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Watching the usual anti-gun tirades by gun-haters in the aftermath of a high profile shooting like the one in Lewiston, Maine, it’s interesting to see the things that people will and won’t make liberty tradeoffs for. Even those who can only argue by spouting things like, “How many people have to die for your rights?” make these tradeoffs. One that comes up frequently is alcohol.

The United States famously gave prohibition a try. Thanks to widespread non-compliance with the “noble experiment” combined with the inevitable increases in corruption and organized crime that resulted, it didn’t last long.

No one seriously talks about banning alcohol today and there’s very few practical restrictions on its sale. You just have to be 21 years old (a rule that’s easily flouted) and you can buy it at any store or bar that sells it.

You can literally have just been released from a drunk tank or after a DUI arrest and go right back out and buy more. There’s no push by any interest group to change that, and no cries about lax alcohol regulation costing too many lives.

And let’s be clear, while most people can and do use it responsibly, alcohol use costs a lot of lives.

auto accident car wreck crash

A comparison is in order here. According to the CDC, gun-related causes of all types (suicide, homicide, negligence) killed about 48,000 people last year. But also according to the CDC, over 140,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year. And while many of those are people drinking themselves to death, in 2021 over 13,000 people were killed in drunk driving incidents. That same year, 21% of suicide victims had a blood-alcohol level above 0.1%.

Alcohol-related causes also kill 3,900 people ages 0-20 each year. That’s not quite as high as gun-related deaths in that age group, but it’s in the ballpark. And who knows how many cases of abused children or spouses who are ultimately murdered involved angry drunken fathers?

So with all that in mind, why are some of the very same people who are continually outraged about civilian gun ownership perfectly okay with the status quo on alcohol, which kills about three times as many Americans annually?

Remember, while some people legitimately do need a gun for self-defense, no one ever “needs” a drink. Guns are used to stop about 1.6 million robberies, assaults, rapes, and murders every year. How many crimes are prevented and lives saved by alcohol?

Alcohol is a worse liberty tradeoff in that sense, because its only utility is having fun and feeling good. To put it in terms the Gun Control Industry might understand, “By continuing to oppose banning alcohol, you’re saying you’re okay with over 100,000 people dying so you can enjoy an occasional beer. You evil monster!

None of this is to say I want us to take another run at prohibition. Of course not. Rather, it’s to demonstrate that everyone implicitly understands and accepts liberty tradeoffs. But when it comes to guns, a lot of people pretend not to.

Never mind that alcohol use isn’t even a constitutional right, yet we have given it de facto protection anyway. I see alcohol advertising everywhere in ways that would be utterly unthinkable for guns.

Many more people die because we can easily buy a drink than because we can (not nearly as easily) buy a rifle.

And to be clear, none of this is to say we shouldn’t do our best to reduce firearm suicides and homicides in ways that still respect the Second Amendment. I just can’t grasp why people don’t see the obvious parallels.

It probably comes down to mass shootings specifically. They’re horrifying enough in their rarity and randomness that people don’t think of the numbers in aggregate. They focus instead on the single atrocity. Yet at any time, a drunk driver can take you out of this life, and it’s far more likely that will kill you than a mass shooter.


Konstadinos Moros is an Associate Attorney with Michel & Associates, a law firm in Long Beach that regularly represents the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) in its litigation efforts to restore the Second Amendment in California. You can find him on his Twitter handle @MorosKostas. To donate to CRPA or become a member, visit

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  1. People have been trading drug legaliz@tion in exchange for giving up their 2A civil rights for a very long time now.

  2. “So with all that in mind, why are some of the very same people who are continually outraged about civilian gun ownership perfectly okay with the status quo on alcohol, which kills about three times as many Americans annually?”

    Because drunk people are not a threat to their power, that’s why.

  3. The sexual liberation movement has been willing to give up their 2A civil rights, in exchange for greater acceptance in certain very liberal areas of the country.

  4. Alcohol and guns do mix very well. The moonshine operators keep guns handy when they are at work. And now the marijuana growers have also discovered that pot and guns do mix very well also.

    But for some very strange reason, the drug legaliz@tion crowd thinks they can separate guns (violence) from drugs???

    • Separating drugs from violence is easy.

      Separating the black market from violence is impossible because the only recourse for being wronged within the black market is violence.

      • There will always be a black market for drugs. Just as there will always be a black market for guns. And guns have always been a legal product.

        The irrational fantasy of the drug leg@liz@tion crowd has cost many lives. And destroyed neighborhood’s and now entire cities. Like San Francisco.

