Are Guns the Problem?
Are guns the problem? It's time to have an honest conversation. https://t.co/WhTJyQE9HQ
— Governor Matt Bevin (2015-2019) (@GovMattBevin) February 16, 2018
Kentucky’s governor Matt Bevin gave a short interview to the Cincinnati Enquirer about the issue of guns in America. Below is the CC transcript of the interview from YouTube. (Hence the lack of punctuation.) I’ve broken up the text at relevant points to make space for commentary and I also corrected a few obvious auto-translation errors and filled in a few gaps in trying to make sure all of his ideas were represented fairly. The text has not been otherwise altered. (My comments below are all in italics)
- This is incorrect. He may have conflated the % of the population owning guns (which has gone down) with the number of firearms per capita, or he may be misinformed, or he may be attempting to use the opportunity to disinform viewers.
Here’s the % of the population owning firearms. (Yes, it is going down, but this isn’t what he referred to.)
Here’s the % change in the number of firearms in the US from 1993-2013 (It’s not the 50 or 100 years that governor Bevin referred to but given the trend in this graph, and this WaPo article that suggests 2015 was the first year in which guns outnumbered humans in the US, I think I’m on solid ground)
- His “proof” that guns are not the problem is an anecdote about people being cavalier with guns when he was young. Okay.
- There are loads of baseless assertions here. Here’s one response to his claim about video games:
- Vehicles can be used for mass murder, but the circumstances in which they can do so are greatly constrained when compared to semi-automatic weapons. Further, vehicles serve a purpose to society that semi-automatic weapons do not, so we have to weigh the benefits of transportation against the dangers of vehicles vs. the same for semi-automatic weapons. They’re worlds apart in my mind and I’m in the camp that would like to see our vehicle use greatly restricted, but I digress…
- Big nothing burger here, but I wonder what’s the redemptive value of a semi-automatic weapon?
- Like semi-automatic weapons?
- Just to keep score, he pointed fingers at video games and music, then the responsibility of homes, communities, schools, and churches, before claiming that cars were just as deadly. He then stated the need not to rush to judgment (the old standby), before claiming support for the first amendment and suggesting that pornography might be the root of the problem. He then questioned whether we might want to ban porn, before closing with vague references to pharmaceuticals as a potential cause of the problem. Like everything else, the claims around pharmaceuticals are not substantiated in any way.
In sum, he opens with incorrect information about the prevalence of guns, makes a load of accusations without presenting any facts, and then suggests that we should start a conversation for a problem that has gone on for decades. Sadly, I’m guessing we’ll hear him make that last claim again soon. Hopefully, we’ll demand different this time.