Common Myths Too Many People Get Wrong About Gun Control: DEBUNKED, part 1


So, there's a gem of an article titled "Common Myths Too Many People Get Wrong About Gun Control." It pretends to be a portal of truth and certainty amidst the news of another mass shooting in the USA, this time in Texas, but in reality this article is hilariously and unequivocally terrible, and deserves a good roasting, in addition to a debunking.

1. Myth: Guns are already well-regulated

This is a bit subjective, so the myth really depends on how one defines "well-regulated." Some people think they're already over-regulated, some people think under-regulated, so this is an odd title for a myth. Regardless of that faux pas, let's examine the body of the text:

Many states do impose restrictions on gun ownership, but not all of them doAccording to an article by VICE, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history highlights the lax gun laws in Nevada. That state carries the 14th-highest gun death rate. It doesn’t require a permit to purchase firearms of any kind according to the National Rifle Association. Nevada also doesn’t require users to register them, allows open carry with a permit, and imposes no waiting period or magazine capacity limits.
Nevada also requires background checks only when purchasing from a licensed dealer. Gun sales between private citizens — including online — have no such rule. Not everyone follows these types of laws even when they exist.

First we see them discuss states that have, as they say, "no restrictions on gun ownership." They define this in Nevada's case apparently as being a state that requires no permits for guns, and allows open carry with a permit (as many states do). The problem here is that they're implying that open carry, for one thing, is what caused or causes the Las Vegas shooting, or other shootings. In reality, here's an article by Politifact, which shows that in 2012, the states with open carry had 23 percent lower crime than the states that did not allow open carry of firearms - but the article announces (correctly) that this issue is more complex than simply looking at whether open carry is allowed, and the total number of crimes in states. There are other laws, regulations, and situations that influence such statistics and so it's not an open-and-closed case. Regardless, the immediate number seems to indicate that open carry does not in any way cause more crime. Requiring a permit to openly carry is actually more strict than many other states, but you won't hear from this article that 31 states require NO permit or license to openly carry a handgun. They're painting Nevada as a boogeyman when in actuality it has stricter laws in some ways than the majority of states.

Another problem with the body of this "myth" is in stating that Nevada doesn't "require users to register them," is that there's this little thing called the Firearm Owners' Protection Act (FOPA), which makes it illegal for any level of government - federal, state, or lower - to maintain a database or record of firearm ownership. Many municipalities ignore this and still do, but that is in fact of dubious legality. Firearms being registered, and the government tracking you for owning a firearm, are considered by most to be dangerous infringements on the second amendment, and one step crucial to maintaining a totalitarian dictatorship. So while they're correct that you don't have to register every gun you own, that is by far not specific to Nevada, and it is in fact (likely) federally illegal for any arm of the government to do otherwise, based on FOPA.

The last part of this myth is the most important, for several reasons. Firstly, it's insinuating that there needs to be a background check performed for private transactions between citizens. That is incredibly hard to enforce and even worse, it's another way that a government can essentially become a dictatorship, by keeping track of - again - every single owner and transfer of guns. That's a very worrisome prospect to many Americans.

The last sentence however is pure gold, for reasons which you will see in a moment. "Not everyone follows these types of laws even when they exist." You and I, dear reader, and every thinking person, would agree that people - people called criminals - break laws, which is exactly why criminalizing drugs does not stop people from getting or taking these drugs. People still use all kinds of illicit substances, for better and (usually) worse. Being illegal just means that the law abiding people don't have them, and when we're discussing guns in this context, that's a bit worrying.

Keep that sentence in mind... "Not everyone follows these types of laws even when they exist." Let's go on to myth #2....

2. Myth: Criminals don’t follow the law

This is the greatest day of my life.

By that logic, why have any laws at all? It’s also not universally true. One study found that over the past two decades, terrorists in the U.S. have basically stopped using bombs. In the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, federal legislation made it harder for consumers to obtain ingredients and easier to monitor purchases. Instead, terrorists switched to guns. An investigation by the Trace revealed that firearms caused 95% of domestic terrorism deaths between January 2002 and August 2015.
Need more convincing? According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the higher the number of state firearm laws, the lower the number of homicides and suicides there. Many use this next related myth to keep the government out of it.

The editor of this article seriously doesn't pay attention to their own arguments or words. "Not everybody follows these laws even if they exist..." is immediately followed up with "Myth: criminals don't follow the law."

