Commentator JadeGold posted a comment to RF’s post Gun Control Is Alive and Well and Living at Sharon High School, wherein she accuses gun rights activists of relying on “fraudulent” arguments. JadeGold cites six specific examples from an allegedly endless list of erroneous pro-gun claims. Is it true? Do those of us that embrace gun rights live in a fraudulent fantasy world? JadeGold has utilized the rhetorical devise known as straw man argument. She has provided an exaggerated and distorted version of what gun rights advocates believe so that she can then knock those fabricated claims down. Because her straw man arguments fail to address the actual beliefs of gun rights advocates, her arguments are fallacious. Let’s examine these claims one at a time.
–Gun Control leads to Nazi Germany as run by Pol Pot.
I don’t know anyone that believes that gun control leads to totalitarianism any more than gun control leads to crime. It is correct, however, to point out that gun control leaves nations and individuals vulnerable to exploitation by tyrants and criminals.
Since JadeGold brought up Nazi Germany, let’s take a look at the history. Prior to Hitler’s ascension, the Weimar Republic enacted the highly restrictive 1928 Law on Firearms & Ammunition. This law required a permit for the purchase and carrying of firearms “only to be granted to persons of undoubted reliability, and — in the case of a firearms carry permit — only if a demonstration of need is set forth.”
Ten years later, the Nazis replaced this law with the 1938 Weapons Law, which liberalized gun ownership for the general populace. Of course, the “general populace” of Germany excluded German Jews. More pointedly, a law passed later that same year called Regulations Against Jews Possession of Weapons, forbade Jews from possessing any weapon whatsoever.
Did these laws create Hitler and the Nazis? No. Did they facilitate the attempted extermination of the Jews? Certainly.
–Guns are a “God-given” right.
I know of no assertions that guns, per se, are God-given rights. The right to protect one’s life and liberty is a God-given right. The right to bear arms is a constitutional guarantee.
–International comparisons are meaningless. Unless we’re talking about Hitler and gun control.
Hitler again. Oy vey! International comparisons are great. They show that many countries with high per capita gun ownership have low murder rates (e.g. Israel, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, etc), thereby debunking the myth that “guns kill.”
International comparisons also show that some countries with strict restrictions on civilian ownership of firearms are bloody violent messes. I’m talkin’ to you, Mexico.
–All universities and professional organizations are biased.
I’m a little unclear on what JadeGold is driving at here. Does she mean to say that gun rights activists believe that “All universities and [so-called] mainstream media outlets have leftist biases?”
It is patently false to say that gun rights proponents believe that “all” of anything is biased. I prefer to say “many” or “most.” For example, a New York Times survey of Washington DC-based journalists found that they favored the 2004 election of John Kerry, a well known gun control advocate, by a ratio of 12-to-1 (the same survey found that journalists based outside of DC favored Kerry over Bush 3-to-1). I am therefore comfortable concluding that most Inside the Beltway journalists are biased in favor of gun control.
And at universities? A 2007 published study by researchers at George Mason University documented a growing trend toward liberal bias at American universities. Among other things, they reported that sociology and anthropology professors identified as Progressive or Liberal more than Conservative or Libertarian – “by a margin of at least 20-to-1.”
–Statistics rank below the practice of alchemy and tea leaf reading as a viable science.
This couldn’t be more false (I use a few above). To the contrary, gun rights proponents embrace the statistical analysis such as that popularized by John R. Lott, Jr., author of More Guns Less Crime. However, correlation does not equal causation, so in the end it is very difficult to apply statistics to justify any theory regardless of what side of the gun control debate you are on.
— Guns are the only things that prevent us from being overrun by UN forces, space invaders, or rabid panda bears.
This one’s easy to debunk: no one in the world is afraid of the impotent goofballs with the baby blue helmets.
People of the Left love to characterize their opponents as intellectually vapid. I guess it doesn’t help to have advocates carrying the torch for gun rights like Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, and Sean Hannity, whose explanations never venture beyond the superficial. (With friends like those, who needs enemies?) But it is wrong to assume that the presence of a few high-profile lightweight in the debate means that the doctrine they espouse is without depth.
I see Mr. M has employed the Captain Renault gambit. " I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! "
He claims not to know ofI" anyone that believes that gun control leads to totalitarianism any more than gun control leads to crime. It is correct, however, to point out that gun control leaves nations and individuals vulnerable to exploitation by tyrants and criminals."
Hmmm. Sounds like a non-denial denial to my ears. But I'm sure Mr. M has possibly heard of gunloon groups such as JFPO whose major theme is gun control leads to genocide. I'm equally certain Mr. M. has heard rumor of Don Kates who, until being shamed by the Anti-Defamation League, used to claim the Holocaust was due to gun control. It's really not difficult to find gunloon agitprop equating gun control to the Holocaust, Armenian genocide, or the killing fields of Cambodia.
