It seems as though every few weeks there is breaking news of a deranged lunatic with a gun doing the unthinkable. Like clockwork, media and politicians go into a frenzy. Everyone is always high on emotion and on edge, and understandably so. When one of these horrendous events takes place, we give it our undivided attention, and the typical “orange man bad” news cycle gets put on the back burner (unless of course they can blame said orange guy for the event).
The buzzwords and talking points coming out of the pro-gun control crowd are predictable and consistent. “We need common sense gun laws”, “Lets ban assault weapons”, “The NRA/GOP is responsible”, or the generic and pointless “end gun violence”.
This is obviously all politics, but it results in us as a country getting angrier at each other every time a mass shooting occurs, instead of focusing our attention on the people whose lives were lost or changed forever. I’ll admit that I’m partially guilty. I think the gun debate brings out some of the most bad faith arguments of any political debate.
From the perspective of a strong supporter of the second amendment and someone who actually knows a little bit about guns, let me address some of these idiotic talking points.
“Common Sense” Gun Laws
What are we talking about here? I’m all ears folks. Are we talking about background checks, red flag laws, banning a certain weapon, restrictions on magazine capacity? Help me out here. Saying “common sense” gun laws might make sense to the typical Brooklyn hipster who supports Elizabeth Warren, but probably means something totally different for the rancher in Texas. It’s a tired statement that means literally nothing. I don’t expect someone who has never held a gun to agree with me on what’s considered common sense.
While I believe that too many laws generally leads to unintended consequences, I think productive talks can be had on the subjects of “red flag” laws and magazine capacity. There are obviously people in our country who should not have access to guns, and it’s important that we identify them. I think it would be difficult to find an objective standard that can be applied across the board, but we can have the talk. I can be persuaded one way or another. I also believe that nobody needs a 30+ round clip. However, we have to think about the consequences of restricting them. Would people figure out a way to engineer their own high capacity clips/magazines?
“Assault Weapons” (“weapon of war” has also been used for a more dramatic effect)
Once again, what exactly are we talking about here? This is where you lose people who actually know something about guns. Are we talking about the AR-15? All automatic rifles? All semi automatic rifles? Handguns? BB guns? Paintball guns? Those wood guns at gift shops that shoot rubber bands? If you fail to define the terms, how can I ever trust that you’re operating in good conscience? I can’t. You’re either ill motivated, painfully ignorant, or both.
In addition to the vague language, many of these folks (no clue what the percentage would be, but I imagine it’s substantial) don’t know the difference between semi automatic and automatic, let alone other basic gun fundamentals. The AR has been used in several of the worst mass shootings, and looks scary, so it’s public enemy #1 of the gun control crowd. But far more gun crimes are committed with handguns, and plenty far less scary looking rifles have similar capabilities to the notorious AR, so banning it would have little to no impact on the bottom line.
Blaming The NRA
The common talking point among gun control fans is that Republican politicians are bought and owned by the NRA, and are therefore bribed into striking down any gun control legislation that reaches their desks. In reality, the NRA, is largely made up of everyday citizens who value the second amendment. Those people donate (by paying dues) to politicians who promise to uphold their gun rights. It’s not as though these politicians were about to promote gun control and all of a sudden got bribed out of it.
Also, it should be noted that none of these shootings were committed by NRA members. So much for the NRA being a domestic terrorist group….
“End gun violence”
This is pointless and nothing more than virtue signaling. Spoiler alert: nobody wants more gun violence. For all the people who talk about “thoughts and prayers” being useless, this is REALLY useless. It’s no different than being against people getting cancer. Nobody who offers their thoughts and prayers after a tragedy actually thinks they’re preventing the next tragedy. It would be awesome if we could, but we can’t. It’s about helping people heal. “End gun violence” doesn’t even do that. It’s nothing more than 3 words that make you feel good about yourself.
It’s easy to virtue signal on Twitter, but actual solutions take time and discussion. Growing up in a rural area and hunting since age 12, I assumed everyone owned, or at least knew how to shoot a gun. When I went to college, I learned that wasn’t the case. While I can’t speak for everyone, this made it clear to me how we can have such bipolar views on guns. While it’s tempting to get wrapped up in the nasty bickering, we need to take the time to understand where we’re all coming from. While I’m clearly biased in favor of an uninhibited second amendment, I would like for the facts and data to lead us in the appropriate direction, not raw emotion. Cooler heads must prevail.