© Josh Sager – February 2013
This article is a supplementary follow-up to my two-part article that refutes 15 of the major anti-gun control arguments. To read these articles, please follow the links below:
Part #1: https://theprogressivecynic.com/2013/01/17/refuting-gun-enthusiasts-anti-gun-control-arguments-part-1/
Part #2: https://theprogressivecynic.com/2013/01/19/refuting-gun-enthusiasts-anti-gun-control-arguments-part-2/
In the previous articles, I attempted to refute all of the major anti-gun control arguments but, apparently, I missed a few. In recent weeks, gun activists have utilized several arguments that I did not include in the previous article; unfortunately, a few of these arguments have the potential to be compelling to the low-information individual, thus they threaten the passage of sane gun control legislation. Just as I did in the previous article, I will refute the new anti-gun control arguments with logic and statistics.
To my readers: Anybody who is in favor of gun control may use my arguments as their own and will hopefully find this article helpful in advocating for sane gun laws. On the other hand, anybody who disagrees with my refutations of these arguments may contact me through my blog and attempt to point out flaws in my logic or make counter-arguments.
16. “Guns act as an equalizer and are necessary for women to defend themselves”
While it is true that guns make size and gender largely irrelevant in a fight, it is also true that gun ownership is not a cure for violence against women. This argument is incorrect for two basic reasons: First, not only does statistical evidence show that gun ownership does not make a women any safer, but it often shows that gun ownership makes women less safe. Second, this argument assumes an exclusivity of weapon availability to women that simply does not exist.
Statistical data about gun fatalities in the United States debunks the myth that gun ownership improves the safety of women. In every measurable rubric, gun ownership actually has a negative impact on the health and safety of women:
- Because of the high murder rates in the United States (a phenomena that gun availability is largely responsible for), both men and women are killed at higher rates than comparable countries.
- Women who live in a household with a firearm are 3.4 times more likely to be murdered then women who live in households without firearms.
- Domestic violence is far more likely to result in death or serious injury when guns are present in a household; abuse is likely to involve guns and it is much more likely to escalate into serious physical harm.
Any anecdotal stories aside (ex. women fending off attackers), the aggregate statistical evidence clearly shows that gun ownership does not make women safer. This argument is simply disproven by the facts and, while it may sound realistic, it is not supported by the real life data that we have available; this data is clear in that it indicates that gun ownership has detrimental effects on the safety of women in a household.
Beyond the statistical evidence, the idea that women require powerful firearms to be safe is just not logical. A lack of controls on guns may allow a woman to buy weapons for self-defense, but it also allows criminals to access said weapons—there is no exclusivity which guarantees that the women will be able to obtain a powerful weapon yet prevents the criminals from buying the very same weapons.
As gun laws are not gender-specific (that would be unconstitutional), whatever weapon that a women could obtain is also obtainable by the person who seeks to harm the women. The example of a single women with an assault rifle holding off a group of attackers that has been presented by some proponents of this argument just falls apart when one realizes that nothing prevents the attackers from coming armed with assault rifles. The lax gun laws which allow easy access to powerful weapons to women also facilitates criminals getting weapons that they would be unable to get under sane regulations.
17. “Background checks do not work because criminals won’t consent to them”
Criminals, by definition, don’t follow the law and tailoring the legal gun application process for the activities of those who don’t follow the law is simply foolish. People who are not allowed to buy guns certainly hate background checks, but this is because such checks limit their ability to buy guns legally.
Background checks serve to prevent those who are not allowed to buy guns—felons, the mentally ill, terrorists, etc.—from legally obtaining firearms. Without checks, there is no way to guarantee that sellers are following the law and not selling guns to people who cannot legally buy them (the sellers have a profit incentive to sell to anybody).
If criminals don’ want to consent to background checks, then they just won’t be able to buy guns legally. By closing the legal avenues that criminals have to buy guns, they will be forced to risk buying illegal weapons—a crime that the police can arrest them for.
