By Aaron Moyer
Welcome back to our three-part series on anti-gun debate, and thanks for sticking with me so far! In Part 1, we discussed the goals of this series and the misnomers of “gun violence” and “assault weapons.” In Part 2, we discussed gun and magazine bans and what people hoped to achieve with them. In Part 3, we’ll wrap up the series with concealed carry, other gun regulations that aren’t widespread bans, and the ultimate goal of gun control.
Argument 9: “Concealed carry is dangerous and leads to more crime.”
Not true. Like, at all. Just as the US has seen dramatic decreases in violent crime and murder as gun ownership increased and the federal assault weapons ban passed, so too has our country seen that same decrease as concealed carry rights expanded. I won’t claim that the mass expansion of concealed carry is what led to the decrease, but I will claim that concealed carry definitely doesn’t lead to an increase in crime. In fact, there’s evidence *suggesting* that concealed carriers are safer than police, and definitely safer than the general American population. While data is sparse, what we do have (from Texas, one of the few states that tracks this sort of thing) says you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a concealed carrier.
Put frankly, paranoia and accusations about concealed carriers are unfounded; concealed carriers are some of the safest and least-crime-inclined people in the United States, and by a very large margin at that. If you feel safe around average Americans that aren’t carrying guns, you should feel even safer around concealed carriers.
Argument 10: “Concealed carry doesn’t stop mass shootings anyway.”
Also not true. There have been many mass shootings or likely mass shootings stopped by concealed carriers and other gun owners, including 4 in my home state of Pennsylvania (one of the first states to adopt shall-issue concealed carry laws). That said, of course most mass shootings aren’t stopped by concealed carriers: 96% of the shootings take place in gun free zones. How are concealed carriers supposed to establish a track record of stopping mass shootings when they’re banned from being able to stop mass shootings? Concealed carry has already stopped some in the past, and by expanding its reach through the elimination of gun free zones, it’s likely that it would also expand the potential to stop violence in the future.
Argument 11: “Universal background checks would help stop mass shootings.”
Unlikely. In fact, none of the recent shootings would have been stopped by expanding background checks to cover private transfers (remember, to purchase any gun from a dealer, you must pass a background check — even at a gun show). As evidence, look at some of the major shootings we think of: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, San Bernadino, Orlando. In all of these awful events, the shooters either passed a background check in the first place or (illegally) ignored background check requirements entirely. Expanding an ineffective, broken net that failed to stop previous tragedies even when successfully performed isn’t likely to stop them in the future either.
Not only do gun owners oppose UBCs due to their inability to achieve their stated goals, but we oppose them for other reasons as well. First and foremost, they’re unenforceable without a registry of gun owners (by the government’s own admission: “Effectiveness depends on the ability to reduce straw purchasing, requiring gun registration and an easy gun transfer process”). After all, without a list of who owns what, how could the government ever prove that a gun was transferred illegally from one person to another — that is, without a background check? Because of that, UBCs are a total non-starter for gun owners as a government firearms registry is a total non-starter for gun owners (more on that later). Also, we gun owners don’t think it’s much of the government’s business telling us we can’t take advantage of our rights without first asking its permission, whether that’s for guns, free expression, or otherwise.
Argument 12: “We should ban people on the terrorist watch list from owning guns.”
On a fundamental level, this is an affront to everything a free country stands for. No one in the United States should have their rights abridged — whether those are gun rights, rights of travel, or others — because they were arbitrarily put on a secret blacklist by government bureaucrats with no charges, trial, or conviction. This isn’t just a platitude. It’s a crucial basis for well-functioning democracy, because without due process for the deprivation of rights, governments can use such secret lists to unjustly persecute political enemies or unpopular groups of people. Even the ACLU, an organization hardly friendly to gun owners, agrees. Put another way, would you trust Donald Trump (if you’re a Democrat) or Hillary Clinton (if you’re a Republican) to reasonably and fairly use this power? Exactly.
What’s worse, even if we ignore such a crucial foundation of good government, the list doesn’t even work. It didn’t snag Omar Mateen or Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik. It has a 38% error rate. 4-year-old children have been placed on it. It is likely discriminatory and disproportionately targets Muslims. You are not notified if you are placed on it, no one knows exactly what the criteria are to be put on it (though we do know some, and they’re crazy), and it’s almost impossible to remove yourself from the list even if you’re able to figure out that you’re on it in the first place (unless you simply change your name). It’s a disgusting joke, it’s deeply flawed, and utilizing it to deny people their freedoms is equally foul, not just because the list is theoretically awful, but because it’s awful in execution too.
