Weird and wacky arguments for and against gun control
April 18, 2020 1:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be debating this issue informally with some friends. What are some wacky arguments on either side? I want to inject some levity so we don't get too carried away with the inherent emotionality of the topic.
posted by storybored to Law & Government (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Without guns, how are people supposed to shoot stuff?
posted by aubilenon at 2:12 PM on April 18, 2020 [6 favorites]

Allowing former convicts to have guns will give them the confidence to go out and make new friends and/or new hostages.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:57 PM on April 18, 2020

Does the second amendment guarantee I can buy a ground-to-air missile?

Sensible follow up: If not, why not? Can't reasonable borders be placed on the second amendment, borders that reflect that the founding fathers could not imagine the world we live in?
posted by tmdonahue at 2:57 PM on April 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

An early Supreme Court ruling argued that freedom of speech doesn't allow one to "unduly shout fire in a theater and cause a panic." Is that ruling wrong?
posted by tmdonahue at 3:01 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

As long as you are north of the border, and all your friends are north of the border, you might be able to manage this without too much heat. Otherwise, I'd say walk away right now, it is is not going to end well - Muricans take this seriously regardless of which side they bat for. If you go ahead, my take has been to ask about the us constitution's militias, where they can be found, who runs them, etc (note, not the armed groups badging themselves militias).
posted by GeeEmm at 3:56 PM on April 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

We don’t need gun control! We need ammo control. Bullets should cost five grand each!
- Chris Rock (paraphrased)
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:57 PM on April 18, 2020 [8 favorites]

Outstrict the strictest constitutionalist by allowing for gun ownership only for those belonging to a well-regulated militia.
posted by little eiffel at 3:58 PM on April 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Law Abiding Criminals
posted by glonous keming at 4:06 PM on April 18, 2020

Also I would not do what you propose.
posted by glonous keming at 4:07 PM on April 18, 2020 [11 favorites]

Against... We used to visit this cabin that's hours from any sort of police or game warden or hospital or etc. You did not go outside without an adult with a gun because there are bears and wild crazy moose and shit. Some adult always had a gun if for nothing else than to signal for help because there's no cell service. One of my livestock ran into some trouble and is wallowing around slowly dying.., do you want me to slit its throat or bash it in the head with a rock or just leave it to suffer? Gee, a gun would be handy right now. In some places and circumstances a gun is just a step up from a rock or pointed stick or big knife.

I would be remiss to not include The gun is good, the penis is evil.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:32 PM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

I enjoy the gist of your question. I used to have a roommate and we'd argue and debate around in circles about almost anything as a bit of a party game sort of levity. The whole point was just to keep matching wits and shift sides and pass a few hours just tearing into some topic. Hopefully you and your friends have the same snarky/levity sense of humor and play.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:41 PM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

There’s always the 30-50 feral hogs argument.
posted by mskyle at 5:00 PM on April 18, 2020 [6 favorites]

Weird and wacky as in illogical / absurd?
Or as in humorous, like the Chris Rock routine "sure, let everyone have guns. but make bullets ridiculously expensive. that way, you're gonna stop and think, is this trigger pull worth $500? Hahaha."

Either way, you might have about as good (predictably bad) a time holding a debate between North Americans about the relative merits of USA's "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" vs. the Canadian "Peace, Order, and Good Government". It's inevitably going to get abstract and idealogical and maybe heated.

But here's a debate topic or two: if my vague understanding of the Canadian System is vaguely correct, then one needs to get a government issued license to own and operate a firearm. Sort of like a drivers license - a shooters license if you will.
1) USA second amendment absolutists will say "Ha! See, you're forced to ask The State for _permission_to do something, which should be your right. What's next, a license to give birth?" Talk about the constructed state vs the natural individual.

2) for a driving license, there are some things one can do that will result in it being revoked. If you can't read the eye test chart anymore, or you get several DUIs, we say Dude, you are not allowed to drive anymore. What conditions would get your shooting license revoked? Armed robbery? Domestic violence? What if you take prescription antidepressants, is that enough?
What if you cant even get your application for a license accepted, because the local authority doesn't feel it's in the public interest to let _insert group here_ have weapons?
Also, what does it mean if your license gets revoked? Is that a free rubber-stamp warrant for police authorities to enact a no-knock search, "for weapons"?
Talk about Who makes the rules letting people into the gun club, and who sits on the review board or the end of a police boot applying them.

3) For USians, the language in the rule goes (paraphrased) "right of _the people_
to arms shall not be infringed". What difference is there (or is there any) between _the people_ and _a person_? In the hypothetical license scenario, where _the people_ do (or can) own guns; except for This Dude, who has been judged too unsafe to have a license. We just infringed their rights? Or didn't we? If the people can have something, but a person can't, haven't you just created a tiered system of rights, where not everyone is included? Talk about whether restrictioning an individual actually restricts everyone.

Take any of those and start inserting absurd extreme scenarios, for argumentation purposes.
posted by bartleby at 5:12 PM on April 18, 2020

Yeah, I think feral hogs is gonna be one of the wackiest things you’ll hear in good faith.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:16 PM on April 18, 2020

Guns don't kill people, people do.
posted by AugustWest at 5:36 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was headed to Houston, had just stopped the last bitty town on 71 to get gas, pulling out of town Sunset. I was relaxed, happy, going to visit a girlfriend and then when headed back out of Big H I was going to lunch or dinner with some other friends. A great weekend. My doberman was in the pickup with me, she loved to Take A Ride, always, anytime night or day.

