Science, Fantasy, and Superstition – Gun Control Fails the Evidence Test

According to Sen. Feinstein, an AR-15 is a military weapon. No militaries use civilian AR-15s. It is most likely she is getting civilian AR-15s confused with M16s or M4 carbines.
According to Sen. Feinstein, an AR-15 is a military weapon. No militaries use civilian AR-15s. It is most likely she is getting civilian AR-15s confused with M16s or M4 carbines.

U.S.A. –-( I’ve watched gun-control advocates slide down the slippery slope. At first, their spokesmen said gun-control was simply common sense. Unfortunately for them, each gun-control law is a claim that can be tested. Instead of changing their beliefs as we learned more, gun-control advocates simply chanted their old arguments louder and longer. Gun-control must have saved one life somewhere, they claimed. Eventually, the gun control-talking-heads had to turn their eyes away from the facts and ignore the damage they caused. For our part, we passed gun control laws because they felt good rather than did good. Like many public policy issues, we think we’re talking about evidence when we’re really discussing how we feel.

Superstition is holding an unjustified belief because of the way it makes us feel. It is easy to think we’re too sophisticated to have superstitious beliefs. Fortunately for us, evidence is one of the best tests to separate truth from superstition. The bad news is that there is an intellectual progression beyond superstition. The truth doesn’t matter once you’re clinging to dogma and rationalization. At that point, you’re hanging on to any idea that justifies your beliefs. We told ourselves some real lies about gun-control.

We passed gun-prohibition in the 1870s to protect white women from black men. At least that is what we told ourselves. We try to make the same argument look good today by saying poor minorities are plagued with drugs and we’re saving innocent lives by disarming the black community. Today we say that a single woman can’t manage a gun for self-defense and we’re making her family safer by leaving her defenseless. We said a lot of things that sounded reasonable at one time. They sound racists and sexist today. Rather than change our actions or our beliefs, we simply dressed up old prohibitions in new rationalizations. We put new excuses on old bigotry.

  • It sounded like a good idea to require background checks before someone could buy a gun. In fact, criminals don’t buy their guns legally. That is why background checks don’t stop criminals from getting guns. We didn’t disarm criminals, and the people who want to commit suicide did so even if they didn’t have a gun. We looked at decades of data, and mandatory background checks didn’t reduce the rates of homicide or suicide. I’m sorry to say there is more bad news and these laws might have done more harm than good. Disarming the law-abiding victims left them more vulnerable to crime and so increased rates of violence. At least gun-control laws let us feel good about ourselves.
  • It sounds sensible that barring someone from ever owning a gun after a non-violent misdemeanor might make us safer. We thought that someone might be violent if they once shouted at their domestic partner. We learned that people who will commit murder are not stopped by taking away their legal guns. Unfortunately, we also let an abusive ex-partner make false claims and use the law to disarm the honest victim of abuse. At least we got to feel good about ourselves by supporting “domestic violence gun prohibition”.
  • Today we are told we can stop pre-crime with red-flag gun confiscation. In fact, we’ve had mental health restraining order for about two decades. These laws didn’t work.. but don’t have to let that bother the virtue we feel for our gun-control beliefs. It turns out that people who are going to commit murder or suicide aren’t stopped when we take away their guns. Red-flag laws didn’t significantly reduce deaths in mass murder, aggravated assault, robbery or burglary either. We never expected that making false accusations would stop crime. We pretended those false accusations never happened so we could continue feeling good about stopping violence.. even when we didn’t.
  • Age restrictions on buying a firearm make sense because we all remember the crazy things we did as kids. We forgot that young adults under 21 years of age live in cheap apartments when they start out. We forgot that young adults are frequent victims of crime. We ignored that young women are often victims of sexual assault. Why did we think that disarming a married 20-year-old mom would make us safer? I guess it felt good at the time.
  • Guns are lethal tools. In theory, a gun that doesn’t contain as much ammunition isn’t as dangerous. Limiting the magazine capacity of a firearm makes sense.. if you don’t think about it too closely. In the real world, criminals don’t fight fair. They don’t obey our gun laws so the criminals have more ammunition than their law abiding victims. How many cartridges should my wife be allowed to have when three armed robbers break into our home? Why should a police officer have more cartridges in his gun than my wife has when she is defending our family? These feel-good laws get us killed.
  • It is comforting to imagine that guns cause violence rather than recognizing that criminals cause violence. We can imagine that taking the guns away from honest people would make us safer. That isn’t what we found. We looked at states that issued concealed carry permits. We looked at states that don’t require permits at all. Over three decades, the rate of homicide and violent crime didn’t increase when we let honest people carry a personal firearm outside the home. In cases like the city of Chicago, the murder rate fell when honest citizens were allowed to defend themselves. We’ll have to look beyond gun control for an excuse to feel good about ourselves.
  • We want to keep guns away from our children and unauthorized adults. Mandatory gun-locks seem like common sense. The number of children injured in gun accidents continues to fall. That is good news, but there is more to the story. We ignored the fact that honest people use a personal firearm to save lives every day. Will mandatory storage requirements make that easier or harder? Unfortunately, criminals don’t call ahead and give us the time we need to open a safe and load our gun. Will we give free gun safes to young couples who are just starting out and struggling to pay their bills.. or will we leave them defenseless if they obey the law? That is a hard problem, so let’s ignore the harm we cause with gun-prohibition.
  • There must be something we can do to feel good about stopping violence. Maybe we could restrict the length of a gun barrel so guns can’t be too short.. or too long. Maybe we can make it so guns can’t be too loud or too quiet. Maybe we can make it so guns can’t be too big or too small, too cheap or too expensive, too inaccurate or too precise? Those ideas might work if criminals obeyed our laws. I’m sorry, but we have the criminals we have rather than the criminals that gun-control promised us. That doesn’t feel good at all.

