Lesson Part II – what is meant by “Pragmatic” argument?
A pragmatic argument is one that is based on effectiveness… in other words, “what works?”
So, if what is left is the pragmatic argument, what, if anything, would gun control effectively accomplish?
First, I think I will stay away from statistics, because I am not sure whose numbers to trust.
All of that in place so I can start the actual discussion! Whew.
So, I can only assume that proponents of gun control laws believe that creating laws that make owning or purchasing certain, or all, guns will make us safer… given the connection to the recent public shootings, that anti-gun laws will make things like that less likely. That only seems plausible if one of two things is true:
1. Gun laws will deter people with criminal intent from being willing to get and use guns… and/or
2. Gun laws will deter people with criminal intent from being able to get and use guns.
Again, if you believe that owning guns is morally wrong, I would love to hear about it… but if you are arguing for gun laws for practical reasons… am I missing something? Those are the only two that make sense to me.
Also, PRO gun people might add “and then you would need to show that if either of those are true, then you would additionally have to show that people without the willingness and/or the ability to get and use guns for crime are this less likely to commit the crime another way (knife, club, fists, etc.) But I am not examining that yet.
1. Will gun laws deter criminals from being willing to get and use guns?
I think this argument borders on absurd and even self-refuting.
If someone is willing to commit burglary, kidnapping, or mass murder (all of which involved breaking a law – certainly with more legal penalty than breaking a gun law), then how would an additional law deter them?
Further, many crimes committed with guns are committed in places where gun laws are in effect. Most of the recent and tragic mass shootings, for example, were in areas where having the firearm was illegal. In that case, the gun law did not deter the person.
Am I missing something? Is there someone out there who can help me understand that aspect of the argument?
I can see one narrow way in which this could be accurate.
If the general number of guns in society goes down and guns become more rare over time in a general way, or at least in the sphere of access of a potential criminal, then it is conceivable that the ease of acquiring a gun could go down in an individual case. In a specific situation I can imagine a case in which an individual would be slowed down… but that could still be the case if guns were legal.
However, I don’t see that this would, in an general way, reduce those with criminal intent being able to get guns. Are there ANY examples of that?
For decades many drugs have been illegal and I don’t think they are any less accessible because of it. We declared war on drugs, but I am not aware of any evidence that they are less available to those intent with getting them. Except in extremely rare and potentially fictional situation, I don’t see how limited legal access to guns will they be meaningfully less accessible to those with criminal intent.
If gun laws are not likely to make those with criminal intent less willing or less able to get them to use in their criminal endeavors, then why limit the freedom of law abiding citizens?
Still more thoughts to follow in regards to this kind of thinking… and maybe to answer some of these questions that aren’t as rhetorical and we often think… next time.