Letters: Gun logical fallacies

Published: Tuesday, May 14 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

In nearly every debate on gun policy someone will argue that registration is the first step toward confiscation and then tyranny. While this is technically true, it is also an example of an informal logical fallacy called the slippery slope. A slippery slope argument is one in which a small first step will lead through a series of other steps to some inevitable outcome. It is a fallacy because the claimed outcome is usually not the only possible result of that first step. If you look up the article on the "slippery slope" as a logical fallacy, this gun registration argument is often presented as the very first example.

For example, picking up a gun is the first step toward murdering someone with it. Everyone that has ever used a gun to murder someone else has always picked up a gun first. However, not everyone who has ever picked up a gun has gone on to murder others with it. Murder is not the inevitable outcome of picking up a gun.

Tyrannical oppression is not the inevitable outcome of requiring background checks before the purchase of a weapon. Will everyone please stop using this particular logical fallacy to support their arguments?

Hyrum Anderson

Cottonwood Heights

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