I recently got into a debate with a closed group I’m associated with that happens to be made up almost entirely of very right-wing Republicans. One segment of the debate focused on gun control. What struck me about the conversation is that this is a group of extremely intelligent individuals who have some of the least defensible positions on gun control I’ve dealt with. Most have been markedly successful in life and know a thing or two about a thing or two.
The crux of their argument focused on the idea that Americans need to keep their firearms and that experience and statistics shows that more guns means more peace. To back this up one of the core arguments is that if we didn’t have guns the government would enslave us soon thereafter and we’d have no recourse but to submit to it.
This is irrationality at the highest level. First of all, we have more guns now than we’ve ever had. We also are losing our rights more today than ever before. We have an administration in office now that has convinced a segment of the population (generally the same segment I’m arguing with on this issue) that we need to lose those rights to exist in the “new world”. Second, how did having all those guns help the victims of Ruby Ridge? How did the stockpiles help in the Waco situation? They had more guns than they knew what to do with and most of those people are dead now. I’m not supporting either group. I’m just pointing out that stockpiling weapons did nothing to move their cause forward.
I can’t believe otherwise intelligent people attempt to support gun ownership with this silly position. What exactly would our government do to cause millions of people to rise up and form a real militia to take on the government? Do these people not realize that the government has nuclear arms? They have an army. They have tanks, submarines, laser-guided missles. We’re going to take that on with some hand guns?
The other part that gets me is when you point out that hand gun control (I don’t want to ban all weapons) would reduce the guns over time, the response you get is that this isn’t true. Basement manufacturing would fill the void. What? So then why not do away with the guns and, if we need them, we’ll start creating them as needed since it’s so straight-forward.
The other part that gets me is that they claim weapons save lives. Give me a break. They claim during the war weapons in the hands of average people saved a lot of lives. Don’t count the ones in the hands of the military that took incalculable innocent lives. The irony is that they don’t mention that Germany had access to guns and their people sat back while their CHOSEN leader took them into a suicidal vacuum, with the support of the people. The really misinformed in the bunch roll out the mistaken myth that Hitler banned guns in Germany. This just isn’t true. The Weimer Government, before Hitler, had passed a gun registration law. After several years he did bad guns for Jews just as he banned most everything else in life for them. The rest of the populace sat back and watched this happen. Why didn’t they rise up and revolt as these people suggest we would? Because life just doesn’t work that way.
Just as half the nation here thought that what this administration did was just fine a few years ago, it’s easy to see how we could be lead into that same sort of compliance without ever feeling the need to shoot anyone except those who would stand against the prevailing viewpoint.
Have guns made our politicians more responsive to our needs? I don’t see it. I see a lot of them cashing large checks from the gun lobby. That’s about where it ends.