Gun control advocates recycle the same talking points when arguing why the federal government should curtail people’s Second Amendment rights.
The anti-gun lobby deploys a range of straw-man arguments, like the Founding Fathers considered “arms” to mean single-loader muskets, and the “militia” to be the only legitimate custodian of these arms. In more recent years, the no-guns crowd has even called for outright confiscation.
The Daily Caller News Foundation put together a list of the five most used talking points from gun control advocates.
1. The Founding Fathers could never have imagined semi-automatic guns of today
Gun control advocates like to argue the founders never envisioned semi-automatic weapons when they crafted the Second Amendment. Gun controllers say the founders only had muskets in mind. The Daily Caller News Foundation put that idea to rest in June.
“The idea that firearms technology was static during the 18th/19th Century is bunk,” William Atwater, a military technology expert, told TheDCNF.
“They had witnessed huge advances in firearms technology — i.e. matchlock giving way to the wheel lock, which, in turn gave way to the flint lock,” Atwater said. “Each and every one of these developments were huge in their day.”
The Washington Post said in a June article the “typical firearms of the day were muskets and flintlock pistols.” The Post writer further argued muskets “could hold a single round at a time, and a skilled shooter could hope to get off three or possibly four rounds in a minute of firing.”
That’s just false. There were several examples of “repeating” guns that were capable of firing dozens of rounds in quick succession. The founders were very aware of guns capable of firing many rounds in under a minute.
A man by the name of Joseph Belton even wrote a letter to the Continental Congress in 1777 — the Second Amendment wasn’t ratified until 1791 — and tried to sell them on a rifle that could fire “eight balls one after another, in eight, five or three seconds of time.”
2. The Second Amendment was for militias, not individuals
Gun control advocates also argue the Second Amendment is about arming militias, not individuals. Quotes taken directly from the founders, however, are at odds with such claims.
“I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers,” George Mason wrote to the Virginia Ratifying Convention in June of 1788.
While Thomas Jefferson wrote in his first draft of the Virginia Constitution, “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
“The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms,” Samuel Adams said in 1788 at the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention.
3. We need more gun regulations
Gun control proponents often like to say, “if only there were more gun laws on the books, we could prevent more crimes.”
But the opposite seems true in the real world.
Chicago, for example, has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, but it also has a high rate of homicide. The Daily Beast found in 2015 that certain sections of Chicago actually have higher homicide rates than some of the world’s deadliest countries.
West Garfield Park had a homicide rate of 116 per 100,000 people in 2014, according to The Daily Beast. For comparison, Honduras, the world leader in homicides, had a rate of 90 per 100,000. Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood saw a homicide rate of 73.3 per 100,000 in 2014, which puts it ahead of the country with the second highest rate of homicides, Venezuela.
The U.S. average is about five per 100,000 people.
4. Gun confiscation worked in Australia
Anti-gun activists often point to Australia as an example of how the U.S. could take away people’s guns.
Australia enacted the National Firearms Agreement following a mass shooting in 1996. The law fully outlawed semi-automatic rifles, certain shotguns and enacted strict new regulations. Australia also held a massive mandatory gun buyback program, and bought back approximately 1 million guns from its citizens.
Australia did see a decline in gun deaths after the new laws and mandatory buyback program went into effect, but the National Review pointed out in 2015 that the gun death rate had been declining for 15 years before the 1996 legislation.
While gun deaths declined, other violent crimes went up in Australia.
Reason Magazine published a piece in March, arguing armed robbery went up after the confiscation. Steven Crowder, a social and political commentator, published an article in 2015 that shows sexual assault also went up following the confiscation program.
5. More guns mean more crime
Do more guns mean more crime? That’s what gun control advocates often argue.
Once again, the data does not agree.
There were approximately 310 million guns in the U.S. in 2009, by 2013 that number had jumped to 357 million, according to a Union Leader article, which used data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
So, violent crime and murder rates must have risen accordingly, right? Not so much.
The FBI released data that shows violent crime and murder rates in America have declined since the 1990s. The murder rate nationally was 8.2 per 100,000 people in 1995. That number was nearly cut in half by 2014, to a rate of 4.5 murders per 100,000 people.
“Even as a certain type of mass shooting is apparently becoming more frequent, America has become a much less violent place,” Max Ehrenfreund of The Washington Post and Wonkblog wrote in a 2015 piece.
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