        They have never believed in Liberty. Because they refuse to take the responsibility and the consequences that go with it.

        They want “free” condoms. “Free” needles, “free” drug treatment, and a “free” government doctor. To monitor them in the government injection centers. So they don’t overdose and die, from the poison they voluntarily put into their own bodies.

        The drug leg@liz@tion crowd are parasites. They are responsible for the writing and passage of prop 47 in California.

        The world is just fine for them. Until they run out of other people’s $$$.

        • “There are no solutions, only tradeoffs.” – Thomas Sowell.

          Honestly, I find it rather trite to speak of running out of other people’s money when basically no one is ready to discuss the ongoing theft of quadrillions of dollars from generations not yet born while simultaneously destroying their chance at anything approaching Liberty.

          A Liberty, forgive me, that I have trouble believing that most Conservatives actually want people to have because Conservatives have done exactly nothing in my lifetime to defend it.

          Seems to me that Cons have done nothing but assist the totalitarian Left in setting us on a course for serfdom under some sort of Marxism based neo-Feudalism.

          So, even were I to agree that what I’ll sum up as “sex, drugs and rock & roll” were some sort of problem that requires .gov force to fix, which I generally don’t, I’d classify that as a few minnows when we have whales to fry.

  5. Yeah and the a-holes who killed the cop with the car………..what, no banning of vehicles? Surprising how many “educated” folks still won’t say CRIMINAL!!

  6. The loss to this country is incalculable with Democrat power. Trumps tweets mean nothing by comparison.

  7. “It probably comes down to mass shootings specifically. They’re horrifying enough in their rarity and randomness that people don’t think of the numbers in aggregate. They focus instead on the single atrocity. Yet at any time, a drunk driver can take you out of this life, and it’s far more likely that will kill you than a mass shooter.”

    A mass shooting is akin to an airplane crash. They too are rare and random. And so, they horrify us. We expect government and the air-industry to do their best to mitigate their occurrence.

    And yet, the gun-controllers struggle to urge government and businesses to PROMOTE our vulnerability to mass shootings. They insist on gun-free kill-zones. They insist on making it as difficult as possible for civilians to carry in public.

    I am shocked that there didn’t seem to be a single good-man-with-a-gun in either venue in Maine.

  8. When is Gun Control going to be abolished in America for the Racism and Genocide that History Clearly Confirms it is Rooted in?

    When is the democRat Party going to be singled out and held monetarily liable for owning the legacy of Slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, lynching, the kkk, Eugenics, Gun Control and other race based atrocities?

  9. I have made this same point before. The anti-gun folks argue that guns have no practical use except to destroy whereas there are a lot of people who cannot live without a drink after work or getting blitzed every weekend. When I point out drunk driving deaths they do not care. They say stuff like, “You could get hit by a bus with everyone sober tomorrow!” It’s really about do something, anything, to make them feel better.

    • You could remind them of
      1) Flare guns to find the list
      2) Electron guns that every tv used until LED
      3) Prop guns that made Hollywood millions
      4) guns used in astronomical research
      5) guns used to fire t-shirts into the crowds from the field by mascots
      6) the guns used by body guards to protect VIP’s including actors, actresses, politicians, and the ultra rich
      7) guns used by cops that take out or subdue criminals
      8) guns used by the general population to stop criminals from killing more people (like what happens all the time like what happened at a church in Texas)
      9) then there are particle guns used in places like the Hadron Collider
      10) water guns

      I’m sure there are others. Guns are used for many things. Some good and some bad.

    • I don’t think it is just about feels, I think it is about a desire for power and control. On several occasions I have had conversations with gun-control types who, when they get agitated enough to let the mask slip, say things like, “We should ban and confiscate all the guns from people like you.” I respond, “Go ahead and try, I have one on me right now.” At that point, they fuss and fume and act offended but, they don’t try to take the gun. Power balance, they hate it.

  10. Most people would trade anything for their soma. Their health, their wealth, their friends, their family and certainly their liberty.

    To hear people like Klaus and Yuval talk you’d think hooking the population on opium and shipping off to special villages for addicts is not only an idea for controlling the population but the plan.

  11. quote—————Guns are used to stop about 1.6 million robberies, assaults, rapes, and murders every year. How many crimes are prevented and lives saved by alcohol?——-quote

    The claim that gun ownership stops crime is common in the U.S., and that belief drives laws that make it easy to own and keep firearms.

    But about 30 careful studies show more guns are linked to more crimes: murders, rapes, and others. Far less research shows that guns help.

    Interviews with people in heavily gun-owning towns show they are not as wedded to the crime defense idea as the gun lobby claims.

