Now that you’re a bit more familiar with the terminology and why people choose to own guns, let’s talk about all the bad arguments out there.
People on both sides of the debate throw a lot of claims, and often they’re bullshit. False equivalences, causal fallacies, false dichotomies, etc. are just a few of the fallacies you’ll encounter (or maybe even use). These weak arguments do no one any good. They make your point look invalid or unsound, and they make the other side more sure they are correct (even when they’re not).
The first of these is around the concepts that “guns are tools” and “guns don’t kill, people do.”
Guns are tools, yes. A tool has a purpose, though, and for firearms that purpose is to kill.
These are weapons, in a long progression of technology intended to harm others.
Whether that harm is justified or not, or what living creature it’s directed against, is irrelevant. The purpose of a firearm is to kill animals (including people) from a range outside of hand-to-hand combat.
Sports shooters and trick shooters may have found unique ways to use these tools, but that doesn’t dismiss the original design and intent of the items. Not to mention, the “sport” of these non-lethal demonstrations is still centered on becoming a better shot… i.e., better at killing.
This is why it’s fallacious to say “guns are just a tool” – most other tools weren’t designed to kill.
I say “most” because I know someone is going to bring up knives, axes, and similar items inevitably. Yes, those originally were created as both weapons and tools, but they’ve had centuries to evolve. Not to mention, you’ll find many regulations on carrying these items and what types you can have on your person.
Cars, hand tools, power tools, cooking items, etc. are different from firearms (or swords, grenades, etc.). Those other items may be dangerous, but their primary design and purpose is not to kill.
Reasonable firearm owners understand this, and that’s why we have gun safety classes. The four primary rules are centered around the responsibility of having a tool whose design is to kill:
• Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
• Never point the firearm at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
• Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on your target.
• Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.
These are not the rules of safety for a screwdriver, blender, bicycle, etc. Yes, each of those has their own standards, but they are not as ingrained in every single class and discussion as the rules above. Gun owners know what the purpose of their firearm is, and therefore treat the tool with the respect and safety required.
As for the “guns don’t kill people” argument, we’ve already noted that guns are indeed tools, inanimate objects that people use. The difference is, this tool is designed for the purpose of allowing people to kill easily. A person can undoubtedly harm others with a screwdriver or knife, but those tools are not necessarily intended for that (in the case of the screwdriver) or to do so as efficiently (in the case of the knife).
So, the next time you feel like saying a “gun is a tool” and “guns don’t kill people,” do us a favor and don’t. That doesn’t help your argument and just makes anything you say look moronic.
Guns are tools. They’re tools designed to kill. They give people the opportunity to kill efficiently and quickly.