Mr. M has never heard of guns being a "God-given right?" Gosh, sounds like he doesn't get around much. There's this thing called "google," a truly wonderous contraption; when we plug in "guns god given right," we discover instances of folks like Chris Cox asserting same. Why, during the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Corn Subsidies) wanted to know if she, too, believed God gave us the right to bear arms.
The following quote by John Adams (American Patriot, U.S. President, British Traitor) might offer a clue:
"Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society and which perhaps I could not surrender if I would."
For the above reason, the Founders prohibited government from infringing on a sovereign citizen's access to whatsoever implement might be required to resist such violence (see Amendment 2, U.S. Constitution), whether from criminal activity or government edict (often they are interchangeable).
There are very often a myriad of problems when attempting to use the Founding Fathers' quotes as authority for anything. One is that they very often contradict themselves in their writings and actions. For example, in reference to the 2A, Adams wrote:
""To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws." (John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States, 475 [1787-1788])"
Another problem is that the Founders were all too human; that is, we like to imagine them as the paragons of virtue and liberty and all things good. But they were often wont to do things for political gain, expediency, and personal profit. For example, Adams was an abolitionist, yet he did nothing to curtail slavery and wouldn't take a public stand against it for fear of damaging his political fortunes.
Perhaps you could dispense with the too-hip-for-the-room contrarian sophistry long enough to make the case where a state monopoly on force squares with the proper role of government? If you prefer to play the game of "whose definition of the proper role of government?", Jefferson's premise from the Declaration of Independence should provide an adequate baseline from which to formulate an answer.
You mean the Jefferson that said "all men are created equal?"
How many slaves did he own again? What's the term we use for men who force themselves on women in captivity?
Despite this, Switzerland still has significantly higher gun homicide rates compared to its European neighbors.
I see Mr. M. has borrowed heavily from Halbrook’s laughable treatise on Nazi Germany and gun control.
Funnier still, is Mr.M’s assertion that gunloons “embrace” statistics–especially from John Lott. This akin to saying one loves gourmet fare–especially from the dollar menu at McDonalds. Lott’s problems and frauds are well-documented and his career deathspiral has taken him from an endowed chair at the University of Chicago to relying on the kindness of a friend to get get him an associate professorship in the nether regions of the University of Maryland.
No, Mr. M., this isn’t a gunfight. But you’ve not refuted my argument so much as claim that you see nothing.
"Despite this, Switzerland still has significantly higher gun homicide rates compared to its European neighbors."
The point of gun control is to reduce deaths. Gun control advocates believe that the mere presence of firearms causes more deaths (i.e. "guns kill"). If you wish to prove that gun control works to reduce deaths, it is insufficient to quote gun homicide rates alone. You must establish that total homicide rates fall within a country after the implementation of gun control. In other words, you would have to show that citizens intended to kill but were foiled because they did not have access to a gun. Otherwise, people are using tools other than a gun (e.g. knife, rope, candlestick, lead pipe, wrench, etc.) to kill when they are feeling homicidal and the gun control measures are for naught.
If you want to play the comparison game, Switzerland's homicide rate is 1.0 (per 100,000) and Sweden is 0.9. Germany, Austria, and Norway have lower homicide rates (0.9, 0.7, and 0.6 respectively). But there are twice as many European nations with higher homicide rates.
The numbers are interesting. France's gun homicide rate is lower than Switzerland's, yet their overall homicide rate is higher at 1.6. Belgium's total homicide rate is higher at 1.5 while their gun homicide rate is the same as Switzerland. In Hungary, total homicide is higher and the gun homicide rate is less than half. Likewise England, Poland, Spain, Ireland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. In all of these countries people are managing to kill each other at higher rates than in Switzerland while using guns to commit the crime less often. So how can you conclude from that the presence of guns is the culprit?
I have to question why you insist on switching back and forth between homicides and gun homicides. I suspect I know the answer but perhaps you'll surprise me.
He's trying to get you to understand that there are countries where "gun homicides" are low and yet "homicides" are high. In other words, if people really want to kill each other people, they usually find a way. And just in case you're missing the point: dead is dead, whether it's from a bullet, a knife, a cricket bat, or just being beaten to death by a gang of unarmed hoodlums.
But the homicides aren't high; that's the point. If we had homicide rates that were close to what Europe enjoys, we'd be dancing in the streets.
We don't. Instead, here's the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth and our homicide rates are up there with Third World nations.
Jadegold; shame you didn't put all that effort into thinking and learning instead. History and current events prove you wrong.
I remind all commentators that this website does not tolerate flaming. I have removed personal remarks where appropriate. Please keep it civil.
Let me state at the outset that while I respect your enthusiasm for gun control, I don't share it. That said, you would probably get more of your point across if you didn't use sophomoric terms like "gunloons" and referred to the State of Iowa by it's proper name rather than "Corn Subsidy".
