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:

1) Would banning firearms reduce murder and suicide?

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).

2) Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United St...

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.

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You've talked about a couple of things that I directly addressed in my original post. The first study I mentioned was in agreement with you that culture plays a large part in the variance in gun-related crimes.

I also acknowledged that criminals will still get hold of guns. I do not think that any form of gun control laws will stop non-lawful people getting hold of guns if they want to.

The reason I am in favour of gun control is because I think it prevents the kind of culture where it is expected that you would own a gun.

My example: I live in a relatively quiet neighbourhood in the UK but a couple of weeks ago there was a spate of people's garages being broken into. I don't know but it is highly likely that the perpetrators were not in possession of a gun. Why would they be? No-one in our street would own a gun so it would be pointless for this type of petty criminal to go to the trouble of getting hold of a gun to try and rob a few garages. Now imagine this in a society where it is expected that you defend your property with a gun. Now this petty criminal better be sure he gets hold of a gun in case the home-owner has one. This kind of culture invites an arms race between home-owner and criminal. With more guns around I would not feel safer even if I owned one.

So why don't you start with banning semi-automatic weapons?

Why? Here in the US most gun crimes DO NOT involve such weapons. The typical guy who robs a convenience store will have an easily-concealed pistol. For most more serious crimes, it'll be a pistol or shotgun. There is no semi-automatic crime wave going on, though of course when they do happen they make the news. Concern about them is kind of a paranoid distraction.

I see. I can think of a lot of murdered school children who would disagree if they were alive. According to your logic weapons that aren't numerously used in crime shouldn't be banned And since grenades and home-made bombs are rarely used they might as well be totally legal as well. Why not? I mean banning grenades and home-made bombs would just be paranoid reactionism right?

If you were to look at American gun stats you'd find that the number of Americans of any age who died of gunshot wounds, semi-automatic guns would be a microscopic fraction of the whole. If you wanted to have a major impact overall, that would not be where to start. 

Bringing up the matter of children is an obvious way to swing the topic away from logic toward emotion. If you want to have a much bigger impact on the deaths of children, you should be talking about automobiles rather than guns.

As for banning grenades and homemade bombs, I suppose you think that the people who might use/make such things are deterred by the prohibition(?).

Yes, we should base weapons control policy on the fraction of people who have died by that weapon rather than their lethal potential. In fact atomic weapons have never been used by any civilian to kill another so I would say that they are even less dangerous than semi-automatic weapons because they have killed even less people. Hand guns and knives are the real instruiment of deaths in high numbers and not semi-automatic weapons, home made bombs and nuclear arms. So I see no reason to ban nuclear weapons and semi-automatic weapons. It's just not such a big concern. So when the police suspect someone has a caché of automatic weapons or nuclear bombs...they shouldn't be allowed to go after them and confiscate them unless they have compelling evidence they will use them to murder people rather than just play around and goof off in their back yards. Otherwise it's a waste of their time. After all as we have said, no one has been murdered in America by nuclear bombs (a zero fraction of murders) so why take them away. Banning Americans from possessing nuclear arms would be an unwise way to begin with weapon control.

I like the way you think.

Seriously, there is logic to curtailing a nuclear weapon (it's hard to anticipate they'd proliferate to the point where there'd be many in private hands), which when used in the US would instantaneously create a significant percent of "deaths by any weapon whatsoever," whereas a single semi-automatic weapon would hardly make a dent in that percentage. Even suppose, however  that a 10-member terrorist cell attacked a shopping mall using fully automatic weapons as happened recently in Africa. Suppose they killed a hundred people. In a country the size of the US. Quite frankly, a hundred gun deaths would be hardly much different from 0% in terms of the annual gun statistics.

Once again, if your goal is saving lives and you want to do so in a rational way, there are more fruitful ways such as making autos safer or reining in the use of prescription narcotics. By fruitful, I mean where you're you're more likely to enjoy some success.

The anti-gun crowd often seems more obsessive about guns than the pro-gun crowd.

Yes that is outstandingly sound logic unseen. You've convinced me that gun control is a total waste of time. Allowing people to walk around with instruments of instant multiple-murder with no controls or limits is, in fact, a counter productive. America should really be going after heart disease. America's number one killer. Hamburgers and potato chips should be banned. That's what will keep America safe and ensure freedom.

Allowing people to walk around with instruments of instant multiple-murder with no controls or limits is, in fact, a counter productive.

Okay, let's assume for a moment that I want to go into a shopping mall and kill a lot of people before blowing my own brains out. How is gun control going to stop me, since gun control is really always directed at gun ownership? I can just buy an illegal gun on the street if I want to. 

Of course, if I don't commit suicide, you can always prosecute me for violating the gun control law in retrospect, but that strikes me as rather redundant since it's already illegal to kill people.

No...if you really want to inflict maximum damage on people at a shopping mall you will simply convince them to drive recklessly on highways (or perhaps sabotage their cars in the parking lot) and sneak tons of saturated fat into their meals while they're eating at food courts. Because car accidents and heart disease is America's number one killer. America must tackle this issue now. People with the intent to fatten up Americans at food courts or sabotage their cars in parking lots should be banned from malls and not semi-automatic weapons. Americans should be looking at the real problems, the real solutions and the real action to make America safe and free.

You're right in the sense that at least some of those steps would make America a safer place than taking guns away from law-abiding gun owners.

One step at a time.


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