Things don’t turn out the way we imagined or the way we wanted. We make good-sounding excuses for bad ideas. Unfortunately, some of these ideas were bad from the start. We were sold a lie because it benefitted some politicians and their special interests. Life is more complex than a politician’s promise.

There is one thing, however, that we do know for sure. When the government and the criminals are the only ones with have guns, then the elites have all the power. That frightens me.

Maybe I’m overly trusting. My neighbors may not be perfect, but I’d rather trust my neighbors to own a gun responsibly than trust a lawmaker who exempts himself from our laws. Liberty is dangerous, but it is the safest solution we have.


About Rob MorseSlow Facts

The original article is here. Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob is an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.

  • 34 thoughts on “Science, Fantasy, and Superstition – Gun Control Fails the Evidence Test

    1. I believe the NRA is our last bastion of defending firearm ownership. I finally became an NRA life member this year. Please support our second amendment and the NRA or get ready to kiss our rights goodbye.

    2. The final paragraph, and especially the final sentence (“Liberty is dangerous, but it is the safest solution we have.”) is the most profound statement I have heard in years.

      Thank you for the honest evaluation.

    3. Nothing makes my hackles rise, and my desire to take cover faster then to see old “Finger on the Trigger ” Feinstein holding any sort of weapon. She advocates taking our rights away because we are dangerous for owning guns, while she has NO idea how to handle a firearm safely. She has two armed with guards with fully auto pistols with her at all times. Would anyone sign my petition to require all political persons to have to give up protective guards until there is the right for all citizens to carry ???

    4. Everyone would be better off if feinswine would turn that gun and suck on the barrel. She is useless and beyond any restoration of faculties. I don’t wish her any harm, though. Look what she did to Kaveneau and did it with a straight face.

    5. According to Senior DOD Official John Rood, there are now three (3) caravans of economic migrants heading our way. One of the caravans is 12,000 (twelve thousand) large. Since they seem to have caches of food, water, medicine, and transportation waiting for them at all their stops along the way, what if they had caches of full auto weapons waiting for them when they get inside the border ?

    6. Why is it that so-called “safe storage” laws are still being enacted, when the ‘debate’ on that issue is over?

      Since 2008, when the D.C. v. Heller ruling was handed down, “safe storage” laws have been unconstitutional.


