Yes, We Can do More to Stop Gun Violence


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The Republican arguments against gun control are pretty stupid, but they basically boil down to them saying no gun control idea will work. They make the case that gun control policy X would not have stopped mass-shooting Y. They make the case that there will always be bad people who do bad things. They make the argument that suits their need- to disprove that gun control policy X would work at all.

Amanda Marcotte of Rolling Stone writes a great piece taking on four of the right-wing arguments to do nothing about gun violence. I’m going to highlight one argument of her’s each day. Today, it’s that “The Only Thing That Stops a Bad Guy With a Gun is a Good Guy With a Gun.”

2. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
If you prefer pithy sayings to hard evidence, I can see why this would be convincing. But if you look at the real world, you’ll find that far from being our only hope, good guys with guns are barely any help at all. No mass shootings in the past 30 years have been stopped by an armed civilian; in 1982, an armed civilian successfully killed a shooter, but it was only after he committed his crime.

It’s not that there aren’t enough guns, either. There are as many guns as people in this country, and fully a third of people are armed. Even when shootings happen in gun-happy places, where armed people are sure to be nearby, this vigilante scenario simply doesn’t work. That’s because pulling a gun out and shooting back in the chaos of a mass shooting just makes things worse, as was discovered when a would-be hero at the 2011 shooting of Gabby Giffords very nearly shot the wrong man. (The actual shooter was tackled by an elderly man.)

I recently heard this same idiotic argument from Mike Huckabee, and it was ridiculous then too. First off, we’ve seen that “more guns” doesn’t stop mass shootings. Columbine had Sheriff’s Deputies in the school, for instance. Fort Hood was heavily armed with guns. In reality, the “more good guys with guns” argument hasn’t ever played out in real life. At best, it’s stopped some home invasions. Even there though, the cost isn’t worth the benefit.

Huckabee actually tried to point out that “it was a man with a gun” who stopped the Oregon shooter, and others. Of course, that’s wrong, the Oregon shooter committed suicide, as many, if not most, of these guys do. It’s also a stupid argument, even if a gun did kill these guys. Generally the person with a gun who stops these lunatics is a police officer, a person who is trained to use a gun and has rules of engagement on the job. It’s not some armed vigilante that we romance saves the day.

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