Logic 101 – Guns
This post is actually a little hard. I say actually because it should be easy. It should be easy because I have literally never seen a good argument against gun control. But, that is what also makes it hard. There are just so many bad arguments, I don’t even know where to begin. And, let’s face it, this would run to about a million pages if I tried to tackle all of the bad arguments.
I mentioned that I have never run across a good argument against gun control. I do realize that that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good argument. It just means I haven’t seen it. I didn’t mention this in my other logic posts, although it applies, but if you know a good argument, feel free to share it.
In fact, since I’ve never run across a good argument against gun control, and since the bad arguments have been covered in many other places, I’m going to focus on the premises. I think with a little reflection, we can see that pro gun arguments fall into certain well documented fallacies. They are slippery slopes (If you ban grenade launchers, of course it’s just a matter of time before you ban my antique musket.), appeals to tradition (Guns are a way of life.), appeals to authority (The Second Amendment, etc.), false analogies (Cars are more dangerous.), ad hominems (Nancy Pelosi is for gun control.), and non sequiturs (Hitler banned guns.). There are others, but these are probably the most common ones you hear.
There are a few premises that I find fascinating because they are so nonsensical. The first of those is, “If you ban guns, then only criminals will have guns.” Sounds scary, right? But, it makes no sense at all. If they ban guns, they wouldn’t ban guns only from law abiding citizens. They would ban guns. It would be just as hard for criminals to get guns as it would be for everyone else. I’m guessing that the people who make this argument are making an implicit connection to the drug trade. Since drugs are illegal and people still use them, then if guns were illegal, people would still get them. How would this work, though? You can’t just grow a gun like marijuana. You can’t cook a gun in your basement like crystal meth. You need a factory or smith skills that go way beyond regular people. So, will the angry guy in a fight run down to his local firearms manufacturer, break in, steal some guns, and return to the fight to shoot someone? Will pimps start breaking into police stations to secure their guns to keep their prostitutes in line? Will anyone break into an army base to steal their assault weapons? I’m not saying that the mafia couldn’t find a way. I’m saying that for any criminal outside of sophisticated organized crime rings it would be very difficult to get guns. The meth head that knocks over a 7-11 for some cash would no longer have access to a gun. The petty thief would no longer have access to guns. If the only criminals with guns were organized crime, that’s not so bad. Firstly, because organized crime is organized. They are not partaking in random acts of violence. And secondly, if the mob wants to get you, having a gun for self-defense isn’t going to help much anyway.
My guess is that people who believe this argument will point to the recent news about making guns with 3D printers. Anyone can do it in their own home. But, in order to make a gun with a 3D printer, you need the printer, the printing materials and plans. There is no reason why a ban on guns couldn’t include a ban on 3D printer plans for making guns. If you got fined or arrested for downloading plans and printing a gun, most people wouldn’t do it. And that leads to the other problem with this type of argument. The idea that since the law cannot be enforced perfectly, we should not have a law. It is a classic case of the best being the enemy of the good. Just because we can’t stop every person who uses child pornography, should we legalize child pornography? Just because we can’t stop everyone from running red lights, should we get rid of red lights? Of course some people will get away with doing illegal things. That is no argument for keeping those things legal. If we were to ban guns, far fewer people would have guns. Far fewer bad guys would have guns. The police and military would still have guns. So, in fact, the good guys with guns would far outnumber the bad guys with guns.
Having said all of that, no one is suggesting a complete ban on guns. That is another premise that drives me crazy. All of the legislation that is being talked about is similar. The legislation would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And the legislation would prevent criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses from getting guns. No one wants to ban hunting rifles or hand guns. No one wants to prevent regular, mentally stable, law-abiding citizens from buying a gun. No one wants to take away the guns that people already own. There is no logical fallacy here. This is a simple lie. By inserting the lie that the government is trying to take our guns into the argument, the argument is invalidated.
3 thoughts on “Logic 101 – Guns”
I applaud you for your logic. At this point, I’d be happy if they just passed universal background check legislation.
“It would be just as hard for criminals to get guns as it would be for everyone else.”
I have to agree that sounds good. It works really good with drugs. Like we have all these laws, police, drug sniffing dogs, etc, etc. and somehow tons of drugs still end up in the U.S. every day. Gee, that doesn’t make any sense at all does it? Those laws should work, right?
“Having said all of that, no one is suggesting a complete ban on guns.”
That is not true. Sen. Diane Feinstein has stated publicly in the past that is exactly what she would do if she could get the votes.
This was a great blog. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for posting. This is another issue in which I wish more people would abide by your logic.