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The Ultimate Takedown of All Gun Arguments

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I have very strong opinions and thoughts on firearms and the purpose of this page is to inform people about the Second Amendment and provide historical, legal, and scientific information to take down various gun arguments. There are a lot of people who are either naive on a topic or are woefully ignorant. People who argue various “pro-gun” stances aren’t any different. The same can apply to various “gun safety” advocates.

However, the “pro-gun” group of people is very vocal in their arguments (ie loud) but that doesn’t mean they are right. Indeed, gun owners make some of the worst historians.

Note that doesn’t mean I dislike you as a person (in fact I have a few friends who are very vocal in their “pro-gun” and “anti-gun” stances*), what I dislike is hearing friends and fellow citizens repeat the same bullshit and falling for it.

I wanted a page I could refer to that outlines the arguments and picks them apart. This page is a constant work in progress.

*I don’t like the terms “pro-gun” or “anti-gun” as it suggests a false binary choice. I struggle with how to properly define the positions to be as generous as possible and haven’t yet figured that out.


Why should you believe me? Well, I am somewhat of an amateur historian. I’ve published a book that required in-depth research. I know how to read and correctly interpret historical information, follow sources around, and conduct original research. I have a master’s degree in political science so I know how to evaluate scientific studies for accuracy. I know how to pick apart arguments and find logical fallacies and inconsistencies. I am also a gun owner who owns multiple firearms and who enjoys shooting them so I am familiar with the gun terminology.

Argument: Define Assault Weapon

People who toss this out are seeking to undermine your argument because they assume you’re going to say something other than the accepted denotation of an assault weapon.

Which in their eyes is something like a “…military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and that has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire.” Source: Britannica.

The emphasis being on the ability to switch. Some gun folk will argue it refers to just full autos.

If you say anything different they have a canned reply like “we already regulate and control full autos under the NFA” and use that to shut you down.

However, society creates definitions, specific to certain circumstances, that often deviate from what is defined in the dictionary.

Take peanut butter for example, Merriam-Webster defines it as “a creamy food made from peanuts”. However, to commercially sell it it needs to meet some requirements such as “seasoning and stabilizing ingredients [which] not in the aggregate exceed 10 percent of the weight of the finished food” and “The fat content of the finished food shall not exceed 55 percent…” See Title 21, Chapter I Subchapter B Part 164, Subpart B, Section 164.150 of the Federal Register.

Like to think that all laws must meet the dictionary definition is just a myopic way of thinking about what laws are and do. Society would be worse off if all laws depended on what’s in the dictionary.

The one mulligan I’ll give them is that under the previous Assault Weapon Ban, there were some things that focused on the cosmetics of a gun such as having a folding stock or a pistol grip. A better solution would be to call it a “Semi Auto Ban” and focus just on that firing mechanic.

I like the proposed Assault Weapon Ban of 2023 bill that defines it as:

(A) utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing shell to extract the fired shell casing and chamber the next round; and

“(B) requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each shell.

I wish that would apply to all guns instead of also going into another round of cosmetics.

That said, the whole point is to just quibble over language instead of focusing on the real issue of too many guns in the hands of too many unaccountable people who have 0 business owning one.

Argument: Concealed Carry Laws Existed At the Founding So that means we should be able to have them

This argument relies on a moving definition of the Founding as well as applying a modern legal sense to early America.

It’s true that in 1788, the date of the Constitution, there were no laws at the federal or state level that specifically banned concealed carry or regulated it.

The first laws against concealed carry were with the states. The adoption date for the state laws prohibiting or regulating the concealed carrying of deadly weapons in the early Republic would appear to be: Kentucky, February 3, 1813; Louisiana, March 25, 1813; Indiana, January 14, 1820; Georgia December 25, 1837; Tennessee, January 27, 1838; Virginia, February 2, 1838; Alabama, February 1, 1839.

Arkansas remains somewhat mysterious, but its legislature definitely banned the carrying of concealed weapons sometime during the 1837-38 legislative session, though this may have been simply a restatement of a preexisting territorial statute.


Argument: The 2a is about individual gun ownership

The 2a reads as follows:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The purpose was to protect the people’s individual right to have a gun as a part of the militia and to secure this right at the federal level by making it a constitutionally protected right. It was never about being able to constitutionally have a gun as a mere individual unconnected to the militia.

Essentially, you have the right to keep and bear arms for service in a well-regulated militia.

Indeed, this is because in Article I, Section 8 of the Consitution (which pro-gun folks ignore) the states transferred to Congress the power “to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel Invasions” and “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia.”

This was one of the most radical features of the original Constitution; under the Articles of Confederation, states had complete control of their militias. Opponents of ratification suggested that the new federal government might proceed to disarm and dissolve the state militias and create instead a national standing army. 

The Second Amendment most clearly addresses that concern, and that has led a number of historians to suggest that the Amendment really has no relation to any personal right of individuals to “keep and bear arms.

This is because there wasn’t an individual right to own a gun. In fact, owning guns outside of the militia all fell under common law, not constitutional law.

Being in the militia was seen as a civic duty. The state govt told you to get a gun and you had to keep it and maintain it and store it. It’s similar to the Swiss militia model of participatory democracy. The founders (especially in Federalist 46) trusted the people with the guns because the roots of support for democracy originate locally and local people control who is in charge of the militia. Local militias can suppress rebellions from below and tyranny from above.

Additionally, after being required to billet Redcoats in their own homes, many didn’t want, and the broke government was unable to pay for, a standing army. So they set up the militia system where citizens would be required to buy their own guns and accouterments, be trained by the states, and be called up as necessary by the Federal government. It was to protect the US from enemies outside of the US or to go to war to gain territory. The Founders didn’t imagine they would not answer the call, but the New York militia refused in the War of 1812. When you read the history of the Civil War you read of the individual states’ units that were called up.

The legacy of that system is the National Guard. The Militia Act of 1903 started the federalization of the system, which eventually led to acts in 1916 in which the Federal Government paid the expenses, and in 1933. All National Guardsmen have been members of both their State National Guard (or militia) and the National Guard of the United States.

To believe this argument you have to also ignore early drafts of the 2a. One of which was drafted on August 24th, 1789 –

“A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person”

As you can see, there’s a direct connection between the People keeping and bearing arms and being part of a well-regulated militia.

“The Militia” and the “The people” weren’t two legally different things in the eyes of the founders, they were one and the same.

Argument: SCOTUS Said you cannot ban guns in “common use”

Argument: The US Assault Weapon Ban Didn’t Impact Crime

The problem with these blanket statements is that the people who make them are just lumping everything together in one pot, which ignores the causes of certain crimes.

Even if you get them to focus on gun crime they’ll move the goalposts and declare it a failure because it didn’t do insert_their_preferred_outcome_here.

And finally, the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, targeted pistols, rifles, and large-capacity magazines (LCMs). So any discussion needs to parse out what was banned.

Kopher and Jeffery Roth published in 1999 an article: Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban: 1994–96 which found a temporary reduction in murders in 1995 that cannot really be explained other than the ban. This is after controlling for preexisting bans, bans on juvenile handgun possession, quality of life policing, three strikes laws, preexisting murder trends, demographic changes, and economic changes. Though the sampling is small with 15 states it’s probably the ban which reduced murders.