    Gertz extrapolated their results, they concluded that Americans use guns for self-defense as many as 2.5 million times a year.

    This estimate is, however, vastly higher than numbers from government surveys, such as the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which is conducted in tens of thousands of households. It suggests that victims use guns for self-defense only 65,000 times a year. In 2015 Hemenway and his colleagues studied five years’ worth of NCVS data and concluded that guns are used for self-defense in less than 1 percent of all crimes that occur in the presence of a victim. They also found that self-defense gun use is about as effective as other defensive maneuvers, such as calling for help. “It’s not as if you look at the data, and it says people who defend themselves with a gun are much less likely to be injured,” says Philip Cook, an economist at Duke University, who has been studying guns since the 1970s.

    Most of this research—and there have been several dozen peer-reviewed studies—punctures the idea that guns stop violence. In a 2015 study using data from the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University reported that firearm assaults were 6.8 times more common in the states with the most guns versus those with the least. Also in 2015 a combined analysis of 15 different studies found that people who had access to firearms at home were nearly twice as likely to be murdered as people who did not.

    They found that a gun in the home was associated with a nearly threefold increase in the odds that someone would be killed at home by a family member or intimate acquaintance.

    They also found you are 35 times more likely to have a suicide if there is a gun in the home and it is almost always fatal as opposed to other types of “attempted” suicides,

    There’s also the fact that where there are more guns, more opportunities exist for people to steal them and use them nefariously.

    The belief that more guns lead to fewer crimes is founded on the idea that guns are dangerous when bad guys have them, so we should get more guns into the hands of good guys. Yet Cook, the Duke economist, says this good guy/bad guy dichotomy is a false and dangerous one. Even upstanding American citizens are only human—they can “lose their temper, or exercise poor judgment, or misinterpret a situation, or have a few drinks,” he explains, and if they’re carrying guns when they do, bad things can ensue. In 2013 in Ionia, Mich., a road rage incident led two drivers—both concealed carry permit holders—to get out of their cars, take out their guns and kill each other.

    According to a survey published by Johns Hopkins University researchers, 85 percent of gun owners support background checks for all gun sales, including sales through unlicensed dealers—even though the NRA strongly opposes them.

    John Donohue, an economist at Stanford University, reported in a working paper in June 2017 that when states ease permit requirements, most violent crime rates increase and keep getting worse. A decade after laws relax, violent crime rates are 13 to 15 percent higher than they were before. And in 2004 the National Research Council, which provides independent advice on scientific issues, turned its attention to firearm research, including Lott’s findings. It asked 15 scholars to reanalyze Lott’s data because “there was such a conflict in the field about the findings,” recalls panel chair and criminologist Charles Wellford, now a professor emeritus at the University of Maryland. Lott’s models, they found, could be tweaked in tiny ways to produce big changes in results. “The analyses that we did, and that others have done, show that these estimates are very fragile,” Wellford explains. “The committee, with one exception, concluded that you could not accept his conclusion that more guns meant less crime.” Wintemute summarized it this way: “There are a few studies that suggest that liberalizing access to concealed firearms has, on balance, beneficial effects. There are a far larger number of studies that suggest that it has, on balance, detrimental effects.”

    A January 2017 study reported that when “stand your ground” was passed in Florida, the monthly homicide rate went up by nearly a quarter. And a 2012 study found that states that adopted these laws experienced an abrupt and sustained 8 percent increase in homicides relative to other states. Mark Hoekstra, a co-author of the 2012 paper and an economist at Texas A&M University, put it this way: “We found that making it easier to kill people resulted in more dead people.”

    • Funny, ALL of the ‘studies’ you have listed have been thoroughly debunked.

      And look up the definition of ‘homicide.’

      Not that you will bother, but look up Dr. John Lotts’ research.

  12. Drinking alcohol may not quite be a constitutionally protected right, but I’d say the 21st Amendment came pretty damn close.

  13. The whole thing is one of those places where remotely careful observation reveals a lot of things all at once and where hyperbole is common even among those who try to avoid it. This is because, quite frankly, most people don’t know what they don’t know. (And, IMHO, don’t care to learn in most cases because learning things that don’t line up with previously accepted dogma just ain’t a thing people like to do.)

    “…no one ever “needs” a drink”, for example.

    Untrue. Serious alcoholics can, quite literally, die from cold-turkey cessation of consuming alcohol. They require medical intervention at that point and must be medically given alcohol in a way that weens them off the sauce.

    This is the main reason liquor stores were left open during lockdowns.

