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American Guns: Lies, Half-Truths And Facts, Part 2

Dan Morgan-Russell |
January 28, 2013 | 12:32 p.m. PST


Debunking the myth that responsible gun ownership is easily achievable and enforceable. (Mike Saechang, Creative Commons)
Debunking the myth that responsible gun ownership is easily achievable and enforceable. (Mike Saechang, Creative Commons)

After each and every one of the recent tragic shootings in the United States, numerous groups and individuals have made the claim that “responsible gun ownership” is the only way to protect us from violence.

As I discussed in Part 1 of this series, owning a gun actually increases your risk of being killed or killing yourself. Simply owning a gun is dangerous, whether or not you are a “responsible gun owner.” However, logically, the myth that “responsible gun ownership” is the only way to protect you is predicated on fallacies.

MYTH: “Responsible gun ownership” is easily achievable and enforceable.

The basis for this argument is very simple. In an ever-dangerous world, Americans need to take their security into their own hands and be equipped with the tools necessary to prevent themselves from getting killed or injured by criminal actions. Furthermore, responsible gun owners who are armed in public can protect their fellow citizens. A properly trained civilian with a handgun could have stopped the carnage in Aurora or Newton.

FACT: It is almost impossible to be trained to stop a shooting incident.

The reason that cops, FBI agents and superspies like James Bond are so good with guns is because it is literally part of their job to be good at handling firearms. The average gun owner in America doesn’t have anything close to the level of training necessary for a police officer. The NYPD, the largest police department in the nation, provides extensive and continuous training to officers for both handling guns and for resolving incidents without the use of lethal force.

By comparison, for a concealed-carry permit in America, training can typically be completed in a day. As a result, civilians are virtually unable to stop a shooting incident. ABC news found that even gun enthusiasts with hundreds of hours of experience are unable to defend themselves in live-fire situations. The average American has nowhere near the amount of training necessary to stop a shooter. The concealed weapon gives gun owners a false sense of security that does more harm than good. You are not equipped to deal with a shooter. Try it, and you are more likely to get shot instead of having the ability to flee the situation.

FACT: Groups like the NRA create a double standard for enforcement.

This is the issue that annoys me the most. The NRA has taken the position that the government should screen gun buyers with background checks to certify that they are both able to defend themselves and their fellow countrymen and that they aren’t the type of person to have a psychological break and go on a rampage. I agree. I wish government would have better screening procedures in place. But then, I wonder, why does the government need to screen potential gun owners? Because “we need to provide security” by relying on the government to keeps guns out of the hands of anyone who might become dangerous.

So, on the one hand, the government is incapable of protecting its citizens from danger, but, on the other hand, the government is somehow able to screen every gun owner in a country with over 305 million citizens and 310 million firearms and make sure that they aren’t going to become killers?

Pick a side. Either government security works, or it doesn’t. It can’t be both. If the government is generally viewed as incompetent, then the government will be unable to screen gun buyers to prevent people who might become killers from buying guns. But if government works, which is generally the case, then public security for the masses would be a lot easier in a society with fewer guns. Guns are harmful, and you cannot protect yourself with one. Everyone would be safer with fewer guns in America.


Read "American Guns: Lies, Half-Truths And Facts, Part 1" here.

Reach Contributor Dan Morgan-Russell here.



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