As any pro Second Amendment advocate can tell you, this is one of the most poorly framed points that anti-gun people like to make. I swear it is part of some anti-gun playbook that is passed around as it seems to be one of the most common arguments out there.
I agree, 100%, with the assertion that guns can kill, and I will even agree that the design of guns is for killing. A gun damned well better be able to kill or it is worthless. I love this argument because it seems to give the anti-gun person some kind of moral high ground in their opinion. They fail to realize that since the dawn of man and the first uses of tools, being able to kill was always important. Our earliest ancestors needed to be better at killing their prey for food, they needed to be better at killing to defend themselves against predators, and they needed to be better at killing in both defending themselves from others that have ill intent and at being stronger when taking the better land or other resources and claiming them as their own. That is a huge, “DUH!”
However, despite guns being designed to kill, the original intent of the invention of guns has very little impact on the dangers involved in their day to day usage. After all, the dangers of driving on the streets in a car are much higher, but those deaths are not part of the design, so I guess they just don’t matter.
So, using the anti-gunner’s logic, clubs and other blunt instruments, bows and arrows, spears, and anything else that was first created as a weapon to make it easier to kill should also be banned along with those evil guns. What? We can’t have baseball bats anymore? No more hammers? No more axes? Of course, knives should be banned, too. I know it borders on the absurd, but their point is really that guns make it easier to kill. It is true, but that doesn’t make them evil. After all, guns have many uses that are completely legal.
However, it certainly isn’t the only use or purpose. I have lots of guns that have never killed anything. They have punched holes in targets at all sorts of distances, but they have never killed. I see four distinct purposes when it comes to guns.
1. Sporting – The vast majority of guns are used for sporting purposes. Guns are fun to shoot, and it is fun to compete with others as to who can shoot the best. I really enjoy shooting. I also enjoy the art of it when designing custom cartridge loads with differing amounts of powder and different bullet types and weights to see how each change impacts the ballistics of the bullet’s path and energy. It is great gun just experimenting.
2. Hunting – With hunting, there are a couple distinct types.
- Hunting varmints and predators – This category includes animals like feral pigs that are tearing up the land of our natural animal environments and that of our farmers, as well as those predators that are attacking and killing our domestic animals such as our cattle. I would really hate to see a rancher killed by a bear because they couldn’t defend their live stock with a club or something more primitive than a firearm.
- Hunting game – This category is very important to many people that enjoy wild game. It is also very important to those that manage our public lands and understand the need to control wild game so that their population doesn’t outgrow their habitat and doesn’t result in disease spreading among the wild life. Instead of risking life and limb trying to kill large animals to provide meat for their families, guns enabled hunters to kill large animals and bring them back to their homes to provide food for their family and friends. Do we really need to go back to bows and arrows and spears to control animal populations? What is the value in doing that? Remember, too, that a firearm will allow for a much more humane death than being shot with an arrow, and those anti-gunners should at least have some feelings around being humane.
3. Self Defense – We have to understand that there are evil people out there in the real world and they have ill-intent. They want to steal from us, they want to do us harm, they want to commit rape and murder for whatever motivations that they might have in their evil minds. Everyone should have the right to defend themselves against those that are bigger and stronger than each of us. We should also have the right to defend ourselves against multiple assailants as those with weak morals also tend to work better in groups than alone, and it is vital that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our loved ones from individuals and groups that have no qualms about committing bodily harm and kills us. Guns are the ultimate equalizer. What most anti-gun people don’t understand is that private gun owners prevent hundreds of thousands of violent crimes every year. The valid defenses have been shown by multiple peer reviewed studies done by multiple organizations, including a recent one commissioned by the Obama administration.
4. Defense against tyranny – Laugh all you want, but this is the original intent of the 2nd Amendment, and we can certainly see real life examples in other countries (see Libya and Syria as great examples, but there are so many others) where their military is used to crush citizen dissent. Guns have allowed us to fight against an oppressive enemy, whether it is foreign or domestic. We can fight them at a distance, and prevent ourselves being overwhelmed by sheer masses of military members. Just knowing that citizens are armed can prevent many oppressive actions from being taken by our Government.
What it really comes down to is that guns were indeed invented and intended to kill others. No doubt about it. However, the original intent has very little impact on the dangers involved in their day to day usage in:
- Sporting Use
- Personal Defense
- Defense Against Tyranny – the intent of the 2nd Amendment