My Gun Control Listicle (mine goes to 11!)

Perhaps I’m not as internet savvy as I think I am, because I didn’t know what a “Listicle” was when my wife asked me. She saw it in a Mother Jones article. Apparently listicles are all the rage.

Here’s my top 11 gun control misconceptions and lies, which even includes a couple from the Left.

1: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Here’s one example of why this zombie lie should be dead, dead, dead: Loughner, the monster that shot Gabby Giffords and killed a nine year old girl and others wasn’t stopped by a good guy with a gun even though there was a good guy with a gun in the area. He was stopped by unarmed people. While he was reloading. There are other examples. The biggest problem with this silly meme is the word “only”.

2: You can’t fight tyranny because governments have tanks and airplanes.

relief drawings of advanced military machinery on one side and a few rifles and handguns on the other

A spirited population can fight tyranny with sticks and stones. But the better armed they are, the better their chances. The goal isn’t necessarily to destroy the tyrant, but rather to be too much trouble to oppress.

3: Collective rights.

To review,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

“The People” is used several times in the Constitution, as in “the right of the people peaceably to assemble”, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons”, and “chosen every second Year by the People of the several States”, and it always means a bunch of individuals. It doesn’t always mean every single individual with no exceptions, but it certainly doesn’t mean a representative authority

4: What part of “Shall Not Be Infringed” Don’t You Understand?

It’s not “Shall Not Be Infringed” that’s so complicated. It’s everything else. First of all, “Bearing arms” might be a phrase that means something other than the sum of its words, like “breaking bread”. Even “bearing gifts” doesn’t simply mean “carrying presents”. “Bearing arms” probably means “soldiering”. But even if that’s true it doesn’t answer all of our questions. Hand to hand combat could be considered soldiering but probably not bearing arms. So the meaning of the Second Amendment isn’t necessarily as easily understood as someone with a third grade reading level might think.

And don’t sell the Founders short on possibilities of what they could have meant by “arms”. They saw advances in firearms and probably could have imagined that guns would get more accurate and easier to fire. But they also knew something about biological warfare, and I doubt that the Framers meant we can carry around body parts infected with black death (though that might be a very literal interpretation of “bearing arms”). So at the very least, unless you disagree with my black death conclusion, the right to keep and bear arms doesn’t mean you can have any weapon you can get your hands on. So does it mean any gun? Well that’s what we’re arguing about, isn’t it.

5:a) I need a large magazine because it can take a lot of bullets to put down an attacker.
5:b) Limiting magazines won’t do anything because an attacker can change clips in a split second.

Pick one.

6: We don’t need the 2nd Amendment because we don’t have tyrannical leaders.

My son is a bodybuilder. He’s as big and strong as an ox. He was once talking to a guy about going to the gym and the guy said, “You don’t have to go to the gym. You’re so big!”
William, from the back, at the gym
Cause and Effect. Get it?

7a: Guns don’t kill people.
7b: Guns save lives.

Pick one

8: Criminals don’t obey laws

Well call me a “special kind of stupid” but the more I think about this one the more I realize that criminals actually do obey laws. Not all of the time, of course, but most obey laws when they think they’ll get caught if they don’t. That’s why you slow down when you see a police car in the bushes. It’s why most of us don’t drive as fast as we’d like to even when we don’t see the the police car. And it’s why gang bangers usually don’t have fully automatic weapons.

9: Gun Control Increases Crime

That lie about Australia’s crime rate was debunked a long time ago by Snopes, Yanks. But like a good zombie lie, it’s still not quite dead. Similar examples, like Britain’s crime rates, are harder to prove or disprove.

In many cases, gun control is a reaction to a rising crime rate which continues to rise after gun control is enacted. But that doesn’t mean gun control isn’t helping. And it’s hard to enforce gun control in a city when the surrounding areas have lax gun laws. Right wingers often point to Chicago and Washington DC as failed attempts at gun control, but if you live in either of those places, you can easily get a gun outside of the city.

