A dummy’s guide to winning gun control debates

The right to choose

gun over american flag
ksadefense via flickr/Courtesy

Rarely does a day pass before I hear or see another incredulous pro-gun argument in one medium or another. I see the memes on Facebook that say, “This woman fought back a burglar with a GUN! TAKE THAT, GUN CONTROL!” and the like. So I thought I would take a second to create a simple guide to dismantle and disprove the myths of the pro-gun, NRA-funded ideologues.

1. Gun control doesn’t work.

Anyone who knows how to use Google can disprove this argument. It’s common knowledge that the states with the most stringent gun control policies hold lower rates of gun violence than states with the least control. Look at Australia: In the aftermath of a mass shooting in 1996, Australia enacted sweeping gun control, including an assault weapons ban and increased background checks. How many mass shootings have occurred since then? You got it. 0.

2. Gun control won’t prevent another Sandy Hook.

This argument makes absolutely no sense. The point of gun control laws is to threaten would-be criminals with penalties if they so choose to break the law. If we don’t enact laws simply because they won’t “prevent” heinous acts from continuing, why do we have laws against murder? Rape? Theft? The law is used to create a disincentive for potential criminals who would otherwise commit the acts laws seek to prohibit and punish.

3. Gun control infringes on our rights.

Okay, so you’re citing the Second Amendment, which was made for the sole purpose of preventing a tyrannical government from overtaking the people. This amendment was included in the Constitution under the pretense that, if the people so chose, they could overthrow the government with their guns and reinstate new leaders. This amendment was added when “arms” meant rifles that took 40 seconds to reload, and “accuracy” didn’t exist. I’m also afraid to say that under today’s government — with the nuclear power and military that government possesses — our rifles and pistols don’t stand a chance. Not to mention the thought of the government becoming a tyrant is a faded memory of the Founding Fathers’ generation. If we hold this amendment to be all-powerful, then we should also give equal weight to the amendment following it: Soldiers cannot be quartered in your homes. I’m sure we all struggle with that problem day to day.

4. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.

Yes, so we’ve concluded that people kill people. But how people kill others is what matters. There’s a reason we can’t go to the nearest department store and buy a nuclear weapon. Irresponsible or crooked individuals exist in our society, and we have to accept that fact. The only sound way to prevent these individuals from owning weapons of destruction is to get those weapons out of the hands of the general public. I mean, what happens if someone crazy doesn’t have access to a gun and uses something else instead? On the same day of the Sandy Hook massacre, a mentally ill Chinese man ran into an elementary school classroom and stabbed more than 20 children with a knife. None were killed.

5. Gun control will take my guns away from me.

If you’re mentally ill or a convicted criminal, then maybe you won’t be able to buy a gun. There is absolutely no legislation being considered that would take guns away from anyone. The most “radical” gun legislation ever considered in the United States is the “assault weapons ban” — a ban on further sales of weapons that would in no way take away any guns already on the street.

6. Cars kill people too; why don’t we regulate them?

We do. Last I checked, you need a driver’s license to drive a car. You must register your car. You must have insurance. You must wear a seat belt. You cannot talk on the phone while driving (here in California, at least).The list goes on. You know the regulations for gun ownership? Me neither. That’s because there are basically none — other than a simple background check and a mandatory waiting period.

7. Look, here’s someone who used a firearm for self-defense against a criminal and could’ve been hurt if he or she didn’t have the gun.

Look, here’s a list of 30,000 Americans killed by gun violence per year. Children, elderly, and most of the time innocent people — you name it. You decide what you value more: a single crime being prevented or the 30,000 stories behind the deaths of these Americans. (Not to imply that gun control would prevent people from self-defense – I prefer bear spray and a taser over a gun any day).

These are only few of the many incredulous arguments that reverberate through the halls of your Congress today. For each day we hold off of gun control, more than 85 Americans a day are killed by gun violence. If the recent defeat of the Manchin-Toomey gun control proposal (the background-check expansion that had approximately 93 percent public approval but still failed) is an indicator of anything, it is that the NRA has taken our legislators hostage.

The nonsense needs to stop, and we’re the ones who need to stop it. In the words of legendary President Ronald Reagan himself, “Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns. This level of violence must be stopped.”

Julian Sarafian explores the right to choose ones own political opinion in his Monday blog. Contact Julian Sarafian at [email protected]lycal.org.

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  • Sam


  • The_Jack

    Wait… if you’re assuming us that “no one wants to come for your guns” then why even mention Point 7?

    I mean if the laws you advocate would only keep “mentally ill or a convicted criminal”s from getting guns…

    Then why even need to mention how gun control is more important than self defense.

    I mean if you only wanted stronger background checks… then why even bring up Point 7…
    Since that point makes it sound like you’re convincing people that giving their guns is worth the greater good.

  • The_Jack

    For #2 why would a person who wants to commit mass murder… be dissuaded by the relatively minor increase in penalty for violating gun laws?

    Also for someone who swears up and down that “no one wants to take your guns” you *do* realize that Australia also had a mass confiscation of firearms?

    So when you cite Australia as an example to follow… It makes it seem that you either don’t know Australian law… or you’re lying about your intentions.

  • The_Jack

    Oh, the “Let’s treat guns like cars” argument. Are you sure you *really* want that?


