This is the second in a series of articles addressing gun control that I have submitted as exclusive content for Smerconish.com (27 May 2023, “By the numbers: Why gun control will not work”). As in the first article, this outlines some popular gun-control assertions and my responses.
1) ASSERTION: It’s the guns; violence has become an epidemic because of guns.
RESPONSE: The implication of a direct causal link between guns and violence has a long history and includes recent statements such as “Guns alone were responsible for the dramatic increase in homicides from 2019 to 2021.” The numbers below undermine those assertions in the recent past and long term. Gun sales for 2019 through 2021 were 57 million, and the current number of guns in the US is estimated at 350 million. Thus, from January 2019 through December 2021, the number of guns increased by 16%, but the gun homicide rate increased about three times faster (45%). Looking long-term, the total homicide rate was 10.4 per 100,000 US residents in 1980, when there were 150 million guns. In 2020, the homicide rate was markedly lower (6.52) despite many more guns (350 million). It makes no sense to think that guns alone are responsible for increased gun violence, either recent or long-term.
2) ASSERTION: No one is trying to take away your guns.
RESPONSE: This is still a mainstream assertion, even though some people now openly advocate bans and confiscations. Gun owners have often been accused of catastrophizing when they have protested gun control by saying, “You’re going to take away our guns.” In my opinion, they say it because they also wish to send their kids out without fear of a shooting and because they know better than non-gun-owners that all of the proposed “common sense” gun laws would not make that wish come true. The action that might do it is to ban and really confiscate guns. (That action is unworkable, and most gun owners don’t support it.) However, they know gun controllers eventually will realize that “common sense” is not working and inevitably escalate toward bans and confiscations.
3) ASSERTION: Today’s firearms were designed to kill people; they should be outlawed.
RESPONSE: When defending my home, my family, and myself, I would like attackers to be very, very afraid. Fear of death is a great motivator for them to retreat, and unfortunately, if they continue to attack, their death may be the only way to ensure our safety. I hope I never have to use a gun in self-defense, but if I do, the lethal potential of guns may be a feature, not a bug.
4) ASSERTION: Today’s firearms are more deadly than the muskets that were standard issue in the framers’ time; they should not be protected.
RESPONSE: The framers’ provisions on free speech have been applied to the internet, and those on illegal search and seizure have been applied to cell phones. I see no reason why the second amendment should not also accommodate technology beyond what was standard in the past.
5) ASSERTION: No one needs an AR-15-style weapon.
RESPONSE: When thinking about AR-15-style weapons, I ask myself what kind of weapons criminals might have. When defending myself and my family, I would like to have equal or superior weaponry to my attackers. If criminals have more firepower, they have an advantage.
6) Assertion: No one needs a high-capacity magazine with more than ten rounds.
Response: It may be true that only a few rounds are used in the “typical” defensive gun use, but instances with higher round counts do occur. Also relevant is that, as illustrated in the video “Proof that Concealed Carry Permit Holders Live in a Dream World, Part 1” from ABC, accuracy is a problem for novice shooters, especially under pressure. This means that, during a crime, the defender should have at least as much ammunition as the criminal, who may not be a novice shooter.
In closing, violence in the US is a big problem. The responses outlined here (and in my first article) are not proposing a solution but rather trying to elucidate an alternative view of guns that may be foreign to you. Although guns play a part in the threats of violence, they are also a safety tool. Strategies focusing on America’s violence crisis while not significantly disadvantaging law-abiding gun owners include free gun locks, vouchers for low-income individuals as part of gun-control laws, green space enhancements, neighborhood cleanups, violence interruption programs, voluntary gun buybacks, and other nontraditional actions.
This is the FIRST in a series of articles addressing gun control submitted as Exclusive Content for Smerconish.com (27 JUNE 2023, “GUN REGULATION: A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE”)
Carl Grantley, a seasoned author in his early seventies, has actively participated in the gun-owning community since 2015. An attentive member of the National Rifle Association and his state’s NRA affiliate, Carl holds his personal views distinct from these organizations. His journey into gun ownership began when his wife, following training, instigated the family’s initial acquisition of firearms – a selection that included a handgun, two pre-owned shotguns, a quick-access bedside safe, and a locker.
Over the years, Carl and his family have continued acquisitions to expand and enhance their capabilities for self-defense and hunting. Their training continues as they strive to maintain their proficiency. Through extensive interactions with more committed gun owners and newsletters from both The Trace (a gun-safety organization) and The Reload (a gun-rights organization), Carl has deepened his understanding of the surrounding politics and rhetoric on gun ownership.