Reader Response: Unconventional Arguments Against Gun Bans

The other day here at Bearing Arms, in a post about how analysis of polling on “assault weapons” bans can lead to skewed results, I noted that gun owners need arguments against a ban that don’t rely solely on the Constitution and the Second Amendment, given that many supporters of those bans don’t really care if a ban would violate someone’s individual rights. I also asked you to email me your unconventional or non-traditional argument against gun control, and I heard back from several of you with some great ideas.


Andrew wrote in with a comment that he first made a few years ago (sorry Andrew, but space doesn’t permit me to quote the whole thing) comparing a ban on so-called “assault weapons” with a ban on alcohol. If you’re in favor of banning guns that are commonly owned and aren’t involved in many crimes, why not ban something that’s commonly owned and is used much more frequently in crimes?

(Before I continue, know that I absolutely do not want to ban alcohol. I’m using it in a hypothetical context to give the anti-gun movement an important question to chew on)

There is no argument that anyone can make as to why we need alcohol for recreational consumption (that is need, as opposed to want). You will not suddenly become mute if you stand at a bar without a drink in your hand, nor will you keel over and die if you don’t drink a few beers every day. I understand that you might want it for recreation, but as you’ve argued with assault rifles, we’re talking about what we need, not what we want. Your body requires proteins, calcium, and countless other nutrients, none of which come solely from alcoholic beverages.

Now, let’s talk death. By the CDC’s estimate, from 2006 – 2010, there were an average of 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in the US each year. That’s 88,000 lives lost each year due to the abuse of something that Americans have the right to own and use.

Sound familiar?

So, on top of the fact that you don’t need it, it’s killing people in the tens of thousands and if you’re reading this, chances are, you drink alcohol recreationally. So I ask you, those of the anti-gun crowd, as you sip your PBR or your vintage Bordeaux, why don’t you want to ban alcohol? How can you justify its use when you know in your heart that it kills so many thousands of people every year?


You could also ask why they want to ban “assault weapons” and not handguns, or point out the recent attempts to ban legal vape cartridges when its illegal carts that are the real issue.

Dana wrote in with a proposal that wouldn’t ban guns, but may offer its own challenges in terms of getting the support of many gun owners.

I see three areas and I’ll offer up one solution that doesn’t interfere with the Constitution’s 2A. The solution is one law that is retroactive and may satisfy both sides of the 2A debate.

The Law affects both Manufacturers and current Firearm owners. The law applies to all firearms in the public domain and all future public domain acquisitions. All firearms, rgardless of caliber, single shot, pump or semi-automatic shall be retrofitted or sold as a non-modification identity enabled firearm.

This laws intention stops:
– straw purchases
– denies children accidental or intentional discharge of a weapon
– removes the incentive for criminal theft and resale of a firearm
– shutdowns firearm resale without initializing weapon for new owner.

This Law assumes a purchaser passes an ID verification process.

Any proposal that requires me to turn all of my guns into “smart guns” just isn’t gonna fly with me, Dana, though I appreciate you sharing your idea and I’ll explain my objections.

First, there are feasibility concerns. How do you retrofit smart gun technology to every firearm currently out there? How do you apply to it every firearm going forward without massive retooling of production lines?


Then there’s the practicality issue. I have yet to see a smart gun that’s reliable and practical enough to make me want to use it. Whether there are issues with the biometric reader not identifying thumbprints due to moisture, or the wearable tech that’s been defeated with simple magnets, the tech isn’t ready for prime time in my opinion.

Finally, there is a constitutionality issue. The Supreme Court has already said that you can’t ban an entire class of firearms in the Heller decision. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an attorney, but it seems to me that banning every firearm not equipped with some sort of user identity technology isn’t going to pass the Heller test. For those reasons, Dean, I have to say (in the immortal words of Daryl Hall) I can’t go for that.

Finally, I heard from one gentleman who told me, “I think the public are too far gone to convince them through logic and rational dialogue. The left owns the media and now thus owns public opinion.”

The “public” is comprised of individuals, and I do believe that most individuals can be reached. I also believe we have an obligation to ourselves and to our country’s future to try. That’s not to say that the media, both news and social, don’t have a huge impact on swaying public opinion. They absolutely do. Even so, that’s not an excuse or a reason to give up. If the former head of the Brady Campaign can go from advocating for a ban on handguns to calling for no new gun laws, I think almost anybody can go from having a knee-jerk reaction in favor of gun control to a much more nuanced position, given the right information and time to mull it over.


I appreciate all of the responses, and hope to do more of these interactive stories in the future. And don’t forget, when you sign up for VIP Gold access here at Bearing Arms, you’ll get to take part in special editors’ chats with me, Ed Morrissey, Katie Pavlich, and other Second Amendment stalwarts in the Townhall Media family!

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