I was recently in Alaska doing some work. The crew that I was working with was the stereo-typical conservative god fearing crowd. Something struck me about them. They pack guns. On the job site there were guns. When they went fishing, there were guns (makes some sense since bears are common on the rivers). No matter what they were doing, there were guns. A thought occurred to me. Do atheists carry guns? I have four firearms, but only bought one of them because an uncle needed some bucks. The others were given to me as family gifts. The thought of bringing one never occurred to me. We don't have kids, so I really would have to think about the location of them all and the bullets for them. I just don't have an interest in guns. I'm not afraid of anything, so why would I care? 

So the real question that occurred to me is, do any atheists carry firearms? I do know of one. The largess of those that pack in my life are religionists. What are you afraid of? Why do you pack? If we live in the "greatest country" as Americans, why do you have to pack heat? Once in my 36 years do I recall a use for a weapon, but it may have made the situation much worse. If in most countries people don't feel the need to pack, doesn't that refute the greatest country claim on it's face? 

I have no judgement of those that want to pack. I defend that right as closely as the next. I'm not bothered by it. In the Czech Republic I was in a bar with three pistols on the table because we had just been target practicing. I enjoyed that true freedom that we don't have here. But does a transgression like stealing my wallet warrant death? Short of abuse of my child or wife, I don't know when I would pull the trigger. I'm quite capable of damage to anyone without my wrestling background. So why would I pack? If you are an atheist that packs, why is that, and can you justify it without fear? This is a new thought, so I'd love to hear all positions on it.  

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What I found interesting in the class (Idaho) was the discussion about about the legal aspects of carrying. This proved to be a real downer for many of the participants...as it should have been. We didn't have any problems with people during the shooting phase; this is Idaho after all. I did have the instructor give me some advice though. I was happily punching out the 10 ring with a beautiful match grade .22 when he tapped me on the shoulder and stated that I should probably spread those shots around a bit (like a shotgun). I then remembered that the targets go into a permanent file. If you are ever involved in a shooting and are pulled into court they will use this as evidence. If all they see is the 10 ring shot out the prosecutor will then ask "why didn't you just shoot him in the hand so he would drop his gun?" However, if they see that the target looks like a shotgun hit it they'll think "wow, you were lucky to even hit the guy". Isn't that insane?
What I found interesting in the class (Idaho) was the discussion about about the legal aspects of carrying. This proved to be a real downer for many of the participants...as it should have been.

Yep! Same as in Missouri. The legal aspects are daunting for anyone who fantasizes that a confrontation will be cut and dry and Hollywood-esque.

And we received the same warnings about bragging about owning a gun, or shooting people dead in the home (looking at you, Galen, hehe), or stickers on the car cutely relating to gun violence. Should you ever be involved in a shooting, all these things can and will be used against you in either a criminal or civil complaint. It shows premeditation. At the least, it lets burglars know where they can steal a gun. But, at one point, the range officer said that leaving a survivor is tantamount to leaving a huge lawsuit. Also, if you do not provide medical assistance after neutralizing the threat (not necessarily killing the person), you can be in big trouble, too.

Being a gun owner means a lot of extra responsibilities and risks.
guns kill, end of story. Dont agree, children get hold of guns, so am right that you are saying all the parents of children shot are morons or unstable. you may reply that this is not what you mean.
one accidental shooting is wrong, so who do you decide are ok to handle guns.
Who can decide this and what makes you think anyone would bother to listen.
Elaine, just like anything relating to public issues, it should be decided by the public by way of the government. And it's no different with guns than with anything else. Cars are far more deadly than guns in the West, and there are systems in place to ensure that the people who drive cars know how to do it. Such systems can be created to ensure the same thing with guns.
I am a firearm owner with my CCW license. However, I do not actively carry.

