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S.E. Cupp’s Absurd Argument

I rarely have time to watch TV during the day, but over break, I caught a bit of MSNBC’s The Cycle yesterday. At the end, conservative host S.E. Cupp gave her take on the current gun control argument in America. It’s online as well. Here’s the most infuriating part:

If you truly believe that guns are the problem, then the only intellectually honest argument is to eliminate them all. Focusing only on assault weapons is a cop-out. In 2010, a mere 2.8% of homicides were committed with an assault weapon, while 42.6% were committed with handguns. And during the 10-year federal ban on assault weapons, numerous mass shootings–including Columbine–still took place. Making it harder to obtain a gun is (sorry about the wording) half-assed. Adam Lanza apparently stole his guns from his mother, who legally purchased and owned them. Gun control advocates should want her guns, and all legal guns, banned, too.

“Gun free” zones don’t cut it either. Because would-be murderers like Cho Seung-Hui, Lanza, and Major Nidal Hassan, don’t respect those artificial boundaries. But aside from the constitutional impossibility of eliminating all guns, prohibition hasn’t proven to be useful in eliminating, well, much of anything, including illicit drugs and, yes, illegal weapons. There are mass shootings even in countries with the strictest of gun laws. And someone intent on killing a lot of people doesn’t need a gun to do it. So if we know that banning certain guns won’t stop gun violence, that gun-free zones don’t protect the people inside them, and that eliminating all guns is impossible and ineffective, then what workable solutions are gun control advocates actually bringing to the table when they say they want to have a “real conversation?”

She then goes on to focus on mental health care for a bit. But hearing that part made my blood boil.

First off, it’s not intellectually dishonest to argue for stricter gun control policies without trying to eliminate them all gun. It’s a remarkably idiotic remark from Cupp (normally I refrain from name-calling, but Cupp’s argument is just too insulting). Her argument basically boils down to “If stricter gun regulations won’t eliminate all shootings, why even bother?”

No gun control advocate is arguing that guns are the only cause of mass shootings. Nor are they arguing that gun control measures will eliminate all gun violence. The goal is to reduce shootings while protecting second amendment rights. And Cupp asks for some workable solutions. Well here you go:

  • A ban on high-capacity magazines accomplishes that goal.
  • Stricter background checks and closing the “gun show” loophole accomplishes that goal.
  • An assault-weapons ban accomplishes that goal.
  • Better access to mental health care accomplishes that goal.

In addition, there are gun-control advocates who want to eliminate all guns (I’m not one of them). But they understand that the elimination of all guns is, as Cupp says, a “constitutional impossibility.” So, instead, they propose realistic policies. What is intellectually dishonest about advocating for a practical, realistic policy to reduce gun violence, even if it’s not your preferred policy?

And just because a policy wouldn’t stop certain past mass shootings is not a reason for not adopting that policy. That argument is what’s really a cop-out.

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