I understand that I am a bleeding heart liberal living in the middle of a bone deep red state. Yet I would think rational discourse is possible, but that is rarely the case. I consider the folk I work with to be responsible people, and yet I am often met with irrational rhetoric when I bring up topics like gun control.
I recognize that gun control for some is an emotional issue. However, it takes non-emotional discussion to find solutions to any serious topic. What gets my blood boiling and my words stumbling is being faced with ridiculous counter attacks.
In gun control the counter arguments from gun owners always degenerate to gun bans and the abolishment of the Second Amendment, when I never mentioned such a thing. All I may have said was something like, “Gun control,” or “More regulations.” It is also common practice for the pro-gun folk to shout, “Slippery slope” and practice the art of reductio ad absurdum, reduction to the absurd.
I will hear things like, “Obama wants to take away our guns.” Please stop and think for a moment. Let us assume for the purposes of argument that President Obama does personally want to ban guns. Is that even remotely possible? He is the executive over and Senate and House that wants nothing more than to see him fail. He has an extremely difficult time getting anything done, even good things, due to the obstructive and divisive nature of our current Congress. Repeal of the Second Amendment would be a lengthy and impossible feat, not to mention that it would destroy his presidency and he is smart enough to know that. Presidents serve for eight-years at most, and Obama has only four left. A repeal of this nature would take a congress and senate that wishes such a thing, and that is no where on the horizon. So please, let’s set this argument aside.
I hear things like, “If the restrictions are too tight, people will just turn to the black market.” This assumes that every single person will resort to criminal behavior if they cannot legally get what they want easily. Law exist for only two reasons: 1. To define what happens after the fact, and 2. To keep honest people honest. To act as a deterrent. People often avoid doing certain things because they know there is a price to pay. The idea that all people will resort to criminal behavior in all cases is flatly absurd. Let’s also try leaving this argument out of the discussion.
Then there is the clique’, “Only criminals will have guns.” Really now. If we are talking about gun control and gun regulations, we have not suggested that law abiding citizens will not have guns. We have only suggested that we do a better job of determining who might be a law abiding citizen and who might not. This argument also fails the smell test and should be left unsaid.
An odd absurdity that I cannot wrap my brain around goes something like, “Gun crime is such a small thing, why not be concerned with bigger things? Instead of banning guns, why not ban cars?” Again, the discussion is not about banning anything. But beyond that, this is a reduction beyond any reason. We are constantly regulating cars, making them safer and more efficient. That is an on-going effort that we all enjoy the benefits of. The idea is to discuss gun control in the same fashion. To have the laws and regulations keep pace with the changing firearms market and new strategies and tactics developed by law enforcement.
I am also presented with the idea that, “Regulations will not stop the crimes.” This is quite true. There will always be crimes of horrible nature. Let me ask gun owners why do you have a gun? To protect your home and family? If so, you know that your gun will not protect your home and family from everything. It will not protect them from all possible attacks or all possible crimes. You have guns to protect them from those few, rare crimes in which they may be useful. Can’t you extend this idea to gun control? Gun control will not stop all crimes, but it will reduce some. It will protect innocent people from those few, rare crimes in which they may be useful. Let’s accept that nothing will stop all crimes, but the goal is to reduce things down to those rarest of unstoppable tragedies.
If we are to move forward in becoming a safer society, it will take both sides to sit down and have responsible discussions. It will take those, like myself, in favor of gun control, and those who favor free gun ownership. As long as one side keeps their emotional fever high and tries to debate with absurd notions, countering all discussion with unrealistic bravado, profitable conclusions and accomplishments will be impossible. As long as that is the case, the parties that refuse to engage in reasonable discussion have to accept that they own at least a small portion of these tragedies, for it is they who are not willing to enter into the debate rationally. So please, let’s be reasonable.