That said, many gun nuts will say the Department of Justice says it had 0 impact. They point to: Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence 1994-2003 by Christopher S. Koper in 2004.

This paper says the results are mixed as crimes using assault rifles and pistols dropped in large cities but it was offset by crimes committed using LCMs. Hence “mixed results” but not 0 results.

The article goes on to say “Because the ban has not yet reduced the use of LCMs in crime, we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. However, the ban’s exemption of millions of pre-ban AWs and LCMs ensured that the effects of the law would occur only gradually. Those effects are still unfolding and may not be fully felt for several years into the future, particularly if foreign, pre-ban LCMs continue to be imported into the U.S. in large numbers. ” suggesting it would have worked if the ban didn’t automatically sunset in 2004.

This, I would argue is consistent with bans in other countries and our own experience banning the sale and mfg of full autos for the civilian market. It also matches our experience passing laws to improve road safety. Any effects take awhile if not a generation.

Indeed, in separate research published in Criminology & Public Policy in January 2020, Christopher S. Koper, principal fellow of George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy and the author of the Department of Justice review of the 1994 assault weapons ban, focused on the role of large-capacity magazines (as opposed to assault weapons) in mass shootings.

“Crimes with AWs [assault weapons] began to decline shortly after the ban’s passage, likely in part because of the interest of collectors and speculators in these weapons, which helped to drive their prices higher through the end of the 1990s (thus making them less accessible and affordable to criminal users),” Koper wrote. “Criminal use of other semiautomatics equipped with LCMs [large-capacity magazines], however, appeared to climb or remain steady through the late 1990s and into the early 2000s, adjusting for overall trends in gun crime. Available evidence suggests that criminal LCM use eventually declined below pre-ban levels but only near the ban’s expiration in 2004. As noted, crimes with LCM firearms have since increased.”

Koper argues that the “most important provisions of assault weapons law” are restrictions on large-capacity magazines, because “they can produce broader reductions in the overall use of high-capacity semiautomatics that facilitate high-volume gunfire attacks.”

“This rise in LCM use would arguably have not happened, or at least not to the same degree, had Congress extended the ban in 2004,” Koper states. “Considering that mass shootings with high-capacity semiautomatics are considerably more lethal and injurious than other mass shootings, it is reasonable to argue that the federal ban could have prevented some of the recent increase in persons killed and injured in mass shootings had it remained in place.”

Specifically, Koper concluded, “Data on mass shooting incidents suggest these magazine restrictions can potentially reduce mass shooting deaths by 11% to 15% and total victims shot in these incidents by one quarter, likely as upper bounds.”

The success of any ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, Koper said, may depend on how the law is implemented, especially with regard to the treatment of pre-ban weapons.

Koper argues that “exemptions and loopholes” in the 1994 assault weapons ban likely blunted the short-term effects of the law. Millions of existing weapons and magazines were “grandfathered,” making them legal to own, and importers were able to import tens of millions of large-capacity magazines manufactured before the ban took effect.

Argument: The Australian Gun Ban Didn’t Impact Crime

The problem with these blanket statements is that the people who make them are just lumping everything together in one pot, which ignores the causes of certain crimes.

Even if you get them to focus on gun crime they’ll move the goalposts and declare it a failure because it didn’t do insert_their_preferred_outcome_here.

Rand has a fantastic analysis: The Effects of the 1996 National Firearms Agreement in Australia on Suicide, Homicide, and Mass Shootings By Rajeev Ramchand, Jessica Saunders that goes into a lot more detail on it.

Essentially, the strongest evidence is consistent with the claim that the NFA caused reductions in firearm suicides, mass shootings, and female homicide victimization.

One study (McPhedran, 2018) provides convincing statistically significant evidence that firearm homicides changed after the implementation of the NFA—specifically, that there was an absolute reduction in female firearm homicide victimization.

There appears to be a decline of mass shootings but they were already rare events to begin with so it’s hard to tease out a casual relationship.

Suicide rates of all (including and not including firearms) declined after the passage. However, there was already a declining trend in the works so hard to tease out. It could be the law just accelerated the decline.

Early Firearm Legislation and Control

Firearms and Weapon Legislation up to the 20th Century

Colonial Firearm Regulation



Arms and The Man: What did the Right to Keep Arms Mean in the Early Republic?

Gun Regulation, the Police Power, and the Right to Keep Arms in Early America: The Legal Context of the Second Amendment

A Well Regulated Right: Early American Origins of Gun Control

Ohio 1933 Gun Law required permitting and bonding of certain semi-automatic firearms. See also my Google Doc article on overthrowing the govt is not a right here.

Taxes in Early pre and Colonial America: Includes references to gunpowder.

The Second Amendment and Firearms Regulation: A Venerable Tradition Regulating Liberty While Securing Public Safety

Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved

Counting Guns in Early America

Grammar and the Second Amendment Meanings

Comma in the Second Amendment

Clauses in the Second Amendment

Guns and Grammar: Commas and the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment in Context: The Case of the Vanishing Predicate

Argument: Universal Background Checks Would Require Registration

We already have an indirect method of registration. If the Govt wanted to it could track purchases via bank transactions and serial numbers by issuing subpoenas to banks. It could then deduce, using AI and cross-referencing various data tables that you bought a firearm. The data exists as does a way to track purchases. It’s really only a matter of time before we end up with de facto registration.

It could also be a corporation that decides to correlate all this data and sell “firearm data as a service” to the govt or other interested parties.

Additionally, this argument implies Registration of firearms is a bad idea because it leads to confiscation/tyranny (the slippery slope). This isn’t inherently true any more than car registration leads to confiscation/tyranny.

The slippery slope is more like a flight of stairs, in which it is quite possible to make a valid argument for taking the first step, e.g., universal background checks, which would still allow law-abiding citizens to own guns, without logically committing oneself to several steps down, e.g., a gun ban, under which even law-abiding citizens would be barred from gun ownership.

Even as a historical matter, there is no basis to believe that enacting some gun regulation leads inevitably to broad gun bans. Take the idea of registering guns like we register cars. Gun partisans have an intense fear of registration because they regard it as a slippery slope to confiscation; once the government knows who owns the guns, it will be nicely positioned to confiscate them.

Argument: Permitting and Registration is Unconstitutional and/or leads to Tyranny

This argument evolves naturally into Godwin’s Law. There’s nothing inherent about permitting and gun registration that will lead to tyranny. Other Western countries have strong permitting processes and yet aren’t controlled by a dictator.

Some will argue that it’s unconstitutional. That’s not inherently true.

Permits and gun registration existed at the founding. What were Militia Muster rolls but a list of who owns what guns in what condition? Permits did exist for certain types of people like blacks but any such racial permitting would probably be struck down by the Supreme Court. However, the concept of permitting did exist at the founding.


Muster Rolls showing who owned what guns

Argument: Owning Guns Prevents Tyranny and Preserves Freedom

It doesn’t. In fact, just the opposite. Having too many guns can threaten a free state.

