*This is the second in a two-part series on gun control, taken from the printable PDF guide: Gun Control and Why It Doesn’t Work.
New Gun-Control Proposals Target the Innocent — Watch the New Gun Laws and You’ll See They Target You
Recent proposals bear this out. Criminals will still roam free doing as they wish, but you may no longer buy magazines of a certain size or rifles by a certain designer. You may no longer obtain a firearm across state lines, you may now pay more taxes on your goods, you shall have to buy insurance, you will store your private property in a government-mandated safe, you will certainly need to keep and file additional records … it doesn’t end.
Although politicians talk a good game, what they say and what their bills do are often miles apart. One politician offered a bill to close something he called a “gun-show loophole.” On reading it, it closed gun shows altogether. Yes, that’s outrageous … and he remained in office. Few folks read the bills, and reporters just read politicians’ talking points (which aren’t exactly renowned for their inclusion of deep policy analysis).
So, since felons aren’t even legally allowed to touch a single round of ammunition, what’s the point of laws that limit what you, a law-abiding citizen, are allowed to have? Why do reporters never seem to ask that question? Through their complacency, they’ve practically become liberty’s enemies. Every investigation and study show criminals don’t arm themselves at your average family-friendly neighborhood gun show, but facts rarely influence legislation. (Loopholes, by the way, are liberties … you know, things you’re allowed to do, like ride a bicycle without a license or roller skate without a helmet.)
Hoplophobia Drives Much of the Opposition — An Irrational Fear of Firearms Fuels Anti-Civil-Rights Activists
Morbid fear of weapons is a terrible affliction from which many people suffer. These individuals refuse to admit it; denial is one of the symptoms of the condition known as “hoplophobia.” Instead of dealing directly with their problems and seeking treatment (which can be simple), they vent pent-up rage and frustration and, in classic psychological fashion, project or transfer their fears onto those around them.
They frequently fantasize about shooting people nearby. They fear if they themselves had access to a firearm, they could “go crazy” and start randomly shooting people. Hoplophobics know — as do we all — that a firearm would play a role in such a catastrophe. The problem is, they project this fear onto you. In fact, some live in constant dread that their armed neighbors might shoot them.
While people who own firearms have come to grips with this reality (and sanely control themselves and their arms the same as they do with other dangerous things they own, such as cars, knives or poisons), hoplophobes have not. Perhaps they cannot and, as such, cling tightly to internal terrors and loathing abhorrence of guns and their owners.
Many turn their neurotic tendencies outward and seek political resolution. “If only all the guns would just go away” is one irrational cry. Instead of seeking help for themselves, they seek to attack your rights. This makes sense to them and is a great hidden secret of the modern gun debate: We are not fighting a political battle; we are fighting a medical condition — hoplophobia. Point out hoplophobic behavior whenever you see it, but remember that these people deserve sympathy, not scorn, and need help.
Psychiatry treats certain phobias through desensitization — slowly introducing those afflicted to the object of their fears. In fact, you might have personally witnessed the dramatic improvement a gun-phobic person can experience from even a single visit to a shooting range.
Only One Political Party Seeks Gun Control — That Should Tell You Something
The following is critically important: The so-called “gun-control debate” is about politics, not crime control or safety.
It’s never been about crime, it’s not typically about safety, and it has little to do with saving lives. Gun control is about one political party that is interested in imposing its will on the other half of the nation (the larger half). One faction seeks to disarm, neuter, encumber and dominate We the People and The Bill of Rights. The other party? Well, not so much, at least most of them, most of the time. In point of fact, there are good and not-so-good people in both parties, but the point is made.
Were gun control really about preventing crime, saving lives and engendering safety, both parties would simply support it as easily as they get consent for routine matters or how they banned war criminals from getting social-security benefits: unanimously.
Here’s an experiment: Ask a gun-rights denier, “What kind of guns should the public have?” First, you typically hear what you shouldn’t have. Then you typically hear silence.
A World With No Guns Is a Dangerous Place — There Were No Guns for Most of Human History, and That Was Not Better
It’s easy to imagine a world without guns. Just go back in time to before they existed, right? The officials, the bad guys and the streets were far more brutal and messier than they are today. Firearms — the ability to project force at a distance — are a fundamentally civilizing factor in society.
Even though criminals and evil people always use weapons for havoc and mayhem, guns protect us and keep us safe when we or our representatives employ them in responsible, peaceful ways. Regardless of our best efforts, miscreants will always do evil with whatever the genie has released from the bottle.
