Myth: Guns don't kill people, people do.

Fact: Both guns and people kill; guns make it easier.


This sound bite misses the point; people are indeed ultimately responsible for pulling the trigger, but the national murder rate would surely fall if widespread gun availability didn't make it so incredibly easy to kill another human being.


This frequent pro-gun slogan is something that, upon reflection, seems entirely true. But it's not.

In actuality, the first half of this slogan is demonstrably false; guns do indeed kill people. But the point that the gun lobby is surely trying to make is that they do not kill people by themselves; they require a human to pull the trigger.

This argument is an attempt to divert attention away from the fact that guns make it much easier to kill people. Guns do this in two ways: enhanced ability and feasibility. We can see the enhanced ability from suicide statistics: the most successful suicide attempts are those that involve firearms. And this greater ability also makes murder feasible in a greater number of circumstances. To anyone entertaining murderous impulses, a gun makes it feasible to attack larger people, multiple people, people from a distance, from secrecy, etc. No one in their right mind would try to rob a bank with a knife. But a gun inspires confidence of success in a would-be bank robber, allowing a crime to occur when it wouldn't have otherwise.

Gun control advocates argue that a certain, extremely small percentage of the populace is actively contemplating murder at any given time, and would if they could. They argue the murder rate would drop if these would-be murderers did not possess the enhanced ability and feasibility provided by guns. The above pro-gun slogan responds to this argument illogically, by making an irrelevant point.

A wit once described this irrelevancy thus: "Fingers don't kill people, bullets do."

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