Tom doesn't buy the arguments of hard-core gun owners

Most of the hard-core gun owners I know are decent, hard-working, solid citizens who would never use a gun illegally. However, when you start talking to them about reasonable restrictions on certain types of weapons or ammunition magazines, they turn into the bastard child of Pee Wee Herman and Professor Irwin Corey. (The latter is certainly a dated reference, but you can look him up on YouTube. It will be worth your time.) These gun guys don't employ so much talking points as babbling points.

First off, they'll probably accuse you of hoplophobia, which is a made-up word about a made-up mental disorder, neither of which actually exists.

They seem to argue better when disconnected with reality. They may also say:

It's wrong to call those things "assault weapons."

Really?! They're not for hunting or target shooting, and there's no way that they're for personal protection. They have one purpose and that is to kill a whole lot of human beings in a really short period of time. Now, if you think you're getting the short end of the semantics stick, what would you prefer? The Population Thinner? How about "The Pieces Maker?"

There is no mathematical (or statistical) correlation between the number of guns and gun violence.

Math is like nitroglycerine; both are really dangerous when employed by people who don't understand them. Obviously, if there were no guns in the United States, there would be no gun violence, so that's already a correlation.

Multiple studies consolidated by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center show that even when broken down by home, city, state or region of the country, there is a clear correlation between the number of guns and the risk (to both men and women) of homicide. (One encouraging stat: The percentage of American households in which there is at least one gun has decreased significantly over the past 40 years.)

Guns provide us with protection from a tyrannical government.

I'm pretty sure that in 1790, around the time the Bill of Rights was adopted, that statement was true. The average farmer probably had the same weapon as the best-equipped soldier. Heck, it was probably still true in 1890. Today ... not true. If that mythical tyrannical government actually existed, it—with its nuclear weapons and Stealth bombers—could wipe out most of America without firing a single bullet. An armed citizenry is no longer the guarantor of freedom; it's just a bunch of people with a whole lot of guns.

Furthermore, I really resent the implication made by some that gun owners are somehow more American, more patriotic, more willing to defend this country than those who choose not to own guns. I look to what the unarmed people on United Flight 93 did on 9/11. The spirit of America is in all of us equally and is in no way magnified by the presence of a firearm in one's hand.

Yeah, well, what about cars?

What about cars? I'm assuming that gun owners don't want to talk about the fact that, in order to operate a motor vehicle, that vehicle must be registered with the government and the owner/operator thereof must undergo extensive training and then pass both a written and a physical test to demonstrate proficiency in the safe and proper use of that vehicle. I'm sure they don't want gun people to have to go through all that.

(I swear, if the same rules applied to guns and their owners as apply to cars and drivers, I wouldn't say another word.)

So, they must be making the lame (and nonanalogous) argument that there are a significant number of automobile-related deaths in America every year.

With only the rarest of exceptions, all auto-related deaths are the result of accidents or negligence. Well more than 99.99 percent of all vehicle usage is for positive purposes—going to and from work or school, transporting goods, providing services, and so on. While a certain percentage of gun deaths are accidental, the vast majority are the result of the prescribed operation of the item. Auto-related deaths are the result of the misuse of the product; gun deaths result from the intended use of the product. Seems like a big difference to me.

Two final things that may come up: First, there is the Gun Nut's Wet Dream, in which he uses his arsenal to prevent his wife/girlfriend/daughter from being raped. This is an enduring fantasy, but the chances of it actually happening are somewhere between absolute zero and very nearly zero. Statistically speaking, wife/girlfriend/daughter is far more likely to get shot by that gun than saved by it.

Finally, there is that about which you will be hearing a lot over the next few weeks, from Chief Nut Wayne LaPierre down to the (almost-) average guy. There is a valid reason for having a 30-round magazine for a handgun.

You walk out to the mall parking lot and are set upon by a marauding band of two dozen or so carjackers who knock you in the head and steal your car. If only you had had a gun with 30 bullets in it! (Actually, if they're all going to steal your car, they'd have to be wearing clown suits.)

There's no way that 30 bullets in a gun is for defense. It's strictly offensive ... like many of their arguments.