On a more serious note (if such is even warranted), the argument they're arguing against, "why have any laws at all," is a straw-man of a common position from gun rights advocates, which is simply that "criminals don't obey the laws, so don't make firearms illegal, because then by definition only criminals will have them and we'll be defenseless." So the argument here is not "don't have laws regarding gun use," the real argument from gun rights advocates is "don't make firearms completely illegal or more dangerous to have than they inherently are." Which is not addressed by this myth.

However what they do speak of is worth discussing, which is that, APPARENTLY, we should just make firearms monitored and harder to purchase, because when we did the same with BOMB INGREDIENTS, bomb use dropped. Obviously this is nonsense. There are more guns in the USA in circulation, than there are people - making weapons illegal means that gun stores won't exist, but those guns aren't just going to go away. By contrast, how many people actually have easy and effective bomb ingredients in their homes, and know how to use them?

The answer: not very fucking many. The design of a nuclear reactor alone is not very complex, but the materials are fucking rare and hard to attain. Who the fuck do I (or any of my friends) know that will can just "get" fissionable uranium? Nobody. Who do I know that owns guns? A lot of people. Their comparison is a walking fallacy.

They then state that 95% of domestic terrorism deaths between 2002 and 2015 were killed with guns. They also conveniently are bereft of numbers of gun-caused deaths that are marked as "terrorism" with the same criteria (which are very strict criteria if you read the article), from other years, so there's no comparison available. They've collected meaningless data. For all we know the same types of terrorism caused 99% of their deaths with guns between 1980 and 1990. We just have no numbers for this.

They then misquote and misapply a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, which opens with this sentence, "Although most firearm laws are enacted by states, whether the laws are associated with rates of firearm deaths is uncertain." Beyond that, they also don't look at more crucial statistics for gun death, such as how Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and yet has an incredibly high gun homicide rate, or how the gun deaths in the USA are concentrated in very specific areas, and most of the USA is murder-free. This is not just a "state comparison" issue, you have to look at specific problems in specific areas to figure out what's going on with gun violence. Making guns illegal doesn't help the south side of Chicago.

3. Myth: No law could prevent mass shootings

In the aftermath of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, conservative writer David French denigrated stricter gun control. “The gun-control debate is nothing more than a destructive distraction,” he said. “Is there a single, viable gun-control proposal of the last decade that would keep a committed jihadist from arming himself?”
Actually, there is.
If gun-shop owners had to notify the FBI when somebody on one of the terror watch lists purchased a weapon, agents could investigate. Maybe they could even prevent the attack. Restrictions on magazine size, automatic or semi-automatic weapons or modifications would also mitigate the carnage. America’s gun homicide rate is almost six times higher than the gun homicide rate in Canada. It’s more than seven times the rate of Sweden, and 16 times the rate of Germany, according to U.N. data.
In Australia, when lawmakers responded to a deadly mass shooting in 1996, gun-related homicide rates dropped by 42%. That country’s gun buyback program confiscated about 650,000 guns, resulting in lower homicide rates. According to IZA researchers, taking back 3,500 guns per 100,000 created a 50% drop in homicide rates. The next myth makes very little sense, when you think about it.

Hmm, interesting, what about the Las Vegas shooter who wasn't on any watch list and had zero warning signs for his purchases? How about the broader concern that we're keeping tabs on Americans and putting them on lists to watch? Most Americans have nothing to hide, but that's not the point - why is the government suddenly violating our privacy at all times? This author doesn't seem too concerned about that apparently.

Restrictions on magazine size wouldn't work for the same reason that restricting firearms won't work - they're out there, they exist, I have friends who have rifles with large magazines, the only way you're taking those back is through forcibly going into people's homes and taking away their guns at gun-point, which is a totalitarian dictatorship. If that ever happens a lot of people are going to die fighting the police who are now serving a corrupt regime instead of a free society, and America will be dead. But let's just say we restricted new purchase of magazines over, let's say, five rounds. That also violates the second amendment because the second amendment is specifically important to preserve the rights of Americans to maintain firearms so they can resist the government if it becomes a tyrannical dictatorship. If you restrict gun rights, you aren't really restricting guns in the nation - you're merely ensuring that only criminals and the government have them. I don't trust either group, and you're a moron if you do.

Restrictions on automatic weapons (and semi-automatic weapons) also already exist. Go try to buy an automatic firearm at a gun store. I'll wait for you to come back.

In regards to gun violence rates in Europe, I have only this to say, in regards to mass shootings, and this to say in regards to comparing the entire USA to a single European nation (and never comparing us to our direct neighbors).