Additionally, this argument misunderstands how free countries (ie democratic ones) slide into dictatorships. It’s never “one event”, it’s a continuous slide and erosion of norms and constitutional guardrails either by choice or accident. It’s a slow burn that you never really see until it already happens.

We can look at one example, in the US when 110,000 Japanese (along with a comparative handful of Italians and Germans) were put into camps. Gun ownership was around at the time yet this group didn’t resist the clear tyrannical actions.

Also, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are heavily armed countries yet nobody would say there’s a lot of freedom there. Comparatively, Israel sees the same arms rate as Iran yet again nobody would say Iran is the pinnacle of freedom. Israel has an individual civilian rate of around 7% with 1 out of 19 owning a gun as a private individual. Iran has the same rate of 7% of civilians owning private guns.

Sources: and and

Tunisia which has one of the lowest individual arms rates in the World launched a pro-democracy revolution.

If owning guns stops tyranny, why did the US put down Shay’s Rebellion, The Whiskey Rebellion, Fries Rebellion, Nat Turner’s Rebellion (technical the state of VA did), John Browns Raid, fight the Civil War, and put down the Jan 6th Coup attempt? Why not just let these people do what they want to do and overthrow the govt (federal or state)? Maybe because you don’t get to decide when “tyranny” happens and this country has a process to sort out political differences? Indeed, the fact that they were not permitted speaks volumes.

Moreover, even the inverse “Not owning guns results in Tyranny” doesn’t hold up. Ignoring the fact here that very very few countries completely ban guns for use by civilians, most just restrict it, there are plenty of countries that have severe gun restrictions and are considered to be freer (human, political, and economic) than the US. Switzerland and the Netherlands both rank high according to the Cato Institute and the Heritage Institute.

In addition, the founders’ definition of Tyranny is different than our modern conceptions of it (which brings to mind Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot, etc.). They were worried about Tyranny being forced upon the United States from abroad, as well as a Government naturally evolving into Tyranny, and a “Tyranny of the Majority”.

You can have “mob rule” (which is something the founders were worried about as they looked at the excesses of the French Revolution) and create Tyranny that makes citizens scared or hesitant to act in public life. “Tyranny of the Majority” is a concept the founders were well aware of.

Lastly, while having guns is argued by Madison in Federalist 46 as a “…a barrier against the enterprizes of ambition [tyranny]…”, he goes on to explain that it is this as well as “… the existence of subordinate governments to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed…”

Conceptually for Madison, citizens would be armed but this arming is attached to the state/local governments (those subordinate governments) and have citizen-appointed Militia officers.

He goes on to say if people in other countries “…were to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned”.

The full Federalist 46 quotes can be found here.

Even Hamilton in Federalist 29 argued that Militias would be a check on Tyranny, not random citizens because the militia is controlled by the state, which in our Federal system acts as a check on the National government.

This all brings us back to having a militia controlled locally as a bulwark against tyranny. Pro-gun folks like to mention the first part (the guns) without the rest (locally controlled and subordinate).

That’s not how the 2a works anymore. In fact, in the 1790s the founders quickly found out how useless this concept of a Citizen Militia is at a national level when they all broke and ran during St Clair’s defeat. And again during the War of 1812 when the New York State Militia refused to cross into Canada to support troops engaged at the Battle of Chippewa.

So the concept that guns somehow support freedom and prevent tyranny is just a philosophical feel-good statement rather than something grounded in objective reality.

It’s bullshit.


Argument: Owning Guns Preserves Natural Right to Overthrow Govt

This argument is true, of course, but also perfectly irrelevant. The US revolutionaries undoubtedly asserted their right as a matter of natural law to overthrow a tyrannical government. But that is completely different from the claim that the American Constitution itself — our binding positive law — guarantees a right to overthrow the American government. Our Constitution does not even guarantee the right to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience to press reform, as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis learned from the inside of many a jail cell. Much less does the Constitution guarantee the right to engage in violent civil disobedience to revolt.

If the American government were to engage in true tyranny — like slaughtering and oppressing the population —, then yes we the people would undoubtedly have a right to recite our grievances, proclaim our cause to the world, cut the ties that bind and engage in the kind of revolutionary struggle, with firearms, that the American colonists did. Indeed, at that point, it’s not like gun control laws are going to stop a revolutionary army, people are going to get the arms they need. So it’s kinda moot to argue.

Moreover, it would be meaningless and silly to argue that it is the Constitution that granted us the right to do all that.

As the historian, Garry Wills long ago explained: “A people can overthrow a government it considers unjust. But it is absurd to think that it does so by virtue of that unjust government’s own authority. The appeal to heaven is an appeal away from the earthly authority of the moment, not to that authority.”


Argument: The Second Amendment Preserves the right of the People to overthrow a gov’t they think is Tyrannical

No, it doesn’t.

Argument: What Law would Prevent it?

This argument doesn’t understand the purpose of laws. No law is going to stop every event. Laws can help reduce the severity, intensity, and duration of an event. Japan with super strict gun control laws has about 20 deaths a year.

To take a parallel event, the US used to have an obscenely high car death rate. We studied it and then implemented various policies such as having plastic construction barrels instead of metal, adding in guardrails, mandating car safety requirements like seat belts, and ensuring the roads don’t bank too high that would cause a car to flip. We still have car deaths but compared with historic highs they are really low.

Yes, gun violence is a multifaceted issue in this country so it’s going to take a variety of approaches to deal with it including new rules and restrictions on who can own what types of firearms.

Additionally, we know domestic abusers have a strong association with firearms. The strong association between firearms, domestic violence (particularly intimate partner homicide), and additional victimization suggests that prioritization of measures to decrease access to firearms to perpetrators of domestic violence may also reduce the incidence of mass shootings as found in the article, Domestic Violence, Firearms, and Mass Shootings by Liza H. Gold published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Argument: Guns aren’t the problem they are tools it’s… The erosion of family unit/The liberal agenda/mental-illness/Being Woke/Secularism/Video Games/Bud Light/Insert_other_thing_you_dislike_here

This supposes that guns are morally neutral objects. While true, it’s beside the point.

Would we find this reasoning persuasive in other contexts involving dangerous products? Consider automobiles, for example. A car also is pretty innocuous sitting in a driveway, until it comes into contact with a driver who may be untrained or reckless. Yet our public policy toward preventing auto injuries is not confined to punishing careless or reckless drivers following a tragedy.

We think it equally important to have a licensing system in place to prevent untrained and potentially high-risk people from driving in the first place. Similarly, we should have laws in place to prevent dangerous people from having guns—at the very least, required background checks for all gun sales.

In addition, other countries have similar degrees of family unit erosion, liberal agendas (either large “L” or small “l”, one denoting an ideology and another a set of policies), anti-racist policies, secularism, mental illness and bud light consumption. And yet don’t have the gun violence (or for that matter the homicides) the US has.

The fact is, it’s the easy access to guns by people who have 0 business having them.

Argument: We should enforce the laws we have!

There is a number, 20,000 that is thrown around by folks who want to imply that we have enough gun laws and we need to enforce them. However, there is no way to know for sure how many gun laws we actually have much less agree on what counts as a “gun law”. It’s a meaningless made-up statistic used to support this argument.

