Conservatives are Delusional About Facts on Guns

In a recent interview with GQ, actor Vince Vaughn discussed his thoughts on a number of different topics; but the remarks that have received the most media attention are the ones he made regarding gun rights in the United States.

Among other things Vaughn stated:

I support people having a gun in public, full stop, not just in your home. We don't have the right to bear arms because of burglars; we have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government.

It's not about duck hunting; it's about the ability of the individual. It's the same reason we have freedom of speech.

And, "All these gun shootings that have gone down in America since 1950, only one, or maybe two have happened in non-gun-free zones."

To no one's surprise Fox News was quick to step in and offer their support for Vaughn's view. For example, Greg Gutfeld of "the Five" started his June 2 segment on Vaughn with, "The media reaction to Vince Vaughn's recent second amendment defense is as unsurprising as it is fact free." It should be noted that Gutfeld is the same person who once said: "Isn't the problem here that there are too many celebrities spouting off their political opinions?" Apparently the only celebrities Gutfeld feels should spout off are the ones who agree with his opinion.

Of course the bigger problem here is that Gutfeld is convinced that his version of reality represents facts. Is it true that since 1950 only one or two mass shootings have occurred in non-gun-free zones? The shootings at Fort Hood and the Washington Naval Base are two recent mass shootings which clearly don't fit the "gun-free" profile. A number of others include people who killed their family or co-workers, suggesting that the location of the murders had far more to do with people than the presence of guns. The reality is that even Gutfeld is only able to find less than a handful of mass murders where the perpetrator took the gun-free status into account.

Not to be outdone, Gutfeld's colleague Eric Bolling adds his own misinformation to the mix when he stated: "You want facts, here are the facts. Since 1993 gun ownership has gone up by 50 percent. In that same period of time the murder rate has gone down by 50 percent". The only problem with this "fact" is that it suggests this correlation represents causation. If Bolling thinks that things are getting better, he might also want to point out that in 1977 over 50% of households owned a gun while in 2014 that number had fallen to 31 percent. Perhaps the causation here is that there are less murders now because less people have access to guns.

The group also makes disputed claims regarding concealed carry statistics, defensive gun use, and gun ownership versus crime rates. For a conversation that is supposed to be about facts, the panel on "the Five" seems oblivious to how in doubt their supposed facts really are.

But making matters worse is when this group, arguing against gun control, held up the stop and frisk policy in New York as a success because as Gutfeld said "it is a fairly obvious point -- stop and frisk gets guns -- that prevents gun crime." Amazingly, Gutfeld isn't even aware how he completely contradicted himself. While arguing that more guns equals less crime he admits that he supports a "fairly obvious" policy of taking people's guns because in his words "that prevents gun crime." This is exactly the argument that gun rights advocates have been making for years. The only difference is, Gutfeld believes that race should play a part in determining who is allowed to have a gun.

Polls show American's are clearly interested in putting more restrictions on who can own a gun and allowing the government better tools to track those guns, but despite the data that show countries with strict gun laws experience less homicide, gun rights advocates are a strong and outspoken group that tend to shout down any changes as a restriction of freedom.

The good news is there is a compromise available. The word "arms" in the constitution has not been specifically defined, which means it is open to interpretation. Instead of trying to outlaw guns, gun control advocates should simply outlaw the manufacture and sale of bullets. The second amendment would remain intact while gun deaths would fall dramatically. If legislators are uncomfortable with this option, the same thing could be accomplished by increasing the taxes on guns and bullets making them unaffordable for many of the mentally unstable individuals that commit these mass murders. Either way everyone wins.