"Right to life or guns" is a false choice

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Right now, it seems to be a favorite tactic of the anti-gun set to argue that you either have a right to life or a right to guns.

In the wake of a mass shooting, that probably seems pretty clever. “Ha!” they exclaim. “This will get them right in the ‘right to life’ gut! They can’t wiggle out of this one!”


(Yes, they actually say this with the exclamation points. That wasn’t me getting excited.)

Here’s a piece titled, “Editorial: Right to life or guns?” and is a prime example of that tactic at work:

Innocents are slaughtered in schools, shopping malls and houses of worship. We are astonished that mass shootings are a weekly event. This is a direct coincidence with the massive effort by the gun industry to relax gun controls and make it politically and legally impossible to remove weapons of war from our streets and the hands of lunatics.

If we were pro-life, we would ban assault rifles used to spray down elementary schools. We would put sheriffs back in charge of issuing concealed weapons permits, and keeping them out of the hands of dangerous people they know. We would take body armor off the market. We would stop the manufacture of cop-killer bullets and high-capacity magazines intended only for professional use. Most Americans (even most Iowans) support these reasonable restrictions on our Second Amendment freedoms, just as they support limited restrictions on what we can say or print.


This is what is called a “false dichotomy.”

What that means is that he’s presenting your choices as if there are only two, you either support the right to life or you support gun rights.

This is common among anti-gun voices. They really do seem to think this is some major gotcha; like you can’t be pro-life and support gun rights.

That’s because they don’t want to understand anything our side says on the issue of guns.

With people like this, pointing out that you believe guns save lives goes in one ear and out the other. Saying that you want to protect your own right to life with a gun gets completely ignored.

That’s because the average gun control advocate has never bothered to listen to someone like you. They like to stay in their echo chamber, only learning about your arguments when someone tries to debunk them, and then usually in a limited form.

Yet the right to own a gun is the right to life. Without a right to keep and bear arms, your right to live your life isn’t preserved. Bad people will always do bad things and they can do bad things with anything at all. Let’s remember that around the same time as the Allen shooting, eight people were killed with an SUV. While there’s only speculation that it was intentional, my comment to that is that if it weren’t on purpose, then how much worse could it have been if it were?


So eliminating guns doesn’t negate the ability of bad people to kill innocent folks.

What it does do, though, is prevent people from defending themselves, meaning they may die because they don’t have the tools they need to defend themselves.

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