An attorney and former sniper team leader for the U.S. Army explains why 10 of the most common gun control arguments don’t make sense.
School shootings have dominated the news cycle and the common theme anti-gunners express is how gun control can somehow solve the problem.
The most common gun-control arguments of today go something like this: “These shootings would stop if we banned AR-15s or other semi-auto rifles; raised the minimum age for firearm ownership; and/or created tougher gun laws.”
These are emotion-based arguments and will do nothing to solve the problem. In fact, they can even make the problem worse while infringing on the liberties of Americans. Let’s explore, and debunk, 10 of the most common gun-control arguments.
1. The Second Amendment Only Gives the Right to Own Guns for Use in a Militia
Our Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Our Constitution does not give us any rights. Rather, it affirms rights that we already have in order to safeguard them. Note that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” isn’t given by the language above. Instead, our right to keep and bear arms, which exists outside of the Constitution, is protected from infringement.
The militia is mentioned as the goal for the protection of our right to keep and bear arms — it is not a requirement. A helpful analog from an unknown author goes like this: “A well-educated electorate, being necessary to the preservation of a free society, the right of the people to read and compose books, shall not be infringed.”
In this example, it should be easy to see that the right to read and compose books is not reserved only to those that are registered voters or well-educated. Instead, the goal is a well-educated electorate, for which tools of education are needed. Likewise, our right to keep and bear arms is protected in the event a well-regulated militia is needed to defend our country.
2. The Second Amendment Only Applied to Muskets
Anti-gunners often claim that “modern/rapid-fire” arms are not protected. This argument assumes that muskets were the only type of arms in existence when the Second Amendment was written, and therefore our founding fathers never intended our protections to extend to modern firearms.
First, repeating rifles were in existence for more than 100 years before our Bill of Rights were included in our Constitution. Second, muskets were military-grade firearms. Our founding fathers wanted to protect our ability to overthrow a tyrannical government, which would include the capability to match whatever arms an opposing military possessed.
Third, if this argument were valid, then smartphones and social-media would not be protected as forms of speech under the First Amendment, because these “modern/rapid-fire” forms of communication were not around back then.
3. Criminals Won’t Have Guns if We Ban Them
Simply, law-abiding citizens will obey the law and criminals won’t. That’s how life works. After all, that’s the definition of a criminal: someone who doesn’t obey a law. Keeping guns out of criminal’s hands because they’ve been banned will be just as successful as our ban on crystal meth.
If the crime of, and penalty for, murder doesn’t stop criminals from conducting mass shootings, neither will another law. As an example, bombs are already illegal. However, neither the penalty for murder nor the penalty against making bombs has stopped the Oklahoma city bombing, the Boston marathon bombing, or the serial bomber in Austin.
Not only will a gun ban not work, it will ensure that the only people with guns are criminals.
4. AR-15s/Certain Semi-auto Rifles Should Be Banned
Again, criminals won’t obey laws. The France mass shooting mentioned above was carried out where those types of rifles were already banned.
Also, rifles, although popularized by the media, are not regularly used in violent crimes. In fact, according to the FBI, hammers and blunt instruments are used in more murders than rifles are.
Rifles have been used in some recent mass shootings. However, the shooters at Maryland, Ft. Hood, and Virginia Tech did not use rifles. Even if they did, rifles are merely a tool used by a murderer, much like box cutters by the terrorists on 9/11.
Likewise, vehicles are most commonly used by drunk drivers and those texting while driving to kill people. No, these people don’t have a murderous intent, however, many more deaths are caused in this manner and it is still the fault of the person and not the tool used.
5. We Must Raise the Rifle Purchase Age to 21 Years Old
Currently, under federal law, an 18-year-old can legally purchase a rifle or shotgun, but a purchaser must be 21 years old for a handgun. Either 18-year-olds are adults or they aren’t. If an 18-year-old is not responsible enough to purchase a rifle or shotgun, then he or she isn’t responsible enough to vote, join the military, drive a car, or be treated as an adult in crimes.
