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Drunk Drivers & Mass Shooters

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In response to the latest mass shooting, Democrats have proposed gun control legislation. Republican Senator John Kennedy replied with the witticism that “We do not need more gun control. We need more idiot control.” He then endeavored to make an argument by analogy to counter arguments for gun control. In this argument, Kennedy asserted that “…And I’m not trying to equate these two, but we have a lot of drunk drivers in America that kill a lot of people. We ought to try to combat that too. But I think what many folks on my side of the aisle are saying is that the answer is not to get rid of all sober drivers.” Given what he says, he seems to be comparing mass shooters with drunk drivers. While that seems clear, sorting out the rest of the argument requires a bit more work. Looked at in the most charitable way, his inference seems to be that because getting rid of sober drivers would not solve the problem of drunk drivers, it follows (by analogy) that getting rid of non-mass shooter gun owners would not solve the problem of mass shootings. On this interpretation, he is right—but right in a vacuous way: getting rid of people who do not do X would not solve the problem of people who do X. But since his reply is to proposals for gun regulation, what he seems to be inferring is that since getting rid of sober drivers would not stop drunk driving, gun control should be rejected. This reasoning requires that the proposed gun control be on par with eliminating sober drivers. I think he might mean taking away everyone’s cars (including those of sober drivers) as a means of addressing drunk driving. As such, the analogy would only hold in the case of proposals to take away all guns. While there are those who propose this, this is not what the congressional Democrats and Biden have proposed. So, while the analogy does apply to proposals to eliminate all guns, it does not apply to proposals to increase gun control, such as universal background checks and even. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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