SHIELDS: The Difference Between Banning Guns and Banning Abortion

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Tuesday, May 31, 2022


The heartbreaking school shooting in Uvalde, Texas has sparked another national debate on gun control. One point that has been rather popular on social media and necessary to refute is the notion that Republicans are hypocrites because they want to ban abortion even though some mothers will still get abortions, but refuse to ban guns because criminals will still get ahold of guns. 

Prima facie, it’s easy to see both Republicans and Democrats as hypocrites who swap arguments depending upon whether we are discussing abortion or gun control. 

The truth is there is a major difference between banning abortion and banning guns, and it is that difference that causes it to be perfectly consistent to support banning abortion while recognizing some mothers will still get abortions while refusing to support banning guns because some criminals will still get ahold of them. 

In nearly all cases, it is a weak and inane argument that we should not have a law solely because it may be broken in some instances. The logical consequences of accepting this argument would be the legalization of murder, rape, and other heinous crimes, for it is so that no law is upheld perfectly. 

Laws are good because they provide justice and lower crime, but they will never fully eliminate injustice nor crime. There are some who elect not to commit an evil act simply in virtue of it being illegal. Others are deterred because of the penalty attached to breaking the law. Those tasked with enforcing the law are able to stop those attempting to break it, and when the law is broken we as a society are able to punish the wrongdoer and in so doing provide justice.

Laws that achieve these things such as prohibitions on homicide, abortion, and rape do not deprive the innocent of their liberty or their means to protect their liberty. To the contrary, these laws expand the liberties of would-be victims. Further, the law-abiding lose nothing as a direct consequence of these laws. 

This is not the case with a law banning guns. 

Laws against homicide, abortion, and rape ban acts that are intrinsically evil. A law banning guns bans a tool that can be used as a means for good or evil. The law-abiding, who use the tool for good, will lose their means of self-defense. Criminals will still have access to guns, and will use them to commit crimes and harm the innocent. Banning guns endangers the law-abiding while empowering criminals. 

In 2013, the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council found that victims use guns for self-defense anywhere from 500,000 to over 3 million times a year. A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons found, “34% had been ‘scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.’ 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they ‘knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun.’ 69% personally knew other criminals who had been ‘scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.’” 

The great difference between banning guns and banning abortion is that the former endangers the innocent whereas the latter protects them. 

When we ban abortion while recognizing that some mothers will still have one, we are protecting the lives of the unborn and providing justice against evildoers. When we refuse to ban guns because criminals will still obtain them, we are providing the law-abiding with a tool to defend their lives and liberties. In both cases we are protecting life and liberty while preventing crime and injustice. There is no hypocrisy in holding these two positions, rather it is proper to hold both—it being so that they are both just and righteous.  

Jack Shields is a student at Texas A&M University. He is a history major and huge Dallas Cowboys fan, with interests in politics, religion, and philosophy.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Jack Shields

Jack Shields is a student at Texas A&M University. He is a history major and huge Dallas Cowboys fan, with interests in politics, religion, and philosophy.

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