Give It to Them
by John Ross
Author of Unintended
The biggest mistake we make is failing to take the moral
high ground on our issue, and letting our enemies define
THEY SAY: "We'd be better off if no one had guns."
WE SAY: "You
can never succeed at that, criminals will always get guns."
(FLAW: The implication here is that if you COULD succeed,
it would be a reasonable plan.)
WE SHOULD SAY:
"So, you want to institute a system where the weak
and elderly are at the mercy of the strong, the lone are
at the mercy of the gang. You want to give violent criminals
a government guarantee that citizens are disarmed. Sorry,
that's unacceptable. Better that we should require every
citizen to carry a gun."
THEY SAY: "Those
assault rifles have no sporting purpose. You don't need
a 30-round magazine for hunting deer -- they're only for
"I compete in DCM High Power with my AR-15. You need
a large-capacity magazine for their course of fire. My SKS
is a fine deer rifle, and I've never done anything to give
my government reason not to trust me, blah, blah, blah."
(FLAW: You have implicitly conceded that it is OK to ban
any gun with no sporting use. And eventually they can replace
your sporting arms with arcade-game substitutes.)
WE SHOULD SAY:
"Your claim that 'they're only for killing
people' is imprecise. A gas chamber or electric chair is
designed for killing people, and these devices obviously
serve different functions than guns. To be precise, a high
capacity military-type rifle or handgun is designed for
CONFLICT. When I need to protect myself and my freedom,
I want the most reliable, most durable, highest capacity
weapon possible. The only thing hunting and target shooting
have to do with freedom is that they're good practice."
THEY SAY: "If
we pass this CCW law, it will be like the Wild West, with
shoot-outs all the time for fender-benders, in bars, etc.
We need to keep guns off the streets. If doing so saves
just one life, it will be worth it."
WE SAY: "Studies
have shown blah blah blah." (flaw: You have implied
that if studies showed CCW laws equaled more heat-of-passion
shooting, CCW should be illegal.
WE SHOULD SAY:
"Although no state has experienced what you are describing,
that's not important. What is important is our freedom.
If saving lives is more important that anything else, why
don't we throw out the Fifth amendment? We have the technology
to administer an annual truth serum session to the entire
population. We'd catch the criminals and mistaken arrest
would be a thing of the past. How does that sound?".
THEY SAY: "I don't
see what the big deal is about a five day waiting period."
WE SAY: "It
doesn't do any good, criminals don't wait five days, it's
a waste of resources blah blah blah." (FLAW: You have
implied that if waiting periods DID reduce crime, they would
be a good idea.)
WHAT WE SHOULD
SAY: "How about a 24-hour cooling-off period
with a government review board before the news is reported?
Wouldn't that prevent lives from being ruined, e.g. Richard
Jewell? And the fact that this law applies to people who
ALREADY own a handgun tells me that it's not about crime
prevention, it's about harassment. Personally, I want to
live in a free society, not a 'safe' one with the government
as chief nanny."
THEY SAY: "In
1776, citizens had muskets. No one ever envisioned these
deadly AK-47s. I suppose you think we should all have atomic
WE SAY: "Uh, well,
uh . . ."
WE SHOULD SAY:
"Actually, the Founders discussed this
very issue - it's in the Federalist Papers. They wanted
the citizens to have the same guns as were the issue weapons
of soldiers in a modern infantry. Soldiers in 1776 were
each issued muskets, but not the large field pieces with
exploding shells. In 1996, soldiers are issued M16s, M249s,
etc. but not howitzers and atomic bombs. Furthermore, according
to your logic, the laws governing freedom of the press are
only valid for newspapers whose presses are hand-operated
and use fixed type. After all, no one in 1776 foresaw offset
printing or electricity, let alone TV and satellite transmission."
THEY SAY: "We
require licenses on cars, but the powerful NRA screams bloody
murder if anyone ever suggests licensing these weapons of
WE SAY: Nothing, usually,
and just sit there looking dumb.
WE SHOULD SAY:
"You know, driving is a luxury, where firearms
ownership is a right secured by the Constitution. But let's
put that aside for a moment. It's interesting you compared
guns and vehicles. Here in the U.S. you can AT ANY AGE go
into any state and buy as many motorcycles, cars, or trucks
of any size as you want, and you don't need to do anything
if you don't use them on public property. If you DO want
to use them on public property, you can get a license at
age 16. This license is good in all 50 states. NO waiting
periods, no background checks, nothing. If we treated guns
like cars, a fourteen-year- old could go into any state
and legally buy handguns, machine guns, cannons, whatever,
cash and carry, and shoot them all with complete legality
on private property. And at age 16 he could get a state
license good anywhere in the country to shoot these guns
on public property."
Final comment, useful with
most all arguments:
YOU SAY: "You
know, I'm amazed at how little you care about your grandchildren.
I would have thought they meant more to you than anything."
THEY SAY: "Huh?"
YOU SAY: "Well,
passing this proposal won't have a big immediate effect.
I mean, in the next couple of years, neither Bill Clinton
nor Newt Gingrich is going to open up internment camps like
Roosevelt did fifty-odd years ago. But think of your worst
nightmare of a political leader. Isn't it POSSIBLE that
a person like that MIGHT be in control here some time in
the next 30, 40, or 50 years, with 51% of the Congress and
51% of the Senate behind him? If that does happen, do you
REALLY want your grandchildren to have been stripped of
their final guarantee of freedom? And do you really want
them to have been stripped of it BY YOU?"