Fiction vs. Reality: The Gun Control Debate

Fiction:  September 2008 – NRA ad alleges that then candidate Obama wants to levy a new tax on guns and ammo, as well as ban the use of certain guns.

Reality:  February 2008– Steven Kazierczak walks into a Northern Illinois University classroom with 3 handguns, a shotgun, and 8 loaded magazines. He opens fire killing 6 people including himself.

Fiction:  April 2009 – Glenn Beck says President Obama will, “slowly but surely take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun.”

Reality:  April 2009 – Police officers in Pittsburgh, responding to a 9-1-1 call, were met with open fire by Richard Poplawski.  At the end of the shootout, 3 officers were dead and 2 others were injured

Fiction:  May 2010 – At the NRA National Convention, Sarah Palin said that if Obama and other Democrats thought they, ”could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the 2nd Amendment.”

Reality:  February 2010 – During a meeting for the biology department at the University of Alabama, a professor, Amy Bishop, pulled out a handgun and began shooting indiscriminately. She killed 3 people and injured 3 others.

Fiction:  August 2011 – Chuck Norris claims the Obama administration is, “an administration with a secretive itch for gun control…”

Reality: January 2011 – Jared Loughner opens fire on a Tucson crowd gathered to hear Rep. Gabriel Giffords speak. She is critically injured and 6 are killed.

Fiction: April 2012 – Mitt Romney spoke at the NRA National Convention and warned that if Obama was given a second term, “He would be unrestrained by the demands of reelection” and would use, “every imaginable ruse and ploy” to take away gun rights.

Reality:  July 2012 – James Holmes walks into a Colorado movie theatre and opens fire on the crowd. 12 are killed and dozens are injured.

Reality:  The unfortunate reality is that these right-wingers are wrong about the President’s gun control record. In reality, Obama has already signed more repeals of federal gun laws than Bush in his combined 8 years. As a candidate, he supported closing the ‘gun show loophole’ and creating stricter background check requirements for new gun purchases; on both accounts he has remained silent since taking office. In fact, the Brady Campaign, the nation’s largest anti-gun group, gave him F’s in all gun control categories.

Part of me wishes the crazies on the right were correct about the President’s gun control record, but they are simply fabrications. I am not in favor of a total ban on guns, but how many more innocent people need to be murdered before we enact actual gun control laws? How many more preventable deaths need to occur before we realize sensible gun control laws will not be the destruction of our Constitution? How many more massacres need to happen before we reject the notion that fewer gun control laws somehow create a safer society?  We have to stop perpetuating the myth that everyone having a gun makes everyone safer. It doesn’t. It just leads to the further loss of life.


10 thoughts on “Fiction vs. Reality: The Gun Control Debate

  1. I am not in favor of a total ban on guns, but how many more innocent people need to be murdered before we enact actual gun control laws? The majority of these people are not innocent; they are drug-dealers, gang members, thieves, and criminals. Sure, some innocent people die, but they do even in countries with strict gun laws.
    How many more preventable deaths need to occur before we realize sensible gun control laws will not be the destruction of our Constitution? When will you realize that the people that commit these senseless, random acts of violence are the real problem, not the guns?
    How many more massacres need to happen before we reject the notion that fewer gun control laws somehow create a safer society? Again, don’t forget to blame the person doing the shooting! I seriously doubt that if there were someone in that theater exercising their 2nd Amendment right, the sociopath wouldn’t have killed and injured so many people.
    “We have to stop perpetuating the myth that everyone having a gun makes everyone safer. It doesn’t. It just leads to the further loss of life.” You have to stop perpetuating the myth that all of these sociopathic malcontents would actually be deterred by gun laws. Guess what, if guns were illegal, they’d use bombs….oh wait, they already do, and those ARE illegal!

    Wake up and realize that sociopaths kill people, not guns.

    • Really mr. Ryanlent for America?the victims at columbine, Virginia tech, aurora, Colorado, all just collateral damage in your right to carray a concealed weapon, own an Uzi, even a 50 caliber, and not have a background check, be free to buy and sell whatever piece of weaponry you can lug into a gun show?

      There is no plausible rationalization for irrational, irresponsible statements such as yours.

      • Irrational and irresponsible? Pooling law-abiding, gun-owning citizens in with the sociopathic murderers you previoulsy mentioned is the irrational statement I hope you’re referring to. And, you may want to read up on the laws of each state, but gun purchases DO require a background check. It is ignorant people, such as yourself, that actually believe the people that commit these crimes are legal fun-owners. Was Timothy McVeigh a legal bomb-owner? Was Cullen Mutrie a legal gun-owner? Don’t know who Cullen Mutrie was, maybe you should look that up.
        Make no mistake, I am not condoning this senseless violence, but blaming it on the guns is ignorant.
        The fact of the matter is this – law-abiding people abide by the law. Those who kill others do not abide by the law. If someone wants to kill someone else, not being able to legally own a gun will not stop them.

      • I’m never surprised when those of limited thought processes and reasoning power believe that name calling and personal insults are substitutes for reasoned argument.

        Save it for Fox news

      • Actually, saying you are ignorant to the legal requirements of gun ownership is not simple name-calling, it is a fact. As for the reasoned argument, that is exactly what I made. Care to actually respond to that?

        Guns are to murder as forks are to obesity. Chew on that perfectly constructed analogy.

  2. Don’t want to get in the middle of this debate, but just a few thoughts. At no point was I saying that gun control will end all these attacks, but it’s a start. I would say if gun control could prevent one of these tragedies it’s worth it. I don’t buy the argument that people having guns is safer (see next paragraph as to why) Yes, some people get their guns illegally, but that’s not always the case. Many shooters are legal owners of guns that shouldn’t have been allowed to obtain one.

