Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- What do gun control advocates claim to want? Common sense gun laws.
This fits into the marketing advice given by Frank O’Brien of the marketing firm, O’Brien Garrett, and others to avoid facts and focus on feelings and memes. The supporters of stricter, excuse me, stronger, or so the focus groups tell us to say, gun laws assert that their demands are sensible and hope that we won’t ask them to show their work.
But what exactly is common sense?
When first used in the 1300s, it referred to the feeling that we are all supposed to have for each other, something that today we’d call empathy. Over time, the phrase came to mean a recognition of propositions that any rational person must accept as self-evident.
And therein lies the problem. It’s easy to assert that something is self-evident. Our own Declaration of Independence tells us that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness qualify as things that cannot be denied without falling into absurdities, though with analysis, that claim is hard to sustain. My existence is self-evident to me, if I say, “I don’t exist,” I have to wonder who just spoke, and if something isn’t equal to itself, language and even reality itself is incomprehensible. But Jefferson’s list, copied from John Locke needs defending.
As do claims that gun control saves lives. Insisting that it does is an article of faith for supporters, but the evidence is not on their side.
There is no correlation between gun ownership and gun homicide rates, nor is there any between how many are murdered by gunfire and the “strength” of the gun laws. Similarly, the suicide rate of a nation shows no effect from the regulations related to what weapons the people living there are allowed to own. To take a favorite country for those who think that our rights should be curtailed, yes, England’s homicide rate is lower than ours, but the Land of Hope and Glory has had essentially the same rate since before we declared independence, while their gun laws didn’t become silly until the middle of the twentieth century.
Perhaps gun control advocates have gained some of the common sense, using the original meaning here, in that they speak more often about mass shootings these days. No decent person can see people being slaughtered without feeling the pain of the victims and their friends and family, and those who seek to curtail gun rights see an opening here to exploit. But the kind of shootings that have filled the headlines recently are rare, and the overall trend in homicides is downward.
What gun control advocates are trying to get away with is to avoid doing the work of showing that their demands will achieve their stated goals, but calling something common sense doesn’t make it so. To be sensible, a proposal has to be defended with facts and logic. Saying that we all should or do feel a certain way does not answer the question of what we ought to do about the situation.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.