#Guncontrol: The fact-free debate

Posted by: Phineas on April 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Samuel Johnson once famously said that “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Thomas Sowell might broaden that to “appeals to emotion are the last refuge of someone losing on the facts,” because that’s surely the case with gun-control advocates:

Amid all the heated, emotional advocacy of gun control, have you ever heard even one person present convincing hard evidence that tighter gun-control laws have in fact reduced murders?

Think about all the states and communities within states, as well as foreign countries, that either have tight gun-control laws or loose or nonexistent ones. With so many variations and so many sources of evidence available, surely there would be some compelling evidence somewhere if tighter gun-control laws actually reduced the murder rate. And if tighter gun-control laws don’t actually reduce the murder rate, then why are we being stampeded toward such laws after every shooting that gets media attention? Have the media outlets that you follow ever even mentioned that some studies have produced evidence that murder rates tend to be higher in places with tight gun-control laws?

The dirty little secret is that gun-control laws do not actually control guns. They disarm law-abiding citizens, making them more vulnerable to criminals, who remain armed in disregard of such laws. In England, armed crimes skyrocketed as legal gun ownership almost vanished under increasingly severe gun-control laws in the late 20th century. (See the book Guns and Violence by Joyce Lee Malcolm.) But gun control has become one of those fact-free crusades, based on assumptions, emotions, and rhetoric.

In a rational debate, the relevant committees of Congress would hold genuine hearings, take testimony, examine the research that’s already been done (1), and perhaps commission some social scientists to do a new study of the correlations between gun ownership and gun violence. It’s what we should expect from our legislators, whose duties include keeping bad laws from being passed as it does passing good laws.  And when it’s something as fundamental as further restrictions on our rights to bear arms and against unreasonable search, that duty grows more compelling.

Instead what we get are emotional appeals to “do something now,” regardless of whether it deals with the real causes of gun violence. Politicians trot out vapid arguments arguing that whatever it is they’re advocating is worth it, “if it saves just one life.” They play on fear and guilt — the fear that more children will be killed, if we don’t “do something now,” and the guilt they tell us we should feel, because we didn’t “do something” when we had the chance. Victims and their loved ones are hauled before the cameras to make emotional appeals to “do something, now,” playing a moral authority card that declares you heartless if you disagree.

And all of that is smoke and mirrors, sound and fury, meant to cover up the absence of fact in almost any of the gun-grabbers’ arguments. As John Adams once said:

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

And it’s on those facts and evidence we must rely, while marrying them to the same rallying cries of “fairness,” “justice,” and “safety” that the anti-Second Amendment crowd uses. We must then turn them on the gun-grabbers and demand they explain, for example, what justice there is in denying a Black woman the right to defend herself in Chicago.

In that way, we can beat back this latest assault on our liberties.

RELATED: Following up on my post on the Manchin-Toomey amendment from yesterday, it looks like Harry Reid is falling short of the votes to bring even this watered down measure to a vote. Good. Very good. (h/t ST)

(1) See also “More Guns, Less Crime, by John Lott.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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8 Responses to “#Guncontrol: The fact-free debate”


  1. Lorica says:

    Personally, I would like to see us outlaw “gun free” zones as they seem to be a maniac magnet. They have no place in a society that is attempting to live by the law, except to attract the lawless.

    We do not have to fear the law abiding person with a gun, and that should be the mantra of the Republican party. Then again, how do you expect any sort of fortitude from that which has no spine. – Lorica

  2. Joy says:

    Hopefully, any and all of the politicians that vote to support gun control will be voted out of office in the next election. I know that I will work to further that goal.

  3. Drew the Infidel says:

    We had an equivalent to gun-free zones when I was in Vietnam only we more accurately called them free fire zones. Both are places where you stand a better-than-even chance of having your head blown off. The FBI has submitted a report on the ten year assault weapons ban (’94-’04) instituted under “the Unabanger” (Clinton) in which they unequivocally stated it had absoutely no effect on gun violence.

    The two most common red flags of bad legislation are any measures being promoted as “for public safety” or “for the children”.

  4. Carlos says:

    To a liberal/leftist mind, “facts” have absolutely no place in any debate unless those “facts” support the feel-good basis of any leftist proposal.

    In other words, facts are related to reality and as such have nothing to do with any argument.

  5. Drew the Infidel says:

    “The broad mass of a nation…will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.”–Adolf Hitler

  6. JustPlainBill says:

    You might also want to check out the work of Dr. Gary Kleck. He is an excellent source of Gun Control Facts.

  7. Ryan says:

    Several anti-gun bills just passed out of committees here in CA. One of them essentially bans the sale of any rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine.

    Another one taxes ammo.

    Another bans the sale of future AR-15s, even those with a bullet button and forces registration to those who currently own one.

  8. Carlos says:

    OK, so this forces a dilemma for the administration, Ryan:

    What to do about all the Fast and Furious guns that are and are going to be in California for the next 20 or 30 years? Does the administration, who obviously wants all citizens to comply with every constitutional law (and yes, they consider the criminal aliens “citizens” and such laws “constitutional”), wink and nod at the possessors of such weaponry, or do they go after them and try to hide the fact they themselves supplied the weapons to them?

    Oh, what a quandry!