I bet that many criminals don’t like metal detectors, theft prevention devices and the police, but this doesn’t mean that society should stop funding these things in order to appease them. Just as with other things that make criminals’ lives harder, background checks for firearm purchases should be embraced rather than rejected.
18. “Limits on magazine size do nothing to prevent gun homicides because shooters will just bring more magazines”
Those who promote this argument are simply letting their fondness for their weapons overshadow their logical viewing of the facts.
Large ammo-feeding containers (ex. drums, clips, belts) exist because they make a weapon much more effective in a combat situation. Such containers allow large numbers of rounds to be shot, uninterrupted, and without the risk of a fumbled magazine switch. The military uses large ammo feeders for these very reasons and any assertion that the size of the magazine is irrelevant to the efficacy of the weapon is simply wrong.
It is true that many small clips can replace a larger feeding mechanism, but it is inarguable that this method of ammo supply is less efficient. Whenever a clip is empty, it must be ejected and a new one inserted before the gun is operable. This insertion usually requires two hands, necessitates a pause in shooting (even if the shooter has another loaded weapon), and has a risk of error; with every exchange, there is a possibility that the gun will jam or the shooter will fail to successfully load the clip.
Shooters are often stopped when they pause shooting in order to reload their weapon. The short pause in fire that occurs during a reload gives
If large ammo feeders are useless, then why are the gun-enthusiasts so incensed that they may no longer be allowed to own them? Gun enthusiasts understand the benefit of large ammo feeders and wish to defend them because they recognize the advantage that such feeders give.
The next time somebody argues that magazine size is irrelevant, then simply point out this logical fallacy in their argument: if the magazine is irrelevant to the weapon, then there is no reason for the gun-enthusiast to object to magazine limits. This argument’s very existence disproves its foundation. The reticence to implement such restrictions demonstrated by those who make this argument proves that their argument is not true.
19. “It is hypocritical for politicians with children who go to schools that have armed guards to push for gun-free schools”
This argument is so absurd that even Fox News has refused to get behind it when NRA representatives have broached it during interviews. To quote Fox host Chris Wallace on this attack: “That’s ridiculous and you know it, sir.”
Wayne LaPierre and the rest of the NRA administration (not the membership, but those who control the group) have attempted to attack the “elitism” of our politicians because many politicians send their kids to schools to armed guards. Here is a link for an NRA ad containing this attack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bKw7ZsQgtc
It is true that many politicians send their children to schools that have armed guards, but there is a very good reason for this: the children of politicians are often the target of threats intended to compel politicians to act. Threats against the children of legislators can disrupt public policy and are a very real threat—it is this very reason why the president’s family are protected by the Secret Service at all times. As the average child is not potential leverage over somebody who is responsible for the operation of the government, there is no hypocrisy when somebody supports different levels of armed protection.
If we want to protect our children from shooters, we can either implement strong gun controls that prevent shooters from getting guns, or we can attempt to get Secret Service level protections for every American child. As is immediately apparent, the first option is possible, while the second is completely unfeasible and only serves to act as a distraction for those who would attempt to stop sane gun laws from being implemented
20. “There are already so many guns out there that any regulations on gun sales are ineffective”
This argument is actually very strong and requires a great deal of thought on the part of the gun control advocate to refute. It is undeniable that there are too many guns already on the street and that seller-centric gun control laws are somewhat limited.
A gun, when well maintained, can last for decades and can remain a deadly threat to the public in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, decades of lax gun laws have caused our society to be flooded by weapons and, even if gun seller restrictions were to implemented, there will still be a supply of guns.
The gun control advocate’s refutation of this argument is fairly simple: Despite the number of guns in our society, this is no reason to make the situation worse than it already is. Eventually, given time and good legislation, the number of guns on the street will decrease and become manageable again, but this will not happen without controls on gun sales.
In the long term, the only way to get a handle on gun violence is to stop the sale of new guns and to let attrition gradually remove them from the market. Guns which are seized by the police should be destroyed and removed from the market permanently.
