Bullet-proof counter arguments to use against an onslaught of opinions, contentions and faulty logic. For those of you fearing the dreaded dinner table discussion with your relative who loves guns way more than they should, run-in with the acquaintance adamant about gun protection, or confrontation with an NRA member, look no further.
Here are some common pro-gun assertions and hilariously simple points to invalidate them:
- “It’s my second amendment right!” It’s true that owning guns is granted in the Constitution. However, it’s an amendment. Meaning it can be amended; it can be changed. It’s not necessarily permanent. Prohibition was once in the Constitution, but people couldn’t stand to be separated from their alcohol. Just because something is a right, doesn’t mean it’s what’s right for the country. Technically, owning slaves was a “right” too. And as with gun ownership, people were resistant to letting their slaves go after the 13th amendment. In his set, comedian Jim Jefferies parallels gun owners with slave owners, postulating that slave owners likely protested in the same manner as gun carriers. “Why should I have my slaves taken off me? I’m a responsible slave owner.” Moreover, gun ownership in the Constitution of 1787 was solely meant to allow a citizen militia in case of an oppressive government… which leads us right to our next argument!
- “We need to be able to form a defense militia! What if the government turns on us?” Really. You think the American government of 2018, which has access to unlimited resources and weaponry, from anthrax to atomic bombs, would choose to break down your walls with bayonets? Highly unlikely. Face it, if the government wanted to kill you, you’d be dead. Governmental forces don’t include time-consuming guns and cannons anymore. There’s no way you with your single pistol or set of assault rifles can take down SWAT teams, or be ready for every attack the government has planned. Good luck fighting nuclear fission with gunfire.
- “I need my gun(s) for protection!” Let’s break this down a bit. Right now in the United States, 48% of gun owners say they carry for protection. Yet according to a Harvard University study, on average only 0.9 % of gun usage is actually in self-defense. In 2016, there were over 38,000 deaths caused by guns. Over 2/3 of these deaths were suicides by guns. Another 12,000 were homicides. Psychology Today states that a mere 250 deaths comprise the category of “bad guys” being shot in self defense in America. So, statistically speaking, it doesn’t seem as though guns are being used for a lot of protection. In fact, 99 out of 100 times, on average, you are more likely to commit a felony by killing someone unjustifiably, to commit suicide, or to kill someone accidentally with a gun, than you are to shoot the assailant. And to all AR-15 owners, there’s a reason it’s called an ASSAULT rifle, not a protection rifle. You’re not fooling anyone.
- “More guns means less shootings!” Now, I’m no math expert, but The Stats from Congressional Research Services seem to say that out of every country in the world, the U.S. has the highest number of guns per capita (almost half of all civilian-owned guns worldwide), with 89 guns on average per 100 people. The U.S. is also home to the largest amount of mass shooters in the world and has had 90 mass shootings since 1966. On top of that, within the sphere of developed nations, gun homicides rates for the U.S. are 25 times higher than other high-income countries. Hmm. It seems to me as though we have more guns, and more killings… Did we learn nothing from The Butter Battle Book by Dr Seuss? More weapons don’t ensure safety. More weapons give people an excuse to get weapons to defend themselves from the people with weapons. It’s a never ending cycle.
- “We should keep our schools safe by training and arming teachers.” Ah yes, because what says “safe and fun learning environment” better than giving killing machines to people who are barely paid enough to educate children, let alone put their life on the line in a shoot-out? But surely nothing could go wrong with mixing problem students, some unstable adults and heavy weaponry in a place most people loathe. Teachers already have to deal with enough and it isn’t their job to be some gun-slinging, Lone Ranger hero. Plus, in order to keep the gun safely away from the kids, the gun has to be locked up. And when someone comes barging into the school, holding a classroom at gun point, that pistol or rifle will be no sort of protection out of arm’s reach.
- “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” – NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre. Okay, slow your roll, Die Hard. First, this isn’t some action movie. Who are you that you have constantly have enemies with guns looking to kill you? And how are you always armed and ready? This is real life, and your display of power isn’t going to work out in your favor. Vigilantism is highly discouraged and it’s definitely not legal to just go around shooting people and distributing your own justice. Lastly, things can get kind of hairy when people take matters into their own hands and it’s unclear who exactly the “good guy” is.
- “What about hate crimes against minority groups? Especially the trans and Black communities? They should be able to defend themselves, because their heads are constantly on the chopping block.” Out of every gun argument listed above, this is the only one that I will entertain or empathize. Because, yes, minorities do fear for their lives daily while surrounded by spiteful neighbors armed with heavy weaponry. For this reason I won’t tell you not to buy guns. I won’t say “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” act like Black men aren’t 13 times more likely than white men to be killed by guns or like 20% of hate crimes aren’t committed against the LGBT community. But be wary- the second amendment right doesn’t always work as justification for minorities to carry. Especially when the authorities get involved.
And remember kids: don’t let any adult tell you that you don’t know anything because of how old you are. You are never too young to start having critical thinking skills, reason with logic or learn right from wrong. Just because adults are older than you, that doesn’t make them right and it doesn’t mean that they should ignore what you have to say. Remind them that gun control affects you to and you have a right to discuss it and fight for it just like anyone else.
Photo: Heather Mount via Unsplash