The NRA and its slippery slope

Originally published at:

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH the NRA applies its level-headed, reasonable slippery-slope arguments to all regulations and reforms.


This would be a lot funnier if other reactionary groups hadn’t argued basically the same things at various points in time. There was resistance to seat belts, air pollution limitations, and the regulation of materials that could be used to make explosives. The only one on the list that the same argument (more or less) wasn’t used on was child-proof medicine bottle caps. Sadly, US conservatives have Flanderized themselves to the point that if anyone left of William F. Buckley Jr. suggested it, they’d all scream “nanny state” and throw a tantrum right there in the aisle.


Yeah, but in this instance, isn’t the endgame banning all or nearly all guns? I was always under the impression that it was so and I’m… well non an NRA member, to put it mildly.


That is not a widely-held goal, no.


The fallacy isn’t that “The endgame is banning all or nearly all guns”, the fallacy is that there is an endgame. Just because there is a group that opposes you on one point doesn’t mean that they necessarily oppose you on literally every facet of an issue, and will fight to the death to see all your dreams crash on demolished shores.

Though, the way the NRA acts you wouldn’t know it.


I believe the most widely held goal is to bring the level of gun violence in the US down to something approaching the level of gun violence in peer nations.


I did a search for any polling results showing what percent of Americans support banning all guns. I couldn’t find a single instance when that question was even polled - it’s simply not a part of the mainstream national conversation, yet the NRA acts like it is the ultimate goal of those wanting more restrictions. If anyone can find such a poll, I’d love to see it.


That’s not only how the NRA acts, that’s the behavior that the NRA induces in other people. The simple fact that they’re so goddamned transparently evil and shouting, “they’re gonna take your guns away!” instantly creates a bunch of people who now have that exact goal.

The NRA, to some extent, manufactures its own dissent in order to make previously non-existent threats real. The NRA transformed from being a “sportsman’s organization” into an advertising and lobbying firm for the weapons industry, and if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get people to buy more guns, it’s fear.

They play both sides like a fiddle and we all lose.


Sure, but to do that via gun regulation you need to remove access to guns that are used to commit crimes and the like. This is pretty much all of them. Maybe you leave bolt-action rifles and black gunpowder weapons, though the fact that they seem safe now is really largely due to the fact that people have better gear to use, handguns mostly. A lever-action with black powder cartridges could massacre just as well as anything else, and you can commit murder handily enough with anything past a flintlock.

Well, it was my impression (from the other side of the fence, no less) that for a majority of people advocating for gun control, the model is Australia and certain European countries where gun ownership is either impossible or incredibly difficult. Sure, not all gun control advocates are one solid block, but a lot of them seem to be against firearms in private hands to begin with.

So… what’s the point, then? Is it not about banning classes of firearms but imposing some regulatory burden that makes sure only safe people own guns or…? Because I assume that the goal is, as @Brainspore says, to get gun violence down. To do that by removing the tools of the crime you need to remove all the tools that are effective. That’s most guns aside from antiques. Yes? That’s certainly been my position.


That position serves them well. Since the 1977 internal coup they’ve re-cast themselves as a generally right-wing organisation when it comes to rank-and-file suckers members for good reason.


OK, technically “they” don’t want to ban “all” guns. But many people do want to ban large categories of them. Some people may be supporting this even unknowingly, as when you have people say, “We should be more like the UK and Australia.” this is what you are saying you want. In both cases they did implement massive bans and turn in programs.

Of course there is the disingenuous argument where if you have enough power and pull, even in very restrictive countries, technically there IS a path to ownership and they claim “see, such and such isn’t banned”. However they are effectively banned as the criteria is extremely limited. Sort of like a Concealed Carry license in NYC. Oh you can get them, if you are a cop or have some connections. The average person, nope. I find this supremely ironic as the BBS seems to have a pro-proletariat voice much of the time, and a contempt for the ultra rich and elites.

I’ll admit the NRA has some hyperbole in their calls to action, but no more than this cartoon.


Lots of other first-world countries have active hunting and sport-shooting communities. This “all or nothing” talk is mostly NRA scaremongering.


Hell, at this point, I’d settle for making gun-ownership as difficult as automobile ownership…that is, require testing, both written and field, to thereby attain a license and gun-owners would then need insurance. But of course, the NRA and others would scream, “YOU’RE PUNISHING LEGAL GUN OWNERS!”

Oy vey.


The problem is that they never wanted to ban cars. The DO want to ban guns. THEY DO.

Just a few headlines:
“What the US Could Learn from Australia’s Gun Control Laws”
“Retired Justice Stevens argues for repeal of Second Amendment”
“Letters: US should ban semi-automatic weapons”
“Petition aims to ban semiautomatic and weapons”
“Australia’s mandatory gun buyback inspires US activists”
“What If We Didn’t… have the Second Amendment?”
“When they give us that inch, that bump stock ban, we will take a mile.”

Sure, but they solve their internal problems much better than America does. I mean, if memory serves, the Czechs are armed to the teeth, pretty much—huge gun culture in the county—and don’t seem inundated with firearms deaths.

But, I am curious, banning what exactly do you think would help? Because I’ve made my reasoning clear a number of times, I think it must be everything that can shoot more than one bullet. Maybe two. Though you’d be astounded how quickly someone can reload a side-by-side.

It’d be lovely if that could work.


Oh look, someone with headlines. Know who else has headlines? The Star and National Enquirer.


You’re the one who keeps using the word “ban.” I just want them regulated as the dangerous devices they are. Most people aren’t allowed to fly airplanes or buy high explosives but that doesn’t mean those things are “banned.”


Without links to the articles underlying those headlines you’re not proving that “they” want to ban all firearms. Not one of those headlines demonstrates your contention.

How else are we supposed to see that slippery slope in the topic’s title?

The Parkland shooting was less than two months ago, the Make Schools Safe demonstration only two weeks ago, and already the gun-huggers are back to rolling out the fallacies and bad-faith arguments – in response to a cartoon mocking someone who is, by any reasonable standard, a lying right-wing extremist.

I was hoping the students of Parkland and young Americans everywhere would finally get us some traction on this issue, but apparently not. Done here.

  1. You can buy a car with out a license, you just can’t use it on public roads.

  2. Licenses ARE required for some firearm USE, most notably hunting and in most states conceal carry. Some states require licensing for ownership of certain types of firearms, most notably handguns.

  3. The main problem with firearms isn’t from people not knowing how to use them, which licensing is the supposed help prevent. Nor does licensing actually ensure proficiency (as evidence by my daily commute).

  4. Depending on the severity of licensing, it may reduce some “casual” owners, and it may cut down on straw purchases. But at the same time, you may also prevent other people who don’t have the money for the required licensing. Similar to how photo id for voting make some sense on the surface, until you realize that a) voter fraud is super rare, and b) it prevents more people eligible from voting vs non-eligible people from not voting.

Of all the schemes proposed, I could “live” with licensing. However one can’t point out a correlation in the US where states with more prohibitive licensing have seen a notable reduction in crime.


The other form of hyperbole I see around this issue is the The Nirvana Fallacy.