Yes, that is a picture of me. Yes, that is a gun in my hand. In case you’re wondering, that is a Savage 110E chambered in .243 with a 6x18x50 Bushnell scope on it which can hit a target 600 yards or further out in the right hands.
Before we go any further, I am a gun owner and an ex-Republican. I have owned and used guns since I was a kid, and I’m not a bad shot. I hunt coyotes on a regular basis and I know how to skin and dress a deer. Now, moving onwards…
Over the last couple of months, I’ve had my dealings with the unhinged individuals involved with Open Carry Texas. In the event you’ve been in a coma or otherwise out of touch with the news, these gun nuts are the people who strap on various firearms and take pictures of themselves
protesting posing in various supermarkets or burrito joints. Supposedly their protest is about their “constitutional right to bear arms” which they interpret to mean that individuals should be allowed to openly carry weapons, in public, without any kind of permit.
I’ve actually run into quite a few “gun rights activists” since I started political writing back in 2010, both online and in real life, and it seems that most of them bring the same old tired talking points to the table over and over again. Here’s four of the most commonly used, and false arguments that they like to bring to the table.
4. A .223/5.56mm round is the same as .22:
This is one of their favorite arguments, and it’s a trap to see how much you know about guns. You see, while the diameter of both rounds are almost exactly the same, that’s really the only thing that they have in common. A .22 round is a rimfire, meaning that the round goes off when a pin hits the rim of the cartridge, not the primer in the center which is how most other rounds are designed. At very close range, a .22 can be both quiet and devastating to soft tissue but it is not the choice of most mass shooters. If a .22 was the same as a .223/5.56 then you would see the US military carrying that around because the bullets are much lighter and cheaper than the .223/5.56 which can reach out to about 600 yards versus 150 yards for a .22 rifle.
3. More guns equal less crime:
I recently made this meme which is based on a study by the Violence Prevention Center. In this study, they found that the states with the loosest gun laws and highest rates of gun ownership also had the highest per capita gun-related deaths.
The VPC analysis is based on data newly released this week and refers to overall gun death rates in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.
The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates in 2011 were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana. Each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate in the nation was Rhode Island, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Each of these states has strong gun violence prevention laws and has a lower rate of gun ownership. (Source)
Sure, the NRA’s magazine American Rifleman likes to trumpet stories of how a good guy with a gun shot and killed a bad guy, but these stories usually involve a homeowner who stops an intruder with a handgun or shotgun, not a tricked-out assault rifle with a 30 or 100 round clip. I’ve personally stopped a home burglary with a gun, but it was with a concealed carry Keltec .380, not an SKS or other military weapon.
2. If gun laws worked, why does Chicago have so many shootings?:
This is a daily retort from gun nuts who seem unable to grasp the simple fact that if you can’t buy a weapon in one state, you simply bring it home from another state where it is much easier to purchase, and then sell it at a markup. And while the conservative media has made a big deal about the recent shootings in Chicago, the murder rate is at the lowest it has been since the 1960s.
1. Liberals want to take away guns, just like Hitler:
If I had five bucks for every time I’ve witnessed Godwin’s Law in action, I’d be sitting on the front porch of my vacation home in the Bahamas, looking at my 55′ sportfisher tied up to the dock. Almost every gun nut you deal with will inevitably mention Hitler, because gun nuts have been conditioned by the NRA to point to Nazi Germany as proof that the march to fascism and tyranny involves stricter regulation of guns. Except, there’s this one little fact:
In 1938, under Nazi rule, gun laws became significantly more relaxed. Rifle and shotgun possession were deregulated, and gun access for hunters, Nazi Party members, and government officials was expanded. The legal age to own a gun was lowered. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons. (Source)
The fact remains that very few people in America want outright gun confiscation, despite what all the NRA-funded propaganda and Alex Jones-styled conspiracy stories say. Sure, you have some crazy lefties who think all of humanity can get along by enlightenment and enough bong hits around a campfire, but those are a minority.
Not only would gun confiscation be unconstitutional, but nearly 300,000,000 firearms in the hands of private citizens are logistically impossible to seize. The moderate left (myself included) and even some of the moderate right want universal background checks, some sort of licensing requirements for military grade weapons, and other reasonable restrictions on weapons that protect both average citizens and sportsmen.
So, the next time some gun nut tells you that “Obama and the UN are coming for mah guns and freedom,” point them in the direction of this article. They may not believe you, but perhaps it may get them thinking just a little bit. We need to have a conversation about gun violence, and taking the extremists on both sides out of it is a great first step.
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