If you also ask folks to drill down to what this looks like, they remain silent because they cannot explain how this works. If a person commits a mass shooting they break multiple laws and if they survive they are arrested and in nearly all cases found guilty and to go prison. That’s doing exactly what the argument says we should do.

In reality, folks use this argument to try to shut debate over “crime control” and prevent further restrictive gun laws that would attempt to control access to weapons before someone commits a criminal act.


Argument: We Let Criminals out

Additionally, they’ll say we let violent offenders out. Suggesting that policies are too lenient. Again here it’s hard to define what they mean but presumably, they say we don’t arrest and jail people who commit crimes using a gun.

This is also hard to pin down as just because someone is arrested doesn’t mean they’re guilty of a crime. They are entitled to their day in court.

The truth is plenty of people get arrested and are found guilty of using a gun in a crime. Roughly 20% of all inmates in state and federal prisons are there in part because they used a gun during a crime. This comes from a 2016 survey of inmates.

Also, any cursory search in Google News brings up people constantly getting arrested for gun crimes.

Argument: We should be like Switzerland or Israel

Gun nuts like to toss this around because those countries have a high degree of gun ownership and are seemingly “safer” (ie less crime).

But both countries have greater restrictions on civilian/individual gun ownership than the US. Switzerland has had a central gun registry since 2008, safe storage laws, permits on certain semi-auto and high-capacity guns, permits to carry a gun in public, passing a firearms examination test, etc.

Israel requires civilians to get a firearm license to acquire a gun and pass criminal, health, and mental history checks as well as pass a weapons training course.

Argument: Slippery Slope!

The Slippery Slope Argument: If everything is a slippery slope, then nothing is. Specifically, just because we ban semi-auto rifles (or take any other actions) doesn’t also mean we take the steps now or 500 years in the future to confiscate them.

It’s like saying “I won’t take my car to get repaired because I worry they may also find I need an oil change. It’s a slippery slope.”

What this is really about is an “… imagined peril of a multicultural majority running the show. Many countries that do more to protect their citizens against gun violence are more, not less, free than we are. According to the libertarian Cato Institute, 16 countries enjoy a higher level of overall freedom than the United States, and most of them ban or severely restrict ownership of assault weapons. The freedom to have your head blown off in an Applebee’s, to flee in terror from the bang of a backfiring engine, might not be freedom at all.”

More to the point, very few countries legally ban all guns for civilians. What they do is restrict who can have what guns when and where and how. North Korea in the 2018 small arms survey is estimated to have 76,000 guns in private hands. Though that’s down from 2005 when it had 130,000. See also,Karp, Aaron. 2018 ‘Civilian Firearms Holdings, 2017.’ Estimating Global Civilian-Held Firearms Numbers. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Also, you can hunt with guns in North Korea, it’s just restricted. However, it’s all admittedly hard to pin down.

Even under the Soviet Union, you could own a gun. Though with varying degrees throughout its history. After Stalin died you could own a smoothbore hunting rifle without a hunting license.

The slippery slope argument would have validity if it were difficult to logically distinguish the proposal at the top of the slope (say, universal background checks) from the feared proposal at the bottom of the slope, i.e., a complete ban on gun ownership. But of course, support for a proposal like universal background checks, closing the “terror gap,” and even licensing of gun owners and registration of guns does not logically entail support for a broad gun ban.

The slippery slope is more like a flight of stairs, in which it is quite possible to make a valid argument for taking the first step, e.g., universal background checks, which would still allow law-abiding citizens to own guns, without logically committing oneself to several steps down, e.g., a gun ban, under which even law-abiding citizens would be barred from gun ownership.

Even as a historical matter, there is no basis to believe that enacting some gun regulation leads inevitably to broad gun bans. Take the idea of registering guns like we register cars. Gun partisans have an intense fear of registration because they regard it as a slippery slope to confiscation; once the government knows who owns the guns, it will be nicely positioned to confiscate them.

But the State of Pennsylvania, for example, has maintained a database of persons who lawfully purchased handguns since 1931, and there is no reason to believe that the authorities are likely to start knocking on the doors of Pennsylvania gun owners, demanding the surrender of their guns.

The fact is that the slippery slope argument is, at its core, nothing but uninformed speculation. There is, however, a steep social cost to that speculation if we allow it to block the enactment of sensible policies, like universal background checks, that help to prevent dangerous people from getting guns. If Congress had been persuaded by the slippery slope argument during the Brady Bill debate, since 1994 we would have allowed more than two million legally prohibited gun buyers to buy guns over-the-counter that were, instead, blocked by Brady background checks.


Argument: Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People

This is the granddaddy of them all, a brilliantly clever way of conveying two related ideas: (1) because guns themselves are morally neutral objects that become a problem only when used by dangerous people, it makes sense only to focus on punishing bad people who use guns, rather than regulating guns themselves; and (2) even if dangerous people can’t get guns, they will simply use other weapons to inflict death and injury. In short, there is no gun problem; there is only a people problem.

Would we find this reasoning persuasive in other contexts involving dangerous products? Consider automobiles, for example. A car also is pretty innocuous sitting in a driveway, until it comes into contact with a driver who may be untrained or reckless. Yet our public policy toward preventing auto injuries is not confined to punishing careless or reckless drivers following a tragedy. We think it equally important to have a licensing system in place to prevent untrained and potentially high-risk people from driving in the first place. Similarly, we should have laws in place to prevent dangerous people from having guns—at the very least, required background checks for all gun sales.

Yes, it is true that dangerous people could turn to other weapons if denied access to guns. But this is a false equivalence. Research shows that attacks with guns are five times more likely to be lethal than attacks with knives, for example. Does anyone really believe that the Orlando shooter could have killed 49 people and injured 53 others with a knife or baseball bat? Guns don’t kill people, but people with guns kill people, far more effectively and efficiently than with other weapons.

1. If people are the problem and guns aren’t a factor, why doesn’t the Right want to limit people (who have already proven themselves to be dangerous) from obtaining guns? Leaders on the Right fought for CONVICTED domestic abuse perps to have firearms. Keep in mind that it’s well known that a significant number of mass shootings are related to domestic issues.…/republicans-sought-undo……/guns-domestic-abuse…/…/study-two-thirds-of-mass-shootings…/

2. If people are the problem, why does the Right often blame mass shootings on mental health issues but then often cut mental health services?

3. There are multiple factors that contribute to our mass shooting crisis; mental health issues, a weak criminal justice system, and easy access to firearms.

4. You can’t deny the role guns play in making mass attacks easier to carry out. Most weapons are not nearly as deadly as firearms.

If you were a fourth grader trapped in a classroom, like the Uvalde victims were, would you rather the intruder have a knife or a gun?

You can’t deny that guns are a far more efficient weapon than most others. If they weren’t, people would use other weapons more often in mass attacks. I’d much rather face someone with a knife because they have to be within close proximity of their intended victims,and it takes a little longer to inflict a wound on each one. During this time, people may escape or fight back.

