Reasoned Arguments against Gun Control

Reasoned Arguments against Gun Control

Note: This post was originally published on my author blog on 11 December 2015.


In light of recent shootings, many are calling for tighter gun control laws, ignoring the basic fact that laws already in place did nothing to stop those shootings in the first place. It is therefore irrational to think more legislation will solve the problem. As Jacob Sullum wrote in a recent post for Reason, “Autonomous Terrorism Calls for Autonomous Defense,”

“The perpetrators of last week’s attack in San Bernardino did not have criminal or psychiatric records that would have legally disqualified them from buying guns. In fact, one of them passed background checks when he bought pistols from California gun dealers. Obama’s recommendation of “universal background checks” in response to the San Bernardino massacre is therefore a non sequitur.”

Sullum goes on to note that other restrictions, including banning rifles and restricting firearm sales to those on “no fly” lists, are equally unreasonable.

A reasoned approach is not, however, favored by proponents of gun control legislation, in spite of ample evidence that it simply does not work and, in fact, that jurisdictions enacting strict gun control or gun-free zones are the hardest hit by gun-related violence, in spite of some organizations’ statistically flawed claims to the contrary.

The issue few people are addressing is this: Life is violent. There’s no getting around it. The universe is a violent place, and humans in particular are a violent species. We’ve had to be in order to survive. As someone noted in a recent discussion, that violence will continue regardless of what weapons are available. Confiscate guns and people will use blades. Confiscate blades and people will use sticks. Confiscate sticks and people will use their hands.

Guns have nothing to do with humanity’s innate violence, but they can be (and often are) used safely to defend users against the very violence gun control advocates despise, at a rate of more than one hundred times greater than the use of firearms in violent crimes. Even the Center for Disease Control acknowledges that “self-defense can be an important crime deterrent.”

I would argue that self-defense is the best crime deterrent, but that’s a post for another time.

For more on why gun control is an ineffective method of combating crime and violence, see “The Costs and Consequences of Gun Control” by David B. Kopel, published by The Cato Institute.

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