After the latest high-profile mass shooting in Las Vegas, the worst in United States history, once again, the debate over guns in this country was making headlines. Only this time I wasn’t holding back. Like many of you, I was sick and tired of people saying, “Now isn’t the time to talk about gun regulations.” That’s what they say after every mass shooting as a way to kick the can down the road and ensure nothing gets done.
So, I posted this on Facebook:
I’m sick of hearing people say, “This isn’t the time for a debate about guns.”
Every time one of these horrific shootings happens, gun fanatics claim it’s not the time to talk about guns.
Time passes, no debate.
Another shooting occurs.
Once again, gun fanatics say it’s not the time to talk about guns.
More time passes, no debate.
Another shooting occurs.
Again, gun fanatics say it’s not the time to talk about guns.
Notice a pattern?
Right now is the perfect time to talk about guns because this sh*t needs to stop.
Within minutes, a friend of mine, let’s call him Mike, commented on my post. This was rather odd because he’s never commented on anything I post. As soon as I saw the notification pop up on my phone, I knew whatever he said was going to be interesting. You see, Mike is a Republican, a bit of a gun fanatic, and he’s ex-military. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy, but he’s also a bit of a blowhard who’s the typical Republican (and Trump supporter, of course) who says a lot of stuff that sounds like it makes sense initially — until you actually think about it.
Well, here was his response:
Ok I got one for you… Fully automatic guns are already against the law and the weapons he was using you can’t even get them at any local gun store or even on the internet. These specific guns also carry a really hefty sentencing. So how do these laws protect us again?
I paused for a moment because I couldn’t believe how well my friend had set himself up for me to absolutely crush his comment.
Not only did he get the facts wrong concerning the type of weapons the shooter had, but his ignorance of the facts actually proves gun regulations do, in fact, work.
I waited a day to respond because I didn’t want to let emotion dictate my response. This is what I eventually said:
For starters, the weapons weren’t automatics. They were semi-automatics that were modified. So your argument, though intended to prove that gun regulations don’t work, actually proves that they are effective.
As you said yourself, fully-automatic weapons are basically illegal. Which makes them incredibly difficult to obtain. Which is why the Vegas shooter had to modify his semi-automatic weapons to simulate automatic fire because laws that prohibit the sale of fully-automatic weapons make them nearly impossible to obtain.
So, if laws won’t keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, especially criminals, as many pro-gun people claim, then why don’t they all have automatic weapons? Why aren’t countries with strict gun laws swarming with criminals armed with guns, plagued by high rates of gun violence? Why did Australia completely eliminate mass shootings after 1996 by banning semi-automatic weapons?
I’m sure you’ll disagree, but these are simple, indisputable facts that debunk this nonsense that “criminals don’t abide by laws so they’ll get their hands on guns, regardless.” Though as you just proved by admitting that fully-automatic weapons are illegal, laws prohibiting their sale do keep them out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Which is why instead of using fully-automatic weapons, the madman in Vegas had to modify semi-automatic weapons.
Cognitive dissonance might prevent you from realizing your argument just proved gun regulations do work, but that doesn’t change the fact that in your attempt to argue against gun laws, you just proved they can be effective.
However, if your argument is that criminals won’t obey gun laws, then why should we have laws at all? I mean, law-abiding citizens will typically “do the right thing,” while criminals, by the fact that they’re criminals, will ignore them, so why bother having any laws at all?
Based on your comment, it’s evident most gun people don’t actually think about the talking points they say. Not only do they not make any sense, simple facts and statistics don’t back them up.
Nine of the ten states that lead the country in per capita gun violence are pro-gun, Republican-controlled states. If more guns kept people safer, then why do pro-gun states lead the nation in per capita gun violence? Why do terrorists in these countries with strict gun laws usually use knives or vehicles to carry out acts of terror if guns are always so easily obtainable for criminals?
But even ignoring all of that, you said it yourself, automatic weapons are basically illegal (those made before 1986 are legal to possess and sell, but only under extremely strict regulations). The problem is, when you made your comment, you incorrectly believed the Vegas shooting used fully-automatic firearms “proving” that gun laws don’t work.
So I look forward to hearing back from you.
A day went by, no response. Two days went by, nothing. Day three came and went, still nothing.
Finally, I sent him a direct message asking him if he read my response to his comment and what, if any, response he had.
The time stamp indicated he read my message within minutes of me sending it — yet no reply. A few hours went by, then suddenly I received a message from him.
“I’m not talking about this with you, it’s pointless,” he said.
That was it.
While some might dismiss that as him simply not wanting to get into it with me, trust me when I say that Mike isn’t someone to just walk away from a debate. So him refusing to say anything to my response was a fairly big deal. If he felt that he had any reasonable comeback to what I had told him, I have absolutely no doubt he would have had plenty to say.
I won’t lie, I enjoyed slamming my friend’s comment on my post. Considering the topic, and knowing how pro-gun he is, I seized on the opportunity to point out to him that, in his desperate attempt to attack gun laws, all he really did was prove how effective they can be.
*EDITOR’S CLARIFICATION* (10/8/2017): Fully automatic guns are legal if made before 1986 and registered with the government, or if owned by licensed dealers. Bump stocks, attachable cranks, and certain other modifications for semi-automatic weapons are technically legal because they don’t “fully convert” weapons to automatic. The time for pushing for common sense reform is now.