GUN-CONTROL EXERCISE-- Gun-control debates are all over the place. No sooner is one pro-gun argument challenged than another seamlessly replaces it within the same discussion. Typically, the shift happens without notice or remark. Some of the positions trump all the others. Some are not explicitly expressed at all, but their passion and effect are powerful. Some "moderate" pro-gun advocates might stipulate that not all arguments have equal merit, but a remaining one or few are deal-breakers.
People have a hard time distinguishing (or sometimes they purposely manipulate) the types or relevance of data used in arguments (ex., number of deaths in a school killing; number of guns in circulation, number of hours of TV or game violence watched, polled number of people who "approve" of a measure.)
Below, are some categories of pro-gun argument I have noticed. When I hear arguments I try to keep up with the main thrust of which type of appeal or logic is in play. I've tried to capture them in a neutral way--the way that someone who holds the opinion might--without distortion or irony. To some degree, this list "ranks" my sense of the motivating power behind the opinions or arguments.
1 I refuse to be disrespected or pushed around by "others"; especially those who differ by race, religion, region, politics, education, wealth, "work ethic," etc. The issue here is guns in particular, but the feeling extends to all dimensions of personal and civic life where I and my world-view are threatened and maybe losing.
2 Tangible and immediate solutions are best. Theories and averages don't apply to me, personally. Protection is about having a weapon in hand--one that is as powerful as it needs to be. Just the promise of improved gun-death statistics at some time in the future is not sufficient reason to experiment and take risks right now.
3 Not all gun owners even imagine using guns on people. Like owning and handling a fine tool, camera, smartphone, car, and so forth, my guns have intrinsic value as objects of pride and satisfaction. I use my guns to collect, trade, hunt, and target sport. People are capable of inflicting harm using many of the objects associated with these pursuits;
4 The problem is unsolvable through controls. To the degree that gun ownership creates a problem (if it does,) there are so many guns in circulation that regulation can only limit the law abiding. Imprisonment of high-potential killers and aggressive armed protection (ex.,law enforcement and self defense) are the only secure means to be safe.
5 The threat (strength, potential) of an armed citizenry helps forestall or resist unconstitutional seizures by the government (foreign or domestic.) Citizens also need to preserve their capacity for armed resistance against rogue non-governmental groups.
6 Private solutions are better than public ones. Public actions don't benefit people like me, and they often come at my expense. Keep government out of my life.
7 Protect constitutional principles. Rights are inalienable, vulnerable to erosion, and not subject to dispute. Therefore, no gun-control arguments invoking empirical data or constitutional law need be entertained.
8 Identity as a gun owner bonds me with other lawful gun owners who collect, protect, or hunt with guns. I assume (identify with) the aspects of gun ownership that are associated with strength, independence, sport, and so forth.