The anti-gun arguments are tired for those of us who spend a great deal of time having to listen to them. They’re rarely new or interesting, but more impressive is how wrong they almost always are. Now, I get that some people in this day and age don’t believe in objective truth, but facts are facts. You don’t get to rework reality just to conform to your personally-preferred worldview.
I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works.
So take this op-ed from a newspaper in Iowa. The writer is a former Illinois state senator turned columnist. Unsurprisingly, he espouses the anti-gun nonsense his home state is so well known for.
I was about six years old. My younger sister and I were playing in our parents’ bedroom. We started rummaging around in dresser drawers. That’s when I found my dad’s revolver.
Next to it was a small, square box with several bullets. I carefully loaded them into the gun, a six-shooter, and aimed it; at what or whom I cannot remember. I hope it was not at Julia, even in pretense.
I then removed the bullets, put them back into the box, and pulled the trigger several times to make a clicking sound. I recall thinking that I was doing something wrong. I couldn’t say what, probably that I would to get into trouble if mom or dad knew that I had been fooling around in their dresser.
Many years ago, a young friend was at a party when she came into possession of a handgun (I don’t recall the details). She asked if it was loaded. When assured that it was empty, she put the barrel into her mouth for a laugh, then pointed it at the wall opposite and pulled the trigger.
The bullet went through three rooms, one filled with people, No one was hit. Stuff like that happens a lot. Fooling around doesn’t stop at childhood.
Now, these are horrific incidents where all involved were fortunate that nothing else transpired.
But, so what? People can be stupid with any other dangerous object as well. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen cut up from fooling with knives and we all know what happens when you misuse something like power tools or vehicles.
Misuse of any object can be potentially fatal. Firearms aren’t alone in that fact.
But, the writer, Don Wooten, continues:
Killing is something that ethologists dealt with when studying links between animal and human behavior. When animals fight over females — a prime motivation in all species — they go at it to the point of exhaustion; until one gives up and escapes. Scientists consider this a kind of built-in inhibition against killing your own kind.
Humans also have this kind of inhibition, but only if the contest is with bare hands. It’s just too hard to kill that way. But we have invented easier means, and guns are at the peak of that mechanical evolution. It’s tough to fight to the death without tools. Pulling a trigger is no work at all. It’s so easy that a gun is what a person reaches for when a flash of anger momentarily clouds one’s reason, or when reason fails altogether.
Oh, is it?
Not really. George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin not because of racism as the media would have you believe, but because the barehanded Martin was bashing Zimmerman’s head into the concrete, thus endangering his life.
The truth is, killing without weapons isn’t nearly as difficult as Wooten tries to paint it. In fact, more people were killed with “personal weapons,” (i.e. hands, feet, fists, etc.) than with rifles and shotguns combined.
Just because Wooten doesn’t know how to kill people with their bare hands doesn’t mean it’s difficult to do. Ban guns and watch how many people learn just how to do it.
Yet, he doesn’t stop there. In the very next paragraph, he argues:
We try to control this testosterone problem with anger management, mental health programs, enforced social norms, and religious teaching, even as our amusements work against our nobler, more pacific instincts. What we can’t seem to manage is the multiplication and enhanced destructive power of guns.
The implication here is that once guns enter the equation, people are going to die.
This, of course, is an outright falsehood. Even the most conservative estimates for the number of people who use a gun defensively every year far outstrips the homicide rate. It also outstrips the number of people killed in justified shootings.
Now, if people drawing firearms somehow automatically translated to killing someone else, those numbers should approach parity, yet they don’t. Why is that?
It’s probably because, contrary to Wooten’s assertion, people restrain themselves with guns all the time. Much of the time, the mere presence of a firearm ends the danger and people can go about their day. They don’t need to engage in further conflict.
Or, is Wooten saying he preferred an era where weaker people could be easily preyed upon by those who knew how to use their fists better?
Of course, if Wooten offered nothing else, that would have been enough. The problem is, on top of all this nonsense, he also illustrates the laziest assertion the anti-gun left knows.
There was a time when the National Rifle Association worked to do just that. The group was formed to promote the interests of hunting and gun safety. To this end, the organization endorsed some forms of gun control. At one point, the NRA decided to move out of Washington because it had nothing left to do there.Then, under the new leadership of a gun zealot, and with the financial interests of arms and ammunition makers at heart, the organization steadily lost its mind. It has reached the point where it has now enshrined concealed carrying of loaded weapons into state law and has even lobbied “stand your ground” legislation into passage, making America a far more dangerous place, under the guise of making it safer.
Yes, yes, we know. The NRA is bad because it actually stands up for its members’ rights.
Keep in mind that, by and large, the NRA advocates for maintaining the status quo at the federal level as well as in most anti-gun states. While they might want to repeal some laws, the organization knows that’s not going to happen, so they don’t push it.
Since when is maintaining the status quo “radical,” anyway? Remember that the NRA caught a lot of flak from their own membership when they suggested President Trump enact the bump stock ban unilaterally. Now, they had reasons for that but that’s a topic for another day.
Just remember that this “radical” organization did that.
On the state level, yes, the NRA advocates for things like constitutional carry in a number of states. Since 20 states have some variation of constitutional carry on the books–some measures better than others–just how radical can this idea really be?
Oh, and as for advocating for gun safety, the NRA still does that. They do it plenty. The media just won’t direct any attention to that because it might make it harder to vilify the organization going forward. I mean, most Americans don’t even know the Eddie Eagle program exists, much less know how to make use of it to teach kids firearm safety.
Yet that’s what Wooten wants to focus on.
At the end of the day, Wooten and people like him will use whatever they can to paint a picture that guns are bad, but most of them have enough sense to bring better arguments than this.