A dog ran in front of my pickup. I didn't have a chance to even hit the brake, much less stop. I dreaded what was next. The dog was in real pain, truly in agony. I picked it up -- which was dangerous, obviously, but it was The Right Thing To Do, I picked that pooch up, put him in the back of my pickup, rushed back to that little town. Amazingly, I found a cop right off - great. Except he was so goddamn chicken-shit that he would not shoot that poor dog. Probably if it had been a black guy we'd have been set, right?

I mostly don't carry a gun in my truck anymore but I did for years after that Friday night and still do, mostly, when traveling. I could have helped that dog leave. As it was, after that poor dog finally died, I carried it to Houston, buried it next morning in a really nice field that my doberman had always loved to romp in, sunshine and bees and tall grass etc. That pooch had no collar nor tag, no way to find the irresponsible shit-bird who let this happen.

Another time, here in town, a possum was in the road, had been hit but was very obviously alive and very obviously in agony. Amazing -- here's a cop! But she also was too goddamned chickenshit to pop a cap into that animal to end its suffering. She did let me use her club, which came to a steel knob on the end of it -- that was awfully big of her, yes? Would you rather club a tough animal to death or shoot it? I promise you, you would rather shoot it. Beating that thing to death was not fun, but no way was I going to let it suffer an instant longer than it need suffer.

It's only fair that we help them if we are able.


A bit lighter: Gun Control -- Hitting what you aim at.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:58 PM on April 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've always found the "an armed society is a polite society" argument amusing, as it is offered semi-straight by pro gun people but also essentially admits that someone will shoot you for insulting their soufflé or something.
posted by mark k at 6:12 PM on April 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Try these Nightvale NRA stickers.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:30 PM on April 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Outstrict the strictest constitutionalist by allowing for gun ownership only for those belonging to a well-regulated militia.

Also: the Second Amendment covers, under Constitutional Originalism, only 18th century era firearms, such as flintlock rifles, or whatever "arms" a "well-regulated militia" of the day would use.
posted by thelonius at 8:17 PM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

18th C militias were for controlling the slave population. What group needs to be controlled by guns today?
posted by scruss at 8:51 PM on April 18, 2020

Coworkers of mine assured me in all seriousness that they needed their 300+ gun and God-knows-how-much ammo stockpiles to "fight off the Chinese army when they invade the West Coast".

I like shooting trap for sport but, uh, the above all seems a bit goofy to me.
posted by cnidaria at 9:14 PM on April 18, 2020

Can't have a shotgun wedding without a shotgun.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:33 PM on April 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

18th C militias were for controlling the slave population. What group needs to be controlled by guns today? posted by scruss
posted by GeeEmm at 10:57 PM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

See that rabbit eating up the sprouts that would feed us this winter? POP! Guess what's for dinner tonight. Granny can cook anything. There's totally the rural vs city side to argue about.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:35 AM on April 19, 2020

I'm middle of the road on this issue, and I hardly see an arguement on either side that makes total sense.

"What part of 'shall not be infringed' don't you understand?" or to put it another way, "I can do constitutional law without even going to law school."

"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Asserted without evidence. Who says the good guy is you?

"Guns don't kill people, people do." The interesting thing about this argument is that the NRA stopped using it when focus turned to regulating gun owners, i.e. people, with background checks, etc.

I don't have a nifty saying for this, but most gun owners are in it because it's fun and they find it interesting, but in order to justify it, there is an excessive stress on self defense and home defense. Some gun owners don't want to go into a post office without their gun, where a little old lady has no quams at all.

On the other side of the ledger, the anti-gun lobby is a loose, disorganized coalition of some who are trying to reduce gun violence and some who are just gun prohibitionists. This makes it difficult for the gun control movement (if it is a movement) to define a goal.

Assault weapons ban. The spree shootings and schools shootings that catch the headlines are a small percentage of over all gun deaths/violence. A total ban on assault weapons would reduce gun deaths by maybe 2%. In addition, the assault weapons laws are very badly written and allow lots of creative work arounds.

Background checks. Looking at the overall numbers, it's hard to argue that background checks have reduced gun violence.

The AR-15, or it's ammo, is very powerful and was designed to kill people. Essentially every firearm is based on principles developed for military use. AR-15 ammo (.223 Remington or 5.56 NATO) is the least powerful rifle ammo available at your local Walmart.

No one needs a gun. Well, some people do, including just about every farmer. A feral hog invasion in your backyard may be unlikely but feral hogs are real problem is some areas. TROs don't stop every abuser.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:29 AM on April 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

(Left-wing wackiness): argue that the First Amendment should exclude what was considered criminally obscene in the late 18th century if the Second Amendment should exclude weapons not in the late 18th century armament.

(Right-wing wackiness): argue that Melbourne and Dusseldorf must be ruled by roving street gangs since "only outlaws have guns" there.
posted by MattD at 7:41 AM on April 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Not sure if this is helpful to your project, but I present the Twitter feed of WellRegulatedMilitia for your consideration.
posted by 6thsense at 7:35 PM on April 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

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