Argument 13: “Guns are regulated differently than cars when they should be regulated exactly like cars.”
Not the response you were expecting? Most wouldn’t since many anti-gunners assume guns are regulated less than cars, which is likely not true. Actually, I’d even be willing to bet that most gun owners would prefer guns to be regulated like cars versus the current scheme. As explained by Eugene Volokh (and with an extra from me), that would mean guns could be purchased without a criminal background check, would require no registration or licensing for personal use on private property, could be purchased by any adult, would have an easy-to-obtain license for public use that is valid in all 50 states, and would entail rights and privileges that could be regained after misuse. Sounds like we’ve got a deal!
Of course, that would mean some gun-equivalent bureaucracy to the EPA (BATFE?) would abuse its power and pass weird regulations about guns without acts of Congress (implying BATFE doesn’t do that already), but either way, proposing guns be regulated like cars is not an effective anti-gun argument. It doesn’t prove much other than that many of the laws and regulations regarding guns are actually much more onerous than those for cars, which kill way more people per year than those murdered with guns (74% less murdered with guns, in fact, despite there being approximately 22% more guns than cars).
Argument 14: “But states with more gun control have less murders.”
Nope. In fact, if we force ourselves to look for a correlation, there’s a very, very weak one showing that states with more gun control have more murders (“…though the tendency is so small as to be essentially zero.”)
From another source, when taking out suicides, “Half of the 10 states with the lowest gun-death rates turn out to be states with less-restrictive gun laws.” Even better, when simply looking at overall murders like we should be doing, of the top 10 safest states, only 2 heavy-gun-control states (Massachusetts, Hawaii) are present. The other 8 states are either average or very pro-gun in their laws and regulations. Of note, New Hampshire is the safest state when looking at murders (and super safe by other criteria as well), and it’s also one of the most pro-gun states in the union. There is simply nothing to support the idea that states with higher gun control have lower deaths because of it.
Argument 15: “Why are you so paranoid? We’re not coming for your guns!”
Oh really? I guess someone forgot to tell that to Dianne Feinstein, Amanda Bee, the Huffington Post, the New York Times, the Washington Post*, that DNC delegate who talks too much, the Massachusetts Attorney General, the Violence Policy Center, Matt Damon, and Hillary Clinton, among many others. What’s worse is that the people who say they’re not coming for our guns (*wink wink nudge nudge*) are the same people celebrating Amanda Bee and the Huffington Post for saying it. Cognitive dissonance at best or lies and deception at worst, but either way, gun owners rightfully believe that the ultimate goal of gun control is confiscation and bans. After all, that’s exactly what we’re being told.
P.S.: remember how I said gun registries are a total non-starter for gun owners? That gun owners will never agree to a “compromise” which puts them on a government list? This is why, because if certain individuals ever do decide to come for our guns, a list of who owns guns and where they live will allow it. Also, it’s worth pointing out that registries are expensive boondoggles that don’t work.
*To conclude, check out this quote from the Washington Post regarding the 1994 federal assault weapons ban. One of my friends dubbed it “the money shot”: “The bill also includes a ban on assault weapons. They ought to be banned — it’s ridiculous that the banning should even be an issue — but no one should have any illusions about what was accomplished. Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic; its virtue will be if it turns out to be, as hoped, a stepping stone to broader gun control.” Exactly. These guns are rarely used in crime, banning them wouldn’t be effective, and banning them is only a symbolic means to expand gun control and ban even more guns down the road…and the anti-gun intelligentsia is totally, 100% aware of all of that. This quote perfectly symbolizes everything we gun owners are fighting against and why we’re doing it.
Stop focusing on arbitrary definitions of guns that aren’t often used in crime. Stop proposing solutions that haven’t worked and won’t work. Don’t expand broken systems to try and strip even more Americans of their freedoms. Expand concealed carry rights. And for God’s sake, please stop talking about the UK and Australia.
Aaron Moyer is a civil engineer from Pennsylvania who enjoys firearms and is not a professional researcher, journalist, or LEO/Mil. He has enjoyed a small stint in local public office, has won past awards for his political activism, and currently works as a government consultant. He also owns a kick-ass, award-winning tattoo. While he isn’t a badass door kicker, he hopes to contribute to the wide body of firearms knowledge in the best ways he can: policy and politics.