Man who argues against gun control for a living gets it really wrong this time
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
As American media trickles over the border, people will take the information that speaks best to them, irrespective of the reality of Canadian gun laws or our issues.
The problem with being a pro-gun liberal is that you’re always on the wrong side of that debate. Liberals hate you because you support ownership of what they consider to be evil and horrific murder devices and pro-gun conservatives hate you because you support anti-gun lawmakers. Luckily, 2020 has forced a change wherein both groups have become a bit better exposed to the others point of view; in turn, you would hope that the thought leaders of the pro-gun world would have evolved their arguments as a result. Enter Colion Noir.
Noir is a Texas-based lawyer and well-known Second Amendment advocate. At one point he seemed to be the only black guy working for the NRA, but recently he has maintained his social and traditional media presence in the hopes of defending the right to keep and bare arms. Recently, he made his third appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience. Unfortunately, despite the millions of new gun owners in America (many of whom are liberals), Noir managed to completely miss the real concerns that motivate gun control, reiterate straw man arguments, and justify America’s gun violence through bad science.
At one point in a YouTube promo clip, Noir explicitly states the thing that pushes many people to support gun control: “When people feel some random yo-yo can walk into a store and start shooting people it terrifies them, which is understandable.” However, he then completely ignores how this would motivate those same people to want to restrict said “random yo-yo” accessing guns in favor of an absurd argument (in the full Spotify exclusive podcast) that Michael Bloomberg wants to control the population to protect his wealth.
I have been following Noir for a few years and normally he is a smart guy, but this is a clear case of drinking the Kool-Aid till it rots your brains. Though he and I agree on America’s legal protection of the right to self-defence, he fails to realize that most people don’t want to live in a world where they have to carry a firearm for protection. In his efforts to maintain the right to bare arms, Colion Noir has clearly forgotten that people don’t want to see their daily trip to Starbucks as a potential life-or-death gamble. Nor do they want to worry about some “random yo-yo” attacking a school. Worse still, earlier in the same clip Noir acknowledges that it is an incredibly narrow segment of society that truly are killers. Why then does he not see that the majority of society does not want to be put into a situation where they would have to use deadly force?
In a second clip, Noir finds himself arguing that America doesn’t have a real gun violence problem at all. He starts of by saying: “[there are] 400 million guns in this country, if we [gun owners] were a problem, you’d know it.” The argument is essentially that since there are more guns than people in America, if the majority or even half of gun owners were evil murderers, the deaths would be widespread, unavoidable, and constant. Unfortunately for Colion, that’s exactly how most people who don’t have connections to the gun community feel. Noir fails to realize that this argument fails flat for the people who are even nominally supportive of gun control. But he makes matters worse by doubling down on the idea that America doesn’t lead the world in gun deaths.
In a manner he is right; if you go by the per capita numbers, America is 20th in the world in firearm death rates (according to the PBS chart used). Unfortunately, many of those preceding America are poor or developing countries who have had their governments wrecked by CIA operations and the failed American war on drugs. Noir is almost literally arguing that countries that often lack running water and well functioning governments having more murders per capita ameliorates America’s problem. Never mind that America is second in absolute numbers or that almost none of America’s peer countries are on the list (Greenland being the exception with its 13 murders in a population of 56,000). Noir sidesteps the simple fact that when compared to similarly developed countries (or even many less developed countries) America’s murder rate is an aberration.
I have come to the unfortunate realization that the quality of the American gun control debate dictates how Canadians feel about gun control here. As American media trickles over the border, people will take the information that speaks best to them, irrespective of the reality of Canadian gun laws or our issues. Unfortunately, this means that the people who rely on poor arguments, ignoring the core issue of safety that motivates gun control votes and “out of my cold dead hands” rhetoric will get the most speaking time and in turn will screw over us poor Canucks. For better or for worse, legal gun ownership will die on both sides of the border solely due to the inability of a few talking heads to create better arguments. It won’t make anyone safer, but it’ll certainly make a few people happier.