Thursday, October 08, 2015

Gun Laws

I've written this before, and I'll write it again: I have no problem with guns. I agree the second amendment gives you the right to own one. The fact that I don't own one is not a political statement. It's a statement about my own ineptitude--if I could find a way to accidentally shoot myself, I probably would. (And that goes double for my boys)

I just honestly don't understand the arguments against rational gun control when it doesn't infringe on that right (like background checks or banning of certain extra lethal bullets or assault weapons). The arguments usually amount to this: the government is coming to take away all the guns (all 300 million of them--a crazy argument), or no gun law can prevent all deaths--focus on other problems like mental illness or violent video games and/or fatherless children, or gun laws will not work because "Look at Chicago--guns are illegal there and how many people are killed?"

As a Chicagoan, of course, I know that while guns are illegal in Chicago, they are legal in literally every single bordering town. If you can drive or take a bus or a train, you can get a legal gun without breaking a sweat. So, I never take that argument seriously. It's ridiculous. And The Washington Post editorial today crystalizes the strongest point I keep making, and one that is never answered rationally...

Up to a point they are right, of course; the government will never prevent all violence. But it’s also perfectly obvious that the government could take steps that would reduce the incidence of mass shootings, suicides, domestic homicides, children shooting children and other gun violence. Bad people exist in other countries; mentally ill people exist in other countries; young, disturbed men play violent video games in other countries. Some of them even grow up without fathers. But countries that do not allow so many guns to circulate so freely lose many, many fewer of their citizens to gun crimes or accidents. Republican candidates are increasingly tying themselves in knots on this issue, because there’s no logical way to refute that one, clear truth.

Not even Frank Luntz has lined up a talking point for that one, although I'm sure he's working on it. Until he or the NRA come up with one, keep looking at the facial expressions of politicians trying to refute that point. It's the same expression I have on my face in arguments with my wife when I suddenly realize that I may have slightly overplayed my hand, or I might even be wrong, and I'm no longer on rational ground.

A perfect example is the look on Ben Carson's face while he's trying to argue that kindergarten teachers should all be armed.