A gun which has been used in a crime is somewhat dangerous to hold, simply because it can act as an evidentiary link back to a shooting (these guns are called “hot” guns). Oftentimes, criminals will dispose of their guns due to the risk that they pose and will require new weapons. Currently, guns are so plentiful that this process of replacing hot guns is easy and cheap enough that few criminals have a hard time getting new guns. By stopping the flood of guns into our society, it will become harder to replace these guns and criminals will eventually have a hard time obtaining clean weapons. Prices for new weapons will go up and criminals will be forced to hold onto their dirty weapons (risking arrest) and spending significant funds buying a new gun.
The argument that, because there are already too many guns, we should not implement any controls on new guns is fatalistic and will only perpetuate our country’s gun problems. Unless we take the first step that is limiting the number of guns to be flooding society, there is little hope that we will ever succeed in solving our county’s problems.
21. “We cannot rely on the police to protect us because they are underfunded and often unable to get to a crime on time”
One of the arguments that gun enthusiasts keep going back to is that they desire the ability to defend themselves against potential threats—in the case of this argument, they say that the police are unable to defend them.
It is true that the police are not able to stop all violent crime; if there is a person breaking down the door, the police will often take minutes to get there. Those who support this argument claim that order can more effectively be maintained by giving the citizen a gun with which to kill the intruder in less time than it takes for the police to arrive. These people support vigilantism over order and are hopelessly misguided.
Police forces are groups of organized and trained professionals that uphold order in society—it is their job to ensure that society does not devolve into a state where every person needs a gun. If the police lack the resources to maintain order, the proper solution is not to arm everybody, but to increase funding to the police and directing them to improve.
Supporting gun ownership out of a misplaced sense that vigilantism is the proper way to maintain social order is simply wrong and only leads to terrible miscarriages of justice. As we saw during the Trayvon Martin tragedy, such attempts at vigilantism can result in innocent people (including children) being killed out of fear.
Rather than supporting a wild-west style society, where everybody is armed and there is no real force preserving social order, we should attempt to fix our damaged police forces. To free up resources, we should end the war on drugs and increase the funding for police forces.
The terrible irony of this situation is that the very policies of easy gun access and lower funding for public services (ex. police) favored by the American right are the things that cause police forces to be inadequate. In supporting cutting funding for police officers, the right wing reduces the police’s ability to protect everybody in society; response times are increased and coverage is reduced. When combined with the many, easily accessible, firearms, this reduction in police coverage creates a dangerous situation where police are unable to protect everybody. Powerful guns have flooded our streets and criminals have the ability to meet the police with armor-piercing ammo, body armor and assault rifles. This situation is unsustainable the answer is not to make things worse by weakening gun regulation further.
If people want to live in a society where they need to rely on their own guns to protect themselves, I suggest that they move to a lawless area—perhaps an area in the Sudan or Somalia—and try it for a while before they consign us to follow them. We have a problem with crime now but, if we consign ourselves to even more gun accessibility, thing will only get worse. We progressed from the old wild-west days into a civilized nation, and it is those who support this argument who would drag us back to the day where everybody must be armed and willing to kill to survive.
Just a food for thought, Mexico has had a total gun ban for the last three years. How do you explain the gun violence there? I can tell you. Law abiding citizens are no longer able to protect themselves, and are at the mercy of people with no respect for law and order. That’s what gun restriction does.
Please read the previous articles as I refute both your arguments. Here is a heavily condensed version:
1) Just as with cities like Chicago that have gun laws but high gun violence, Mexico is suffering because it is next to a locale with weak gun laws. Mexico has a gun ban, but it is flooded by a supply of cheap weapons from our side of the border. If you look at the statistics, most of the Mexican guns were bought in the USA and were smuggled back to be used by drug cartels (this is the true scandal behind the “Fast and Furious” events).
2) On your idea that Mexicans require weapons to defend themselves, you have a better argument. Unlike in the United States, the cartels have more power then the military and civil police forces and the government is hopelessly corrupt–as such, the Mexican population is unable to rely on their government for protection. This article was written to debunk American gun arguments and in areas of the world with a lack of government-supplied order it is rational to own weapons for self defense (ex. Somalia or Iraq); this is not the case in the USA, thus it is an argument that I debunk in the context of American political discussion. To read my argument against this argument in the context of the United States, you can read its section in Part#1 of the main article.
