Pro-Gun Arguments Are Unconvincing

The recent tragedy in Arizona has reignited the debate about the role of guns in American society. Frankly, I don’t understand the pro-gun argument; it seems wrong on several levels. Here are my thoughts on the usual pro-gun talking points, and why I think society would be better off without firearms. If you’re more familiar with this issue than I (and I bet most people are), please let me know where I’m going wrong.

Argument 1: Bad people have guns, therefore we need guns to protect ourselves

This argument is flawed for two reasons, one logical and the other practical. The first flaw is obvious: it’s called begging the question. The argument is saying, essentially, that guns are present in society, and for that reason we need guns to be present in society. Of course, this doesn’t mean the argument is wrong, it just means it’s poorly constructed.

The second flaw, then, is where the argument really falls apart. Whenever a mass shooting occurs, pro-gun people decry the fact that there weren’t more guns present. They wonder aloud about how the incident would’ve played out if only more bystanders had been packing heat. According to this fantasy, the gunman would’ve been shot almost immediately by well-armed civilians, preventing further casualties.

Reality, though, is typically far messier than fantasy. Take the Arizona shootings, which happened outside a busy supermarket with dozens, if not hundreds, of people in the immediate area. Even if only a small percentage of these bystanders had been armed, that’s still tens of people shooting at each other. How would they tell the original shooter from the others? What if an undercover or off-duty police officer was present? Wouldn’t the ensuing chaos provide perfect cover for the original shooter to escape? Friendly fire casualties still occur in modern war zones, even though soldiers wear uniforms and use sophisticated communications equipment; just think of the innocent life that might be lost from dozens of untrained, panicked and isolated civilians shooting at each other. It seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

Argument 2: The right to bear arms is in the Constitution, therefore it’s okay

Another logical flaw: slavery was in the Constitution, too, but that didn’t make it okay (I’m assuming, of course, that you’re just pro-gun and not also a racist). But besides that, my problem with this argument is that it’s inconsistent with other right wing positions (I’m conflating pro-gun people with right wing people – if you consider yourself one of the former but not of the latter, I apologize). Take for example the controversy over so-called ‘anchor babies.’ Some conservatives are pushing for a constitutional amendment to rescind the clause guaranteeing citizenship for anyone born on American soil. Why is the 14th Amendment less sacred than the Second?

Argument 3: We need guns to keep government in check

This is probably the oldest pro-gun argument, and it actually stems from debates that occurred during the writing of the Constitution (the Wikipedia article on the drafting of the Second Amendment is quite good, and well worth a read). While the right to bear arms has been entrenched in common law since the English Bill of Rights of 1689, it was included in the American Constitution for several reasons, most of which are no longer relevant in the 21st century. Nevertheless, some gun supporters argue that the Second Amendment is necessary because a well-armed citizenry is the only way to ensure the continued freedom of the people. To me, this comes across as laughably naive. I’m not saying government tyranny is a good thing, but I am saying that should the government decide to go down that road, civilians wielding guns aren’t going to stop it.

The pro-gun argument just has too many flaws. Until I read something that addresses at least one of these problems, I’m staying firmly in the anti-gun (or, more accurately, pro-gun control) camp.

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7 Comments

  • April 19 - 4:58 am | Permalink

    I do not like guns

  • Angie
    May 6 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

    AWESOME post! I fully agree

  • Jacob
    April 29 - 7:46 am | Permalink

    As of December 31, 2012 there were 553,326 people enlisted in the United States of America’s Army. There are roughly 200 million guns in America, enough to stop any army in the world today. Yes, slavery was wrong, but that was ”owning” people. The 2nd Amendment is owning a metal object, so is a wrench. All criminals that own guns do not have them registered with the government, the law abiding citizens have passed a background check and legally have the for hunting, self-defense, target practice, etc. My statement is that there is no way to say gun control is right.

  • ewl
    May 2 - 7:33 am | Permalink

    if you hate guns your gay

  • ewl
    May 2 - 7:33 am | Permalink

    if you hate guns your a fag

  • ewl
    May 2 - 7:34 am | Permalink

    fuck gun haters

  • December 10 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Psychological well being and health henliag and coping strategies for depression)?It’s okay, I promise this read is not pointless and boring, please read if you can relate or offer any helpful adviceHey everyone (or anyone reading this) Lately I have been feeling a bit depressed and unmotivated because of the weather and lack of sunlight. I take vitamin D pills and I try my best to soothe myself by listening to soft music, breathing in and out, journaling my thoughts and feelings and even talking to my psychiatrist. On days whenn the weather is nicer, I am always doing my best to stay physically active and break a sweat haven’t been able to do so cause it won’t stop raining. I feel imprisoned because of thie shitty weather and no Sun.I have tried antidepressants and even anti-psychotics before in the past, but I had a habit of drinking on the weekends and sometimes partying, so it never fully helped me. I learned from my past mistakes and I am sober now and have been for a while, not planning on going back to those bad habits.I want to go back on medication (I am not seeing my Doc for another 2 weeks). There are so many out there and I hear that some medications dont actually help you, they just mask your symptoms. I wish I knew which ones are the best and safe ones, that won’t damage my THRYROID and LIVER/Kidneys it really friggin sucks. When you feel a bit depressed, what do you do? How can I make myself feel better cause I feel very glum and I get anxious and just mixed amount of emotions. My mind is overactive and often find it hard to quiet it down. Especially if I am feeling troubled at night when trying to sleep.I am asking nicely for some advice on how to comfortably get through this without letting it hurt me too much. Since I am not on any meds, what can i do in the meantime?If you are on meds or are not, what do you do to make yourself feel better and heal?I just don’t feel happy and I easily get miserable and sad, feeling sorry for myself that this is happening to me. Maybe I am experiencing ups and downs because I am still recovering from a past of drinking, late nights, and partying, I dont know. But at least on I am free that poison and if I do go back on meds, It will work more effectively. I also let my bf go, of 3 years for the sake of my well being (mental, physical and emotional health) to recover. The relationship had to end because if I didn’t end it the destructive cycle would never end. Almost every night I would cry feeling guilty and/or missing him, but I know I made the best decision to save my life. Letting go can be painful and not easy. Maybe this could be affecting my mental health? Or it is a combination of everything The thing is, do we REALLY need antidepressants/psychotics to heal us? I truly dont think I was born Bi-polar. I got that diagnosis as a result of smoking weed and drinking (and experimenting with Concaine) in my teenage years. I really wonder if I should believe what some say about henliag naturally (like my Dad would tell me) or that I am damaged goods and need to repair with medication. This is so confusing. And I don’t want to be dependant on those kind of meds for the rest of my life. Also I must mention that I don’t socialize much and maybe I need more social interaction to uplift my spirits. My ex bf was like my best friend and now I have nobody. I feel so lonely.If you can reach out and help me with this and you’re understanding and have some knowedge or experience with this, PLEASE I need to hear from you! This is not easy for me or anyone (cause many of us are depressed nowadays) ..this took me a lot of courage to admitt and write something like this on here .my heart was telling me to just try thanks for taking your time to read this.

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