a democracy and began heavily regulating firearms. Ownership was restricted to only five guns, “assault weapons” were banned and a national firearm registry was created.
What effect did all of this firearms regulation have on the homicide rate? Honduras now leads the world in terms of murders, with a 91.6 per 100,000. The raw number of murders committed using firearms in that tiny nation now rivals the number of murders committed in the United States which has about 37 times the population.
Wonder how the Hondurans think gun control is working out for them.
2. Gun control won’t prevent another Sandy Hook.
This argument makes absolutely no sense. The point of gun control laws is to threaten would-be criminals with penalties if they so choose to break the law. If we don’t enact laws simply because they won’t “prevent” heinous acts from continuing, why do we have laws against murder? Rape? Theft? The law is used to create a disincentive for potential criminals who would otherwise commit the acts laws seek to prohibit and punish.
Here’s a news flash for Mr. Sarafian: murder is already illegal. So is carrying a firearm on school grounds. In fact, just about everything that the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook shooting did that day was and is illegal. But somehow it didn’t stop him.
Does anyone seriously believe that by adding one more law to the laundry list an “active shooter” violates, it will make them reconsider? Especially when the shooting almost always ends with the death of the perpetrator, meaning that they almost never live to suffer the consequences of breaking those laws?
Another piece of paper isn’t going to stop the next Sandy Hook.
If the point of gun control laws is to threaten would-be criminals, why do gun control advocates see an “assault weapons ban” as being so very necessary? The vast and overwhelming majority of crimes involving firearms take place using handguns. So-called “assault rifles” are used in less than 2% of crimes in which guns are used (and are even in the minority among “active shooter” uses), so why target those guns specifically?
Gun control laws are “malum prohibitum” laws — their stated purpose is to prevent actual crimes by removing the ability for criminals to get their hands on something that would enable them. A “malum in se” law, such as rape, is a crime because it is evil in and of itself. Julian has confused these two categories, apparently without realizing it.
3. Gun control infringes on our rights.
Okay, so you’re citing the Second Amendment, which was made for the sole purpose of preventing a tyrannical government from overtaking the people. This amendment was included in the Constitution under the pretense that, if the people so chose, they could overthrow the government with their guns and reinstate new leaders. This amendment was added when “arms” meant rifles that took 40 seconds to reload, and “accuracy” didn’t exist. I’m also afraid to say that under today’s government — with the nuclear power and military that government possesses — our rifles and pistols don’t stand a chance. Not to mention the thought of the government becoming a tyrant is a faded memory of the Founding Fathers’ generation. If we hold this amendment to be all-powerful, then we should also give equal weight to the amendment following it: Soldiers cannot be quartered in your homes. I’m sure we all struggle with that problem day to day.
The point of the Second Amendment was to put the citizens on equal footing with the soldiers of the day. “Equal footing” being the operative clause, regardless of the actual technology in use. The founding fathers (as the author aptly points out) wanted the citizens to be able to overthrow any oppressive government that may arise.
The Supreme Court has interpreted this language to mean that firearms which are in common use cannot be banned. Since nuclear weapons aren’t in common use, the author’s straw man argument falls apart. As we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, even a disorganized group of insurgents with rifles can easily bloody the nose of the U.S. military (and bring the Russians to their knees), so that kills the author’s other argument that the Army is just too powerful to resist with commonly used firearms.
And while the third amendment might not be as well used as most of the others, I’m sure Julian cherishes his first and fourth amendment rights on a daily basis. Or is the author advocating that only quills and parchment should be protected for free speech? Perhaps slavery isn’t such a bad idea after all, eh Julian? And who needs equal protection anyway?
4. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.
Yes, so we’ve concluded that people kill people. But how people kill others is what matters. There’s a reason we can’t go to the nearest department store and buy a nuclear weapon.
The 9/11 terrorists didn’t use guns, yet boxcutters are still legal. The Oklahoma City Bombing didn’t involve a single shot being fired, but I can still buy fertilizer and diesel fuel. The Boston Bombers didn’t use guns for their attack, but I can still buy pressure cookers and fireworks. I fail to see the author’s point that one person improperly using an item means that the item must therefore be banned.
5. Gun control will take my guns away from me
If you’re mentally ill or a convicted criminal, then maybe you won’t be able to buy a gun. There is absolutely no legislation being considered that would take guns away from anyone.
Except in California, right? And New York? Because firearm confiscation has already begun in those states for people whose once legally-possessed guns have since been re-classified as “illegal.” And in New Jersey legislators are openly calling for confiscation amongst themselves. But Julian’s probably been too busy to have noticed.
If you like your gun, you can keep it! Until we change the law again to make it illegal down the road.
6. Cars kill people too; why don’t we regulate them?
We do. Last I checked, you need a driver’s license to drive a car. You must register your car. You must have insurance. You must wear a seat belt. You cannot talk on the phone while driving (here in California, at least). The list goes on. You know the regulations for gun ownership? Me neither. That’s because there are basically none — other than a simple background check and a mandatory waiting period.
I’m going to do an entire article on the car analogy, but for now here’s the rub: in order to purchase a car and drive it on your private property, you do not need a license or registration. Firearms, on the other hand, require a background check in order to take one home even if you never intend to take them off of your private property. But just like cars, the moment you take them into public, you need another license.
I’d say the car analogy is about the dumbest thing I can imagine, in terms of using it to advocate for more gun control. It’s used by people who simply don’t understand what they’re talking about, and its use makes their ignorance immediately evident. Like it has for Julian, here.
7. Look, here’s someone who used a firearm for self-defense against a criminal and could’ve been hurt if he or she didn’t have the gun.
Look, here’s a list of 30,000 Americans killed by gun violence per year. Children, elderly, and most of the time innocent people — you name it. You decide what you value more: a single crime being prevented or the 30,000 stories behind the deaths of these Americans. (Not to imply that gun control would prevent people from self-defense – I prefer bear spray and a taser over a gun any day).
These are only few of the many incredulous arguments that reverberate through the halls of your Congress today. For each day we hold off of gun control, more than 85 Americans a day are killed by gun violence. If the recent defeat of the Manchin-Toomey gun control proposal (the background-check expansion that had approximately 93 percent public approval but still failed) is an indicator of anything, it is that the NRA has taken our legislators hostage.
Actually, that’s 15,000 killed by “violence.” Half of those are suicides, which no sane person would classify as a “violent crime.” Unless you also think that masturbation is rape.
The flip side of those 15,000 deaths per year are the 2.5 million crimes prevented by legal gun use every single year. Crimes including rape, murder and felony assault. But for some reason, gun grabbers never seem to recognize that side of the equation.
If we can save just one life through the legal ownership of firearms, isn’t it all worth it? Or maybe Julian prefers dead victims over living gun owners.
The nonsense needs to stop, and we’re the ones who need to stop it. In the words of legendary President Ronald Reagan himself, “Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns. This level of violence must be stopped.”
We need to have a conversation about violence in this country, but blaming guns for all the ills of the world is naive and closed-minded. A position relegated to dummies. Like the self-labeled dummy, Julian Sarafian.
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