Of all the tired arguments put forward by gun control advocates, one is the idea that they don’t have to know how guns work to debate on the merits. More often than not, they erect a strawman by claiming they’re expected to have detailed knowledge of firearms to discuss the issue of gun control. The truth is, Second Amendment advocates just want gun control advocates to stop speaking from a position of total ignorance.
The issue of gun control is fraught with emotional rhetoric that doesn’t advance the debate. It also serves as a vehicle for gun control advocates to make wildly inaccurate claims about firearms and bristle when told they’re wrong as if it doesn’t matter. But it does matter. If one is advocating for public policy implementation, they should accurately lay out their case and use information available to everyone else.
To put it into a broader context, pretend two people are debating automobile safety. Participant A says, “Look, we need to do something. The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is a dangerous road vehicle. It can travel at speeds of up to 400 miles per hour!” Participant B responds, “What? That’s not true. The top speed is limited to 168 miles per hour.” The retort from Participant A is, “Oh, give me a break! That doesn’t matter!”
But it does matter.
Nobody says Participant A needs to adequately explain the physics of horsepower and torque to engage in a debate about vehicle safety. But when that person spouts inane features of a car that do not exist, they deserve to get called out for their ignorance.
It is no different with firearms. When they claim the AR-15 and its variants shoot “800 rounds per minute,” or that people can purchase “automatic weapons at Walmart,” the pushback they receive is well deserved. When they say the AR-15 is a “weapon of war” when it’s not, they deserve to be called out. When they say, “Who needs an AR-15 to hunt deer,” when there are states that have banned people from using an AR-15 to hunt deer because it is not powerful enough, those people should get corrected.
Ironically, the same people claiming they don’t require expert knowledge of firearms are all too happy to take information from an article in The Atlantic and use it to claim someone with a handgun couldn’t stop a shooter with AR-15 because the handgun is “too slow.” These individuals don’t understand the difference between semi-automatic and automatic suddenly became experts in the physics of projectiles and muzzle velocity.
If you want more gun control, and want to debate the issue, learn the basics. You don’t have to be a gun expert, but at the very least, be able to speak knowing you possess just enough knowledge about them to make it through a discussion without making a fool of yourself.