'Become Simple Minded About Gun Control'

Caleb Garling:

The gun control debate is not as open-and-shut as gay rights and creationism — but it is close. Plenty of folks, including myself, enjoy an afternoon on the shooting range. Others love and, in some cases, depend on hunting. Guns do save lives each year. Even though, in 2009, there were 31 murders that used a gun daily — or, “a Sandy Hook” each day — people do protect their homes and families with guns. Though how often this occurs or actually incited increased violence is not known. (There are a handful of studies on the subject that draw different conclusions.)

But otherwise, we allow people to buy a machine whose only purpose is to kill. Guns don’t do other things. They are made to kill. Bombs are a type of “arms”; wouldn’t it be insane if someone defended their legality?

Gun control advocates should take a page out of the playbook of gun control opponents: simple dogma.

The gun control debate is weighted on the side gun advocates. Like a lot of radical conservative rhetoric, it's rarely nuanced, reasonable, or aiming to provide a solution for the greater good of society. It's loud, bombastic. It's strengthened by sheer hard-headed aggression. It's rooted in selfishness. The interests of the individual person trumps the interests of society at large. They want to be a part of the community (and they'll never stop yelling about how proud they were born into it), but only if they are the most important person in it and no one can touch them. It's very difficult to compromise with people like that, because, to them, "compromise" is a word cowardly liberals use. They see any form of relenting as complete, utter surrender.

I think Garling's heart is in the right place with this piece, but I'm not convinced simplifying the argument is the way to go. It almost seems like deciding to put a helmet on before running head-first into a brick wall. The foundation of stubborness and entitlement for gun owners was laid long ago, and it needs to be chipped away more strategically.