Friday, June 17, 2016

The Illogic of the Gun Control Argument


The progressive argument to ban assault rifles, or to pass "common sense" gun laws is completely based on a fallacy of faulty premises. These arguments are red herrings - arguments to through the American people off the track of the true causes of gun violence.

Here's one example of a progressive argument simplified down to its basic premises and conclusion:

  1. The terrorist in Orlando was easily able to purchase a gun.
  2. The terrorist in Orlando used the gun to kill people.
  3. Without a gun, the terrorist in Orland could not have killed people.
  4. Therefore, we need stricter gun laws to keep guns from killing people.

Analyzing this argument, we can see that premise (1) is true. In many states in the US, anyone who has not committed a felony can purchase a gun. The terrorist in Orlando had not committed any felonies up to that point.

Premise (2) is also true.

Premise (3) however, is not true and is also a faulty premise. The idea that guns cause violence is just as silly a premise as the idea that cars cause collisions or that hammers cause nails to be pounded into wood.

Perhaps the idea rests with the "powerful assault rifle" concept that so many news media reported. Without such a "powerful assault rifle," the terrorist could not have killed so many people. This is also untrue. Just this week in Cameroon, 42 fisherman were found floating dead in a lake, killed by Boko Haram terrorists. The week before 20 people were killed in Syria by a suicide bomber. The terrorists in Paris used guns, which are illegal in Paris. The 9/11 terrorists used no guns to take down the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The premise which blames the gun fails a simple test when compared with reality.

The conclusion (4) does indeed follow from the argument, but is not true, partially because of the faulty premises, and partially because it argues from a separate premise that gun laws actually reduce crime and violence.

This is not true. As an example, Mexico, which has severe gun laws, also has one of the highest homicide rates in the world (source). Jamaica, Honduras, Brazil, Puerto Rico, all have high homicide rates.

More often than not, however, progressives will argue along these lines:
  1. A mass shooting occurred.
  2. The mass shooting wouldn't have occurred if there were no guns.
  3. Therefore, the gun is to blame for the mass shooting.
Premise (1) is a given. When mass shootings occur, we can note them as a given act of violence.

Premise (2) is true. If there were no guns in the entire world, there could never be any mass shootings. Premise (2) is also so improbable as to make it silly. Wishing there were no guns, and actually removing all guns are two entirely different things. No amount of wishing can make premise (2) become a reality.

Conclusion (3) doesn't follow. To blame guns, gun sales, gun ownership, or the mere existence of guns on violence is absurd. The premise to this argument, that all progressives neglect, is the premise of the will of the shooter. The gun didn't make the shooter commit violence any more than a fist would make me smack a liberal in the face for being so ignorant.

What happens here is that progressives create a false causal link between guns and violence, where there is only a correlation. Yes, we have gun violence in the US because we have guns. No, the guns didn't cause the violence. They were merely the tool used to commit the violence.

Progressives only seem to have this strange disconnect of causal relations when it comes to guns. Rarely do they blame knives, blunt instruments, bombs, cars, or fists. Yet these "weapons" are also used to promote violence. For example, in 2014 in Arizona, of the 258 total murders, 105 of them were committed with something other than a firearm. (That's about 41%.) (source).

Does the presence of guns cause more murders? Again, in Arizona, gun homicides have decreased since the passage of the constitutional carry law in 20120 (source). This is in direct contrast to the progressives' dire warnings that gun violence would increase in the state. Yes, the drop in homicides is a causal relationship with the passage of the constitutional carry law.

I want to make two points here. First, and foremost, progressive arguments always stem from false premises, which are mistaken as truth. Second, the progressive appeal to blame guns for terrorist acts or mass shootings is logically unsound. In fact it's downright silly.

Such an ideology is also downright dangerous. It ignores the root causes of terrorism and displaces them with a red herring argument.

Such red herrings always leave a bad stench.