Debate ammunition in favor of gun control

Madeleine Cary

A brief list of stupid things and misleading arguments that delay and detract from any productive conversations on gun violence in our country and my responses to them:

“In this Constitution, I have the God-given right to my guns.”

When that document was published the founding fathers were carrying muskets, not AR-15s. They were also riding in carriages and fighting the British. Times have changed, in case you haven’t noticed.

“Guns make us safer.”

There are 12,000 gun homicides annually in the United States according to Everytown for Gun Safety, based on a five-year-average of data from the CDC. For God-knows-what reason, individuals who have been found guilty of domestic violence can still buy firearms.

Every month, 50 American women are shot to death by their spouses or partners. The presence of a firearm in a situation of domestic abuse makes a woman five times more likely to be shot and killed, states Everytown for Gun Safety.

On average, 93 Americans are killed by a gun every single day. That number includes seven children and teens.

“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”

While you are technically correct in your observation that guns are human-operated, there is no point to them except to kill. People are killing people with a one-button killing tool. Why would we make hand-held, one-button killing tools available to the general public?

“What about knives?”

What about them? Before you try to make this argument, think of your chances of survival in a mugging against someone with a knife versus someone with a pistol.

“It’s not about guns, it’s about mental health.”

We would like to think that anyone who could murder a bunch of people cannot possibly be of sound mind.

I think that our tendency to equate these two issues — violence and mental-health — is a result of stigma and of our desperation to separate ourselves from anyone who would commit an atrocity like a mass-shooting.

However, the truth is that only 4 percent of the violence in the U.S. can be traced back to mental illness according to a June 2016 Atlantic article.

“It’s a big public health opportunity to limit access to guns,” said Jeffery Swanson, a psychiatry professor at Duke University.

Among people who’ve attempted suicide, 90 percent do not try again. But guns are the most common method of taking your own life, and of the people who use guns to attempt suicide, 85 percent die.

Mental health is a red herring — an illogical fallacy — in the gun debate. Intentional or unintentional, this seemingly irrefutable argument is merely a diversion tactic.

The problem of mass-shootings cannot and should not be equated with mental illness. Combining these two conversation only distracts from the objective of the pro-gun and anti-gun arguments.

“We have to protect ourselves against terrorists.”

When a man of color commits a mass-shooting, he is automatically deemed a terrorist.

A white man murders kids with an assault rifle at their elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

People sitting down to watch Batman in a theater in Aurora, Colorado are shot and killed. Young people who were enjoying a country music festival in Las Vegas lost their lives.

In all of these cases, the shooter is assumed to be “crazy” and “a lone wolf.”

It seems that our country is reluctant to put white people in the “terrorist” box, but anyone who slaughters innocent people is a terrorist.

“Thoughts and prayers to Newtown, Aurora, Las Vegas, Orlando, Columbine, Ohio…”

Shut up. Now is not the time for thoughts and prayers. It’s time for action.