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Hi, and thanks for actually reading the text of this article, unlike the hundreds of gun owners already screaming in the comments. The ones who can't even read before firing back but insist that they be allowed to carry AR-15s into restaurants. If you mention gun control online you're accused of bias, as if a preconceived inclination toward not being shot to death is an outrageous personal failing. But even using euphemisms like "gun control" is how first-world countries gently approach the screaming people clutching the lethal weapons.

From the outside, America looks like that Star Trek episode where civilians volunteer to be randomly murdered by computers, but not nearly as well organized. Gun owners have a huge range of arguments in favor of gun ownership, and I absolutely agree with every single one of them until I'm out of range. But I've got an Atlantic Ocean in the way now, and the NRA hasn't (yet) lobbied for the sale of ICBMs to private citizens, so I'd like to respond to the silliest arguments.

Self-Defense Against Scheduled Rapists

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Every time I mention guns I'm sent worryingly detailed descriptions of 10 murderers on their way to rape and kill my family in exactly 10 minutes and asked if I'd like a gun. If more of the words were spelled correctly I'd think I'd been sent the script to a Taken/Crank sequel.

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The ability to summon 10 murderous rapists seems like the world's worst magical spell, but that's the level of sorcerous power you'd need to defend yourself with a gun. Because if you don't sit fondling a gun aimed directly at the front door at all times, they're going to win. And if you do, they can come after you've been locked up for killing postal workers.

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The gun fondlers suffer from what I'm going to call the Gunning-Kruger effect: the idea that they're much, much better with their weapon than everyone else is. If you're up against 10 murderers, it doesn't matter how quickly you can recite your gun's model number and capacity, because they have access to at least the same level of hardware, and they've been using it a lot more while you were angrily typing comments. You're not going to be able to take out 10 imaginary murderers with a real gun, because this isn't Last Action Hero, the only setting where that was possible.

The Constitution

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Ask whether random civilians -- who don't generally have to kill multiple people without taking a five-second break -- should be allowed to own high-capacity magazines? Someone will belch out, "Second Amendment!" like it's a libertarian Patronus. Except that would make more sense, because the Harry Potter movies were written in the same millennium as the present. Unlike the Second Amendment, which was written in 1791, along with "An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs" and a law punishing adultery with up to 39 lashes in New Hampshire. If other technologies enjoyed the same legal stasis as firearms, you could commute in a tank as long as it didn't shit on the sheriff's boots, and you'd be allowed a home plutonium reactor to provide light while your children worked to lick it clean.

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"Our forefathers rode horses, and the fact that this has the power of a thousand
and a giant goddamned gun on it changes nothing!"

Some people scream that the Constitution can't be changed, which is pretty weird for people obsessed with the Second Amendment. Then they scream that, OK, it was changed, but it shouldn't be changed again, which is, again, weird when you see Second Amendment.

All of which ignores how the Constitution is a local zoning ordinance, not a law of physics. Laws change all the time. Laws responding to the actions of people is what they're for. Responding to stimulus is a definition of life all the way down to the amoeba. When Magic: The Gathering introduced the SkullClamp card, then saw it dominating tournaments by wiping out too many players, Wizards Of The Coast changed the rules to prevent that. American companies think more of printed cards than human lives because they're still allowed to sell the cards.

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Hunting is a common excuse for the easy sale of long-range killing machines. Skipping lightly over the part where you find people who say, "I enjoy killing things I don't have to for fun," and responding, "That sounds perfectly sane, have some rifles," I'd like to ask: At what point does one person's hobby overrule another person's survival? Because I've written up some awesome rules for BoomChess, the Fun Strategy Game With Plastic Explosive Pieces, and I think it'll sell quite a lot as soon as I get a lobby and some legal loopholes. I mean, just because other people could misuse it shouldn't affect legal sales.

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The clock is connected to your opponent's pieces.

The world is slowly coming around to the idea that letting any jerk with enough money and insecurities go out and shoot whatever they like maybe isn't the best idea. If people are going to claim the excuse of sport, they should at least make it fair. Clicking on a dumb animal through a sniper scope is about as sporting as Rapunzel challenging Donald Trump to a ponytail competition. But it reverses the polarity of "something beautiful versus a wealthy blight on humanity." If it's a sport, give another team guns and the mission of protecting the animals. Give the hunters no scope, one bullet, and booby trap the forest. Or just release a few Predators.

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"Today Jimbo's hunting geese, and I'm hunting Jimbo."

Just because I draw up a league for Sub-Critical Snap, where players slam down thin wafers of enriched uranium, doesn't mean society suddenly has to pretend that's sane or allow me to do that. Even if I pinkie-promise not to use it for anything else! Writing up an elaborate set of rules only grants you the ability to kill things at range in Dungeons & Dragons.

Drunk Driving

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Every time you talk about all the gun murders -- and it really is a majority of all the murders -- some asshole asks, "So should we ban cars because of drunk driving?" The only response to that is to turn off your computer, go outside, and come to terms with the depths of human stupidity as best you can.

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I became a farmer without Internet. I deal with less shit this way.

