12 rational responses to irrational gun arguments

With the gun control debate hitting a fever pitch, a handy how-to guide for dealing with gun rights extremists

Topics: AlterNet, Gun Control, Sandy Hook Shootings, Second Amendment, Yemen, Newtown, Adam Lanza,

12 rational responses to irrational gun arguments Wayne LaPierre (Credit: AP/Evan Vucci)
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNet In a recent discussion about gun control on Thom Hartmann’s program, my opponent suggested that gun control advocates like me really have a cultural aversion to guns. That’s a standard ploy for the gun set: when reason isn’t on your side, deploy emotional and personal arguments instead.

“Anti-gun”? I could’ve brought up my own recreational gun use, or even brought out the firing range pass I carry in my wallet. But I’ll admit that I’ve lost a little of my taste for it as our national killing spree continues unabated. What’s more, that would’ve been disrespectful to the millions of Americans who do have an understandable aversion to guns. Personal habits should have no part in a rational policy discussion.

Now that President Obama has made his initial gun control proposals, the crazy’s being ratcheted up to a new level. Rational Americans in all walks of life will be confronted with these kinds of arguments. We’re going to need a playbook. Here are 12 responses you can use when you’re confronted with some of the standard illogical, irrational and emotionally overheated statements that gun extremists use.

1. I’m not anti-gun, I’m pro-kindergartner.

After Newtown, what person in his right mind thinks it’s irrational to propose some common-sense measures to prevent similar tragedies in the future?

2. Saying “If we have gun control only outlaws will have guns” is like saying “If you outlaw drunk driving, only outlaws will drive drunk.”

Rush Limbaugh’s recent variation on the old “only outlaws will have guns” line went like this: “If you have gun control laws, the law-abiding will be the only people that don’t have guns.”

This anti-gun control cliche makes absolutely no sense. We lose our driver’s license if we’re arrested for drunk driving, or if we commit too many other moving violations. But law-abiding people are free to drive. Gun control laws aren’t any different.

3. If dead children are a “distraction,” what subjects are important enough to be worthy of your attention?

As Media Matters reports, an increasing number of gun-extremist righties have suggested that attempts to prevent more deaths, including the deaths of young people at Newtown, Aurora, Columbine and elsewhere, are really just a “distraction” from more important matters.

Try convincing the parents of dead kids that their personal tragedies aren’t important. And if dead kindergartners don’t deserve your attention, what does?

4. So you’ve got “Second Amendment” rights? Where’s the rest of your militia?

The text of the Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Where are the other soldiers? Who’s in charge? And which state are you protecting?

5. Oh, and congratulations on keeping the Lanza kid so “well-regulated.”

Along with Crazy New York Hermit Dude, the Columbine killers, the Tucson shooter, and all the other members of your “militia.”

6. If I can’t drive without decent vision, I shouldn’t be able to purchase weapons of mass killing after beating my grandmother to death with a hammer.

Maybe I’m off base here, but that just seems like common sense to me.

7. “Freedom to own a gun”? I have the freedom to own a car. But I don’t have the freedom to buy an M1A1 Abrams tank, or the many kinds of rounds — armor-piercing, incendiary, point detonation, delay, airburst, and shotgun-like antipersonnel tungsten balls — manufactured for its 120mm smoothbore cannon.

You Might Also Like

And I’m okay with that.

If our laws had permitted that, I’m pretty sure we would’ve wised up the third or fourth time somebody drove one up to a school, parked in the school bus lane, and started lobbing cannon rounds into the gym, music room, cafeteria, and classrooms — while fending off law enforcement with a rain of fire from its three auxiliary machine guns.

8. The only other country besides the United States that considers unrestricted gun ownership a fundamental human right is Yemen …

… and Yemen’s having second thoughts.

From the UN’s Small Arms Survey: “Only two—the United States and Yemen—is ownership of firearms a citizen’s basic right. Figures published in the Small Arms Survey 2007 show that the USA and Yemen also have the highest rates of firearms per civilian, with an estimated 90 guns per 100 people in the US, and 55 in Yemen.”

There’s a slogan for you: “More extreme than Yemen.”

9. Why is it that the people who think our “freedom to own guns” is absolute and inflexible are always the first ones to attack our other freedoms — of speech, of assembly, of worship (a religion other than their own), of privacy — in the name of national security?

We have the data which shows that our supposed “gun freedom” is causing thousands of needless deaths each year. Most “gun rights” advocates don’t care — and are more than eager to sacrifice other fundamental freedoms even when the evidence suggests it’s unnecessary and even wasteful.

Unconstitutional surveillance? Check. Unconstitutional suppression of Wikileaks and other information outlets? Check. Unconstitutional suppression of demonstrators’ rights? Check. Constitutional and rational gun control?

Never.

10. You say guns make us safer, but we already have more guns per capita than any other nation on Earth.

We also have the highest gun homicide rate of any developed nation. Our rate is 32 times that of Great Britain’s, for example.

Are we safe enough yet?

11. “Recreational gun use”?

Which sports, exactly, require an assault weapon that fires 850 rounds per minute?

And is there any mass-killing capacity that would be too much for your recreational activity? 5,000 rounds per minute? 10,000 rounds per minute? Or is the recreational value of high-speed gunfire infinite and unbounded?

12. Statistics show that states with more guns also have more homicides. Have you considered starting your own state?

That would allow you, for the first time, to use the Second Amendment for its true and stated purpose: to protect the security of a state.

All the other gun extremists could join you there. Wouldn’t that be great?

Most of us are getting tired of reading the obituaries of public servants, moviegoers, shoppers, schoolchildren, and other innocent bystanders in our local papers. Now we can be safe, you can be happy — and Wall Street investors can keep profiting from guns and the misery they cause.

The state of “Guntopia” isn’t a perfect idea. We would worry about your children’s safety — but then, we already do.

Richard (RJ) Eskow is a writer and policy analyst. He is a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America's Future and is host and managing editor of The Zero Hour on We Act Radio.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>