“Statistical data about gun fatalities in the United States debunks the myth that gun ownership improves the safety of women.”
From the Brady Campaign, hardly an objective party in this debate.
“Because of the high murder rates in the United States (a phenomena that gun availability is largely responsible for), both men and women are killed at higher rates than comparable countries.”
Actually it is more complex. A very large part of the country is as safer, and sometimes safer, than the vaunted gun-free zones of Europe. What drags our stats down is certain hotspots in inner cities and ghettos where we are fighting a drug war. Blacks represent 10% of the population and commit 50% of the murders. That is not because they are black per se, but because of the horrible conditions of these places and the unintended consequences of welfare and drugs.
The U.K. murder rate (which Piers Morgan touted on TV) is something like 1.2 per 100,000. That is pretty low. But after they banned guns it didn’t drop statistically. They still kill each other and at about the same rate. In my hometown most years it is 0 per 100,000.
In New Orleans I think the last figure was something like 53 per 100,000. You can see how that number and numbers in Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C. etc. could make America look so violent. It is, but only in very specific areas with serious social problems.
“Women who live in a household with a firearm are 3.4 times more likely to be murdered then women who live in households without firearms.”
Based on Kellerman’s largely debunked “research.” His numbers might be true of your family if you are a convicted felon living with a drug dealer. Kopel and Kleck have pretty much debunked Kellerman and his research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
On the other hand, Dr. Gary Kleck, an award winning criminologist at Florida State University found that Americans on average use a firearm for self defense over two _million_ times a year.
“If criminals don’ want to consent to background checks, then they just won’t be able to buy guns legally. By closing the legal avenues that criminals have to buy guns, they will be forced to risk buying illegal weapons—a crime that the police can arrest them for.”
This is largely nonsense. Criminals do not buy guns legally today for the most part. They may remove the serial number too.
It is already a Federal crime for convicted felons to possess or attempt to purchase a firearm, but that law is not being seriously exercised by the Feds.
“Large ammo-feeding containers (ex. drums, clips, belts) exist because they make a weapon much more effective in a combat situation.”
Drums and most commercially available systems are crap. They jam. Take a 100 round drum. It is heavy and unbalances the gun and makes it harder to make fast aimed shots (the only kind that are useful with an AR_15).
About the largest you want is a 30 round military clip. 20 rounders like we used in Vietnam are good too – and yes, I am a veteran.
“It is hypocritical for politicians with children who go to schools that have armed guards to push for gun-free schools”
They are hypocrites. The President sends his kids to a school that had something like 10 armed guards _before_ his kids started there. A lot of elites in Washington send their kids to the same protected school. Rahm Emmanuel, the Mayor of Chicago, has at least one armed police officer every day at the school hid kid attends, and at taxpayer expense. But where are the police protecting kids in other schools in Chicago?
They pass a Gun Free School Zone Act that tells psychos that these are good places for them to murder and commit suicide. But the schools many of the elite and wealthy attend do have armed guards.
That is hypocrisy.
Also, an AR-15 carbine is arguably the bst possible firearm for home defense.
Who Needs An Assault Rifle?
Hola, I love your blog and we see eye to eye on many things but not on all and that’s ok but-
I have lived here in Mexico for 17 years. I was brought up in a NE state where guns were banned so I have always been anti-gun all my life. With that being said, I have since changed my opinion on a LOT of things and the gun issue is one of them.
I wish it wasn’t so difficult to own a gun legally here. I would like to shoot on a regular basis and keep a weapon for defense. I have always heard “outlaw guns and only outlaws will have the guns” and this is classic Mexico since the war on drugs started SOTB.
I would feel MUCH safer if more people were permitted and with open carry. I know that this is how the peace is kept at the local level, personal responsibility, dicipline and control. The policia comunitria are regional armed militia that have assembled in small towns in the state of Guerrero. They are managing to keep the peace where even the federal military was not able to.