I thought I would carry more, but I could not find a holster I liked right away. Then I discovered something else that gave me pause. I was fearless when I had my Glock with me. I think that this is what the conservative types enjoy, the sense of empowerment that carrying a gun gives you. They are, psychologically, not any different from an armed gangbanger. But what this sense of empowerment does to a person is change your options for conflict resolution. Even smaller slights are more likely to garner a strong reaction from an empowered gun carrier and the risk of conflict escalation is greater. And no matter how hard I try to ignore the fact that I have a gun on me, it will always be a major factor in decisions I make.

I feel that I am much safer from violence happening to me when I am unarmed because I will make more prudent choices based on my fear and vulnerability, which leads to conflict avoidance, which leads me to being safe.

Gun carrying proponents always point to anecdotal stories about someone dying that might not have if they were armed. But the truth is, these situations are very rare and being armed does not mean you will save the day or even be able to protect yourself. If you were involved in a rare event as painted by conservative gun lovers, you are more likely to harm others and get yourself killed as you are to cleanly kill the bad guy and be a hero.

One story is the often emailed Craiglist ad (probably a phony ad) where a guy on a date had just bought a gun. Someone held them up with a knife and what followed was a NRA members wet dream. This fantasy is dangerous because people actually think they will have time to pull their gun in that situation. Police train to have a perimeter of safety based on their ability to draw, aim, and fire a firearm. It is 20 feet or so, I believe. That means, a man with a knife inside of that 20 feet will be able to stab an officer before he can draw, aim, and fire his weapon. What chance does an untrained civilian stand when surprised by a mugger that is a foot or two away? Not much, unless you draw your weapon anytime anyone gets within 30 feet of you and are ever so vigilant.

So, after weighing the risk versus benefit, I realized that I was better off having my gun at home in the closet. But I still enjoy shooting. At paper targets.
Bear Bear's shooter has been charged. Sadly he won't see the year or two he should, IMO. The dog park can turn into a charged place since many dog owners see their dogs as kids and not their loved pets. Dogs being dogs, it's not a place to be packing. The worst fight I've ever broken up found a Malamute making a bite contact with my arm, but he didn't even break the skin because he released immediately when he felt skin. (neither dog was mine). I didn't even have to shoot the dogs.

I really hope this officer gets some time.
I feel that I am much safer from violence happening to me when I am unarmed because I will make more prudent choices based on my fear and vulnerability, which leads to conflict avoidance, which leads me to being safe.

This is such a great point. I think that the full psychological aspect of being armed is too often neglected in the gun debate.
That is the one!
I keep my Glock at home…. I drive a lot around the DC beltway and it would be too tempting to use it on the crazy DC drivers (joke).
I assume you are taking about weapons that are concealable. In that category I own a .45, two .38s, and a .22. I was on the pistol team when I was in the Army and learned to love to shoot the "little" guys. I do not pack these weapons. I do take them to the range to make sure I can still handle/shoot them safely. They are all currently put away with trigger locks. One is available (with ammo near by) in case it is needed. There have been house invasions and people have been hurt. I can get that one unlocked and loaded in less than 5 seconds (so can my wife).

There may come situations where I do pack but they haven't come up yet. BTW, I did pack on hunting trips but I'm pretty sure that situation is not what you were asking about.
I've actually never touched a gun, which I realize is tantamount to a state crime here in Texas. I grew up on fishing boats, where knives are the weapon and tool of choice; had my parents been ranchers or hunters, I likely would have grown up with a working knowledge of guns as functional tools.

I intend to learn how to shoot someday; I've just been lazy and have not gotten around to it. I mean, with the imminence of the zombie apocalypse, it seems highly imprudent to be totally lacking in weapon skills. Plus, target shooting really looks like fun.

Still, I will probably never own a gun myself. There are days when my emotions refuse to yield to reason and I fear the effects of a serotonin imbalance on my capacity for longterm decisions. Death is too quick and decisive from the barrel of gun.
State crime... nice. In Alaska I didn't fish at all. I think that was a crime as well.


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