Guns Don’t Kill Americans, Stale Bad Arguments Do

Watch out for their rivals: Meal Team 6



Claim: the real issue in this shooting is [mental health | white supremacy | misogyny | bullying | economic anxiety | police brutality | domestic violence | etc. ]. We must address it first so these tragedies don’t occur.

A distraction/derailing tactic. The existence of (or speculation about) a contributing factor does not change the fact that the number of casualties in an incident are higher than they’d otherwise be because of the relatively easy availability of access to firearms in the U.S. Also, we’re capable as a nation of addressing more than one problem at the same time if we have the will to do so.


But but … If this shooter had been unable to access an assault weapon, he would have used a handgun! If he couldn’t get a handgun he would have used a knife! /S

Argh. Yeah, the guy is a terrorist. But if there are no military grade weapons, there is a lot less death.

Also- we don’t have to focus on just one issue at a time. The US is one of the richest countries in the world even without the richest residents paying taxes.


Or a nunchuk, or a throwing star… or a crossbow or any other weapon that is isn’t a firearm.

One of us (maybe you – anyone can play) will eventually get around to writing an entry that de-bunks that particular BS claim by the gun-strokers.


Re, the “mental health,” claim. In case anyone is not already aware, people suffering from mental health issues are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.
But for anyone who wants to make the “mental health” argument, the next logical question is: okay, so you are saying that it’s probably a bad idea to give mentally unwell people guns, right?
So, you’re saying people should be screened for mental health before purchasing a gun? And then screened, what, annually, as long as they continue to own those guns?
Who does the screening and what standard do they use?
Would you pass?
Would this guy have passed?
If so, maybe mental health isn’t the issue. Maybe we just need a lot fewer guns around.


The Good Guy With A Gun Myth

People successfully defend themselves with a gun less than 1% in violent crimes:

People carrying a gun are 4x more likely to be shot in a violent crime:

People carrying firearms don’t stop mass shootings very often. Four times as many mass shootings are stopped by unarmed people as armed people:


Including by the police, especially if Black.


It also includes times when aforementioned unarmed people disarmed the shooter and a Good Guy With A Gun ™ barged in and shot the person who disarmed the shooter.


Thank you. “Moar gunz” isn’t really the answer.

Related claim: “An armed society is a polite society” (Heinlein).

Putting aside the implied strange desire to live in a society where the only way to be a considerate person is by constantly living in fear of someone shooting you, this doesn’t work out in real life. Rank these OECD countries on their reputation for politeness and then consider the degree of unfettered access their citizens have to firearms: Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, the U.S. There may be some debate about which society is the most polite, but there will be little on which is the least polite.


Counter argument: it takes mad skills to kill 10 people in two minutes with any kind of melee weapon. Any idiot can pull a trigger 10 times in a row.


Most “defensive gun use” isn’t. People with guns are more likely to use them to initiate or escalate a confrontation to illegal and deadly levels.


The claim made by Heinlein is, well, juvenile. And often repeated by young men, rarely women. But the empirical evidence proves that an armed society is a society constantly on edge, with none of the room for error in dealings that other societies have. So, I guess “polite” is a euphemism for “paranoid”.

In fact, I suspect the phrase may have been hinting at that. Robert E. Howard made a similar claim about how civilized people got away with rudeness that would have incited a split skull amongst barbarians. A masculine idea of how being polite is only enforced by threats of violence.


An armed society is a dangerous society.


Starting to get a little bit tired of all these real-time confirmations of what we already know about mass shooters:

Of course this mass shooting happened over four hours ago so there have probably been several more since the story broke.


I feel the really painful thing about this argument - even if made by gun nuts - is that when we talk about reducing wealth disparity by using tax money to fund medical care and education, we can’t do that because it will be claimed that “we’re talking about gun violence, not tax policy”.


An armed society is a warzone.


I used to be the one calling for ‘being a responsible firearm owner’, But I can’t anymore.

We need to fix both the symptoms and the cause. because fixing only the symptoms (easy firearm ownership, easy availability of them, etc.) won’t make the cause go away. (bullying, abuse, and mental health are all causes in varying degrees).

While banning firearms outright will only fix things in the very short term (and to be frank, it’s a tall order period!) we need to teach people to be responsible with them, and cure the underlying causes of these shootings.


And yet enacting gun Control laws has worked to decrease gun violence in every other country on earth.

I’m sure the high school kid I helped take care of on my last shift, shot through the abdomen at a graduation party, will be happy if we only fix things “in the short term” by enacting gun control legislation. If only the person who shot her intentionally was more responsible, we wouldn’t have to worry about there being so many guns available.


Well, when you put it that way, let’s fix EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW then.

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I think there are things we can do on the gun side to reduce violence, but we do need to consider that you could ban guns in other countries because (a) they didn’t have founding documents enshrining the right to carry and (b) there were likely no where near the high percentage of the population of gun owners who believed they had a right to carry. It is easy to outlaw something if your legal system doesn’t protect it from day #1 and there are a relatively small number of people who’d resist. I just don’t see how it is practical in the US to ban outright (since I just don’t see people turning in their guns). Of course the other thing I seem to have read is that there are countries with very high gun ownership/gun usage that just don’t have the run violence we have (eg, perhaps Switzerland, Israel). So if there are countries that can have guns and not so much gun crime and IF we cannot outlaw outright, then what lessons can we learn from those other countries to reduce violence until actual reductions in the number of firearms available occurs? In the meantime, there are things we could do such as universal background checks, limit certain guns to ≥ 21 years old, demand all states be required to turn in mental health diagnosis registries, etc to try to keep more guns out of the hands of those who might abuse them.