The problem isn’t that guns are in and of themselves a problem, a thorough misconception. When something should be killed, a well-placed shot is absolutely more humane than, say, lethal injection or hanging, and guns are perfect for hunting in cultures that can still argue they need to hunt.
The problem with guns is that they become an extraordinary tool for people to resolve ordinary issues. And the thing about tools is that once you have one in your hand, you are substantially more likely to use it.
Almost every single time, using a gun as a tool leads to someone being maimed or killed where they could’ve been talked down or subdued. The result guns bring is almost never justified no matter how you argue it, because you always have to presume things would’ve gone terribly had a gun not been used.
A great anecdote that came about recently is that video of the white nut job running at a cop with a weapon and the cop doesn’t shoot him. The assailant literally yells, “Shoot me!” and acts accordingly. He even rushes the officer to the ground and into a very dangerous position. You can see the video yourself here.
This has been frequently highlighted in the context of race relations (rightfully so), but there’s an important lesson here about guns:
If ever there was a justifiable circumstance to shoot a man, it was that one. No reasonable person could’ve faulted that cop for gunning that man down., but he didn’t. Regardless of why that is (race, cowardice, etc), that was the better outcome. Now the psycho is in jail instead of dead, he may rehabilitate, and the cop miraculously went uninjured.
The gun served zero purpose in this situation. It did not intimidate the assailant, nor did anything change on the scene until another person arrived. Had the gun been used properly and justifiably, the outcome would have been inarguably worse than it was.
I support the right for well-armed militias to bear arms and for individuals to own them too, because the reason that right exists is still dramatically relevant today. But I don’t kid myself that the true and honest reality about guns is that with almost perfect consistency they result in worse outcomes than would have likely resulted had guns not been involved.
Guns may not kill people (in a ridiculous sense), but they certainly instigate people to kill other people.