So there was this shooting in Colorado and you already know all the details about it. You're also already aware this has (as they always do) sparked a bit of a gun-control discussion. As such conversations go, it has been occasionally illuminating and mostly infuriating. And while everyone thinks their political opponents use specious reasoning, there's a bit of the pro-gun side that blows my mind. If the people making these arguments are being genuine, they have some serious mental issues themselves.
While anyone can pick out some random crazy argument to make a group they disagree with look bad, these are arguments I've heard repeatedly in personal conversations or from respected commentators in the media. These are points that go beyond disagreement and enter into sheer insanity:
Do you think gun control would have stopped that guy?
Well, yeah, kinda. I mean it would have at least made things much more difficult for him. For instance, it's well known now that dude had over 6,000 rounds of ammo. There's basically no legal reason anyone should ever have that much ammunition. Unless you're one of the incredibly small handful of professional target or skeet shooters in this nation (which seriously has to be in the double-digits, tops), the only reason you amass that much ammo is because you're going to kill a bunch of people. Not really much else to do with that many bullets. So yeah, there's a pretty legitimate interest in having law enforcement have a quick chat with anyone buying a small army's worth of munitions.
But for the sake or argument, let's grant that gun control wouldn't have stopped him and he would have killed a bunch of people anyway. Even ignoring the fact that it's harder to kill people without a gun, this is still a terrible argument. You know what else is illegal? Murder. Murder is very illegal. And yet he went ahead and murdered people anyway. So does that mean we shouldn't bother to make murder illegal? I don't think so. I think the reason we make stuff illegal is because we don't want people to do those things, even if we can't guarantee 100% enforcement.
If I (or someone there) had a gun, I/they could have stopped it.
Really? Let's recount what we know about the situation -- it was an already-darkened theater with vision obscured even more by a smoke bomb. Add to that the screaming chaos and a moving target and even Special Ops would have trouble landing that shot. To think that any regular ol' Joe with little to no situational training would be able to calmly pull their gun out and hit the shooter without hitting anyone else is a fantasy of the highest order. Anyone who can honestly say they think more people firing into the smoky darkness of that theater would result in less deaths is either lying or living in one hell of a fantasy.
But this isn't just logically wrong, it's empirically wrong. According to the FBI, there's been roughly 50 such mass shooting events in the US in the past 30 years. Not a single one has ever been stopped by an armed civilian in the vicinity taking out the shooter (even though we have more guns than people). Because that simply doesn't happen. It's fine if you want to have Charles Bronson fantasies and pretend you're some super shot who can solve the world's problems with your amazing gun work. No one's trying to take that away from you. But when you start to set public policy based on your absurd fantasies, then it becomes a problem.
If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.
Yeah, dumbass. That's the point of making laws.