Reducing Gun Violence and Enacting Gun Control Laws Aren’t Synonymous

Yesterday I opened a copy of the Star Tribune sitting in the lunch room at work and found, unsurprisingly, a letter to the editor arguing for gun control. While letters arguing in favor of gun control are a dime a dozen in the Star Tribune I decided to post this one here because it demonstrates a common logical error in the gun control movement:

I was moved by the article written by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (“Fighting gun violence day by day, step by step,” Jan. 9). She describes the incredible difficulty she has had to face after a coward with a gun shot her in the head. But she has survived, is recovering well and is committed to ending gun violence along with her husband, Mark Kelly.

I support her efforts and, along with thousands of others in our state and millions across this country, realize the necessity of making our communities safe from gun violence. People victimized by guns have rights, too.

Truthfully, it has never been about the loss of Second Amendment rights nor about government confiscation, despite what the public has been told by the gun industry. On the contrary, common-sense laws that require universal background checks, prevent illegal gun traffic and straw purchases, and allow the collection of data from gun sales and crime have been proven to save lives while still maintaining the right to own guns.

Let’s work together to get this done. Our cause is just and growing, and we will not be silenced.

JAY THACKER, Shoreview

Mr. Thacker is arguing for a need to reduce gun violence and to enact gun control laws. His argument implies that the two are synonymous, which they aren’t. We live in a period that has seen a dramatic increase in the number of firearm sales and an overall reduction in violent crime. Increases in firearm sales have been due to multiple criteria including a governmental push for stricter gun control laws and a rapid increase in the number of carry permit holders. We’re not simply experiencing an increase in the number of firearm sales but also in the number of firearms being carried by individuals.

Gun control laws have the sole purpose of reducing the number of firearms in circulation. The belief of gun control proponents is that decreasing the number of firearms in circulation will reduce the rate of gun violence. That belief has been proven false by the above mentioned points. Therefore we must look at other reasons for the overall reduction in the rate of gun violence that we are enjoying today. I’m not foolish enough to believe that there is a single reason for the reduced rate of gun violence but I do believe that an armed society is a polite society plays a sizable part.

Increasing the number of firearms being carried on the street also increases the potential consequences for performing a violent crime. Assaulting, raping, or murdering somebody becomes more dangerous when the more members of the potential victim pool are able to effectively defend themselves. This potentiality is mutually exclusive to the potentiality that reducing the number of firearms in circulation also reduces violent crime rates. Since we are experiencing a period of higher gun sales and lower gun violence we must conclude that the beliefs of gun control advocates are false. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the beliefs of gun rights advocates are factual but those beliefs haven’t been proven false yet and a lot of evidence supports such beliefs.

If one is serious about wanting to reduce gun violence they should abandon their advocacy of stricter gun control laws. It’s demonstrable that gun control laws aren’t having an effect on gun violence rates. This means that gun violence rates must be effected by other factors. These factors must be discovered and understood before an effective method of reducing gun violence rates can be pursued. Therefore I urge those wanting to reduce gun violence to invest their time and resources into uncovering factors that effect gun violence rates. Once we have a better understanding of the causes of violence in a society we can work to address those issues.