I saw this most asinine bumper sticker today on a car in Phoenix. It's so painfully stupid I literally can't even. I'll just point out, though, that whoever created these stupid stickers misspelled misspell. Oooh, maybe they were trying to prove the point that pencils don't misspell words, PEOPLE misspell words. I think that's giving them too much credit, though. It is truly astounding to me that anyone could actually believe that "guns don't kill people." I mean, sure, people have to pick up a gun to kill someone with it. But to cling so tightly to the belief that having constant and ready access to guns has nothing to do with the massive amounts of gun violence in the United States is just pure and utter denial.
As Anthony Braga and Philip Cook, professors of criminal justice, argue:
"Guns don't kill people, people kill people" is a well-known slogan used by the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun activists to make the case for their deregulation agenda. This view suggests that the weapon type does not matter, as an assailant who is determined to kill will do whatever is necessary to accomplish that purpose. Whether the victim lives or dies is viewed as a reliable measure of the shooter's intent, and in particular the shooter's determination to kill.
Criminal law conforms with this view by reserving the most severe punishments, such as the death penalty and life without parole, for murderers. The "people kill people" argument suggests that enhanced gun controls would do little to change homicide rates as the intent of the killer matters much more than the weapon.
Our new research, along with other compelling evidence, demonstrates that this view is false and that the type of weapon used is highly influential in determining whether the victim of an assault lives or dies.
I honestly can't believe that people can truly believe guns aren't a problem. It has to be just a lame attempt at a "clever" talking point to shut down discussion and to ignore facts related to gun deaths, right? I honestly don't know anymore. But I do know that, as Michael Shammas points out, it's time to retire the argument that "guns don't kill people, people kill people":
The "guns don't kill people" argument is flawed because it sidesteps the debate. The issue is not whether guns can spontaneously kill people on their own. The issue involves how incredibly easy a modern weapon makes killing. Anecdotes and statistics are both useful in illustrating this point.