Pro-gun owners will argue that everyone owning guns will mean that there's more people to protect themselves against people with malicious intentions that own guns.

Is it a fair argument to say that if for example every citizen was given a snake so that they will be now able to make anti-venom from their snake so they can protect themselves against any future snake attacks. A lot of people will probably get bitten by their new snakes but it's all right because they now might have anti-venom to cure themselves with and the issue of snakebites from wild snakes (people that procured guns illegally) will no longer be a problem as everyone will have anti-venom.

Is this example strong and cogent enough to use in an argument?

  • 1
    Wouldn't this be more a pro-gun argument? I mean, it's a faulty analogy, but, allowing for that, you seem to show universal snake ownership would be a good idea if snake bites were a real problem.
    – user935
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:10
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    @JAG I think the metaphor is definitely imperfect. For one, guns don't have a will of their own, unlike snakes. The metaphor gives a malicious intent to guns that gun owners would probably think is unfair. The success of the example would largely depend on the contextual commentary you give of it though. Either way, it will definitely conjure up distracting imagery that in my opinion takes away from the intellectual integrity of the argument you'd be trying to make.
    – Byday
    Nov 7, 2017 at 21:05
  • @barrycarter I'm trying to say that more gun ownership isn't equal to more safety. More snakes obviously don't mean a safer environment.
    – JAG
    Nov 7, 2017 at 21:41
  • Except in the example you give, "everyone will have anti-venom", so everyone is safe. It's a poor analogy because guns won't cure gunshot wounds, but, in the analogy, you've made a good case for snake ownership (if snake bites were a serious issue, which they're not).
    – user935
    Nov 8, 2017 at 1:00
  • @barrycarter Personal beliefs of whether everyone should own a snake or not aside. In my analogy I'm trying to get the point across that although people may be able to make anti-venom to cure all the new snake bites as well as the ones that would have happened anyway, people probably won't make the anti-venom in quantities that it's effective to lower the amount of snake bite deaths to lower rates than before everyone had snakes, this is meant to be analogous to more people having guns and being able to protect themselves against "bad" people with guns.
    – JAG
    Nov 8, 2017 at 3:26

1 Answer 1


No, for two reasons:

Firstly, possession of a snake is not germane to the utility of anti-venom i.e. everyone possessing a vial of anti-venom would be equivalent (and indeed better though not especially useful).

Secondly, anti-venom is a different kind of protection than carrying a gun. The former is a passive defence while the latter is an active deterrent. A more accurate equivalent to anti-venom would be for everyone to wear a bullet-proof vest. As no-one is suggesting the latter, the former is not really a strong argument.

Now, if you carried something that snakes were fearful of (nothing springs to mind except possibly a gun) then that would be a reasonable equivalent. But, presumably, that doesn't really achieve your aim.

BTW this isn't intended as an implied defence of gun ownership but a critique of the snake argument.

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