Gun Control Claim: Guns have only one purpose, and that is to kill. AR-15 rifles specifically are meant to kill as many people as efficiently as possible.
The following analysis from Scott V, a physicist, digital artist, educator, and rights advocate
This claim comes up over and over again, not only in comments sections online but straight from politicians’ mouths. When people make this claim, they’re trying to set up a discussion on demonstrating “need” when exercising a right, which is never used in considering any other rights. The most usual response is to provide examples of lawful uses that gun owners engage in every single day.
Rather than provide counter-examples of lawful uses, let’s hit this one head-on.
Ok, let’s accept that guns are only meant to kill, and let’s also just for argument say they’re only meant for killing people. And what the hell… let’s go ahead and accept that ARs are designed to kill as many people as efficiently as possible. They’re “death machines”, right?
One way to describe something’s effectiveness is by evaluating how well it does its designed job. A car’s primary purpose is to transport us around, and we measure that by how often we get where we’re going safely. I’d say nearly all of the time a car gets us safely to our destination. But about 45,000 times per year, that’s not the case - someone dies. Still, we presume that cars are safe, despite this number.
Let’s look at the rate of performance based on the number of objects. There are an estimated 256 million registered vehicles in the United States, so 45,000/260,000,000 is about a 0.0177% fatality rate. We can also say that almost none of those are intentional self-harm, nor are they intentional homicide. We can conclude that cars are fulfilling their purpose pretty well!
By contrast, we presume guns are deadly, and they also take about 40,000 lives in a given year (the average has gone up a bit). However, there are an estimated 410 million guns legally owned in the US. That fatality rate is 0.0098%. But suicide is intentional self-harm and this counts for nearly 2/3 of that number. If we consider that a gun is designed to kill other people - that is, the purpose is not suicide but homicide - then we should only look at the 16,000 gun homicides as the effectiveness ratio. Now we’re down 0.0039%.
I’m pretty certain that killing 0.0177% of the user base is worse than 0.0098% and much worse than killing 0.0039%. If we claim cars are safe because they only kill 0.0177% of their users, why are guns dangerous when they kill 0.0039% of their users, especially when that’s exactly (allegedly) what they’re designed to do?
Now we can look at ARs by themselves and their sole purpose for slaughter. There are over 20 million AR-15s in private hands. The FBI notes that all rifles together account for less than 3% of all homicides. While it’s not true, let’s pretend all of that 3% of homicides involved an AR-15s for convenience. That’s 480 people using the numbers above, or 0.0024%. That’s an even smaller percentage than the rate for all guns overall, and much smaller again than for automobiles.
Too many apparently don’t understand the basic concept in play here. We are constantly told that guns take “too many” lives, but there is no attempt at describing “just enough.” You can’t have “too many” if you don’t also describe an acceptable limit.
The answer, of course, is “fewer than today.” And so then we compare the relative loss of life with other objects while ignoring the differences between privileges and rights. Cars are often brought up as comparisons - especially when there’s talk of registration and licensing. Fair enough.
According to the best available data, cars take more lives per object than guns. Yet we accept more deaths-per-object when we perceive a convenience than we do from protecting rights. Why?
The entire point is that arguing “made to kill” is an absurd distraction that leverages ignorance and emotion. It signifies a weak diversion to take away from the fact that freedom is dangerous.
It’s almost like guns aren’t doing their job. ARs in particular seem to be seriously underperforming, almost like people use them for something other than mass slaughter. But how could that be?
How could anyone possibly use something so often that isn’t in line with its sole purpose?
Millions and millions of people are misusing firearms by not killing a single person - ever! It’s shameful, I tell you! :-)
It seems that people are not killing other people at a high enough rate to reasonably “justify” any need for having firearms for personal defense. Thus, we should rely only on the police to protect us. Yet, paradoxically, at the same time, the rate at which people are killing other people using firearms is deemed to be so high that personal ownership of firearms is socially intolerable to some and should be either banned or curtailed by law.