Normally I don’t seek out my Republicans friends or family members for political debates because I know doing so is a futile endeavor that’s just going to waste my time. However, I made an exception today when one of my friends posted something mocking people calling for new gun regulations that, quite frankly, pissed me off.
So I decided I’d bring the debate to him.
It went about how you’d expect. It was the usual back and forth with him claiming this is all about mental illness, while I pointed out the fact that every country has mentally ill people, yet they don’t have our problem with gun violence because they have much stricter laws on gun ownership.
Yes, my friend is of the idiotic mindset that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
After a few minutes of back and forth debating where neither one of us was getting anywhere, I finally reached a point where I recalled something I had said on Twitter that I wanted to pose to him as a simple question for him to answer.
“Sure,” he replied to my request. So I posed my question:
“If we had kept the assault weapons ban in place, plus banned magazine size to no more than six rounds on any gun 10 years ago, would more or fewer people have died from gun violence over the last decade?”
After a little while, he tried to pivot away from answering, only for me to press him to answer a simple “more or fewer.”
Once he knew that I had him, he simply blurted out “more.”
Why he felt more would have died is an answer he never provided. Not with anything rational, anyway. He tried saying the usual “because criminals would have gotten the guns/larger magazines and law-abiding citizens would’ve been screwed.” I quickly pointed out that we have tight regulations on fully-automatic weapons and I don’t see criminals running around our streets with those. For the most part, the guns these monsters use to carry out these horrific acts of mass murder were purchased easily (far too easily) from places that were legally allowed to sell them. Whether or not these people should have had access to them is an entirely different debate. The fact remains, these shooters aren’t using fully-automatic weapons or RPGs because they can’t gain easy access to them.
It’s amazing how that works.
The debate quickly ended after that.
Defeated, my friend knew he didn’t have a comeback. I had just asked him a question he couldn’t answer without debunking his own pro-gun rhetoric. He knows as well as I and nearly everyone reading this does that if the assault weapons ban was still enforced, plus we had stricter magazine limits, fewer lives would have been lost over the last decade due to gun violence.
I’m not saying either would have completely eliminated all gun violence, or that every mass shooting we’ve experienced would’ve been prevented. But I also don’t think this is a zero-sum situation, either. It’s absurd to claim that we shouldn’t enforce better gun regulations simply because, no matter what we do, we’ll never be able to completely end all gun violence.
The unfortunate reality is that we’ll never be able to eliminate all gun violence in this country. But even if we were to reduce it by 25-30 percent, while drastically reducing the number of mass shootings, with a few simple, common sense regulations that would still allow every law-abiding citizen to own guns, then that’s exactly what we should do.