      “3) …the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional.” – D.C. v. Heller (2008)


      “[A] statute which, under the pretense of regulating, amounts to a destruction of the right, or which requires arms to be so borne as to render them wholly useless for the purpose of defense [is] clearly unconstitutional.”

      So I ask again: Why are these laws still being enacted?

      1. They are still enacted because they make someone “feel better” and those that don’t use firearms are uneducated concerning firearms so they don’t give a damn.

      2. @Barry H, Obama taught every office holder, in every governmental entity in the U.S. that they could enforce what they liked (e.g. unconstitutional statutes) and ignore their official duties, the Civil Rights of Americans, and even real law (e.g. proper and Constitutional Acts of Congress). Every governmental entity from the local city council to federal judiciary to the Congress is doing what ever the heck they please.
        We have got to get back to the Constitution.

    7. You’re barking up the wrong tree Lassie (Ammoland). Gun control confiscation is not about public safety its about the New Aristocracies safety. They don’t want us armed. All the facts and figures you put out mean nothing. Start talking about how gun control is about CONTROL. Then I will listen to or read your arguments.

    8. Unfortunately, all of us agreeing with each other is for naught. We need to educate those who do not allow ignorance of a subject to stand in the way of them voicing their opinion or inflicting their poorly thought through “solutions” on us.

      The TRUE solution is education and teaching people to be critical thinkers not “sheeple”

      1. The “Critical Thinker Ship” sailed long ago after the formation of the Dept of Indoctrination…er, Education. Young people are largely incapable of critical thinking….just regurgitating Lefty teachings.

        1. And now some states like Washington amd Oregon are allowing these brainwashed misguided youth to drive legislation for even stricter gun laws. So the youth are being consulted for legislation that affects adults? What these factions who are pushing for gun control, bans, and confiscation are so blind to, is the fact that they are pushing to have their very OWN rights taken away! Progressive liberals are counting on a spreading wave of emotion-driven decisions to accomplish their goal of full disarmament of the American people. Along with that some Democrats in office are also pressing for another version of Operation Choke point. That mouthpiece Maxine Waters is proposing legislation to put pressure on banks and credit agencies that do business with firearms manufacturers and dealers. And all day long I hear people say, “that will never happen” or “that won’t pass”. Guess what, it IS happening and those laws ARE being passed. We as law-abiding gun owners had better stand up and NOW… We are going to need to organize in the massive numbers that we have seen from the other side of the fence to stop this trainwreck which is spreading throughout the country like cancer…

    9. Fear… The one overwhelming factor that the unknowing present as motivation to more and more useless legislation. That’s all this boils down to. Fear. As a Vietnam Veteran and now a retired Police Officer, I have spent most of my life around weapons of all kinds. I have seen what they can do, in the wrong hands. Yet, I own firearms. I grew up around them, and have a healthy and educated respect for them. I carry a sidearm when I go out of the house. Fear? Or perhaps a saddened acknowledgement that our society, as a whole, has been subjected to some of the most prolific and toxic media presentations over the years; all designed to evoke an emotional response. We have become polarized and segmented by race, gender, religion, economic strata, political opinion, etc., etc., etc. Our moral guidance has been tainted. Our ethical balances have been tipped beyond the pale. And our elected representatives, in many cases, exist by virtue of that fear. Firearms are prolific in this country. Agreed. Yet, statistically, if there was a problem with the responsible gun owners, it would be far more apparent. It is estimated that U.S. civilians own 393 million firearms, and that 35% to 42% of the households in the country have at least one gun. The US has the highest estimated number of guns per capita, at 120.5 guns for every 100 people (source: Wikipedia). It is illegal to own a firearm as a convicted felon. It is illegal to own a gun if you’re underage. It is illegal to use a gun in the commission of a crime, etc., etc., etc. Yet, people keep crying for “more laws, more controls”, while ignoring the basic facts of gun ownership. Personal responsibility!! Is it the firearm’s fault that the person using it commits a crime? Is it the firearm’s fault that a person commits suicide to end their life for whatever reason? Is it the firearm’s fault that a child gets their hands on one without proper supervision? But, these considerations are by-passed in the name of fear. Fear that one could become a victim. Fear that a loved one could be hurt. Fear that a firearm could take away from us something precious. But Cain didn’t need a firearm to kill Abel, did he? Over the millennia, societies have dominated or enslaved others without firearms. Dictators and tyrants have imposed their wills over populations divested of the ways and means to defend themselves. Look it up. It’s all in the history books. Personal responsibility. Directed enforcement. Proper judicial punishment. Education. Moral compass. These things are what’s needed today. Not hyperbole, fear mongering, and more feel-good legislation.

