Forum:Argument from anomaly?

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

My crazy interloper suggests that since the latest automatic weapon shooting in California was one of TWO in the last year, with assault weapons being banned in CA, and that one of the weapons was homemade by a machinist using a shovel, should we do background checks on machinists, and ban shovels? This argument is basically that it is impossible to make laws that will prevent all mass shootings, because there will always be these anomalous cases, so there's no point in banning assault weapons. Is there a logical fallacy here? Reductio ad absurdum? Thank you. — Unsigned, by: Laineypc / talk / contribs

If you want to pick it apart, there's a non sequitur based on false assumptions, and a very obvious false dichotomy.
If we assume the premise that "there will always be these anomalous cases" is valid, then the conclusion that "it is impossible to make laws that will prevent all mass shootings" logically follows, but the conclusion that therefore "there's no point in banning assault weapons" doesn't follow, since it presumes that the only reason for banning assault weapons would be to prevent all shootings (rather than, say, to minimise availability & hence incidence). Hence the false dichotomy: either we prevent all mass shootings or we don't bother trying to prevent them, no middle ground. There are also issues with the original premise (that there will always be such anomalies) & whether, for example, an individual's motivation and capability to make a homemade gun ties into a wider culture surrounding guns rather than just some random "anomaly". WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 01:30, 6 November 2013 (UTC)