Do you think the Uvalde shooter would have been able to kill 21 people and injure 17 (some through walls!) with a knife?

Do you think the 370+ officers there that day would have hesitated for 70+ minutes if the intruder would have had a knife? An officer even said they were hesitant to breach the rooms because of the gun type.

5. Spare me the, “shall not be infringed,” rant. Just because I’m saying gun control can help address this problem doesn’t mean I support total gun bans and confiscations. I don’t.

There isn’t a serious attempt by anyone in power to enact a total gun ban and confiscations, so don’t act like the 2A is under a real threat. If you disagree, show me a realistic legislative bill that calls for total gun bans and confiscations.

The gun industry has done a masterful job of convincing half the population that gun control equals total gun bans and confiscations. It doesn’t.

The general goal of gun control is to limit who has access to firearms. For example, convicted domestic abuse perps, people who display dangerous warning signs (i.e. violent history, threats, self harm), etc. should not be purchasing firearms. Some focus on strengthening background checks so people like the Uvalde shooter couldn’t have purchased their weapons. (He was known for carrying around bags of dead cats, cutting his face, starting fights, treating females aggressively, having the nickname ‘School Shooter’, etc.) Some focus on banning future sales of certain weapon styles, which I’m on the fence about because of the idea’s pros and cons. Others focus on increasing the purchasing age for certain models.


Let’s find some things we agree on and save some lives. Here is a long list of well-researched school safety proposals. You can select the ones you agree with and contact your legislators to support them. I’ll even include links to help you find your legislators’ contact info.

No single solution will solve our school shooting crisis, so we need to address the problem from as many angles as we can.

a. Require that teachers have classroom doors completely closed and locked during class. No school shooter has ever completely breached a locked classroom door. (Sandy Hook Advisory Commission)

b. Require every adult who works in a school to have completed basic First Aid, CPR, and “Stop the Bleed” training. (Ntntl. Library of Medicine states that children can bleed out in 2-5 min. The U.S. Secret Service states that the average response time is 2-5 min. While first responders are rushing to the scene, a child could bleed out on a classroom floor. Point being, the nearest adult to that child is their best chance at survivor. All teachers should be required to have the 3 trainings mentioned above. Kids spend 7 hours a day and over 170 days a year at school and should be surrounded by people who have been trained to save their life if they have a serious injury.)

c. Require that every classroom has wound packing materials and at least one tourniquet for if they’re trapped in a room with an injured victim. (This requires funding and is connected to point ‘B’.)

d. Require schools to conduct an annual safety and vulnerability assessment.

e. Require ‘See Something, Say Something’ programs in schools that teach kids to identify warning signs that someone may harm themselves or others and how to report them.

f. Make mental health services free and easily available

g. Increase school security (ex. reinforced doors, well-trained armed guards)


What we’ve been trying hasn’t worked well, so doing nothing will only result in more school tragedies. We don’t have to agree on everything, and I don’t need to hear about which points you disagree with now.

Decide which aspects of the multi-faceted plan you agree with, then use the links provided to find contact info for your legislators. Share with them the parts of the plan you agree with and encourage them to write and pass life-saving legislation as soon as possible.

You have the opportunity to push for life-saving changes to be made. It’s our responsibility to protect our nation’s youth, and we have to make progress NOW. Inaction makes us no better than the 370+ officers in Uvalde who stood around doing nothing for 70+ minutes.…/find-your-representative

Argument: Criminals Don’t Obey Gun Laws, Only Law-Abiding Citizens Do

This is the futility argument. According to the National Rifle Association and its allies, since gun laws are directed at criminals, who of course pay no attention to any laws (that’s why they’re called criminals), gun control can’t possibly be effective, except in making it harder for law-abiding citizens to have guns to defend themselves.

First, the argument is transparently circular. Of course, as to individuals who are willing to disobey gun laws, the laws are futile by definition. But what about the possibility that there are potentially violent individuals who are deterred from carrying guns by the illegality of doing so? Surely compliance with a law cannot be determined merely by looking at the instances of when the law is violated. If it could, we would regard all our criminal laws as ultimately futile because all of them are frequently violated. Should we repeal our laws against homicide because murderers don’t obey them?

It turns out that there is substantial evidence that many criminals may refrain from gun carrying because of gun control laws. In one survey, incarcerated felons who had not carried weapons during the commission of their crimes were asked why they decided against being armed. Fifty-nine percent chose the response “Against the law.”

In addition, the argument proceeds from a false premise, i.e., that the effectiveness of gun control laws depends on compliance by criminals. Take the Brady Act, for instance. It requires licensed gun dealers to submit the gun purchaser’s name for a background check and to refuse the sale if the check reveals a disqualifying record. If the dealer is willing to obey the law, the criminal’s preferred source of guns will be denied him.

“Terror gap” legislation simply adds persons on the “no-fly” list and other suspected terrorists to the categories of persons who will be denied purchases from licensed dealers. The effectiveness of such background checks do not depend on the willingness of criminals and suspected terrorists to obey the law.

Of course, it is possible that dangerous gun buyers will turn to other sources for their guns, but that is a reason to extend mandatory background checks to all gun sales, not just sales by licensed dealers. There may be some gun sellers who will ignore the law, but we don’t consider other laws to be ineffective simply because compliance is not universal.

The point is that gun control laws can reduce access to guns by criminals and terrorists without compliance with those laws by criminals and terrorists.

Argument: Only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun

It’s always striking that the NRA stance and those who subscribe to various pro-gun arguments revolve around the need to buy more guns. As in making gun manufacturers richer or ginning up support for various gun services (like concealed carry permits and training). I’m not inherently against either of these but…I do find it curious.

So this argument carries the implication that I need a gun (ie buy one) to stop a bad guy. It also paints human nature in black and white when the reality is we’re all capable at any time to be both a good guy and a bad guy. It’s literally the duality of man. Sometimes good guys go bad either knowingly or unknowingly (like a Dr. Jekyle and Mr. Hyde scenario).

Sometimes good guys don’t actively intervene in an event and instead turn and run out of fear. Other times having multiple people with guns muddies who is really the bad guy or good guy.

It’s a bullshit argument that seems to carry with it the curious notion that we should all buy guns. Weird huh?

Argument: If we ban guns people will find some other way to hurt and kill

True. Great Britain suffers from knife crime in an absolute sense because guns are hard to get. Though, it’s a bit of a misdirection as Knife Crime is higher in the US in comparison. In the US there were 4.96 homicides “due to knives or cutting instruments” in the US for every million of the population in 2016. In Britain, there were 3.26 homicides involving a sharp instrument per million people in the year from April 2016 to March 2017.

However, the goal is to reduce the duration, intensity, and frequency of an event. America has over 40,000 gun deaths a year so if we ban the selling and manufacturing of semi-autos and require those who have semi-autos to do XYZ things (or else they can sell them to the govt at a market rate) gun deaths would go down.

Would something else like Knife Crime go up? Probably but if knife crime results in less fear of being in public and in the aggregate have fewer deaths when compared to guns it’s a success.

