Armed Encounter Fallacies from Self-Defense Opponents
by Drew Beatty
In my last post I outlined some fallacies that are sometimes heard from proponents of the right to keep and bear arms and armed self-defense. The opposition has their fallacies too. These are often heard from media and politicians who oppose the right to keep and bear arms. Frequently these fallacies are used to incite fear and sway debate on various RKBA topics.
If we allowed concealed carry permits (or open carry, or Constitutional carry, etc.) people will be shooting each other over parking spaces. It will be like the Wild West.
In almost any state where concealed carry was first suggested, this fallacy was used repeatedly. This argument is used in bad faith to incite fear in the general public, many of whom are unfamiliar with firearms and firearm owners. It has been much anticipated by anti-gun groups, but it has never happened. As an example, Florida has had legalized, permitted concealed carry since 1987. There are not daily reports of “wild west” shootings over parking spaces at Walmart, at the bank, or anywhere else. Violent crime is taking place now in the same place it always has - among and by violent criminals.
Having a gun makes you more likely to use it, and incites you to be more violent.
Many people who oppose firearms and armed self-defense like to attribute supernatural powers to firearms, and say that, once you come into contact with one, the urge to commit violence becomes too great to resist. Maybe they are projecting their own fears of their own lack of self-control onto others. In my personal circle of firearms enthusiasts, I’ve found the exact opposite to be true. Carrying a concealed weapon makes the law-abiding citizen less likely to make rash decisions that could lead to violence, such as engaging in “road rage” traffic encounters, or receiving poor service at a restaurant or retail establishment. The argument that guns have power over the mind of the user is another bad faith argument that is used to sway public opinion against the right to keep and bear arms.
This is often a key fallacy employed by those who are opposed to arming school staff to combat school shootings. “An armed teacher is likely going to get mad at a student and shoot them.” I don’t know of one incident where an armed teacher pulled a weapon on a student for having a smart mouth or other minor infraction. This bad-faith argument, once again, is used to incite fear in a public largely unfamiliar with the culture of armed self-defense.
Only the police should have guns.
This argument shows a profound ignorance of history and a profound disrespect for the natural right to self-determination and the fundamental right of self-defense. The United States was founded on the idea that each individual is sovereign and that government should be limited. Study any dictatorship in history and you will find a government that had a monopoly on deadly force against an unarmed populace.
Personally, I’m pro law enforcement. I think men and women in law enforcement are brave, noble people who join the profession to do good in the world. But police can’t be there to protect you from violence all the time. In fact, the United States Supreme Court has determined in cases like Warren v. District of Columbia and Gonzales v. City of Castle Rock that the police have no Constitutional Duty to protect you. This simplistic argument, though possibly well-intentioned in many cases, simply cannot withstand historical scrutiny.
The arguments outlined here are only a few of those put forward on a near-daily basis by those opposed to firearms and the right to keep and bear arms. I hope reading this will give you some leverage to counteract these arguments.
Drew Beatty is a 52-year-old lifetime resident of the great state of Colorado. He is a long-time firearms enthusiast as well as a strong advocate for The Second Amendment.