    I guess my question is what is your solution? Do you really believe if everyone just carried a gun we’d all be safer? First, that argument assumes a lot. It assumes all gun owners know how to properly use their gun. It assumes they have good enough aim to use it effectively and safely. And it assumes people are trained to use their gun in high pressure situations. I don’t think many gun owners fit that criteria.

    • Excellent questions, and points. This is the kind of rational and reasoned debate that America is all about!

      Unfortunately, there is no solution to prevent tragedies like what we are referring to from happening. The gun did not grow legs and cognition and decide to kill random people, a sociopath did. How do we prevent socipaths from killing people is the question people should be asking. That, of course, has no answer…except screening every child for sociopathic behaviors and then killing those with them. Obviously, I’m not saying we should do that, but those people are the real problem, not the tools they use. The fact remains that if someone wants to kill someone, they will. The tools they use are inconsequential, just as the tools obese people use to eat are inconsequential.

      Would America be safer if everyone owned a gun? I don’t know the answer to that. I’ll ask you this, though – would the people in that movie theater have been safer if someone in attendance had a gun? I can assure you that if that happened in my movie theater, I would have done everything in my power to stop that sociopath as quickly as possible. The fact is that legal and situationally aware gun-owners do help prevent crimes from escalating.

      Where I will concur with you is that there are far too many ignorant gun-owners out there. I believe firearm safety is a cornerstone to responsible gun ownership.

      Thank you, again, for your excellent points, and I’d love to hear your response, now that the last person is clearly out of the discussion.

      • Would the people have been safer in that theatre if they had a gun? You’re right – depends on who has the gun. Arguably, someone with a gun, who may good intentions could make the situation worse though.

        You say that there are too many ignorant gun owners out there – that sounds like an argument for stricter gun control laws. Gun control laws can help. They can do more extensive background checks for one thing. I also just heard a report that the shooter today had 4 guns, all obtained legally. He also bought them all in a matter of a few months. To me, that should raise some red flags. Also, the one gun, a type of assault rifle, which most likely did the most damage was a legal gun in Colorado. That type of gun is banned in other states. I don’t see the need for an assault rifle. So, no, gun control may not solve all our problems, but in this situation, it could have saved some lives

      • You both make very good points. One thing to keep in mind though is that there’s no way for any of us to know what would happen in a hypothetical world.

        In a world where everyone was carrying a gun people may have just been shooting wildly (remember it’s a crowded dark theater) back at the gunman and shot more people.

        In a world where guns are illegal he may have obtained guns illegally or he may have just made a bunch of pipe bombs (according to CNN his apartment is rigged with bombs and traps). Some pipe bombs would probably kill more people than he did by shooting.

        I have to agree with Ryan that someone who buys a bunch of guns, booby traps his apartment, and goes on a killing spree is not a psychologically stable person and sounds pretty intent on killing people so whether guns are legal or not, those types will likely kill people. Having said that, AJones makes a very good point that what’s the alternative? To sit back and say “Well people are going to be killed by crazy people and there’s nothing you can do about it” – that just doesn’t seem right.

        Two more things about gun laws: 1) Guns won’t go away because of laws against it. Britain has outlawed guns and criminals still obtain them. There’s probably a higher ratio of murders with knives and blunt instruments to murders with guns than here in America, though. 2) The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929 was committed with automatic weapons so they outlawed automatic weapons in 1934 to prevent an incident like that from happening again. Well instead of automatic the movie theater shooter used a semi-automatic gun. If they outlaw that, the next guy will may use a standard gun (maybe he’ll just carry a few of them that way he doesn’t have to reload as much). If they outlaw standard guns then the next guy may just use a high power crossbow (which is silent so more people will die before anybody realizes it). This thought experiment will go on ad infinitum until you get down to some steroid driven crazy guy cornering people in an alley and beating them to death with his barehands. What’s the solution to that problem?

  3. You both have some decent points, and I’ll try to tackle them individually.

    As far as being in favor of gun control (inferred from my comment about ignorant gun owners), I’m not sure I would make it a requirement of owning a firearm, but I think local police departments should offer free firearms safety courses.

    To Ajones’ point about the amount of guns and type of rifle: I have the same amount of guns as the shooter, and I bought mine over a six month span. I bought them because I just got into hunting, and different types of game require different weapons. I purchased the first handgun as a hunting sidearm, but found it too bulky to be concealed, so I purchased a different one. Now, why should that raise any red flags? How do you or I know that it didn’t? With each purchase, I had to complete a background check and who’s to know if it flagged anything? My point is this – saying we need stricter backgrounds checks is kind of pointless; what are you going to look for? What if a PhD student with no criminal record or ties wants to purchase a gun? Would you deny him? That’s what we’re talking about. Seriously, what red flags did this person throw up, being an intelligent, articulate, medical student? Wouldn’t he be the type of person you think would be a responsible gun owner? Furthermore, the AR15 the shooter used typically uses a .556 caliber round, while my lever action .30.30 hunting rifle uses a .30 caliber round. My round is more powerful than his, so whose should actually be illegal?

    To Nat Guy’s point (welcome to the conversation, too): You’re right that it seems kind of weak to just sit back and say that we can’t do anything because these things happen, but that is the truth; there is little to nothing we can do to prevent these homicidal, antisocial, sociopaths from doing these things…at least, not in a free country. The only way to prevent this kind of random violence is to identify the people early and proactively detain or kill them before they can harm others. I’m quite certain you both can agree that that is not possible.

    The tools used in the homicide are not to blame, as history has shown that the tools of a sociopath are anything at his/her disposal. Again, I just think that blaming the guns or a perceived lack of gun control is misdirecting the blame. The blame for this incident is squarely on the shooter. It seems to me that we have become a society looking to blame third parties instead of the people responsible.

    If I missed a point, I apologize.

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