A big reason why those who support greater gun control find the arguments made by those on the other side illogical is an inherent dishonesty in their reasoning. Whether it is denouncing the value of magazine clip limits or automatic weapons bans, or the efficacy of background checks, or any other seemingly logical gun regulation, those in favor of greater regulation are often left scratching their head at those who deny the value of gun control. The reason for this disconnect is that each side is answering a different question. Those who support gun control are asking whether these regulations will save some lives whereas those on the other side are asking whether these regulations will significantly limit gun violence.
But really, they are both asking the same question. It is just that those who deny the value of gun control refuse to answer or even to address the real question. The reason being is that if the conversation ever focused on this question, they would lose the argument. The question bubbling under the surface of this debate is this: how many gun deaths are acceptable? How many lives prematurely cut down are tolerable? How many families torn apart by gun violence are reasonable? How many children shot dead is okay? It is from this perspective that we can begin to understand the disconnect between the two sides of the debate. Gun control naysayers argue that because very few gun deaths occur while using automatic weapons, that banning automatic weapons would do little to curb gun violence. They argue that because most gun deaths occur with people shooting less than half a dozen bullets that clip limits would do little to curb gun violence. That because background checks would not prevent people from illegally acquiring weapons and that it is those individuals who typically shoot people, that background checks are thus unnecessary, as they would do little to prevent gun violence. That the gun show loopholes account for only a small amount of weapons sales so eliminating them would do little to prevent gun violence. And in comparison, all of these regulations would be sacrosanct to setting fire to the Second Amendment.
If we rephrase the debate, what those against gun control are saying is that the “little good” done by those regulations is negligible. That the small amount of additional gun violence is an acceptable amount of gun deaths and injuries. That in order to preserve their right to own automatic weapons, to purchase high-capacity magazines, to ensure their anonymity, and to avoid regulation, we must tolerate a little bit more gun violence. Only a few more gun deaths. Only a handful of destroyed families. Only a couple more dead kids. That is the price of freedom. As the saying goes, freedom isn’t free. The cost in this case is just a little more death and suffering.