Monday, November 24, 2014

Logical Fallacies in the Gun Control Debate

The debate over gun control is one of the most fiercely contested issues that politicians face today. The gun control debate is even more fraught with fallacies than most other issues. In this post, I will focus on fallacies committed by the liberal side, because most other posts will point out conservative fallacies. I want to show that logical fallacies are not exclusive to one party or another.

False Dichotomy - "If we don't change gun laws, our people will die."
There are many ways to stop violent crime, and most of them don't infringe on law abiding citizens' right to defend their homes. These include: increased mental health awareness, better education in violence-ridden neighborhoods, and stricter sale laws. We don't have to choose between our safety and our rights, we can have both.

Appeal to Emotion - "If we don't ban guns, our kids will continue to be gruesomely murdered."
This fallacy is often combined with the first one. Liberals incite the heinous crimes that have been committed, most notably the Newtown tragedy, to appeal to our emotions. This logic puts listeners in a dangerous place. They feel that if they don't agree with the speaker, they are supporting the psychotic murderers. Furthermore, emotion often conceals facts. Murder and violent crime in general have declined by almost 50% since 1990 (source), but the horrific-ness of the crime that does occur often distracts us from this fact.

Misconstruction of Facts - This may not technically be a fallacy, but I thought it might be worth mentioning, considering that even President Barack Obama was guilty of this(source). Contrary to popular belief, neither the Newtown killer(source), nor the Colorado shooter (source), used automatic weapons. Both used semi-automatic reproductions of automatic rifles.

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