With the horrible mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday, leaving 50+ people dead and 500+ injured according to police, the “gun control issue” is once again causing a ruckus in the USA.
Under the hashtag #guncontrol on Twitter, 2nd Amendment “purists” are accusing gun control advocates of politicizing the Las Vegas tragedy while the gun control advocates are asking, as always, “If not now, when?” Usually, when something terrible happens, the logical and most common sense thing to do is to address the issue and discuss what can be done to make it less likely to happen again, and/or what can be done to protect innocent people from harm.
Even Sarah Huckabee Sanders got in on it today:
Sarah Sanders: Today is a "day of reflection, a day of mourning," not a day for a policy discussion, which should come later.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 2, 2017
When it comes to guns, though, the time never seems to be right.
Even the Sandy Hook massacre, when 6 adults and 20 children were murdered, wasn’t enough to make the 2nd Amendment “purists” engage in a constructive debate about gun regulation. The NRA – the biggest “purist” of them all – is a significant part of the reason why any debate is always shot down (pun intended) before it can even take off.
As soon as the words “gun control” or “gun regulation” (and sometimes even “background check”) are mentioned, the NRA is usually the first to frantically yell “GUN BAN!”, and — sadly — a lot of people fall for it every time.
To try and counter this we’ve gathered six of the most commonly used “arguments” against gun regulation in order to address and/or debunk them:
1. They’re going to take my guns!
If lawmakers decide to ban some guns (which is extremely unlikely) it will probably be high-velocity firearms with high capacity magazines (HVF’s). If the USA decides to go the route of Australia, there’s a good chance that people will be “grandfathered” in and get to keep their HFV’s. Most people would still get to keep and buy other types of firearms.
2. The 2nd Amendment says “shall not be infringed!”
It says “militia,” too, and everyone always skips lightly over that, but more importantly, the 2nd Amendment also says “well regulated.” Regulating responsibility, should you choose to exercise that right as an American, doesn’t infringe on your rights.
You have the right to free movement, also, yet the government can restrict your travel; that is your access to a car (kinda essential in travel these days) with driver’s licenses. And they can penalize you for breaking their rules, and take your license away despite your right to freedom of movement. This is completely constitutional, it doesn’t impinge on our rights — neither does common sense legislation like background checks.
3. I’m an avid hunter!
And subsistence style hunters should keep doing what they do, although vegetarians and vegans might disagree. One could argue, though, that HVF’s are absolutely not necessary for hunting. That is unless hunters have no intention of eating what they take…
4. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun!
This is another myth promoted by the NRA, and the truth of the matter is that if everybody starts shooting (in a stressful, confrontational situation, untrained civilians are very likely to hit innocent bystanders instead of the bad guy) the police won’t know who the good guy is, and this will only add to the chaos and confusion.
5. People die in traffic accidents, so cars should be banned!
True about accidents, but people using this argument tend to conveniently “forget” that cars are heavily regulated; if these regulations didn’t exist it’s an undeniable fact that even more people would be “killed by cars.” A lot more.
6. Making it “harder” for law-abiding citizens to get guns gives criminals an unfair advantage!
People adhering to this myth usually argue that more gun regulations mean that it will be harder for law-abiding citizens to buy guns legally and easier for criminals to get them illegally. If we didn’t have to register cars and have a license to drive, it would be easier for law-abiding citizens to drive, but it would be way easier for alcoholics to end up on the road with you, too.
Once again, an important fact is conveniently forgotten: While there will probably always be a black market, the ones supplying the guns are mostly people who bought them legally for someone who couldn’t:
In fact, there are a number of sources that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands, with gun thefts at the bottom of the list. Wachtel says one of the most common ways criminals get guns is through straw purchase sales. A straw purchase occurs when someone who may not legally acquire a firearm, or who wants to do so anonymously, has a companion buy it on their behalf. According to a 1994 ATF study on “Sources of Crime Guns in Southern California,” many straw purchases are conducted in an openly “suggestive” manner where two people walk into a gun store, one selects a firearm, and then the other uses identification for the purchase and pays for the gun. Or, several underage people walk into a store and an adult with them makes the purchases. Both of these are illegal activities.
If we can make these straw purchases more difficult, with more complicated steps to legitimately buy firearms, it is less likely that they will end up on the black market.
One can even say that this is one of the only instances where trickle-down “economics” can actually work.
It’s clearly time to have a conversation, but when?
However impossible it is to predict the future, one thing seems certain: It is very unlikely that Americans will ever have a constructive and civil debate about gun regulations, especially not as long as the NRA releases videos meant to anger people and sow discord.
Think about it: the “record” for deadliest mass shootings in modern US history was set twice in little over a year. If that doesn’t motivate lawmakers to do something, what will?
How high does the body count need to be before Congress does something about it?
Today we mourn for Las Vegas, tomorrow we fight for them.
Join the movement to end gun violence: Text ACT to 64433. pic.twitter.com/EYchsv1ySz
— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) October 2, 2017
Featured image via screen capture