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".
Absolutely agree. Explosives materials usually require permits such as a farm or explosives handling license to purchase. Few would dare to build a bomb because of the inherent dangers of it literally blowing up in your face. While bombs definitely have the highest potential for large case destruction, guns are more efficient. Unregulated guns seem less dangerous for most, but their actual impact as measured by the number of victims is substantially higher.
(Note that a farming license is a bit of a misnomer. What is required is registering a sole trader entity with farming as the industry code. Also, farms require government approval and consent of those in the inheritance line to be sold out of the family, so they are not readily available.)
What? You can't agree with me! We are arguing here! ;-)
I can only counter with:
We can't fight in the war room!
Haven't seen that brilliant piece of art in many years, I have to rewatch it. Thanks for the inspiration! :)
I'd like to add that there is really no valid reason to own a gun, anyway.
I agree. Also, owning a gun is, in one way, like driving a car and thereby polluting the environment. I can't control what others do, but I can decide whether I add to the problem. There's one less handgun in existence because I've chosen not to buy one. Same with cars. Atheists have no moral values? I beg to differ. :)
Your wrong. Your handgun is still sitting down at the gun shop. Someone else may buy it but it's still there.
There are many "valid reasons" for responsible private citizens to own firearms. In most rural parts of the country, hunting is a popular, traditional, state-supported and state-sponsored pastime. State Fish and Wildlife Departments supervise and manage populations of game animals to ensure balance in the region's ecology, and states accrue considerable revenue from the sale of hunting licenses.
Farmers and ranchers and others have a need, from time to time, to put to death sick animals, threatening animals, and "varmints," when they may put lives and livelihoods at risk.
Target shooting with long guns and handguns is a popular and time-honored sport all over the world. Guns in this country are exceedingly numerous, and they are not going to go away any time soon. Every child should be taught the proper handling and maintenance of firearms so that she will have some understanding of how to react when she finds herself at the home of a friend who has just pulled her father's 9mm Beretta out of the closet. A child who doesn't know the first thing about guns will always be in more danger than need be, and she'll have her parents to blame for that.
Home defense for any citizen, especially the disabled, the elderly, and people living alone far from town is certainly a justifiable reason to own a gun--and to be well versed in its use. By far, most guns used to thwart crimes are never fired but merely "presented." As the saying goes, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
Perhaps in your lifestyle there isn't but that's a pretty wide blanket statement. I'm not a gun nut, and I don't own any myself, and I think most of the concealed carry permit holders are paranoid and in need of penis extensions. But I can think of a number of perfectly valid reasons to own a gun.
-You're a hunter, and your gun provides your family with food.
-You live in a rough neighborhood, and having a gun on you is a real and necessary precaution.
-You have a violent ex who might wish you harm.
-You're ex-military or law enforcement, and your gun is an important part of your life; a souvenir at least.
-You are a passionate supporter of the 2nd amendment, and even if you hope never to use your gun, you keep & maintain it and follow safe practices.
It's good that you feel safe enough that you feel no need for guns in your life. I'm glad that I'm in the same position, but it's absurd to think that everyone is as privileged.
Your saying that owning a gun to put food on the table for your family or using it to defend yourself and loved ones is not valid? That's pretty narrow minded don't you think. As a responsible gun owner I find your comment disturbing.
The two-fold problem we are faced with here in in this uniquely crazy American culture is that gun sales to eligible private citizens are legal and will remain legal for decades at least, and the number of guns now in private hands is just staggering. No American legislative body in the near future will ever vote to confiscate (or even to register) all firearms in private hands, so that's out. Keeping military-style weapons out of the hands of ordinary people is as far as we have managed to go. (It's absurd to suggest that deciding not to buy a gun will mean there is one fewer gun in the world. Gun manufacturers, like the manufacturers of any other popular commodity, take care not to produce more weapons than they have a market for. If you want fewer guns in the world, a much better strategy would be to buy as many as you can afford and then bury them in your back yard.)
Whether we like it or not, the Second Amendment is no longer subject to much useful debate. In June 2008, the Supreme Court, in DC vs. Heller, recognized the Second Amendment "right of the people to keep and bear arms" for personal defense. The Court has affirmed that firearms ownership is an existing right in this country that "shall not be infringed." That's a done deal--and, alas, without question, the Court was correct in its interpretation of the Amendment's syntax as written. The language of the amendment plainly refers to a pre-existing right, a right that the amendment pledges to protect. The reference to a "well-regulated militia" refers only to the framers' view of what may constitute the most prominent reason to preserve the right. But the right to keep and bear arms is not conditioned on the need to maintain a militia. It's in the language.
To reiterate, the people's right to bear arms is expressly acknowledged in the latter portion of the amendment itself. The amendment explicitly recognizes an existing right. That is what we have to contend with today--it's almost as if a curse had been imposed on us by the framers. The reference to militias is simply (in its syntax) a justification, not a condition. (By the way, the gun enthusiasts' silly myth, that they must have guns so that they can protect themselves from government oppression, is just that, silly. And paranoic. Many good arguments exist to debunk such a foolish and fevered notion.)
In Heller, the Court also recognized the rights of certain jurisdictions to circumscribe those 2nd A rights as may be deemed reasonable, just as other rights (like free speech and freedom of the press) are circumscribed. That's the only avenue left for those who would seek greater regulation and control. One place to start (and many are working toward this measure) is to require those who buy and sell at gun shows to abide by the same rules as those buy and sell in licensed stores. As it is now, anyone may sell a handgun privately in a face-to-face exchange without any kind of check at all and without incurring any liability.
We have a long, long way to go to curb gun violence in this country. But because this deeply serious problem cannot be effectively addressed through strict regulation of gun sales (even in my home state of Vermont, our two very liberal senators, Leahy and Sanders, fully support 2nd A rights), for now the viable solutions lie in alleviating the social conditions that too often lead to violent crime. Most gun violence stems more from enduring cultural troubles (poverty, drug addiction, lack of access to health care, and so on) than purely from the easy availability of firearms. If drugs were legalized and treatment provided, and if the sums of money we have thrown away in Iraq (for example) were invested instead in public education and in our social infrastructure, in time the incidence of violent crime in America would plummet.
In the meantime, my recommendation is that we push for the licensing of gun owners just as we license drivers. The NRA and other groups will scream and holler and fight such a measure ferociously, but, for now, it's the only remotely viable control that's left for us to try to institute. Jared Loughner could never have gotten a gun owner's license. And if Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter (who lied on his ATF form 4473) had been required to present a license, he could not have purchased the semi-autos he used to kill 32 students.