If everyone else has a gun then it’s understandable why you might want to have one yourself. Ill-conceived and improperly enforced gun control certainly gives advantage to the criminals, and lax gun laws provide an incentive for law abiding citizens to arm themselves. But fair, properly enforced, and strict gun control would make us all safer. But if they’re too strict then they violate our rights.

If you want to be honest about your reasons for opposing gun control, stop citing misleading statistics and bullshit propaganda, and stick to arguments other than crime rates.

10: Obama is a Black Hitler

*sigh*. Hitler took a majority race army, with the support of the majority race population, and oppressed and murdered ethnic minorities. Obama is half Black. (People keep forgetting how White he is). Who’s he going to oppress, White people? Black people? And with what army? (sadly, there are fools dumb enough to answer that question)

And the line about “the first thing Hitler did was grab the guns” is not true. With the support of his ethnic majority, Hitler took guns away from “enemies of the state”, but relaxed gun control for everyone else.

11: The NRA

There are wingnuts who feel the NRA has sold out to the left. Leftists see the NRA as a pack of cold-hearted right-wing loonies. The NRA is really an organization that once promoted safe gun sporting but now promotes gun sales, represented by a flip-flopping chicken-hawk liar with a nervous disorder.

Check, Please

After I wrote,

I am loosing tolerance for the idiotic reasoning that criminals will get firearms anyway.

Lawrence Kennon wrote,

The argument is not that one should not make laws because criminals will disobey them. The real argument is that often the proposed law will negatively affect the rights or the law abiding without have much material effect on the non-law-abiding. It is basically an argument of unintended consequences.

He has a point, which I acknowledged. But then I heard this, from Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation on NPR:

Obviously, people who commit crimes with guns are not going to subject themselves to the background check. So who is it having any impact on? It’s having an impact on the people who are willing to obey the law, who wouldn’t do anything bad in the first place.

Keven Starrett seems to think that criminals will have an “opt-out” button that they can use to avoid subjecting themselves to background checks. That’s not how it works. Universal background checks will close off paths that criminals currently use to obtain weapons while still keeping those avenues open to law abiding citizens. They will force people who shouldn’t be buying guns to turn to illicit means of acquiring them. That won’t stop all criminals from getting weapons, but it will stop a lot of them.

A background check probably would have prevented this and many other tragedies like it:

Zina Daniel took out a restraining order against her husband after three years of abuse. The restraining order should have prevented her husband, Radcliffe Haughton, from buying a gun. Regardless, Haughton was able to skip a background check by buying a gun on the internet, which he used to shoot 7 people the very next day.

You can make all of the “criminals don’t obey laws” comments you want, but 100 percent background checks will prevent some people with violent records from obtaining guns. Some of them will find it too difficult or too risky, and others will get caught trying.

The beauty of 100% background checks is they don’t leave law abiding citizens unarmed while allowing criminals to easily get guns. Mr. Kennon argued that unless background checks are 100% accurate and nearly immediate, they’re a violation of our rights. I disagree. And so does the NRA.

Until recently, the NRA supported “mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone.” So is the NRA saying, “We used to support violating the 2nd Amendment but now we don’t”? It’s hard for me to imagine that the NRA had a genuine reversal of their interpretation of the Second Amendment. The 2nd Amendment didn’t change since Wayne LaPierre spoke clearly and strongly in support of 100% background checks and neither did LaPierre’s position at the NRA.

Nothing changed except an opportunity for the NRA to increase its popularity by obstructing the Obama administration, and gun sellers discovering that paranoia is good for sales. Gun organizations have been boasting about it. And the NRA can’t maintain lucrative gun grabber paranoia and hatred of Obama while supporting the administration on any gun control legislation, even if it’s legislation that the NRA strongly supported and even if it’s what over 90% of the American people want.

I acknowledge that Lawrence Kennon’s argument against background checks is not “idiotic”. But I can’t find a better word to describe Starrett’s statement that background checks don’t affect criminals because they won’t “subject themselves” to them. And I can’t abide the NRA’s reversal of a position they once so strongly supported, without changes in the facts on the ground other than the political landscape.