If my house gets broken into in the middle of the night, I cannot rely on the police we have to rely on ourselves to protect our family and our patrimony. So these are some of my arguments for gun ownership, coming from a regular person who’s not necessarily a “gun enthusiast”.
Anyway you have a great blog!
Thanks for reading my blog and for posting this great comment.
Your case is a great example of a situation where not everything that I said in my “refuting gun enthusiast’ arguments” applies–it was written with the United States in mind and there are certainly areas of the world where it is more rational to own a firearm. In Mexico, a country with an unfortunate issue with organized violence (as you mention, caused by the drug war), it is far more rational to have a gun for self-defense than it would be in the United States. The issue here is not whether or not it is rational to own a gun for self-defense in a country without the ability to keep order on a federal level, but whether gun owners in a country with a federal government that can keep order should be allowed to own weapons that are only useful for killing humans.
For example: Would you support the same gun laws in an area like the Northeast USA–where the rule of law is strong–and in a bad area of Mexico–where there is no order beyond what armed private citizens can achieve?
The militias that you describe are well regulated civic peacekeeping organizations, which are exactly what our 2nd Amendment referred to (in our developing years, the military consisted of local militias). As such, they are nothing like the gun anarchy that we have seen in the USA and are closer to volunteer police departments (ex. reservists) than arming the population and expecting everybody to be safer.
Statistically speaking, the more guns in a society, the more deaths due to guns there are. Speaking strictly for the United States, I believe that this necessitates stronger gun controls in order to stop the ten thousand gun murders a year.
P.S. Disregarding gun laws, what we can and should do to help Mexico become safer is to end the drug war, start sending drug offenders to rehab rather than prison, and stop privatizing anti-narcotics operations (many South American law enforcement groups are trained by private contractors for the USA, causing them to lobby the US government to keep their profits flowing).
I read most of these arguments you made, and I came away feeling very depressed. The reason for the onset of my sadness is that there are too many people in this world, you included, who are just intelligent enough to be dangerous, but not intelligent enough to come to valid conclusions. Your arguments are actually quite weak in almost every case, and the opposition is set up as a straw man in just as many. It would be exhausting to point out all the problems with your arguments, but I will say this. Your first refutation looks into the meaning of the second amendment. However, you conveniently leave out the large body of written work from the period, by the framers, which strongly supports the interpretation you call “perverse,” and not the other way around. And I will also say that, given a correct interpretation of the second amendment, you are arguing against civil rights that many hold dear and have for many years, just as a racist might argue against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or a bigot might argue against gay marriage. I have a fundamental civil right to be able to adequately protect myself from danger, and it is also my right to decide how I do it, and it is an enumerated right in the Constitution (unlike other civil rights citizens had to fight for after the fact). It is a civil right, no different than any other. No different from free speech, free association, you name it. When you argue that it should be taken away, you are no better than a racist or bigot in my book. We all have things we hate, don’t we…
First of all your cited statistics go to the Brady Campaigns website which is not exactly unbiased un-agenda driven “research”…but I should also note the web pages conveniently can’t be found so you are essentially citing nothing to uphold your arguements. I would say this about the Brady Campaigns statistics, “More than 30,896 people died in gun violence in 2006, according to a new Brady Campaign claim. Let’s pause a moment and interpret “deaths from gun violence.” After subtracting the 16,883 people who committed suicide, 642 killed accidentally and 360 killed by police intervention that are included in the original 30,896, does “deaths from gun violence” lose some of its meaning? Including a police-intervention statistic is absurd. The number of people killed by police in the line of duty does not measure criminal gun violence, unless the assertion is that police shouldn’t have guns. Even more perplexing is that the statistic includes some court-ordered executions, per the fine print of the campaign’s cited research. . .”
I’m not sure if this occured to you but citing agenda driven research to make your point makes no point at all.
Trayvon Martin was not innocent, and you still haven’t been able to answer the question of, “how the hell am I supposed to protect myself if someone’s breaking in and the police are nowhere around?”