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A dummy’s guide to winning gun control debates

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JUNE 10, 2013

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].

JUNE 13, 2013