With overwhelming support among the American people for legislation that keeps firearms out of the hands of criminals while allowing law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, defeating this legislation will not be a victory for the 2nd Amendment. It would be a victory for a small group of powerful lobbyists in their effort to circumvent the will of the people and put profits ahead of the lives of law abiding citizens.

Update April 6: I originally wrote that the facts on the ground hadn’t changed except the party of the current administration. That was a mistake since Clinton was in office while LaPierre was promoting universal background checks

100% Background Checks: Constitutional and Vital

I’m neither a linguist nor a constitutional scholar, but I have this to offer:

United States Constitution Article 1, Section 2:

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

“the People” here refers not to every person, nor every citizen. It doesn’t even refer to every White man. In the early days, only White, male property owners could vote. This single fact proves that the Framers of the Constitution allowed exceptions when they used the phrase, “the People”.

I get angry at anyone who sarcastically asks what I “can’t understand”. If those ignoramuses would take their heads out of the darkness they might realize that the Framers did not write the Constitution for children and the words therein don’t necessarily mean what a second grader might understand them to mean.

Thankfully, we corrected Framers’ errors (they were mortals, after all), by issuing amendments declaring men and women of all races and economics statuses full rights under the Constitution. But that doesn’t change the fact that “the People” was a term that included the possibility of exceptions. In fact, our entire criminal justice system depends on the possibility of exceptions.

Exceptions to the People who’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed would include Robert Wigg, who murdered his wife Deborah with a 9mm which the state of Virginia, thanks to the strong gun lobby here, allowed him to keep despite the restraining order resulting from the first time he tried to kill her. The Framers would not have objected to such an exception.

Furthermore, the Founding Fathers would not object to the government knowing where the guns are. The armed citizenry was their volunteer army, and our early leaders conducted counts of firearm ownership at various times throughout history.

There is neither a valid constitutional argument against background checks nor a public safety argument. I am loosing tolerance for the idiotic reasoning that criminals will get firearms anyway. The logical conclusion, (for those capable of drawing such conclusions), would be that no law should ever be made because criminals will disobey it. To give credit where it’s due, there is a difference between that argument as applied to background checks and the same argument as applied to disarmament, such as the D.C. gun law overturned by Heller. Regional disarmament and background checks both impede access to firearms, but disarmament affects the law abiding more greatly than criminals, while background checks does the opposite.

Remember the word’s of the NRA’s Wayne LaPeire, before he proved himself a psychopath and a liar by saying the opposite a few years later:

We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere, for anyone,”.

Anyone who still holds loyalty to that double-speaking draft dodging monster should be ashamed. It’s one thing to change your mind – in fact the biggest failing of extremists is the inability to change their minds even when proven wrong – but it’s another thing to change your mind and whip up murderous hatred against people who still believe the words you used to say. Wayne LaPierre has no values other than a willingness to say what he’s paid to say by people who profit from violent fantasies and paranoia.

The only people against 100% background checks are gun sellers worried about loosing sales and the Orcs who they’ve whipped into a frenzy with paranoid delusions about national disarmament and uninformed interpretations the Constitution. If you’re one of those Orcs, you’re essentially supporting murder for profit and doing no good whatsoever for the Constitution or for the People of the United States of America.

Update, Mar 24 I’m not changing the text above but I should have avoided words like “idiotic” (as I usually do). Here’s a post proving you can disagree without being an idiot.

Universal Backround Checks

Various surveys indicate that at least 80% of Americans support universal background checks for gun sales. Many surveys, including the Quinnipiac University survey cited by the Obama administration, show support above 90%.

There are plenty of issues about the latest push to reduce gun violence on which the population is divided. Background checks is not one those issues. The only division is in Congress, between those members who represent their constituency and those who represent other interests.

Obstructing this legislation impairs the credibility of other arguments. Congress should pass legislation for background checks, and then move on to debate issues which are actually debatable.

Punishing Police to Protest Politicians

Marketplace did a story on gun manufacturers who won’t sell to NYPD because of New York’s gun control laws. Among the vile gun manufacturers who have decided to take out their frustrations with politicians and citizens on the men and women who swore to protect and to serve, are Olympic Arms, LaRue Tactical, and EFI.

