Op-ed exposes gun control advocate's myopic thinking

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The topic of gun control is one that we’re never going to get past, I’m afraid. For every right we have, there will be someone who wants to take it away.


It’ll always be for what they think are good reasons, of course. It’ll also be described as something like a minimal restriction or whatever. They’ll claim they don’t want all of that particular right, just that one little piece of it.

But underlying all of this is some really bizarre thinking, particularly when it comes to gun control.

Take this op-ed about the issue of passing gun control in Virginia right now.

Young children and teenagers in Virginia have proved they can get their hands on guns and harm themselves and others. The firearms might have been right in their own homes.

Against this backdrop, lawmakers in the General Assembly passed almost no new gun legislation this year to stem the ongoing carnage. It was as if the blood-soaked status quo was acceptable.

In Virginia, you can blame philosophical differences among the parties for a lack of progress in the Assembly, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted. Democrats, who control the state Senate, tend to focus on preventing violence and seeking holistic solutions. Republicans, who control the House of Delegates, often prefer boosting prison terms for specific crimes.

I favor the former approach because it focuses, in part, on the underlying reasons why people choose guns to settle disputes. Intervention can prevent foolish and fatal decision-making.


Now, I’d like to give the author a bit of credit for not blatantly straw-manning the GOP position on preventing violence. He’s wrong, but at least it looks like an attempt to give a good-faith accounting of both sides of the issue.

Pro-gun voices don’t support gun control, though, not because they think prison terms are better–for the record, they’re really not. Most violent offenders either don’t think they’re going to get caught or don’t care, so there’s no deterrence factor–but because they believe gun control simply doesn’t work.

And, particularly if you talk about violence as a whole, it doesn’t.

At best, gun control laws would make it so violent criminals would stab people to death rather than shoot them. Um…how is that better?

We already know our knife homicide rate is higher than many other nations’ total homicide rate, so we can’t even pretend that the problem is purely one about guns. Yet gun control really looks like the warped belief that it’s somehow better to be stabbed 27 times than be shot once.

The author favors removing guns because he feels it “focuses, in part, on the underlying reasons why people choose guns to settle disputes,” but ignores the fact that if one is inclined to settle disputes violently in the first place, it won’t matter if guns are available or not, they’ll still respond violently.


That means things like stabbings and beatings, all of which are also potentially fatal.

Removing guns from the equation–not that gun control will, mind you, but roll with me for the sake of argument–doesn’t end the potentially fatal outcomes. It simply shifts to other weapons that are arguably more brutal and terrifying.

The author’s belief is myopic at best.

Yet he’s not alone in somehow thinking that gun control will make the problem go away. That’s why the problem is always framed around guns themselves. “If we remove guns, gun violence disappears” sounds very common sense until you realize that you haven’t made anyone less violent. What you’ve done is put the physically weak at the mercy of bigger, stronger, and meaner people.

That’s not a world I want to live in.

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