Were a magic wand to make every firearm on the planet suddenly disappear, the Chinese and Mexican drug cartels, joined by every tyrant and villain on Earth and every corrupt nation in the U.N. Human Rights Council, would immediately start designing and manufacturing new ones. We would have to do the same to protect ourselves.
That’s just the way it is. Our laws don’t stop them. Gun control is a fantasy; wishful thinking. Balance of power is how humans operate, and Earth is sometimes just a dangerous place. Guns help keep it tame; gun control empowers the forces leveled against you. Gun rights empower you.
Tyrants Prefer Unarmed Subjects — Genocide, Dictatorship, Tyranny, Oppression and Slavery Require a Gunless Public
Everyone wishes that weren’t so, but from street toughs to entire nations to religious groups bent on exerting lethal will, some people make their way through life by taking physical advantage of and attempting to subjugate others.
Even the quickest glance at history shows that strong evil will prey on the kind weak. The weaker the better, and unarmed is best. Dictators prefer unarmed victims; history proves this repeatedly, and the atrocities are infamous. Let us also remember that the classic post-Civil War slogan, “Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal,” confirms the value of destroying gun control.
The 14th Amendment was designed in part to put an end to that. Modern gun-control laws are not only dangerous but also an embarrassment in a free society such as ours.
Some Gun Control Is Good and We Diligently Support It – Often Viciously Stereotyped as Intractable, We Support and Enact Rational Gun Laws
Don’t adopt the media’s deception and believe gun-rights supporters oppose all gun laws. That’s a negative stereotype and dirty pool (but we’re used to it). Gun owners and gun-rights advocates support important good laws for true safety, crime control (quite different from gun control), education, government accountability, research, our police and military forces (a critical component) and a culture of marksmanship that has always served America beautifully.
- Deal with serious criminal activity swiftly, equally and fairly.
No “revolving-door” justice, no ignoring violent crime (a disturbing trend) and no more similar affronts to our justice system. Concern for victims’ rights are top priorities for rights advocates, and criminal malum in se misuse of arms should lead to appropriately long correctional terms.
- Focusing on hardware instead of perpetrators is misguided.
It doesn’t accomplish the goal of reducing crime; it misallocates resources and replaces law enforcement with feel-good, do-nothing restrictions on private property and commerce. In short, enforce laws against bad guys hard. Speaking of which…
- Disarm criminals first.
- Education is key.
People are responsible for every shot they fire. With firearms present in most American homes, proper safe operation of firearms and an understanding of how firearms shaped American history should be components of education rather than subjects of total avoidance as we see in schools today. Tax and policy incentives for public marksmanship training are worthwhile legislative-policy goals. Free speech must protect advertising for training in all media.
Closing Thoughts — The Voice of Reason
- You can use each heading as talking points (persuasive remarks you can adopt).
- When dealing with anti-rights folks, remember to point out, “If your goal is to reduce crime, I’m with you.” Establish rapport first. Remember to smile. Then always distinguish between reducing crime and so-called “gun control.” Ask, “Will this affect criminals or me?”
- Point out hoplophobia when you see it: “You sound like you’re afraid of guns; are you?” Pause and listen. Gently suggest that a hoplophobe take a class at a range sometime. If he or she objects or gets agitated, calmly point that out. Be helpful, not argumentative.
- Watch out for changes of subject that lead to endless circles: “That’s a great point. Let’s resolve that next, after we settle the current point.” Keep focused.
- If the “news” media reported accurately on this subject, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. When it comes to firearms, reporting is typically 100 percent wrong. You’ve been to the range and you know it’s lots of fun. Have you ever seen that reflected in the news? Self-defense happens all the time, but only criminal gun misuse gets coverage, giving the public a completely distorted view. Shooting sports are the No. 2 participant sport in America (ahead of golf, behind exercise). The 2.5 million defensive gun uses yearly far outnumber the 11,000 homicides, a fact that is heavily suppressed. Sixty million American homes are safely armed. The public legally buys 9 billion rounds of ammo every year. The list of important positive news you can help spread goes on and on.
About Alan Korwin
Alan Korwin’s 14 books include 10 on gun law and gun rights, one on free speech and two on American cities. He has appeared as a subject-matter expert more than 1,000 times on radio and TV. A regular columnist for national magazines and websites, reach him at his website, GunLaws.com.