Question for the NRA and other opponents of gun control

Under the generous assumption that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and like minded groups of individuals use evidence to frame their beliefs, I am curious to know what evidence would be required for them to change their beliefs about gun control.

This machine kills people.

This machine kills people.

It’s possible they’d say that because of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. constitution, the consequences of gun ownership are irrelevant–rights transcend reality.  But that’s a ridiculous claim; all but the most dimwitted would have to admit that there should be some limits to the arms we bear–we’re not allowed to own ICBM’s, for example.  The fight over gun control is about where the regulatory line should be, not whether or not the line should exist.

So, I’d love a specific answer: what evidence would convince a gun owner to favour a ban on public ownership of the AR-15?  1,000 AR-15 deaths?  10,000?  100,000?  What’s the number?

2 thoughts on “Question for the NRA and other opponents of gun control

  1. I think your version of reality is very wrong if you’re claiming that opponents of gun control believe that the consequences of owning a gun are irrelevant. We take gun ownership very seriously, follow the law and teach our children that guns are not toys. We also understand that the consequences could be dire if we are not responsible in regards to gun ownership. So it certainly is a ridiculous claim, I have never claimed that rights trump consequences or responsibility, nor have I heard any other gun owner claim that. I think it’s rather disingenuous, unfair and downright bizarre that you compare the ownership of an AR15 to an ICBM. It is also unfair to punish law abiding gun owners for the transgressions of an individual who has gone over the edge. Banning the assault rifle would do nothing to deter an individual who wants to obtain a weapon to do harm. It would do more harm to law abiding citizens as they would be left defenseless due to the fact that they have abided by the law.

    That being said, the AR15 is designed for home defense. It’s suited for close quarter firing with a multitude of modifications to make it an excellent hunting rifle. It can be said to be a descendent of the M16 military rifle which has a lot of problems. Those problems have been studied and the improvements were put in to the AR15. I encourage you to read this editorial on the AR15 for further information :

    Deaths should never be attributed to the gun, but the one wielding it. If it’s not the AR15, then it would be some other model and the outcome would still be the same. The deaths would still occur and we would be talking about a different model. What if it were handguns? Unfortunately, this was the case with Sandy Hook Elementary. The children and staff members who were killed we’re shot by handguns, not by an assault rifle as reported by the media. The assault rifle mentioned, a Bushmaster, was found in the trunk of the car and not used in the shooting.

    I believe the laws that we currently have are good enough for law abiding gun owners. I don’t believe we need any more stringent laws that keep people from obtaining weapons to defend themselves with. As Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret) said it best. The gun is civilization.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I think most human beings are good, and take responsibility for themselves–whether they own guns or not. We agree on that.

      Unfortunately, you are not making an argument based on evidence; you are simply stating your beliefs. Everything you said may be true, but one could still conclude that all private ownership of guns should be prohibited. In fact that’s why I raise the ICBM example. You and I agree that people shouldn’t own ICBMs. I suspect that you and I also agree that people should be able to own stuffed animals. In both cases we weigh the good and bad to individuals and society, and make a decision. I happen to draw the line between prohibited and not-prohibited firearms in a different place than you. To resolve this debate, we must use evidence and engage in an honest debate. I take issue with some gun owners because they refuse to present arguments based on evidence, and end up sounding like shrill lunatics like Alex Jones. If the gun lobby’s arguments are so clearly true, why can’t they make them more persuasively?

      So, I invite you, and any other gun owners to provide good evidence in support of their arguments that semi-automatic rifles should be legal. Show me how they contribute to human well being. Show me how the aggregate benefits exceeds the aggregate harms. And, even better, tell me what evidence you’d need to see that would convince you to change your mind.

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