Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The slippery slope fallacy on steroids

I see no good reason to believe that the banning of assault weapons will lead to the banning of all weapons, which would, of course, take a Constitutional amendment. I know a lot of people say this, but it strikes me as the slippery slope fallacy on steroids. We could save lives in mass shootings if we could prevent potential mass shooters from getting guns that can fire and fire without having to reload. Stopping to reload ends many a mass shooting, as in the shooting at Safeway in Tucson where Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Ordinary self-defense and ordinary hunting does not require us to fire without reloading. You could be in a defensive situation where you need an AR-15, but you could be in a defensive situation where you could sure use and hand grenade.

There is a rationale for some weapons restrictions even if we don't want to rip up the second amendment and confiscate all guns. So why use the slippery slope argument?

5 comments:

Legion of Logic said...

When leading Democrats express public admiration for the Australian gun ban, it seems hard to view it as a slippery slope.

SteveK said...

The slippery slope is valid when the argument is based on some arbitrary feature of the weapon that can just as easily apply to other weapons for the same reason.

So, for example, if semi-automatic rifles need to be banned because they can be fired rapidly, you'll need to convince me why semi-automatic handguns won't be banned next. If you cannot give a solid reason why the slippery slope won't continue toward the next weapons ban, then the courts will allow it to continue.

SteveK said...

Victor: "We could save lives in mass shootings if we could prevent potential mass shooters from getting guns that can fire and fire without having to reload."

First of all, all guns need to be reloaded. Once you ban the guns that can "fire and fire", there will remain other legal guns that will take their place at the head of the line. Those guns will become the new AR-15's. It will be argued that these guns can "fire and fire" like no other legal gun and are responsible for mass killings.

How will you convince a court that these other guns should not be banned for the exact same reason? If you cannot do that, then I am justified in thinking the slippery slope is real.

Legion of Logic said...

From the Columbine shooting Wikipedia article:

"On the day of the massacre, Harris was equipped with a 12-gauge Savage-Springfield 67H pump-action shotgun (which he discharged a total of 25 times) and a Hi-Point 995 Carbine 9 mm carbine with thirteen 10-round magazines (which he fired a total of 96 times).[35]

Klebold was equipped with a 9×19mm Intratec TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun with one 52-, one 32-, and one 28-round magazine and a 12-gauge Stevens 311D double-barreled sawed-off shotgun. Klebold primarily fired the TEC-9 handgun for a total of 55 times, while he discharged a total of 12 rounds from his double-barreled shotgun."

The standard "assault weapon" ban would only cover the TEC-9. Pump shotguns, handguns with standard magazines, and even revolvers are plenty lethal. The guy with the Hi-Point carbine showed the futility of attacking magazine size - I can reload such a rifle in three seconds easily.

The weapons that get targeted account for a tiny percentage of deaths, and such bans do nothing to prevent mass shootings. If saving lives is the answer, then why are the least-used weapons targeted first?

One Brow said...

The standard "assault weapon" ban would only cover the TEC-9. Pump shotguns, handguns with standard magazines, and even revolvers are plenty lethal. The guy with the Hi-Point carbine showed the futility of attacking magazine size - I can reload such a rifle in three seconds easily.

Then why the insistence on keeping the TEC-9 legal?