At the risk of, well, being wrong, you sound like a stereotypical "big city liberal" who happily thumbs their nose at residents from the, how do you call them, "flyovers"?
I'd like to make it clear to everyone here at TTAG that not all big city folk are annoyingly professorial and vehemently anti-2A.
Just my two cents.
Methinks jadegold doth protest a wee bit much, especially after labeling us all "gun loons" in the original comment.
Apparently, nerves have been struck.
No disrespect is intended. I simply don't know the sex of the person who refers to himself/herself as JadeGold. Referring to JadeGold with feminine pronouns was simply my best guess. I've known women called Jade, so I went with that. If I am wrong, I will gladly change make the necessary changes.
OK, I guess I shouldn’t have read TTAG in chronological order! I left my comments back on the original post…
JadeGold, enough with the “gunloon” moniker already. Reasoned discourse doesn’t include name-calling. You’re destroying any credibility you might have with the other commenters. And to think that *we’re* the ones always accused of ruining reasoned discourse.
Please, JadeGold, consider the following: The state with the most gun control has a murder rate over four times higher than the state with the least gun control.
Source: The Brady Campaign Scorecard rates California highest (79) and Utah lowest (0) while the FBI Crime Report released 9/13/10 shows Utah has a murder rate of 1.3 per 100,000 while California's is 5.3.
I certainly agree there are many arguments put forth by 2A supporters and gun control supporters that miss the mark however the enthusiasm of those people should not detract from the truth of the best arguments. What it boils down to is the value of the freedom and the cost of the freedom. When the cost exceeds the value, we can repeal the amendment. So, it is not about holes that can be poked in one person's comment, it is about the value and the cost. Cost is easier to figure than value.
To know the value of the second amendment you must know what attacks upon our government would have occurred if not for the armed citizen. You must also know what future attacks can be avoided in the future. You must know what would happen with criminals when a gun control scheme is implemented and the citizen is known to be unarmed. When you know the value of the armed citizen you may argue the cost is too high. But you better have a better handle on that value than California does. And I am E. Zach Lee-Wright
Of course, you neglect to mention Louisiana which has very lax gun laws.
Why is that?
Oh, yeah. Homicides.
Jade, if you don't want to own firearms that is your business. However, you have NO right or authority to tell me what I can and cannot own. You have NO claim on me, my life, or my possessions, period. I will not force you to own a gun, you will not force me to give up mine, end of story.
"To the contrary, gun rights proponents embrace the statistical analysis such as that popularized by John R. Lott, Jr., author of More Guns Less Crime."
To the contrary contrary – for all to that it's nice to see Lott trashing the gun-grabbers' utilitarian arguments, fundamental rights cannot be allowed to restricted by utilitarian concerns.
Even if Lott were wrong, and wide-spread gun ownership did result in increased crime rates, restrictions on gun ownership cannot be justified unless based on the particular dangers posed by the specific individual.
To say otherwise is to say that a nurse, working 3rd shift in an inner-city hospital, cannot be allowed to carry a gun because allowing people to carry guns will result in more gang members and drug dealers shooting each other. It's an idea that simply cannot be accepted in a free society.
Once upon a time in an non-descript galaxy, on a tiny blue-green planet, members of a species distinct from all other indigenous species as a result of a slight genetic variance owned fire-arms.
An inexplicable event occurred in which all the inhabitants of the planet suddenly disappeared overnight—except one.
To that single, solitary inhabitant, issues of Morality, Conscience, ’Rights’, and the ’right to keep and bear arms’ had suddenly became wholly irrelevant, insignificant and essentially meaningless.
The Great Documents written by the Founders of the Nation in which he resided became nothing more than mere words scrawled in ink on now worthless pieces of paper.
Just as he was beginning to adapt to his solitary existence, a craft landed and humans, appearing to be much like himself emerged from an opening in the craft.
One official-looking individual approached him and began speaking.
“As mayors from the Supreme Intergalactic Council, we’ve come to inform you that your GUN has been declared illegal, and under law you are now a criminal.”
“But sir,” he pleaded, “obviously I haven’t violated anyone else’s rights, I’m the only person on the whole planet. Freemen in America have been keeping and bearing arms for over four hundred years here, and the right predated and preexisted the first people from Great Britain who colonized this continent. And besides, I have these documents to prove the keeping and bearing of arms to be a right.
Surely you wouldn’t take from me the most viable tool of self defense yet invented, and leave me without it.
What about Morality, and Conscience, and the Rights that men have fought and died for?
“Well, since you put it that way," said the official, "I suppose you have a point. Then again in the interest of your own safety and security, and since we’re just doing our job, you’ll have to turn over your GUN to us. Since we are reasonable people, you can address your grievances with the Supreme Council. You’ll need a lawyer of course, and have to arrange for your own transportation.