Rather than re-hash all the general arguments for and against gun control, I am interested in people's personal experiences/views about whether gun control laws would make them feel more or less safe.
Here are a couple of studies on the topic that I found interesting:
Two example findings:
Murder rates in Russia (where firearms are banned) are higher than the US.
Murder rates in Norway (32% home gun ownership) are much lower than the US.
These findings lead to the hypothesis that other factors (e.g. culture) have an important part to play alongside gun control (seems to make sense).
Indicates that the strictness of firearm legislation in US states is negatively correlated with firearm fatalities, both for homicides and suicides.
This study is interesting because it is more of a like-for-like comparison. I understand that the states in America have their own "sub-culture" but it seems likely that they are more similar to each other
than America is to, say, Norway or Russia.
The issue is of course not straightforward but, as I say, I am interested in people's personal views of their own safety.
I live in the UK and I am personally in favour of gun control laws. I understand the argument that people who don't obey laws won't obey gun control laws either. Obviously whatever you do there will still be
people who get hold of guns. However I would not feel safer having more guns around generally. I have heard people say that once someone has trespassed on your land they are "fair game" but I wholeheartedly do not agree with this. They have certainly broken the law but I do not automatically consider them to then be a valid target for gunfire. If someone breaks into my house to steal my TV I will try my best to stop them but I absolutely do not want to shoot them for this. Without training I am highly likely to maim or kill them by hot-headedly firing off a gun. The thief may be just some 19 year old kid who's gone off the rails a bit rather than a hardened criminal.
I concede that I have always lived in an environment where crime is low and this may bias my view which is why I am interested in other's experiences. Maybe someone's story will affect my views on it.
I do get it. I'm not one of those people who think if you own a gun that automatically turns you into a "get off my land" trigger-happy loony. I'm actually not in favour of banning guns outright. If someone can show that they are trained and responsible and have the gun for a valid reason (say, shooting is a hobby of theirs) I do not want to be the nanny state who says they can't have one.
I simply find it interesting that there is such a difference between the cultures of the UK and America. I imagine a lot of people in America have a similar view to yours. Whilst guns are prevalent throughout society, I can see why people own them. That really is the problem. As you say, in the U.S. that horse has bolted.
"But if our society decides guns are no longer permitted, I will give mine up. "
That's a very serious choice to make. Having been around firearms my entire life I cannot agree with that decision. Living in a rural environment the ownership and use of guns is a common part of backwoods life. Responsibility and education eliminate almost all negative aspects of firearms possession. Again, the possession of firearms among the citizenry is not a problem; the misuse of firearms by the criminal and uneducated is the problem.
Go live in the hinterlands of Alaska without a firearm and see how well you can adapt to no longer being at the top of the food chain.
"Go live in the hinterlands of Alaska without a firearm and see how well you can adapt to no longer being at the top of the food chain."
To be fair, if it's me versus a bear then sign me up for shooting practice.
I'm not exactly holding my breath for that gun ban to happen. It would take a drastic fundamental shift in attitude and living conditions for millions of people for that to even become a possibility. The government couldn't just up and decide to take them (at least not without bloody revolution); people would have to want to give them.
It's really difficult for a typical European/Canadian/Australian to make sense of and understand the prevalence of guns and gun rights. In my erasmus year at university I had a dozen American friends and a couple dozen European friends, all of them very open minded, gay friendly, liberal, socialists or very compassionate centrists, feminists or sympathetic to feminism and all around wonderful pleasant people. People agreed on almost every issue except for the death penalty and prevalence of guns in America. And this issue was so divisive and shocking for both sides of the debate (Americans vs. Europeans/Canadians) that after the second argument the topic was utterly banned from further conversation. My European friends and I were utterly shocked that a liberal, socialist, feminist would rationally argue that putting a human being to death instead of life long incarceration was the rational humane thing to do. And a few of the Americans who supported it couldn't understand why some people would defend and even care about the rights of a murderer-rapist. No middle ground was ever found. It was much worse when gun ownership came up. No one would make the slightest concession in the discussion. Europeans who had never seen a civilian gun in their life argued passionately that gun ownership = unnecessary death and a general sense of fear. Americans argued somewhere along the lines of self protection and more to the point about their constitutional rights. As I said, no middle ground was ever made, no one ever understood the other side, some were disturbed that the other side would have such beliefs and the topic as I said was banned. Nothing ever remotely brought up bad feelings amongst my group of friends except conversation about these two topics.
Agreed. I have had many similar frustrating arguments at university with (generally) Americans who are infused in the culture of gun ownership. @Erock made the point above that whilst guns are everywhere, it's a brave man who's going to be the one without one.
I'm not an NRA supporter but you do no favors for anyone by making up lines like this...
"Every time there is a school shooting or some psychopath shoots up a movie theater, the NRA is out front saying Obama is coming to take your guns away, and gun/ammunition sales skyrocket."
When you say "making up lines like this", if you mean I made up the phrasing, you have a point.
Allow me to be more precise. Whenever there is a school shooting or some psychopath shoots up a movie theater, it kicks off the gun-control debate. Whenever there is a discussion of any form of gun control, the NRA is out front against it. The NRA has on occasion stated that Obama is coming for your guns.
...a southern rock band sang this verse decades ago. It made sense then and even more sense now...
Hand guns are made for killin'
Ain't no good for nothin' else
And if you like your whiskey
You might even shoot yourself
So why don't we dump 'em people
To the bottom of the sea
Before some fool come around here
Wanna shoot either you or me
Pie in the sky springs eternal...
Come on people now
smile on your brother
everybody get together
and try to love one another right now
I'm pretty leftish on most things...except gun control. And the reason has to do with the fact that I'm a pretty logical person. A little critical thinking tells me that gun control won't work.
Before I go any further, let me make clear that I don't belong to the NRA and many of their pronouncements and policies strike me as stupid, misguided, and sometimes insane. I don't have a gun. I don't want a gun. I'm not entirely comfortable with how many guns are out there. I dislike the fact that one never knows who around one might be carrying one.
...the one thing the NRA has right is that when you pass gun control laws, the only people who will comply are law-abiding people and/or people who don't really much want a gun anyway. The crazies, the paranoids, the crook who wants to be able to rob the convenience store...what is THEIR motivation for obeying the law? What's in it for them?
Gun control laws are stupid, crazy, and blind.
As for preventing suicide, I live in a state where suicide is actually assisted. It seems to me that you don't really own your life if you don't also have the right to end it, if not with physician-supplied drugs then with a gun.
Accidents? We don't propose reducing the number of cars due to car accidents.
And don't point to societies where gun control seems to work. Americans are a different breed. Just compare Canadians and Americans. Canadians are like Americans, only different. In some parts of Canada, gun ownership is probably about as high as it is in America, but with a much lower gun crime/murder rate.
The difference is the difference between Canadians and Americans.
Another thing that's seldom talked about is that gun control laws tend to be crafted around controlling gun OWNERSHIP, but there is no requirement that gun crimes must be done with guns the criminal legally owns. A lot of criminals use guns they bought off the street which were stolen in a burglary, which "fell off a truck," or were taken away from a dead body.
How does gun control control those guns?