      1. People might want to remember that at one time the powers that be did not want the masses to be able to possess/use the longbow and later the crossbow because it was possible to then more easily defeat the ruler’s enforcers. “There is nothing new under the Sun.”

      2. All of what you say is true. I have posed the question countless times to those who are in favor of more and more gun control: instead of pushing for more useless legislation that only serves to furhter infringe on our rights, why is there virtually ZERO effort in getting to the root cause of what makes a human want to hurt or kill other humans? I have never gotten a direct response for this. Which further proves that the end goal is not to help society with this particular problem, to reduce the NEED or DESIRE to kill others. It is not to help those who are in need of mental or psychological help. It is not to get someone out of their spiraling downward descent or their hopeless poverty. The objective, as mentioned here many times, is to eventually fully disarm everyone, except for government and law enforcement. When someone posts, “Don’t be paranoid, no one is coming for your guns”, I call them liars. They ARE coming for our guns. Not by sweeping the streets in armored cars and kicking in doors(although it may eventually come to that), but by instilling fear in enough of the population that key positions are voted on, then filled with people who will push through feel-good laws that give them a false sense of security. These misguided fools are so brainwashed they are blind to the fact that they are pressing SO hard to have their very OWN rights taken away! The March For Our Lives should be renamed to The March For Our Rights To Be Taken From Us…

    10. There is no mystery to it. They know exactly what they are doing. The purpose of “gun safety” legislation is to reduce the ability of We the Peons to resist the global onslaught of collectivism. It’s harder to perpetrate outrages on an armed populace.

    11. Feinstein and ALL her dem protege’s fail miserably at seeing the real truth of the matter! Over and over again they cry “gun control”! I practise “gun control” everytime I touch one. I’ve interrogated everyone of them to see which one might be an objector.
      As soon as these gun hating mongrels (fearful demorats) figure out a way to get the criminals to stop stealing guns, buying illegal guns and buying guns illegally….Ill stop dreaming about seeing Chuck and Nancy thru the crosshairs!

    12. Feinstein hates guns because her buddies Milk and Moscone were shot and killed years ago in San Francisco and she has been on a crusade to get rid of guns.

    13. Ever notice when democrats are involved, things turn to crap? Democrats: The best liars, cheats and thieves America has to offer.

    14. According to Ms. Feinswine, an AR-15 is a military weapon. No militaries use civilian AR-15s. It is most likely she is getting civilian AR-15s confused with M16s or M4 carbines.

      She is purposely conflating the two,she knows one is full auto and the other is not. The Marxist left keeps stating they want to have a conversation,when what they want is US civilian disarmament ,to quote Ms. Feinswine,”Mr and Mrs America Turn Them All In”,now that is her genuine conversation.

      1. Dianne Feinstein is far from “Marxist”. She and her husband are ruthless billionaire capitalists. All their friends are ruthless billionaire capitalists.
        Her fear of firearms is as old as history. The ruling class is always fearful if the peasants are armed. They are fearful because they are few and the peasants are many.
        Corporate globalism is the driving force to disarm us. “The left” was defeated during the red scares of the 20th century. Now conservative, armed citizens are the target of the globalists because only we can resist them.

        1. She’s a communist. The upper echelons in the communist party are always rich. Read Orwell’s Animal Farm.

      2. If the founding fathers were to have there way there would be no AR-15’s in civilian hands. We would all have M16’s or M4’s.

        1. If we were wealthy enough we could have them. Most of the extremely and not so extremely wealthy already have so many they need extra guards to help carry them.

          If we were wealthy enough we could become full members of the global elite. Use there greedy strategies to take over their corporations along with their machine guns. We should hire our own guards.

          Well, its a thought worth developing.

    Comments are closed.