Argument: The Battle of Athens Proves We Need Guns to Stop Political Tyranny

This is based on an incident in 1946 in Athens, TN where returning GIs stopped a corrupt election from happening. However, what modern gun supporters are doing is shoehorning our modern gun politics onto a historical event. Firstly, the veterans taking part have a completely different sense of being armed. According to a July 13th, 1996 article:

Retired school principal Harold Powers, 70, who was shot in the face during the gunfight, says he and his comrades at the time had “a completely different point of view” from today’s gun enthusiasts.

“I’m a believer in people being able to have arms,” Mr. Powers says, “but I don’t believe that this type of thing should happen very often in this country.”

Secondly, this is a single event happening at a specific time which is very much unique in US History. To try to stretch and read more into it is just trying to score political points.

Thirdly, the “guns” didn’t do the job. Sure they had some arms from a National Guard Armory but it was really the organizing power of the GIs and their skills that actually won the day. It’s likely the same event would have happened if they didn’t have access to a handful of pistols and rifles. The guns just made the event more economical, easier, and more efficient.

Lastly, you’ll note it was an organized event, not some random citizen deciding but a community-organized action, which is the essence of the 2A…letting well-regulated communities arm themselves for public defense.


Argument: Guns Needed To Stop KKK

Argument: Battle of Blair Mt. Proves We Need Guns to Stop Corporate Tyranny

The Battle of Mount Blair was a 3-day long battle between unionized Coal Miners and their corporations. It took place in 1921. It was ended when the Federal Gov’t stepped in and the coal miners, many of whom were WW1 veterans didn’t want to fire on other WW1 veterans and soldiers. It’s often seen as a continuation of other labor conflicts arising out of post-Civil War industrialization.

This event is similar to the Battle of Athens, as described above. Pro-gun folks are just shoe-horning modern politics onto a historical event to score points as “evidence”.

It’s a localized event that would’ve likely happened in some fashion. Guns just made it more efficient and deadly. Indeed, people have a natural right to self-defense.

Lastly, again here, you’ll note it was organized miners who fought back not random people with guns. But members of the community, known to all, who took part in it. Many of them were WW1 veterans who were previously trained in firearms. This harkens back to the original intent of the 2A to let local militias be free to organize and do militia duty.

Argument: If the Jews were armed there wouldn’t have been a Holocaust.

Jews were less than 1% of Germany and didn’t have high gun ownership, to begin with. Even if they had guns the Red Army lost 7 million men fighting Nazi Germany and the Jews were armed at several points and fought back. However in all instances, such as the Warsaw Uprising were crushed. So to pretend that somehow the Holocaust could be prevented is just absurd.

It attempts to take modern gun politics and place it over a historic event in a completely different country and period.

It also assumes that owning guns somehow prevents Tyranny.

The only exception here could be that maybe some people would survive if they had access to guns. In theory, I can buy that argument but then you have to weigh it against the other consequences of gun ownership like suicides and injuries. At this point, you start to argue utilitarianism.

Additionally, say the Jews in Germany had a 100% arms rate. Every jew including babies and kids was armed and trained and all took to the hills to fight a guerilla-style conflict after The Night of the Broken Glass.

Jews still represent 1% of the population so they don’t have the numbers to begin with to offer much of a resistance against massive state resources. Indeed, how would supply work? Fighters need food and water and bullets. How would recruiting work to build back losses?

Moreover, since when has a heavily armed population ever given a state pause before attacking? Israel fought 3 wars against its neighbors since it was founded.

This also assumes that Jews in every country were part of some kind of monolithic Jew block. As if they could all unite in the span of 20 years and offer resistance. Jews spoke different languages and there are enough cultural nuanced differences to make working together prohibitive.

This also assumes Hitler when he got into power in 1933 would just let Jews arm themselves rather than seeking to stop arming right away (which he did by banning gun ownership for them). Maybe Jews after WW1 in the years before Hitler could have seen what was going to happen (big “if”) and worked to develop ad-hoc militias, make plans, secure firearms, and unite across language and cultural borders..but that’s a lot of speculation and completely ignores the fact that the economies in Europe weren’t great particularly in Germany under the Weimar Republic.

So are Jews going to try to secure their economic interests first or just ignore that and secure arms instead?

Lastly, plenty of people in 1930s Germany had guns, and many people, including Jews, had unregistered weapons dating from World War I. The 1928 Registry that the Weimar Republic made included only new sales and was spotty at best. Even though that Registry was used by Hitler, Dagmar Ellerbrock, an expert on German gun policies at the Dresden Technical University says “In my records, I found many Jews who well into the late 1930s possessed guns”.  

It’s a bullshit absurd argument by people who don’t understand history and just want to derail any conversation about gun control into ridiculous historical speculations.


On Gun Registration the NRA, Adolf Hitler, and Nazi Gun Laws

Argument: Hitler Took the guns

He didn’t. He actually expanded it for his preferred group of people and worked to reduce what little the rest had. Which is what dictators do.


On Gun Registration the NRA Adolf Hitler and Nazi Gun Laws

Argument: Well-Regulated meant just well-trained and disciplined.

It went well beyond just being well-trained and disciplined. It meant every essence of the word.

Argument: Red Flag Laws are Unconstitutional

These rest on two premises that they don’t provide due process before you lose your right to own a gun and that any gun restriction is unconstitutional (an absolutist statement that isn’t supported either by the Supreme Court or history).

You can argue that maybe the nuances of the state’s red flag law don’t provide enough but you go in front of a judge and plead your case. It’s like getting a restraining order against someone, only this time it’s about your property. Restraining orders inherently infringe on your right to travel freely but as a society, we say that’s OK.

Additionally, liberty is limited when there is evidence of a threat. For example, felons are barred from owning a gun.


Argument: An Armed Society is a Polite Society

The assumption here is that if everyone is armed, there’s some kind of detente among the populace. That’s not what happens if everyone is armed.

It also implies that humans are rational and that we would avoid conflict when faced with possible death. That’s a poor understanding of how humans actually work. There are plenty of people who are irrational and unable to control their emotions and reach for a gun to use when other methods of expressing anger or frustration are way more appropriate.

It also threatens to turn everyday social misunderstandings into a fight to the death by needlessly escalating them.

One can also compare this to cars and say “If everyone drove nice, there would be no auto accidents/deaths”. Which again, is just absurd.

Argument: Polling Questions as a result show false support for Universal Background Checks

Some will argue that the majority of gun owners don’t actually support Universal Background Checks (UBS) or other actions because the wording of poll questions isn’t clear. UBS has a high of 70% in some studies.

This is of course, false. Various studies have found that large majorities of gun owners support UBS as well as other actions. It’s clear from the actual questions which are listed in the study they are clear.


Public Support for Gun Violence Prevention Policies Among Gun Owners and Non–Gun Owners in 2017

Gallup Polling on guns

Majorities of gun and non-gun owners support restrictions:

See also the image below which shows the wording.

Argument: More Guns Means Less Crime

In fact, just the opposite happens

More guns = more violent crime: Rand Corp found limited evidence that CC = more violent crime

More guns = more crime

More guns = more accidents

The data and argument come from John Lott who is a massive fraud and none of his work is peer-reviewed, infact he is barred from submitting academic work because of how egregious it is. He basically ignored data sets that didn’t fit the outcome he wanted.