Raising the minimum age to purchase firearms wouldn’t have changed 29 of the 30 worst mass-shootings in U.S. history. Twenty-six of the 30 were committed by someone 21 years of age or older, one (No. 4) was committed by a 20-year-old who stole his mother’s firearms, another (No. 7) was committed by students who used a pistol they couldn’t legally purchase, and a third (No. 22) was committed by a 16-year-old who couldn’t purchase any firearms legally.
The most recent shooting in Maryland was committed by a student with a handgun and who was 18 years old. It is yet another example of a minimum age law not working.
6. Gun-Free Zones Are Safe Spaces
No. In fact, the opposite is true. Gun-free zones are a magnet for mass shooters — almost every mass shooting we have experienced has occurred in a gun-free zone.
It is logical that these monsters prefer unarmed victims. In fact, most of the shooters are stopped once they are confronted with armed resistance. If politicians believe that gun-free zones work, why do they hide behind armed security themselves?
7. Places With Strict Gun Laws Don’t Have Shooting Problems
Not true. Take a look at Chicago, a city with some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. In the year 2016 alone, Chicago saw 762 gun deaths and experienced 4,331 shootings.
Or France, where there were 532 casualties from mass-shootings in 2015. As a comparison, America, experienced 527 casualties from mass-shootings over an eight-year period from 2009 to 2016.
Those numbers mean that France, which has incredibly strict gun control and is one-fifth of our population, experienced eight times the amount of casualties from a mass shooting in one year. Clearly, 2015 was an anomaly for France. However, the comparison is used to show that gun control does not prevent gun violence.
Also, note the rampant violent crime in much of Europe, which generally maintains very restrictive gun laws.
8. Reducing Guns Will Reduce Gun Violence
For the reasons above, we know that this isn’t true. However, even if it were true, our goal should be to reduce all violence. Completely eradicating gun violence wouldn’t have stopped the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Boston marathon bombing, the serial bombings in Austin, Texas, or other violent crimes.
According to FBI crime stats, in 2004, after the 1994 federal “assault weapons” ban ended, violent crime actually fell. In fact, violent crime has fallen by more than 50 percent since 1997, when the ban was in effect. Since 2004, sales and ownership of AR-15-style rifles have skyrocketed. Thus, contradicting claims made by gun control components, violent crime fell when the number of guns owned by the population significantly increased.
Often Australia is used as an example for how banning guns works. Yes, their firearm-related crime went down, but their violent crimes, to include sexual assault, kidnapping, manslaughter, and robbery, have all stayed the same or increased.
Also, gun restrictions can lead to an increase in violence when law-abiding citizens are unable to protect themselves. Everywhere would be a gun-free zone.
9. Only Law Enforcement Should Have Guns
When seconds count, law enforcement is often minutes away. According to the Department of Homeland Security, “the average duration of an active shooter incident at a school is 12.5 minutes. In contrast, the average response time for law enforcement is 18 minutes.”
A firearm is the best method of self-defense for a single mother defending her children from a home intruder. If police officers need firearms because of the violent people they encounter, then surely average citizens need firearms even more. We’re the ones who must face the violent people without backup and while the crime is being committed.
Additionally, the argument that only the government should have guns defies the purpose behind our Second Amendment protections. It is baffling how many of the people who vilify law enforcement are also the same ones insisting that only law enforcement should have guns.
10. High-Capacity Magazines Should Be Banned
In addition to trying to ban guns, anti-gunners also try to vilify another inanimate object: “high-capacity magazines.” Typically, the most popular target of their ire are magazines with the capability to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, especially AR-15-style magazines. They claim that by stopping to reload, a mass-shooter can be stopped.
The facts don’t support this. One of the Columbine shooters used 10-round magazines, and the Virginia Tech shooter used mostly 10-round magazines. The shooter from the recent Florida school shooting, although he had an AR-15-style rifle, used 10-round magazines to commit the crime. And Maryland, where the most recent school shooting occurred, already has laws banning the purchase of “high-capacity” magazines.
The common theme among most of these arguments is that more laws will make us safer. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Criminals don’t obey laws. Instead, maybe it’s finally time to realize that gun-free zones don’t work and that we are our own best defense against being a victim.