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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

Chapter 17 - Debating Guns

from Part III - Deferred Dreams: Reflections on Politics and Society


This essay began as a blog post on that I wrote after a series of debates I did with John Lott, who has emerged as one of the strongest opponents of gun-control measures and a regular guest on Fox News. The original blog included my PowerPoint slides and accompanying commentary that I used in my debates; here I primarily focus on my experiences debating Lott, drawing on some of the more poignant data slides I used to counter his thesis that more guns equals less crime. This is followed by a discussion of a more recent debate I did with a radical gun advocate named Michael Huemer, who made the argument for guns as a necessary bulwark against governmental tyranny, which I debunked in the previous essay. I did not fully understand where Lott and Huemer (or gun-rights advocates of any kind) were coming from until I read George Lakoff’s book Moral Politics, which lifted the scales from my eyes and enabled me to understand what both conservatives and liberals really want, and not just in the realm of gun control, but in all dominions of life. The final part of this essay addresses those insights.