Some might say that guns cause too much of a problem in society(specifically US society) basically because they do nothing but enable irresponsible behaviour, and on those grounds should be banned or restricted. This being especially problematic due to the lethality inherent in guns. This has led to a divide between gun owners and gun banners that probably cannot be bridged, even more so when the anti-gun side uses such loaded and derogatory terms as 'paranoid', 'wannabe vigilante', and 'neanderthal'. Guns are not to be allowed because in the eyes of the anti-gun side, people are basically too incompetent to handle them properly. This has grown from mere insult to the prime justification for gun confiscation. But what if non-lethal weapons, with effectiveness equal to guns, were introduced tomorrow? How might this make a difference to the gun debate? How might the anti-gun side respond to this development? Would they welcome the new weapons, on the grounds that there not being a risk of death made them perfectly acceptable? Or would they stick to the script, and regard those who wanted non-lethal weapons as being just as paranoid and desirous of violence as they claim gun owners to be?

Because up until that point, their disdain for personal weapons would have ostensibly been based on the perceived fitness of people to use them, not on the dangers of the weapons themselves - despite their protestations to the contrary. Thinking of their disdain for the NRA's slogan 'guns don't kill people, people do'. Nevertheless, if they claim that people are unfit to own guns, they are in fact agreeing with the underlying logic of the NRA quote. It is undeniable that guns don't do anything bad unless a human being wishes them to(not including accidents in this analysis of course). Anti-gunners trying to say that the human factor is not relevant would merely make themselves appear foolish.

But how could the anti-gun side respond to these new, non-lethal weapons? If they agree that they are perfectly acceptable for civilian usage, then they throw the matter of responsibility out of the window and damage their own credibility. Because how can they say irresponsible usage of guns is a huge problem, while saying that irresponsible usage of non-lethals is not a problem that we should be as concerned with? Beyond exposing themselves as hypocrites, they are also claiming openly that it does not matter if you are irresponsible or not, so long as it is comparatively safe for you(and others) to be so irresponsible! Is this what the anti-gun side wishes for, for it to be made safe to be irresponsible?

Neither can they escape the loss of face by being 'consistent', and repeating the same old message about how people are not fit to own weapons, be they lethal or otherwise. If they try to tell people that it matters not whether you own a gun or a non-lethal weapon, you are stil] incapable of properly handling weapons, it would become obvious to everyone that anti-gunners never were motivated by concern for the grievous harm caused to individuals and societies by guns, but rather they were driven by their own sense of superiority over everyone else. I can only imagine how the people would take to that.

The bottom line is, the anti-gun side has built their arguments on a dubious proposition, that people are basically irresponsible and this means that they are not to be allowed weapons. They never allow this notion to be addressed explicitly, not least because there are millions of gun owners in the US who prove them wrong. But it is such an untenable idea on its face, that they cannot allow it to be scrutinized - they must shout down and ridicule anyone who would attempt to do so.

One wonders if, since the introduction of non-lethal weapons would prove so destructive to their ideological legitimacy, they might not endeavour to persuade the manufacturers to restrict supply to police forces and military organizations, quietly, behind the scenes.

Can they really afford not to?