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Should we have gun control?
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Guns don't kill people, people kill people

Automobiles kill more people every year than guns, but we don't talk about banning them.
Gun Control


In 2017, automobile deaths topped 40,000.[1] Gun deaths in the same year were just under 40,000.[2]

The Argument

Automobiles kill more people than guns and are just as dangerous in the hands of an irresponsible driver or individual that wants to commit murder. Why then are people not talking about controlling or banning car ownership? If it was a matter of public safety, surely gun rights advocates would also be for restricting automobile ownership? When a person mows someone down in a vehicle, that person is abusing the vehicle and using it for a purpose that it was not intended to be used. When a person shoots someone with a gun, it is abusing the firearm in the sense that it is not using it for hunting, sport, or enjoyment, all of which are acceptable functions of a firearm. We shouldn't blame the tool or weapon in incidents of dangerous crimes - we should blame those that commit the crimes.

Counter arguments

We already restrict automobile ownership. We limit access to them. The government is constantly exploring and adopting legislation to make them safer, like seatbelts, speed limits, child safety seats, drink driver laws, laws against texting and driving, airbags and breathalysers. We also make sure that only people who have received adequate training and have passed a road test are allowed to use them. If guns were treated in the same way, where legislative efforts that would minimise gun deaths were embraced, then some form of gun control would be adopted.[3] Also, it is worth bearing in mind that the percentage of the population that owns guns is much smaller than the percentage of the population that is driving a car. 90% of Americans drive a car, while barely a third of the population owns a gun. Considering both items kill around 40,000 Americans a year, that would indicate that guns are far more dangerous than cars. In fact, gun deaths are now exceeding the number of deaths from automobile accidents.[4] We would expect cars to kill more than double the amount of people than guns as more than double the number of Americans own them. The very fact that the two numbers are close demonstrates just how dangerous guns are. Finally, we have to consider the function of both items. A car's primary function is a mode of transport to get passengers from point A to point B. As a result, almost every death caused by vehicles was an accident (around 94% of car deaths are accidental).[5] By contrast, less than 2% of gun deaths are accidents. A gun's function is to kill, injure or maim, be it an animal or human. Therefore the comparison falls apart.



Everyone has complete control over their own choices. If something causes people harm, this may be outweighed by its utility.


[P1] Cars kill more people than guns. [P2] There are no band or restrictions on car ownership. [P3] There should not be any restrictions on gun ownership.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The two are unrelated. Cars are a mode of transport designed to move passengers. Guns are designed to kill, injure, and maim. [Rejecting P2] There are restrictions on car ownership. We make users pass a test before they are allowed on roads. [Rejecting P3] Guns should be subject to similar restrictions to make them safer.

Further Reading

Fletcher, C. D.. Guns don't kill, people do: the NRA's case against gun control. 1994. University of Canterbury, MA thesis.


This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 14:18 UTC

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