Saturday, July 21, 2012

Guns: Recap

From what I'm seeing in the debate at other sites, many of the usual bad arguments against gun control are still very popular.

Here's some of my past writings in reply to these:

Why guns aren't like knives and arguments to regulate or ban the former don't have to make sense against the latter:
The argument to regulate or ban guns rests on guns being especially amenable to restriction due to their very specialized use cases, and to the high degree of inherent risk to life and limb from any use of them.
Why criminals don't necessarily find it that easy to get guns under stricter gun control laws:
It turns out that many, possibly even most guns used in mass murder events were obtained legally.  One definite problem here is we don't know how many would-be mass murderers couldn't get ahold of guns, and gave up on their schemes.  Japan suffered a rare mass murder event not perpetrated with a gun, and it's worth asking if many more than 8 children would have died that day if the mentally disturbed killer had found it easy to obtain a gun in Japan.
Why "criminals" are not really the sole reason to ban or restrict guns:
You can't neatly segregate people as "criminals" and "law abiding" as if these were immutable attributes that cannot change through a person's life.  It's true that people who earn their incomes legally don't often become "professional" criminals or mobsters, but taxpaying citizens do commit violent crimes.  You also can't forget that the problems with guns do not end with deliberate crime, but also includes accidents and suicide.
Finally, why Switzerland and Canada are really bad examles for pro-gun rights people to cite:
This arrangement is often portrayed as "every Swiss male has a fully automatic weapon at home" which clearly is not the case.  Signficant numbers of Swiss males are excluded for physical (like say having very poor vision which isn't something that even comes up in context of US gun laws but really should - if you can't see well enough to know what you're aiming at, how can you possibly use a gun responsibly?) and more importantly psychological reasons.  You also have to pass a variety of handling and aptitude tests to prove you are able to handle that weapon safely.  Would the NRA ever get behind forcing US would-be gun owners to undergo anything like this?  When they already oppose requiring criminal background checks for guns sold at gun shows, it's hard to imagine them supporting psychological screening and extensive training requirements.
Hoping I can do my small part to put away some of the tiredest canards of the pro-gun position and maybe they can at least surprise us with some fresh material if not some actual fresh thinking.  Hearing yet more "if you ban guns they'll just use knives" stupidity is one of the more depressing feaures of this debate.

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