Yes, Australia had a buyback program and illegalized almost all firearms. At last we come to the real goal of most liberals who cry about gun control: they want to criminalize firearms and confiscate them all from Americans. The good news? They'll give you some money in exchange for it. The bad news? Everything I've already mentioned about how the point of the second amendment (which doesn't just go away because you don't like it or someone commits a felony with a firearm, by the way) is to resist a tyrannical government is perfectly true, but there's a deeper worry about comparing our laws to Australia's. Australia specifically doesn't allow "self defense" as a reason to keep a firearm. You can't buy a firearm for self defense. This is completely anathema to the United States, where the right to firearm possession is assured for defense against others, and defense against the government, especially if they try to take away your firearms, which the British tried to do in an act that led up to the Revolutionary WarHere's a good article illustrating the problems with trying to emulate Australia, which would lead to a civil war at best in the United States.

4. Myth: Guns don’t kill people. People kill people

Agreed.

Guns also don’t hold themselves, or pull their own triggers. According to a recent study by the Violence Policy Center, in 2012 only 259 justifiable homicides (when someone is killed without the attacker being subject to criminal charges) nationwide involved a citizen using a firearm. That same year, the FBI tallied 8,342 criminal gun homicides. In 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, 32 criminal homicides took place.
A Harvard study found that states with the highest number of firearms also saw a firearm homicide rate that was 114% higher than states with the lowest number of firearms. That same study found household firearms contributed significantly to the number of “guns used to kill people both on the street and in their homes.”

None of this has anything to do with the fact that agency on the part of a human is required to fire a gun. Again though, the argument is not "guns don't kill people, people kill people" - the argument is "if you try to remove the tool (guns in this case), even if you succeed, people will find other ways to kill each other." There is a case to be made for the fact that guns are convenient and easy to use to kill people - that's simply a fact of life. It is easier to kill someone with a gun than it is to strangle them. That's true. However, as we saw in New York just recently, and Charlottesville earlier this year, guns are not required for either terrorism or random acts of violence. The simple reality is that gun crime and specifically violent crime in the USA has been on the decline for many years. The second reality is that gun crime will never go away as long as we have guns, which will be as long as we have the second amendment, and again, more deaths will be caused by the attempted forced confiscation of weapons than any other cause, and would likely lead to a civil war, given the scope of how many people own guns and how many guns would need to be confiscated to imitate the much-vaunted Australian gun laws.

5. Myth: Users need guns for self-defense

Gun advocates often claim that there exist millions of defensive gun uses annually. A study by Gary Kleck and Marc Getz, criminologists at Florida State University, authored that statistic. However, Private Guns, Public Health by Dr. David Hemenway, Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center debunks it. “This estimate … [is] the most outrageous number mentioned in a policy discussion by an elected official,” he said.
study cited in the Injury Prevention Journal explains, “Criminal court judges who read the self-reported accounts of the purported self-defense gun use rated a majority as being illegal. [That’s] even assuming that the respondent had a permit to own and to carry a gun, and that the respondent had described the event honestly from his own perspective.”

This could be symptomatic of a different problem, which is that the laws regarding defending yourself or your home have gotten stricter over time; regardless however the editor of this gun control article hasn't even read their own sources. They quote two different sources, first a supposedly widely-cited paper here which discusses supposedly millions of uses of guns defensively each year in the USA, and then it counters that paper with a book here which demonstrates that the figures of the paper are likely very flawed. However the uses of guns defensively each year even in the book mentioned are higher than the article itself suggests.

The previous myth's body suggested only a couple hundred legal gun uses, using the term "justifiable homicide," when even the book cited in this myth suggests tens of thousands of cases of guns used to defend against only burglaries at night, in a conservative, limited-scope estimate. There's another issue nobody is mentioning anywhere here however, which is that not all crimes are reported. Only a fool believes that the government knows everything that happens in the nation and has statistics and facts on every act in the nation, and if one does believe that, then what kind of big-brother dystopian world are you living in, where the government knows everything that goes on with perfect accuracy?

Moreover, just because a bunch of judges read self-reports of things that happened which the government doesn't seem to have records of (which is exactly my earlier point), and then decide that sounds illegal, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen or it wasn't actually justified. This insinuates that the interpretation of a judge of a self-reported instance, not brought forth in an actual court of law or described in any legal terms and without any lawyer or jury, is all that's needed to declare something illegal and therefore wrong. What kind of crazy world is this author living in where a judge's opinion is suddenly a metaphor for the entire legal process?


There are five more myths in this article that we'll go over, so if you enjoyed (or hated) this piece, subscribe to our website for news on when the next piece goes up.

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