The gun control issue continues to linger as more states seem to be pushing stricter gun enforcement (Colorado passed such measures yesterday). There is much work to be done on reducing gun violence – something that both advocates and opponents to gun control desire.
I have been and continue to be an advocate to strict gun control laws. This is no mere political belief. As a pacifist, it coheres with my moral structure. However, not all gun control advocates are pacifists. Some see gun control as a practical measure to reduce violence. The purpose of this essay is to identify and clarify common misconceptions about those who support gun control. Now, not everyone who holds that gun control is morally correct will be enlightened to these. Some are simply ignorant. They should thereby be informed as well.
That Removing Guns From People Will Stop Killings (Mass and Otherwise).
The above is nonsense. The mere removal of lethal weaponry is not an absolute solution. Those who propose gun control merely understand laws as one means amongst many to secure safety. Will people still procure guns illegally? Yes. I am not oblivious. I worked with criminals in a therapeutic manner for three years. I know their thinking and I know their actions (probably more than the average person involved in this debate). Yet, just as with illicit drugs, making guns illegal makes it more difficult obtain them. We know illegal drugs continue to be used. Thus it is not realistic to say that the removal of guns will make them disappear. The laws which make it harder to obtain guns are a barrier. They alone are not the solution.
To stop gun violence, much work needs done. It is not as simple as removing guns. Education, rehabilitation, proper instruction of self-defense, et al., are needed. This is not something I see understood from the majority of gun rights supporters.
That Gun Control Advocates Want to Remove One’s Right to Self-Defense.
Again, nonsense. There are a variety of methods to the defense of oneself and one’s family. The means to defense do not need to be as lethal as guns. While other methods still inflict harm (something that I as a pacifist oppose), it is more acceptable to use methods of defense that properly (1) defend oneself, and (2) reduce overall harm. If there are methods of self-defense that still protect oneself and are less likely to be lethal, then those should be used (such as guns (yes, guns!) with rubber bullets or tasers) over a more lethal form of defense
That Gun Control Will Solve Sin Issues
This is one I hear from Christians many times. I have never heard the above utterance from a gun control advocate, yet even if I did, I would reject the claim. From a Christian perspective, only the redemption through Christ can solve sin issues. Yet humanity does have the role to protect others from harm. Gun control advocates see laws as a measure to do this (see issue 1) while still allowing room for other forms of self-defense (see issue 2). The removal of guns is not to solve sin issues, but reduce overall harm.
Furthermore, the above attack against gun control advocates is one which can be made against those who support gun rights. I have often heard that the (legal) possession will stop the criminal and thereby prohibit some evil injustice from being done. Now I would like to believe that by making such remarks one really means what I have just explained. The approach may differ, but the desire is the same. Thus, if the claim “gun control will solve sin issues” is a legitimate attack on the control advocate, I see it collapsing on those who make it. The gun rights advocate seems to suffer the same fate.
Engage in this debate with the recognition that both supporters and opponents of gun control want a reduction in gun violence. Let that be the binding which brings forth proper, logical discourse.