    But alcohol culture is, itself, ignorant and based on social preferences rather than facts.

    In recent decades those social preferences have turned against smokers “because cancer”. There’s nothing really wrong with that, smoking isn’t good for people. However, even what the CDC classes as “moderate drinking” carries basically the same cancer risks in statistical terms. Even just a drink a day notably increases cancer risk. These risks can, and are, calculated in a manner where easy comparison to smoking is available. The amount of alcohol consumed by most males who are “moderate drinkers” is equivalent to a two-pack-a-day habit in terms of cancer.

    And that’s before you get to other issues like fatty liver, cirrhosis, neurological issues etc etc etc.

    If one steps back and considers the way smoking is treated by the media and society one might question why alcohol is not consistently demonized too given that it’s actually worse in terms of health consequences before you even get to accidents and suicides which are just icing on the proverbial cake.

    But no one’s going to point that out in public because it’s not popular and it’s not something public health wants to admit that they’ve basically assisted in withholding from public view for decades. Obviously, Bacardi and Coors don’t much want that PSA campaign going out either, and they assist .gov in collecting A LOT of dollars every year in taxes.

    The general point here being this: There are a stupid number of areas where the socially accepted “truth” isn’t true. In fact, it’s often downright detrimental to those who believe it.

    The reason this doesn’t change is often due to the fact that the status-quo is held emotionally rather than logically. People will become very angry when confronted with hard facts. Smokers don’t like you telling them that they should quit, but mostly they already know it. Drinkers on the other hand feel the same way and are also mostly ignorant of how much damage they’re doing to themselves.

    In both cases you will generally get an emotional response to a factual argument. Which is exactly how guns work too. Antis love to keep the argument emotional because they know that pro-gun people are going to come at them with facts and they know how emotional manipulation works.

    You can’t logic someone out of a position they emoted themselves into. It doesn’t matter if they did that on purpose or not. If you want to dislodge them you have to use emotional manipulation to break through. Good teachers do this, but that’s another post.

  14. So if I walk in to a restaurant or or establishment or bar that has a sign on the door that says Gun Free Zone, suddenly my God-given right to self defense evaporates into thin air? And my Constitutional Rights suddenly do not apply or are forfeited? Keep dreaming, you ignorant tool. I am carrying in your joint whether you like it or not. Your utopian fantasy is not going to let some other tool kill my family. If you are so eager to be victimized or killed please just do us a favor and go jump off a bridge so others aren’t victimized with you.

    • CBW, while I don’t like a “gun free zone” any more than you do, the restraurant or establishment or bar” has the “right” to regulate behavior and what a person brings in. If you carry in a place that has such a sign, you are now trespassing.

      My solution is quite simple. Don’t patronize such places. I don’t do business with Dick’s, Walgreens, Panera or other places that frown on firearms.

  15. To paraphrase what has been attributed to Ben Franklin.” Those who would trade essential liberties for temporary safety will have nor deserve neither.”
    As always, the only common factor is=n all shootings is the human factor. There is a human hand and a human mind behind every single shooting or other violent crime ever committed. Unless and until the human element is considered and dealt with no ban, restriction, or license scheme regarding any weapon will prevent acts of violence.

  16. Drunks Against Mad Mothers,,,,DAMM.
    I think think I do my bestest shootin when I’m falling over backwards after draining a 1/5th of Kentucky Delux.
    Liberty? I’ve know idea what that word means. I believe it has something to do with freedom.
    Freedom is purchased.
    Ive not got enough money to buy Freedom, Liberty, and Kentucky Delux.
    Off topic.,,,but.
    I was out shooting some Remington.357XTP’s the other day and the gunm powder just smelled so good I had to pull one of the bullets and snort up a few grains.
    Having fun may become addictive.
    Be careful.

      • You’ve heard of Kitty Khats I’m sure.
        Those are the ones you see pancaked in the middle of the road. They get confused on which ditch they are supposed to run for.

    • The appropriate answer is “That depends on how hard you try to take away people’s human rights. Why are you against human rights to the point that you’re willing to kill people over this? Doesn’t the blood on your hands keep you up at night?”.

      Never allow them to dictate the dilemma, it is always false.

      The entire point of that game is that if you agree that the false-binary is real you cannot win because there is no good answer. They will openly tell you this using the metaphor of a bull. As they themselves say, if you agree to play you will get gored by one of the horns, by design.

      You can see an example of “finding a third way” in the Civil War 2.0 memes where the Lefty says something about how AR-15’s can’t beat F-16’s, missiles, nukes etc and the Righty “Chad” simply leans in and says “We’re neighbors”.

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