He also argued that the US has fewer mass shootings compared to the rest of the world. He wrote a study in response to a real peer-reviewed study of mass shootings here. After Lott pitched a fit about not releasing his data set (which he did btw) another academic,  Lankford ended up finding out that his data used two different definitions for mass shootings depending on whether they were in the US (a more strict one) or the Rest Of The World (much less strict) in order to make the data set he wanted. Not the first time he has done this.

After Lankford went through the data and corrected the definitions so that they match regardless of the location of the shooting, he found that as long you were consistent with your criteria the USA has more mass shootings than anyone else by an insane margin.


Shooting Down the Gun Lobby’s Favorite “Academic”: A Lott of Lies

Argument: Defensive Gun Use (DGUs)

Many pro-gun arguments say guns are used for protection at least 2.5M times a year. Inherent in this argument is a utilitarian position that since the “good” of guns outweighs the “bad” we ought to keep guns readily accessible with few restrictions…because they “save” more lives than they “take”.

First of all, where did the figure come from? This figure came from Dr. Gary Kleck, a Criminologist at Florida State University. This was from his study in 1994, the “National Self-Defence Survey”. I’ll give 3 counters to the claim.

Counter 1; The Method

Dr. Gary Kleck (Who I’ll just refer to as “Kleck” for the remainder of this post) telephoned 5000 random US Households in 48 states. And then interviewed them about their DGU experiences and that of other members of their households. They excluded occupational uses with guns (For example; if a Police Officer had used a gun in self-defense whilst on-duty, it was discarded). They then extrapolated these results to the rest of the US Population.

What’s the issue with this method?
Well, of the tens of millions of US Households, 5000 is not a large enough sample group.
In addition, it was simply a telephone interview. To my knowledge, they never made an attempt to verify the validity of any of these instances. Therefore, there is a real possibility that people lied, and considering a sample group of 5000 households, even if 1% of households (50) lied, that’ll massively impact the results once scaled up.
The number of US Households in 1995 was 98 million. [sources: Statista and Infoplease].

Therefore, we can reasonably presume, that if even 1% of households lied in the original 5000, that means (When extrapolated), 980,000 households lied. And considering Kleck claims 2.5m DGUs per year, if even 50% of those households who lied falsely claimed they had defensively used a firearm, that’s still 490,000 households who falsely claimed they had defensively used a firearm. Already slashing the 2.5m figure down by nearly 1 fifth.

Another issue is a simple fact well, the questions are open to interpretation. What one person may interpret as Defensive Gun Use, another might interpret as Aggressive Gun Use.

This is shown in the results;
– In 46.8% of instances, the defender was neither threatened or attacked.
– 5.5% of instances, the defender was both attacked and injured
– 51.9% of instances, the offender was unarmed.
If in 52% of instances the offender was unarmed, was it truly defensive gun use?
If in 47% of instances, the defender was neither threatened or attacked, was it truly defensive gun use?

Further proof of this below;
When asked Defender’s Perceived Likelihood that Someone Would Have Died Had Gun Not Been Used for Protection, results were:
– 20.8% = “Almost certainly not”
– 19.3% = “Probably not”
– 15.7% = “Almost certainly would have”

In instances of a shooting;
Did offender shoot at defender?
– 4.5% of all incidents
– 26.2% of all incidents where offender had a gun

What the Defender did with the gun;
– Brandished or showed gun in 75.7% of instances
– Verbally referred to gun in 57.6%
– Pointed gun at offender in 49.8%
– Fired gun (Including warning shots) in 23.9%
– Fired gun at offender, trying to shooting the offender in 15.6%
– Wounded or killed offender in 8.3%

Counter 2; Not been repeated in 30 years
Quite simply, the original study was conducted in 1994 and published in 1995. And has not been repeated since.

Counter 3; CDC no longer supports these statistics
Previously, the CDC had posted the 2.5m DGU statistic. It should now be said, the CDC no longer posts this statistic, instead (in relation to Defensive gun use) it simple says;
“Estimates of defensive gun use vary depending on the questions asked, populations studied, timeframe, and other factors related to study design. Given the wide variability in estimates, additional research is necessary to understand defensive gun use prevalence, frequency, circumstances, and outcomes.”

This highlights the fact this study is no longer accepted as fact.

What is a better source for DGUs?
Use the National Crime Victimization Survey, which places the figure of DGUs at closer to 65,000 (see sources below). However, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), the annual amount of DGU incidents is less than 2,000. Very far below the inflated claims of survey estimates. And depending on how you slice the NCVS data DGUs might only be 14k. Indeed, according to a May 2020 report, the Violence Policy Center says between 2013-2017 the nation had 1,272 justifiable homicides.

Now, of course, a common rebuttal to this is to say that DGUs often go unreported, which is certainly a possibility, though it is difficult to quantify exactly how significant the underreporting is, frankly I would find it absurd that anyone could argue that 2.5 million DGUs happen annually when less than 2000 actual confirmed cases of DGUs are actually discovered annually. This would suggest that only 0.08% of DGU cases show up in reports or in the news, which is an unbelievably low rate.

Not to mention that the 2.5 million number, as reported from survey data from Kleck and Gertz, is actually mathematically impossible given current crime data. The idea of there being 2.5 million annual DGUs, according to the Kleck survey data from where the number came from, would require that gun owners use their guns in self-defense in more than 100% of burglaries, which is just straight-up impossible. Another funny quirk of surveys that estimate 1 million+ DGUs is that they estimate that the number of rapes in which a woman defended herself with a firearm is more than the total number of rapes

In sum, DGUs are notoriously hard to quantify. They rely mostly on self-reporting surveys and it’s hard to operationalize the meanings of “defensive”, “gun”, and “use”. There’s an argument of folks needing guns for self-defense which I am sympathetic. However, that doesn’t also mean we reduce training requirements or permit ease of access just because someone maybe at some point needs a gun.

One final note is that using a gun as a defensive measure wasn’t beneficial when compared to other actions, as reported in The Epidemiology of Self-Defense Gun Use: Evidence from the National Crime Victimization Surveys 2007-2011 by David Hemenway and Sara Solnick, 2015.

According to the study, 38.5% of sdgu (self-defense gun use) victims lost property, and 34.9% of victims who used a weapon other than a gun lost property. Also, after any protective action, 4.2% of victims were injured; after sdgu, 4.1% of victims were injured. These numbers don’t bolster the case that using a gun to protect yourself or your property gives you any greater advantage. Obviously, this study relies on data from one data set and we’ll have to see how it holds up.

Other Sources:

A Call for a Truce in the DGU War. Smith, Tom. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. Vol 87, Issue 4 Summer. 1997. – A somewhat dated article but it points out that trying to figure out how many DGUs happen is hard. | This study cites 65k DGU but it’s 30 years old and was retracted; the only place you can find it is in the archival library with other research that isn’t useable.

Rand Corp study

Argument: Guns Save Lives

This is just a bumper sticker slogan tossed out by those who want to feel good. It’s not clear to those who say this what they actually mean. Do they mean it prevents homicides or property crime or rape or something else or all of the above?

