Absurd arguments on gun control

The debate over gun control is a complicated one. A case can be made that people should have the right to own guns of their own. But there is no question that opponents of any form of gun control invest in the Second Amendment an almost mystical quality that suggests that any regulation of any kind is a horrendous violation, and this is taking them over the cliff leading to a kind of extremism that can backfire.

Jon Oliver of The Daily Show looks at one of the arguments, that gun control does not work to reduce gun violence.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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(This clip was aired on April 18, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)

Jon Stewart takes apart another of the argument that opponents of gun control brings out that I too find utterly disingenuous.

(This clip was aired on April 18, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. MatthewLaboratory says

    So if a criminal attacks you with a knife, you really think you’ll be safer if you don’t have a gun?

  2. jamessweet says

    I should mention… the reason for the blurred out section in the middle is that I edited out a rather long conversation with some of my more reasonable friends — if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t have fit in a reasonably-sized image! 😀 During that conversation, a different friend of mine did in fact make an argument against the assault weapon ban that I found somewhat thought-provoking. It hasn’t shifted me to the point where I oppose such a ban, but I would probably say I am mostly ambivalent about it at this point.

    There are some non-absurd anti-gun control arguments. I’m not sure those arguments are ultimately convincing, but they aren’t patently absurd. Problem is, the people who actually oppose gun control almost never make those arguments. And it’s true what I said in the pictured comment: I was once relatively neutral about gun control, but I have since become moderately pro-gun control, and the reasons have had more to do with the atrocious arguments made my gun nuts than it does with arguments that are directly in favor of gun control.

  3. Mano Singham says

    One can always construct hypothetical scenarios where the option one prefers is the best one. For example, one can think of car crashes where not wearing a seat belt might be better than wearing one.

    This is why one has to really look at the statistics such as on average, are people who live in societies with some control on gun ownership less or more likely to be hurt by gun related violence? Those are questions that can be studied empirically.

  4. Doug Little says

    James @4

    There are some non-absurd anti-gun control arguments.

    I must admit I have not run across any argument that does not sound absurd, can you elaborate?

  5. Doug Little says

    Oh, I forgot to add that I thought this was some of John Oliver’s best work he has done for a while but I’m kinda biased since he was in my home country for most of it. Whoop-de-do indeed.

  6. Andrew Mattson says

    I can stop a knife-wielder with a chair, a tennis racket, a tree branch, or I can outrun someone with a knife.

  7. Signe Mahan says

    The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every American the right to bear arms. Has any law ever been so ambiguous? What are arms? What does it mean to bear them? At least with the first amendment we know exactly where we stand: Freedom of speech. It couldn’t be any clearer. But, the right to bear arms leaves the second amendment open to different interpretations. We need gun permits to carry a concealed weapon. Do we need knife permits? No. Yet both can, and often do, cause death. We can own a gun, or a rifle, or a sub-machine gun, or a machete, and dozens of other tools to kill, even our own bare hands. So, gun control is a debate in our country that makes no sense unless you broaden the ban or acceptance to include all instruments of death.`..

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