Maybe you felt indignant when you first heard that the our legislators and gun lobbies wanted to put guns on our college campuses, statistically, the safest environments in the country? Or in kindergartens? Or maybe you felt the same about privileging assault weapons as somehow on Madison's mind when he wrote the Second Amendment? Maybe you felt ambushed? Even fearful? You knew it didn't make sense, that it violated a kind of heart-optics, that guns and books and the exchange of ideas don't belong in an environment polarized by lethal firearms.
If you had these feelings, you probably tried to justify them, although we don't think you should ever find yourself in that predicament.
You needed facts and logical arguments that justified your instincts. On this page, you'll find the arguments you need to strengthen your conviction that the NRA is not interested in the truth regarding guns in America and gun-violence in general.
And with the arguments represented on this page, we can all begin to resist effectively the propaganda that flows ceaselessly from our gun lobbies.
We can begin to raise awareness concerning the enormous threat that these weapons potentially bring to our country.
We've listed below the articles, facts, and figures that have helped us to fashion our own talking points. We hope that you will find them helpful as well.
But this is a community project.
We'll continue to grow this list, but if you find helpful pieces that we've missed, please let us know. We'll add them.
- "Myths and Facts about Background Checks." ThinkProgress. A helpful myth-and-reality summary of the NRA's major talking points.
- "Dear America: Here's Why Everyone Thinks You Have a Gun Problem." Business Insider: Politics. Fifty-five points, each one backed up by statistics and helpful infographics, that shows clearly the human price we are paying for our irrational love affair with guns.
- "Ten Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down." Mother Jones. This piece tackles the major myths promulgated by the NRA and gives you a bucket-full of information to deflate them.
- "The NRA and Its Discontents." International Business Times. Takes on the top-three defenses of the NRA and gives you a level-headed insight into their deficiencies.
- "Eleven Facts about the NRA." The Washington Post. File under: "The More You Know About an Organization, the More Vulnerable They Are."
- "Investigating the Link between Gun Possession and Gun Assault." An authoritative data set. A Pennsylvania study finds that you're 4.5 to 5.5 X more likely to sustain serious or fatal injury if you're carrying a concealed weapon when assaulted by someone who is also armed.
- "Ten Arguments Gun Advocates Make, and Why They're Wrong." The American Prospect. Listed clearly, and simply refuted, this piece uses clear language and common sense.
- "Why the Citizen 'Militia Theory' is the Worst Pro-Gun Argument Ever." The Atlantic. Not a quick read, the piece will give you some deeply drilled ideas to consider about the fantasy of militias.
- "What the NRA Doesn't Want You to Know." Democratic Perspective. A look at the highly successful gun-control measures undertaken in Switzerland and Australia.
- "12 Rational Responses to Irrational Gun Arguments." Salon. An incisive set of responses—conversationally oriented, so especially helpful—to the labryinth of "gun ownership rights."
- "Are Guns Used More by US Civilians for Self-Defense or Intimidation?" An authoritative data set that supports the following conclusion: "Guns are used to threaten and intimidate more often than they are used in self-defense. Most self-reported self-defense gun uses may be illegal and against the interests of society." The strength of this piece lies in the authority of the evidence.
- "Gun Show Attendees Explain Five Reasons They Want Background Checks." ThinkProgress. The gun show folks tell us why even they want universal background checks.
- "More than Half of Mass Shooters Used Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines." Mother Jones. An concise analysis of the weapons used in mass-shootings, with an inventory of the weapons for each incident.
- "Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States." This should become a hugely influential study, arguing with credible statistics that a "higher number of firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalaties. . . ." So far, the criticisms of the study haven't been authoritative.
- "Gun Death Tally: How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?" This is a page at the reputable website, Slate, that attempts to tally daily gun deaths in America. Refresh the page for latest numbers. A very helpful site, although it deals in absolute numbers which, in a country of over 300 million, are more immediatetely striking than percentages.
- "What Right-Wing Media Won't Tell You about Assault Weapons." Media Matters. Everything you need to know about the controversial phrase, "assault weapon." What is it? When was it developed? Who first used the term, and why does the right-wing now disown the phrase?
- "Protect Children, Not Guns 2013." A downloadable PDF from The Children's Defense Fund, this document is a treasure trove of statistics regarding gun-violence involving children. The Children's Defense Fund grew out of the Civil Rights Movement under the leadership of Marian Wright Edelman and represents one of the most credible and historically significant advocacy groups in America.
- "Concealed Carry Killers." One of the claims from the gun-advocacy groups is that those who have concealed-carry permits are largely responsible and law-abiding citizens. In fact, the data to make that statement are hard to collect, but The Violence Policy Center has made some sound efforts to gather together what we do know.
- Angry White Men (2013)—This book, by Michael Kimmel, while addressing a range of issues that are currently making white men angry, also has a look at the gun issue and clarifies a great deal about the rage that fuels the far-right insurrectionists and gun-radicals who appear now with regularity on various social-media platforms. If you're curious about those spittle-crusted, red-faced coffee-shop vigilantes who just can't drink their pumpkin-spiced lattes without an AR-15, this book will give you an insight into their worlds. Disturbing, but essential.
- How To Argue for Gun Control: 5 Anti-Gun Regulations, Debunked—Aside from addressing four of the standard arguments used by the gun-radicals, this piece provides an authoritative debunking of the Hitler fallacy: "You know who took away guns? Do you? Hitler did. Case closed." That's not what happened. Of course. But read this piece to find out what, in fact, Hitler really did.
- The Myth of the Good Guy with a Gun—The oldest adage of the NRA's campaign to introduce guns to every conceivable environment—the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun—has been used so many times that it's become part of our cultural vocabulary. Guess what? The research proves that this statement is patently false. Here's the hard numbers that you need to know.
- The Myth of Gun-Free Zones and Mass-Shootings—You will often hear the NRA speak about so-called "gun-free zones" as being havens for mass-shooters. They're not. And this article summarizes the data that proves this to be the case.
- Gun Control Explained—The New York Times piece that tackles the central issue surrounding the gun-violence problem in America: gun control.
- Mass Shooting Tracker—The site that has changed how we view gun-violence in America by arguing simply that the traditional definition of a mass shooting—four or more dead, in one place, at one time—doesn't give an accurate picture of our problem. They point to one persuasive case: "For instance, in 2012 Travis Steed and others shot 18 people total. Miraculously, he only killed one. Under the incorrect definition of mass shooting, that event would not be considered a mass shooting! Arguing that 18 people shot during one event is not a mass shooting is absurd." And we agree. Make sure to visit this site regularly. It's one of the best barometers we have of gun-violence in America.