Every time something like this happens, we get the same arguments against gun control from the same gun-rights nitwits. Rather than keep explaining repeatedly why those excuses are wrong, here's my quick-and-dirty short list of rebuttals to the NRA line:
1. "Guns don't kill people; PEOPLE kill people!"
No. In most cases, it's people WITH GUNS who kill people. For gun deaths to occur, two things are needed: a triggerman AND a trigger. Here's the thing: if we want to limit the number of people who kill people with guns, we have to reduce either triggers or triggermen.
Reducing the number of triggermen means substantially increasing funding for mental health care, substantially increasing the incidence of involuntary commitment for borderline mental health problems, and increased incarceration of violent people. The first of these (an adjunct of increased funding for health care) is opposed by most conservatives as "socialism"; the second is opposed by most small-l libertarians of all stripes; the third is unworkable given that the U.S. already has the highest percentage of its population in jail of any modern nation (and our violent crime rate hasn't decreased accordingly).
So if we can't/won't reduce the number of triggermen, we need to reduce potential shooters' access to weapons. And reducing access to weaponry is MORE libertarian -- more Freedomy! -- than reducing people's liberty in general. (Plus, it helps protect kids from getting their hands on them by accident.)
2. "The NRA didn't shoot those kids; why blame them?"
It's funny: Attorney General Eric Holder didn't shoot federal agents in Mexico; Mexican drug lords did. Yet conservatives are rabid about holding Holder responsible for "Fast & Furious," the program that loosened rules against gun exports and allowed guns to fall into dangerous hands. If they can blame Holder for Fast & Furious, I can blame the NRA for fighting to allow more, and more dangerous, weapons into dangerous hands.
3. "We need guns for hunting."
Not military-style semi-automatic large-clip guns, you don't. Generations of sportsmen enjoyed hunting large game with Winchester 30.06 lever-action rifles, birds with double-barreled shotguns of various bores, and varmints and small game with single-shot .22s. Aren't you man enough to bring home the meat with the same weapon your grandpa used, especially since doing so will save innocent lives?
The truth is, military-style guns like AR-15s are designed for one thing: the efficient, long-distance killing of human-sized animals. The popularity of AR-15s among deer hunters proves only that deer and humans are about the same size. The fact remains that the weapons were designed for – and excel at – killing humans.
4. "We need guns for self-defense."
Proactively killing something is an inherently offensive, not defensive, act. Guns project death over distances; that's their purpose. Can they be used to return fire? Sure. But guns are not inherently defensive weapons. Brick walls are inherently defensive weapons. Of course, this only goes so far. It makes sense for police officers to carry guns, to be used in defense of themselves or others. But the population in general? Nah. When I see a gun nut wearing a bulletproof vest every day, I'll believe he cares about self-protection. Until then, I'll continue to assume it has more to do with penis size.
5. “If crazies couldn’t have guns, they’d kill some other way.”
Riiiight. If killing is just as easy with, say, a crossbow or a knife, then it will be no inconvenience whatsoever to you if we ban all guns, because you can hunt just as effectively with a crossbow or a knife. Right?
The reality is that firearms are much more popular than crossbows, and there are many more murders by gun than by knife. Why? For the same reason that most hunters use them: they are much, much more efficient killing machines.
6. "Obama and/or the U.N. are going to seize all our guns like in Red Dawn and institute a Kenyan-Marxist-fascist Sharia totalitarian welfare state that denies me my Medicare!"
a) Take your Prozac. Really. I know you THINK you're better off without it, but you're not. Trust me on this.
b) If the purpose of the Second Amendment is to allow citizens to overthrow the government by force, then the Second Amendment is a dead letter. The government has F-117s, tactical nukes, and more firepower on one aircraft carrier than all NRA members combined. To resist it effectively by force, every citizen would need the right to possess his/her own RPGs, weaponized anthrax, and tactical nukes. Is that your position?
Here’s the truth: if the evil Blue Helmets take over our nation as you fear, we're not going to fight them with stockpiled AR-15s. Rather, like all other guerrilla movements we're going to fight them with stolen ordnance, fertilizer bombs and IEDs. Until then? Calm down and let the grown-ups reduce the number of children murdered by nutjobs.
I'll update/expand this when I have time. Prayers to the people of Clackamas County and Connecticut.