Guns Don’t Kill Americans, Stale Bad Arguments Do

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.

[quote=“davidcjonesvt, post:45, topic:220339”]
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[/quote]

It wasn’t protected from day #1 - it’s the 2nd Amendment, added to the constitution later.


Is that a strawman in your field, or are you just trying to scarecrow us?



If this is the old Columbine argument, let’s just nip it in the bud. Kids being bullied don’t become school shooters. Statistics show it’s the bullies, not the bullied, who become shooters.


See above. Abusers are the shooters, not their victims. Take their guns away and we have a safer world.

Mental health

People with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than be violent themselves. This is a bullshit argument, and particularly infuriating because the people who most often use it do jack shit to support mental health care.

I’m not sure how you get that banning firearms is a short term solution when it’s going to be the work of several decades to do properly in the US. Availability of guns in the US is the underlying cause of the shootings, as the US is the only developed country with the magnitude and frequency of firearm homicide we have. Full stop.


Don’t bring up Switzerland. Firearms are heavily regulated and anyone who has a state-issued firearm has to lock up the ammunition separately and submit it for inspection frequently. If there is so much as a single round missing, there’s hell to pay. And, if you are a firearm owner, you have to demonstrate competency and safety.

If the US had the same gun control laws as Switzerland, we’d be in MUCH better shape.

It’s also well documented that it didn’t mean personal ownership and carry of firearms even then. It was about actual militia membership in order to protect the fledgling country from invasion. “Bearing arms” meant as part of an organized military force, not slinging your rifle over your shoulder for a trip to Starbucks.


It literally never meant a personal right to own firearms until 2008.


And, to add to that, it originally was a federal thing. States could regulate firearms to their heart’s content. And they did.


I don’t understand your reference there (I know the strawman argument not the scarecrow part). What I was trying to say was that I am sure there are at least some things on the gun side that we can surely get many people behind, but that the extremes just won’t work. I was listening to David Hogg speaking on NPR the other day, and he seemed to agree that there were steps that it should be relatively easy to get a broad spectrum of people to go along with such as universal background checks, raising the age to purchase some firearms (or perhaps any firearm). I was simply speaking to the challenge of outlawing something that is wide-spread (think War on Drugs) and was explicitly legal prior to becoming illegal. Maybe I am wrong and you could jump right to wide scale bans, but I don’t think so personally.

I was happy to bring up Switzerland. My point was there are things in different countries that are done that allow co-existence. That is all I was saying. Very straight forward. I think requiring training to own a firearm would be great. That seems very reasonable. Universal background checks too. I think there are a number of things that many people would get behind including many gun owners.

Going back to the Swiss, I don’t hear about Swiss citizens going out and buying other ammunition that is not issued by the government and shooting things up. The idea that there would be hell to pay if ammo was missing is sort of funny to, because if someone wanted to shoot up something illegally, they aren’t really worried about that hell. The idea that they have firearms and don’t go on shooting sprees suggests to me that something is definitely different at a societal level. Better healthcare? Better safety nets so there is less desperation? I don’t know. I think this is a much bigger issue than just the guns, and while they are definitely a part of it, we have a lot of work to do more broadly.

And what I was trying to say was, Who here has been arguing that what we need to do is ban all guns?


There is no mystery about why Switzerland has lower rates of gun violence than the U.S. despite high rates of firearms possession. Bringing up Switzerland is a stale, bad ammosexual argument, one we’ve seen so often it’s been addressed above. Taking the time to review this catch-all topic will help you avoid wasting time making pre-bunked points.


Broadly speaking the Swiss model doesn’t view firearms as an individual right. Our Constitution talks about arms in terms of a “well-regulated militia” but the Swiss actually MEAN it.


Claim: we could reach a reasonable compromise on allowing Americans to own firearms if only both sides weren’t both taking extremist views.

A combination of straw man and false equivalency. The reality that we’ve seen since the 1980s in the U.S. is one side proposing all manner of gun control measures (very rarely the extremist position of “ban all guns”) in the aftermath of every mass shooting and the other side rejecting every single one on the basis of a pseudo-originalist interpretation of the Second Amendment.

This debate is not between the “gun side” and the “anti-gun side”, but rather between the gun-control side and the anti-gun-control side. Thus looked at realistically, it quickly becomes clear where the weight of extremism currently and disproportionately sits.

[Thanks to @davidcjonesvt for inspiring this addition]


Oh, gotcha. I am sorry if you felt I implied that. I should have been a little more specific and not a lazy typing a longer note. I was stating my point of view, that extremes don’t work. Nonetheless, when people bring up countries like Australia and others where there are laws that come close to banning guns, at least in the sense that simply wanting one for self-defense in your home is not justification to be issued a license (Australia), that is effectively an extreme view (in as much that it pretty much bans guns unless you are a hunter, sport shooter, or something like that), which I don’t think is a practical approach that would fly here. What I see in the media on both sides (Red/Blue, pro-2A, anti-2A, etc) is the retreat to the extremes, and I am tired of people not at least making progress in the middle—pretty much like for every other topic these days.

That is not an especially “extreme” view.

In terms of how most of the world regulates guns, “anyone who claims to feel unsafe should be able to get a gun for home defense” is the extreme view.


Oh, hell no! While you’ve stated it mildly, your point echoes the pro-gun point of “there are now too many guns to possibly regulate them in the US.” Basically, because the NRA was so good at indoctrination and marketing of firearms, we shouldn’t bother to reign them in. No way. That’s a terrible argument. It’s going to take time and effort, but the alternative is letting it continue to get much, much worse. Just because it’s hard doesn’t make it not worth doing. Most things that are worth doing are hard.

That is because they can’t. Ammunition is carefully regulated there. When the Swiss go to a firing range to practice, they can have their firearm locked in an inaccessible part of the vehicle and may not carry ammunition. They purchase ammunition at the range, use it, and have to account for every single round. They can’t take it with them.

Hunting is carefully regulated and involves limits on how firearms and ammunition are transported and how much ammunition is allowed at any given time. It’s also very expensive and, frankly, elitist.


It’s only “extreme” in the US. The fact is, having a firearm in the home increases risk of death or injury by a factor of 22x. It’s not protection, it’s a dramatic increase in risk of fatality or injury to the people in that residence. And most people who claim to purchase a firearm for “home protection” buy the wrong firearm. High-caliber and high-velocity weapons and ammunition are worse than nothing for home defense. Those rounds penetrate houses (and vehicles) like they aren’t even there. An AR-15 round fired within a house and missing its target goes through the whole house, throug the neighboring house, through cars, etc. Even handgun rounds penetrate way too easily. The only officer to face consequences in the murder of Breonna Taylor did so because he fired his sidearm indiscriminately, spraying bullets into neighboring houses. The only responsible type of ammo for “home defense” is low-caliber shot, such as for a shotgun or certain handguns. And even then, statistically, it’s more dangerous to the inhabitants than the risk of an intruder.