Presumably, it means a reduction in homicides or rape. We’ll ignore the evidence on suicides.

Argument: Veterans Should be guarding schools

I’m not opposed to this provided they are trained and prepared as some type of “School Guardian”. However, who pays for this? How does this get implemented across the 100,000+ schools in the US? People say this and have no idea how to actually implement this.

More to the point, it’s just a band-aid and doesn’t actually solve the underlying issues.

Additionally, see the “we should arm teachers” argument below as inherent in using vets to guard schools assumes it acts as a deterrent. When that most likely isn’t the case.

Argument: We should arm teachers

Not opposed but it’s not a solution to the problem. This argument is built on the idea that the shooter would be deterred from entering as the shooter values his/her life so much that they don’t enter. That’s, in most cases, the exact opposite of what happens. The shooter is in so much pain that they want to hurt as many as possible before they die by cop. In addition, these people are wearing armor so it’s unlikely an armed teacher is going to make any difference from a motivated individual clad in protective gear.

Argument: The NRA is a Civil Rights Organization

Well since the Heller case established an individual right to own a gun, this is an agreeable argument. However, it assumes all Civil Rights are somehow good for society to have. That’s not inherently the case. It also assumes that the Heller decision was correctly decided (it wasn’t).

Note that the ACLU also supports the second amendment but only under a specific interpretation (not the individual rights one that Scalia made up).

Furthermore, just because something is a civil right doesn’t also mean it’s limitless. Reasonable restrictions can be placed on the ownership of firearms. Even Scalia in the Heller case agreed.


DC vs. Heller Brief 

US vs. Miller

Dicta in Heller Case

Argument: Mandatory Gun Ownership Kennesaw, GA

The law was never enforced and was never really mandatory as it had huge carve-outs. It’s also impossible to determine the impacts of said law on the small town as data collection for the variables needed during the time didn’t exist. So it’s unclear if the law had any impact on anything.

It’s just something tossed around to make people feel good about guns.

Sources: which quotes the sheriff at the time along with an NYT article.

Hunting and the Second Amendment


Controlling Slaves and the Second Amendment

Hidden History of the Second Amendment: Controlling Slaves

DC vs. Heller Brief 

US vs. Miller

Dicta in Heller Case

The Supreme Court’s Thirty-Five Other Gun Cases: What the Supreme Court Has Said About the Second Amendment. Kopel, David. Saint Louis University Public Law Review, vol 18 No 1 Gun Control, Article 8. 1999

Public Safety and the Right to Bear Arms

Public Safety and the Right to Bear Arms

Guns And the Right to Self Defense

The Second Amendment and the Constitutional Right to Self-Defense

Right-to-Carry Laws

The Second Amendment and the Personal Right to Arms.


The Right to Carry Firearms Outside of the Home- A History

Do Right‐To‐Carry Laws Deter Violent Crime?

Two Guns, Four Guns, Six Guns, More Guns: Does Arming the Public Reduce Crime?

Arms and the Man: What Did the Right to “Keep” Arms Mean in the Early Republic?

My article on Permitless Carry here

Firearm Regionalism and Public Carry: Placing Southern Antebellum Case Law in Context

Buying a Gun In Another Country

Steps to buying a gun in other countries

Cincinnati Revolt

The Cincinnati Revolt which changed the NRA

Argument: Chicago and Baltimore and other Democrat-run cities/states have gun control and also Gun Violence

This argument wants you to think that gun control in democratic areas restricts people from defending themselves so they have lots of gun violence as criminals go after people who aren’t armed.

Most guns come from outside the city/state and are trafficked. For example, in a 2014 analysis sixty percent of guns recovered in crimes in Chicago were first sold in other states, many with weaker gun laws; and a small handful of gun stores, three from Cook Country and one from Gary, Indiana, continue to be responsible for a disproportionate number of crime guns recovered on Chicago’s streets.

Moreover, most guns recovered at a crime scene in Chicago start off as legal purchases and within 3 years are used to commit a crime. What happens is that the gun is diverted into the criminal market through straw purchasing, private sales where no background check is required, or theft.

Stronger federal laws to deal with this would be effective.

So it’s less about Democrat policies and gun control and more about weak gun laws.

Sources: Impact of Illegal Guns on Violence in Chicago

Second Amendment History

The Armed Citizen In the Early Republic

To Keep and Bear Arms in the Early Republic

Tench Coxe and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms 1787 to 1823


Scrutinizing the Second Amendment


The History and Politics of Second Amendment Scholarship: A Primer

The Persistence of Resistance: Civic Rights, Natural Rights, and Property Rights in the Historical Debate over “The Right of the People To Keep and Bear Arms”

The Second Amendment: A Missing Transatlantic Context for the Historical Meaning of the right of the people to keep and bear arms

The Militia and the Second Amendment

The Militia and the Right to Arms, or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent 

Book review of the above:

Of Arms and the Militia: Gun Regulation by Defifining “Ordinary Military Equipment” by Curtis, Edward. Touro Law Review. Vol 37, No. 3. 2021 – Argues that the state could define “ordinary military equipment” the militia uses to exclude semi-auto guns.

Argument: Nobody sells guns on Facebook

People sell guns on Facebook and use creative means to get around censors. See:

Banning Firearms Reduces Murder and Suicide


Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies

Argument: Madison in Federalist 46

Some gun folks make mention of the federalist papers such as Federalist 46. In it, Madison says we need militias “…officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence … the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.”

Madison is saying that unregulated vigilantes with unregulated weapons are a threat to us. The point is that the 2A, nowhere, refers to people outside a regulated group with officers appointed by a government subordinate to the affections and confidence of the citizens in the community raising the militia. This is further supported in other areas of the Consitution whereby the militia is the one group who has guns in Article 1, Section 8 clauses 15 and 16.

In both the Federalist Papers and the Constitution, Madison tells you that the regulations are necessary for the security of a free State.

Hamilton has a different hot take in Federalist 29. As do Samuel Bryan and Luther Martin in the Anti-Federalist Papers.

Argument: Nothing can be done to reduce gun violence or gun crime

This is just a prima facie lie. We know what works.

Waiting periods reduce death:

Vars, Robinson, Edwards, and Nesson

Luca, Malhotra, and Poliquin

Eliminating Stand Your Ground laws reduce death:

Cheng and Hoekstra

Webster, Crifasi, and Vernick

Humphreys, Gasparrini, and Wiebe

Child Access Prevention Laws are effective at reducing death:

Schnitzer, Dykstra, Trigylidas, and Lichenstein

Webster et al.

Gun Accidents can be prevented with gun control:

Webster and Starnes

RAND Analysis

Stronger Concealed Carry Standards are Linked to Lower Gun Homicide Rates:

Donohue, et al.

Xuan, et al.

Background checks that use federal, state, local, and military data are effective:

Sen and Panjamapirom

Siegel et al.

Rudolph, Stuart, Vernick, and Webster

Suicide rates are decreased by risk-based firearm seizure laws:

Kivisto et al.

Mandated training programs are effective:

Crifasi, Pollack, and Webster

Rudolph et al.