But I think the main reason for this change is that as long as you recognize the basic reality that guns are dangerous, fighting even the most minimal kinds of restrictions is inherently difficult. You need to change the game. You need a theory that is coherent and in line with your goal. Lott’s theory created a logic for that. The problem with massacres isn’t too many guns. It’s too few guns. Guns aren’t the problem. They’re the answer. It was the NRA’s ‘positive good’ argument, comparable to the one pro-slavery intellectuals devised in the 1850s. It’s the origin of virtually every argument the NRA makes today, from arming teachers to the “good guy with a gun”, to the need for permissive concealed carry nationwide.

All available evidence suggests the obvious: more guns, more gun deaths. Lott’s whole thesis is almost comically flawed for anyone who understands the interaction of human nature and game theory. The empirical studies all seem flawed. Even apart from this, a big chunk of the population, probably the majority, simply doesn’t want to live in a high-fear, maximally armed society. But these are all the consequences of the NRA’s ‘positive good’ theory of guns. That’s where Trump got this inane idea. It’s not strange at all. We should expect it.

Gun Rights, ‘Positive Good’ and the Evolution of Mutually Assured Massacre

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