In a bizarre statement which reveals the twisted logic behind gun-nut politics, Brian Schuetz of Olympic Arms said,

“If a citizen, you know, can’t own it, I don’t understand the reasoning why the law enforcement community should have it.”

and Mark LuRue wrote:

We realize this effort will have an impact on this firm’s sales – and have decided the lost sales are less danger to this firm than potential lawsuits from erroneous shipments generated by something as simple as human error.

I have some far left wing friends who might applaud the idea of disarming the police. I don’t agree with them either. Despite horrifying stories about racist killings and beatings, or incompetent yahoos shooting up civilians in a myopic pursuit of an ex cop turned cop killer, I believe that the overwhelming majority of police officers are decent people who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us.

I don’t believe the preposterous statements from gun executives like Schuetz or LuRue. They’re more interested in sales than in rights. What they prove by their selfish and childish decisions is they’re willing to put citizens and police in danger in order to draw attention to themselves and protest decisions which negatively affect gun sales.

Guns, Politics, and Friends

A friend, who is a gun advocate, shared on Facebook a photo from Uber-American. So I looked at Uber’s page. What I found was a lot of irrelevant and unworkable solutions, and a lot of Obama-bashing.

(abbreviated): Which sign will prevent another tragedy?:  No Guns Allowed or Staff Heavily Armed and Trained

Another friend ‘liked’ a picture suggesting that people like I are a “special kind of stupid” for thinking criminals will obey gun control laws.

You actually think criminals will obey gun control laws?  You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?

These are my friends.

No, I don’t think criminals will obey gun control laws. It would be especially stupid to think that I do, and I know my friend, despite liking the offensive comment, doesn’t really believe that.

What I do believe is that some of our mass murdering lunatics would have preferred fully automatic weapons but used assault rifles because they couldn’t get their hands on automatics. In most cases you can actually kill more people with a semiautomatic, but the thrill of pulling the trigger and spraying a room with bullets must be something that a suicidal lunatic who plays too many video games dreams about. And in some cases an automatic weapon is better so why not have a weapon that gives you a choice? The answer is banning certain weapons works. And don’t bullshit me with examples of illegal drugs or prohibition. People like their guns but not with the force of chemical addiction, and rifles are harder to manufacture and distribute in little packages.

Maybe you disagree with some of my reasoning. Hell, maybe I’m wrong. But let’s at least agree that calls for banning assault rifles aren’t based on expectations of murderers obeying the law.

“Special kind of stupid” applies to some of the nonsense on Uber-American’s Facebook page, especially the post about Obama’s tears being fake because he wiped the outside corner of his eyes instead of the inside. I’m not saying that Uber is stupid and not everything on his page is stupid. But a lot of it is. One popular stupid comment is

Why don’t we just replace teachers with former military and arm them.

One Answer: because there aren’t enough ex-military members who want to be, or are qualified to be teachers. Many are very qualified, and we already have an active troops-to-teachers program. The program makes sense because military personnel are among the few people who can look at what a teacher gets for his or her sacrifice and think it’s a good deal. But troops to teachers can’t replace all teachers and if we start requiring teachers to be handy with guns then we’re going to loose a lot of good nose-wipers and people who can explain how the Pythagorean theorem applies to lengths of arcs.

We can have intelligent conversations about gun control and gun rights, but we each have to be willing to acknowledge some of the points made by our opponents and stop knee-jerking with idiotic responses and thinking the other side is stupid because they didn’t think of our own idiotic zingers first.

The right-wingers who aren’t railing against existing automatic weapons bans and the left-wingers who generally support gun ownership can have intelligent conversations about the definition of “assault rifle” and what the founding fathers meant by “arms”. But too many of us think we’re only dealing with extremists and idiots on the other side because we’re not willing to tread in uncomfortable territory and hear what the other side is actually saying. Instead we just listen to our favorite pundits and slam artists calling our friends “special kind of stupid” because of things they never even said. And the result is tragic.