When debating guns, it seems impossible to not hear the saying, "Guns don't kill people." If you toss out a statistic about gun deaths, you will hear this retort.

I'm a gun owner. I own them simply because I come from a law enforcement family. I don't have any interest in them at all. Grew up around them. You point, they go bang. But that's not all that guns do, now is it? 

Guns give people a sense of power. A command over many. They make men make rash decisions. They embolden people to do things out of arrogance and self-righteousness. If you were walking by a group of three young men whom were clearly out looking for a fight in a downtown area, you might decide to cross the street if you were unarmed. If you were armed, you might say,"Fuck it, I have a right to be here." and take on that path of resistance. A notable example of this being caught on video is the DC detective taking on a crowd for throwing snowballs. He drew his service weapon rather than walking or driving away. Link

There are other things that give people a sense of power and cause them to act as if human life doesn't matter. Cars. How many cases of road rage could we find? Cars are another thing that emboldens people to do stupid things. I had a guy attempt to run me down once while on a motorcycle. I waved him into a parking lot, got off the bike and he disappeared. As soon as I went to get back onto the road, he came at me. Being on a sport bike he had no chance and I was gone. But without a weapon, he wanted nothing to do with me. (Sremmed from him wanting me to pull out into the intersection that was blocked. Bad idea in the US, especially on a bike.) but you know what is rare... Murder in the first and second degree in cars. Killing someone in another car with the first car is difficult. We don't have enough interaction with pedestrians to get that provoked. Guns, however, allow that personal interaction along with the quick and easy solution that will give you that sense of power we have grown to love.

You can say that guns don't kill people because they are inanimate objects and be factually correct. What you ignore is that in a culture like ours where violence is regarded as being manly. Where winning a fight will get you patted on the back for years. Where people crave power over others from sports as a kid to watching movies and fantasizing yourself in the shoes of the successful violent character (Batman, Rambo, Kick Ass). Guns provide that sense of ability to easily win the fight and deliver justice when we feel wronged rather than letting the emotion settle. Gun ownership is the leading cause of homocide, 2 to 1. Nothing else compares.

We have a right to guns in the US. I don't deny that. But denying the reality that without guns we would not have nearly the same number of murders is denying reality. Without guns, people would take that extra second to think rather than simply react. There are anecdotal cases where the right gun owner wins and yeah, let's write that down. But don't forget that each year, there are 10,000 other cases where the outcome didn't have to be what it is. Guns cause people to act in ways that they wouldn't normally act. This is why I reject the claim that "Guns Don't Kill People".  

Tags: Guns, murder, politics, violence

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I was walking home from seeing a band one night, and it was late. We were confronted by some kids, maybe ten to twelve years old, who called us names. We - my brothers and a few friends and I, laughed and started talking about the shit we did when we were that age, essentially ignoring these kids, when one pulled a gun and waved it at us. We all held up our hands and backed away, acknowledging the gun and not laughing, doing the "Hey, OK, take it easy" bit. it was a roughish neighborhood, but not THAT roughish. The kid eventually slipped the gun into his pants and did the "Yeah, who's funny now?" bit, we left and had a sober walk home.

The one thing that stuck with me about that is that if that kid had had a baseball bat, a knife, a sword...any hand held weopon, we could have continued to ignore him and walked away without much incident. If that kid had come a runnin, we would have been careful, but we could have probably gotten through the encounter without too much damage. Chances are the kid would have been the one to get seriously hurt, unless he was very well trained or very lucky. Even with a bow and arrow, the kid would have to have some practice in how to shoot the thing to get more than one shot off before we got him.

But the gun made everything different. A kid was able to intimidate us, and could have fairly easily hurt or killed a few of us, without really even knowing what he was doing. Same would be true of a man in wheelchair, or with leg braces, or an old lady who can barely move. Now, I don't want anyone to lose their gun if they have it legally.I believe in the right to bear arms, even if I think it's missed some important updates based on new technology. And I know there are reasons some people need guns. Police, soldiers, paranoid schizophrenics... But I can't help but wonder at the ease with which guns give assholes opportunities to be practical assholes instead of just theoretical assholes.

This is a grand example of why the US needs to reduce the availability of guns so that they do not end up in the hands of kids!

It's fine--and clearly logical--to recommend such a thing.  Let's reduce the availability of firearms!  Sure.  Unfortunately, however, as a practical solution to gun violence in America, this idea is going nowhere.  Those who would reduce the risks we all face every day in a country awash in firearms need to propose potentially workable answers to the range of problems that the abundance of guns represents. 

Practical vs theoretical assholes. Instant classic! 

The incident you related is a truly a sad commentary on our society today. Many, not all, of our youth's morals and values seem to have went down the shitter. 

Legislation will not correct this problem. Education and a return to strong family values will make more inroads. Life is much different in the cities it seems. I am thankful to be living in a rural environment where these issues are rarely a concern. 

I own guns, and at one time had quite a few (I collected). Used to love going to the outdoor range. Didn’t hunt though, just liked shooting. I agree though, without guns, there would be less murder. Now  some might argue that people would just stab, or club each other. Not really though. Stabbing is very personal, and requires close quarters. Besides, how many drive-by stabbings have you heard of, or accidental stabbings?

Like you, I had a gun pulled on me by another motorist, or I should say by his passenger. 

And yes, I also think the “Guns Don’t Kill People…….” retort is rather silly and simplistic. 

Alan, maybe a bit OT, but as a gun owner myself (one who doesn't hunt), I'd be curious to know whether you still own any guns and what it was that deflated your interest in collecting and going to the range to shoot.  Guns kill people, of course--that goes without saying.  It's sophistry to argue otherwise.

Don, I’m 60 now, and that was over thirty years ago. At the time, I was having financial problems, and sold everything. Back then I had lived in Kentucky all my life, and had a number of friends that joined me on shooting jaunts. Now things are different, I live in another state, and just never got back into it. I still own guns, but I don’t collect them anymore.

I fully agree with your viewpoint. Coming from a country with strict gun laws and virtually no guns in the streets we simply don't have nowhere near as many fatal crimes involving guns as in the US.

I don't know, really. Maybe guns are an expression of the ultimate weakness of our species and our longstanding inability to deal with social inequality. Take them away and we will still be weak and unequal. But more of us will live to be disappointed.

What would the outcome of the Revolutionary War have been for the unarmed colonists?


So gun owners are revolutionaries?


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