Cars are for getting from one place to another, and deaths are accidents. Guns are for killing things, and deaths are their sole function. Surely not knowing what a gun is for has to disqualify someone from owning one. Drunk driving is already illegal. Immediately illegal, in that if the police see a drunk person getting into a car they're allowed to immediately intervene. (Please note that I'm talking about Irish police here, who don't generally have guns, nor do they have a reputation for just fucking shooting people with their guns at goddamn traffic stops like some countries which claim guns are wonderful. If our police see somebody marching toward a cinema or a school or anywhere with a gun they're allowed to immediately do something about it.)

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"Hoi hoi, chaps, we've got a cheeky monkey with a shooter. Ask the Special Operations lot to pop up?"

When people start firing themselves at their destinations like human cannonballs, blasting their business wear and briefcases from home to office with vast commuting-cannons, the gun/drunk-driving debate might come to an end. That bit of absurdity is the only thing that can top where we're at now.

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Knives Are Just As Bad!

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In another example of how we need block buttons in the real world, lethally armed idiots will try to distract you by pulling out a knife. The thing about knives is that they have countless nonlethal intended uses, and they're just chunks of metal, which can't jump out and kill you. Making them the opposite of bullets. And you'd have to be celebrating pretty hard to kill somebody with celebratory cooking.

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"But we ALWAYS have long pig for New Year's. With blackcurrant sauce."

Unless American Ninja Warriors become significantly less terrible, knives will never be in the same class as guns. Sean Connery could have told you that. You can't kill nearly as many people in a crowded room with a knife, and one particular gun maniac I encountered tried to break the ideas of morality and sanity themselves (possibly because they're the only things that can stop guns at that point) and asked if "fewer deaths" was really a moral position worth arguing. And of course it's not worth arguing. Because when someone with a gun starts saying things like that the only valid verb is "fleeing."

Overthrowing The Government

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A favored goal of the loudest gun-wielders is the ability to overthrow the government. I'm not sure how many countries are expected to laud nutballs who want to destroy that country, but I'm glad I don't live in one of them. These are the people who'd rather buy ammunition than fund the education system and think they can kill two birds with one armor-piercing bullet. They're people who equally fear a Mad Max future and want to bring it about.

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"THEN they'll stop laughing, and I'll NEVER break my glasses or need dentistry!"

The ability to remove a ruling government is vital. That's why we insist on democracy. It's also why billionaires spend their billions sabotaging democracy on every conceivable level, true, but that only means it's at least a tiny bit working. We don't have kings any more. We don't even have feudal clan leaders. And going even further back, the ability to violently overthrow the ruling authority stopped working at around the caveperson level. In every age after that workers were slaughtering each other just to swap elite rulers.

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"Thousands laid down their lives, blah blah, when's the next feast?"

Listen, there is no longer any armed uprising against the U.S. government. Shit-kickers in combat vests think that they could handle Hank, the tired trooper who has to deal with their drunken bullshit, and they just don't get how they've never been worth more than Hank's exasperated time. The instant they start an armed insurrection, Hank won't be rolling out with his little six-shooter. Hank will be down at division command pointing out which shacks are full of guns and should be obliterated by drones. Fantasizing about destroying the social order with lethal weapons isn't just how you get on a government watchlist; it's why that government needs to have watchlists in the first place.

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Mass Shooting Defense

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After every mass shooting, and the fact I have to say anything after those four words says much more about the state of America than I ever otherwise could, some asshole says, "If only other people had guns that wouldn't have happened." People look at mass shootings and want to add even more guns to the situation. Forget fluoride, America, you need to start adding lithium and morphine to the water supply.

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Then they can enjoy a nice glass of Chill The Hell Out.

Even in a world of Rainbow Six Billion people who are all somehow elite counter-terrorist operatives, the idea of armed response being an effective deterrent evaporates in the face of murder-suicide. But let's imagine we live in an Unreal deathmatch world where people can go from "watching a Pixar movie" to "expert killing" in less than a second without a sociopathic breakdown. You can only start shooting back at a killer once you've noticed them. And since you were watching the screen, that means they've already fired into a packed theater. Even in these gun-defense assholes' perfect world they need to use mass murder as a starting pistol.

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But starting to respond after only ONE mass murder would be much faster than the U.S. government.

Then you look around and see someone with a gun in the dark and shoot them. And other people look around and see someone with a gun in the dark and shoot them, and now you're dead. And in a second so are they. This isn't a defensive solution; this is a supersaturated solution of bullets crystallizing out into gravestones. And that applies to the whole damn shooting match known as the Second Amendment.

Do you want more rootin' tootin' anti-gun argumentin'? Of course you do! We've got more adventures in all-American gunplay right here, with 5 Reasons Even Gun Owners Should Hate The NRA and The 4 Most Meaningless Arguments Against Gun Control.

And don't forget that minigun barrages are entirely reasonable in professional, movie-invented, killer robot and/or generic foreign despot scenarios. That's why Luke gathered The Toughest Action Dads In Movie History and The Most Advanced Terminator Games Ever Made in handy lists, for YOU.

Also follow Cracked on Facebook, because when your feed inevitably erupts into new pro-gun/anti-gun/ugh-this-again diatribes, you'll want a nice calming dose of RoboCop in the mix.

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