    • Sam

      I guess we should do that, then.

  • MrMcMillin

    I have – my own father…and I brought him down with a can of roach and ant spray. He had a gun, I had bug spray.

  • Derek James

    I’ll just post this. This will clear up any misconceptions. Thank you. http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/06/foghorn/debunking-a-dummys-guide-to-winning-gun-control-debates/

  • Derek James

    “How many mass shootings have occurred since then? (referring to the 1996 Australian gun ban) You got it. 0.” Really? Beginning the article with an outright lie?? Um, well….that’s exactly false.

    2002, Huan Yun Xiang shot his classmates and teacher killing 2 and injuring 5. In 2011, a man killed 3 people and wounded a child and police officer during the “Hectorville Siege”. Another one in 2011, Geoff Hunt killed his 3 children and wife with a firearm, then himself. A “mass shooting” which is quite arbitrary, is defined as an incident that involves multiple victims of gun violence, this incident would be considered a mass shooting in the US. So right off the bat this article lied, which makes it hard to hold as a credible source of information.
    Worst and most biased article I’ve read on the internet to date.

  • Caleb

    Since the
    gun ban in Australia, armed robberies are up 69%, assaults with guns up 28%,
    gun murders increased 19%, and home invasions jumped 21%. More proof that not
    only does gun control not work, it makes it safer for the criminals at large.
    In their words

    cost of lost liberty can be measured in the loss of life”


  • Dylan

    The truth is how can you argue with a group that even if there was no gun violence, would still want guns. Americans are rebellious by nature and heritage and proud of it. Guns are a symbol of that heritage and pride. With all the immigration problems, race disputes, religious debates, and so and so forth, many of the “no gun control Americans” are realistically afraid of losing the land of the few, the proud, and the brave, and not necessarily to outside forces. Although ISIS is getting a little serious meaning they could potentially give you a run for your money, but keep it in the holster for now. You all can talk and debate about history all you want, but you really haven’t learned from it. The course of human history is not an evolving one, its repetitive. People haven’t changed over time, just the means by which they kill each other.

  • Noneya

    This was among the most idiotic and misinformed articles I have read on this subject. Your research should be graded poor at best. I would argue that both sides have the debate wrong, and even then the anti gun groups come out on the bad side of the argument. I have a passion for history, and when looked at closely you find the the word militia as defined by the founding fathers takes in a highly diversified meaning. What is the militia? Is it the army? No. Is it the national guard? No. It’s all of us. Every single one. How did the national guard come about? When called to invade Mexico the people said no. It was created to have a militia type force that the federal government had some control over. We are here to defend this nation from ALL enemies. Who can call the militia? Any American citizen. We forget the Latin phrase e plurals unum. It means “of many, one” that is who the militia is. We the people are. Most fall into the category of unregulated militia and we are here to defend our nation and constitution. Is it an outdated idea? Not by a long shot.

  • Cecilia Sagers

    Hitler relaxed gun laws.. do some research before you open your pie hole….

    • The_Jack

      Oh? So… he made it easier for Jews to own guns did he?

  • I knew where this is going when I saw “the Daily Californian”

  • Buy Me Lemongrass

    They want to take away your rights.

  • Nattleby .

    Question on #2: Murder is already illegal, right?

  • Nattleby .

    Hmmmm…. A “Dummy’s” Guide. So that means this was written BY a dummy not for a dummy. Thus the Author is calling himself an Idiot. Fair enough….

  • Jamar

    Regulations for gun ownership include, but are not limited to, background checks, a waiting period, a weapons permit, and registration of your weapon.

    There is no correlation between more people legally owning firearms and higher crime rates, in fact, if you look at the statistics there seems to be the opposite correlation.

    Guns don’t kill people, they have no will, they cannot fire themselves, it takes a willful act for a gun to go off, meaning someone chose to do so. You can say the same about someone owning a pocketknife and stabbing people with it, are you suddenly going to ban pocketknives? No, because by and large they don’t seem as intimidating. Banning pocketknives won’t make you feel any safer.

    Gun control does in fact infringe upon our second amendment rights, as ruled by US v Emerson and Parker v DC. With your logic on that subject, being that muskets fired one shot at a time and then had to be reloaded… etc., is flawed, in that during the time of penning the 1st and 4th amendments there was no radio, no internet, no phones, nothing past letters and newspapers. Yet, if the government were to censor your articles you would cry foul, or if the police tapped your phone with no warrant you would be outraged. The founding fathers, being well aware of advancing technologies, may not have imagined where exactly we would be, but they knew that it wouldn’t always be how it was back then, technology would continue to advance. The constitution is there to be resolute, it is not a living document, the definition does not change simply because you want it to or because its different now.

    Also, speaking to that last gun control measure that failed, true statistics showed that support was actually more like 30%, not 93%. You have to be careful of misleading statistics, if asked if you support background checks for weapons, about 93% of people will say yes, when asked if you support expanding them, however, the majority will say no.

    • MrMcMillin

      The Constitution, is (in fact) defined as a living document…I would refer you to the dozen of amendments that have been added – including the 2nd. I’m not opposed to your position, just your argument.

  • lexi

    I agree

  • maryann26

    Gun control take guns out of the hands of law-abiding women and men. However, criminals will always get all the guns they want. I never heard of a criminal who cared about the law.