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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"Besides, why would I want to non-lethalize an attacker who might return later to finish the job when I can make sure that doesn't happen?"

Er, because they also might not return and that way you haven't killed someone (there's really no way back from that).

If I'm defending myself, my family, or my cat from a threat, I don't want to see that threat return, nor leave it in a condition to make the same threat to someone else. That would be as irresponsible as not vaccinating my children.

It may be different in the UK, but in the US, anyone breaking into a house or holding up someone knows there's a chance they are taking their life in their hands. So, it's the same as with someone who goes downhill skiing, whitewater kayaking, or who drives to Auntie Ethel's house on the freeway. Not ending the day alive is a chance one takes when engaging in those activities.

Precisely.

I understand that attitudes are different in the US and UK, I think it is often the root of disagreements people have about gun ownership.

Out of curiosity, let me ask you this. If someone sits in an office and swindles people out of thousands of pounds (a la Jordan Belfort, I guess) would you consider they have made themselves fair game for being shot? Is it acceptable for one of their victims to pull a gun and shoot that person? I'm guessing you would say no. However, if someone breaks into your house to steal $300 (a lesser crime) to fund their drug habit, say, I'm guessing from your previous comments you would consider them fair game. Can I ask what is the differentiating factor? Is it the breaking in? Or is it you don't know their intentions and maybe they're going to attack you?

I see. In the UK people who break into homes announce "Sorry to bother. I'm just here to steal $300 to support my drug habit. Please don't shoot me!"

The truth is, there's no way to know the intentions of someone breaking into a home or other private property which isn't open to the public, which is why we in the US have the so-called Castle Doctrine.

When a person enters another person's dwelling, things sometimes go horribly awry and one has to wonder how the outcome of the Cheshire, Connecticut home invasion murders might have turned out had this woman and at least her 17 y/o daughter had access a pistol.

Read the details of that incident and then get back to me with how many drug addicts and career criminals' lives are worth the life of an innocent mother and her children.

Would you have cried over the dead intruders had mom blown their brains out even if only for breaking into her home with unknown intentions? Probably, because you wouldn't have been able to know how the intrusion eventually turned out.

"The truth is, there's no way to know the intentions of someone breaking into a home or other private property"

Exactly. This goes both ways. You seem to assume that every break-in will involve the intruder wanting to harm the householder. I have acknowledged that this is sometimes (maybe often depending on the neighbourhood) the case and then have offered the scenario where this is not the case. You always seem to generalise this to mean that I am saying every case in the UK is benign. I have never said this. In the case where someone breaks into my house and is about to harm my family I will do everything I can (including killing them) to prevent that. In the case of the mother in your example, I replied to Belle at the beginning of this thread saying that I did sympathise with situations where someone is vulnerable and I wouldn't be against that person having training and a license to keep a gun.

My point was never about specific examples but more about society in general having guns readily available and uncontrolled.

On the point of unknown intentions, it strikes me as very similar to a pre-emptive strike on a national scale. Should we take action against countries we think are likely to attack us? It's a difficult question and the answer is not as obvious as you are painting here.

"Would you have cried over the dead intruders had mom blown their brains out even if only for breaking into her home with unknown intentions"

No, but at the point the intentions were unknown this is a pre-emptive action. Let me give you the opposite example to the mother and her children. Say a young guy breaks into a house to steal some jewellery to prove himself to some gang he's got involved in. Inside the house is a tough, armed ex-marine who takes no shit and unceremoniously kills the intruder as soon as he sets foot in the house. Is this a good outcome? Maybe you think yes. I'm not so sure and I'm just saying it's not as simple as you make out.

P.S. You didn't answer my question about whether the swindler is fair game?

You seem to assume that every break-in will involve the intruder wanting to harm the householder. I have acknowledged that this is sometimes (maybe often depending on the neighbourhood) the case and then have offered the scenario where this is not the case.

I do no such thing. However, in the rare case of the son or daughter coming home early from college to surprise mom and dad or some such tragic mistake, in virtually every case if someone has entered one's house, they are there intentionally and for no good reason. I do think a good, "Who are you? I should warn you I have a gun!" is probably a good idea, but not necessary when one surprises a person who is stuffing jewelry into a gunny sack. On the other hand, in some cases the element of surprise is the only advantage one has. Anyway, none of your arguments in this area are going to sway enough Americans to get a Constitutional amendmen or even change a local law. We have ZERO sympathy for people intruding into private homes.

Recently, a man shot a woman who had been in an accident and was pounding on his door hoping for the use of his phone. He felt this alone was enough to shoot her through the door. She died and he will be going to prison, as well he should. I also have no sympathy for a homeowner who chases an intruder out of the house and shoots him on the front lawn.

On the point of unknown intentions, it strikes me as very similar to a pre-emptive strike on a national scale. Should we take action against countries we think are likely to attack us? It's a difficult question and the answer is not as obvious as you are painting here.

The lameness of that analogy is epic. I'm not recommending going into someone's home to shoot them because one thinks they might someday become an intruder in my own.

P.S. You didn't answer my question about whether the swindler is fair game?

I trusted you to read between my lines. The answer is not until he breaks into my home. Then he's dead meat. Shooting an intruder is only for when you're in potential peril of losing ones life without a cop standing by your side.

Don't worry I am under no illusions about the constitution. And don't get me wrong - it is not a ludicrous idea. I understand the reasons behind it. I'm glad I was finally able to tease out your ideas on other scenarios - all of which were sensible.

"Shooting an intruder is only for when you're in potential peril of losing ones life without a cop standing by your side."

At least we can agree on one thing.

The key word being "potential." The assumption is that once someone breaks into your home, you can legally treat them as a threat to one's life. One doesn't need to wait for them to point a gun at one and start pulling the trigger, because it's pretty clear at that point that legal occupant of the home is at a distinct disadvantage.

I was wrong on some stats I quoted off the top of my head and dug in bookmarks to for some links. Here's some reliable data from 2007 about it. Some of it will be hard to believe for some anti-gun people. But it can all be verified from other sources.
http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

Here's what I got wrong in my first comment, quoted from link above.
n 1997, Britain passed a law requiring civilians to surrender almost all privately owned handguns to the police. More than 162,000 handguns and 1.5 million pounds of ammunition were "compulsorily surrendered" by February 1998. Using "records of firearms held on firearms certificates," police accounted for all but fewer than eight of all legally owned handguns in England, Scotland, and Wales.

AFTER ALL BUT THE EIGHT MISSING GUNS WERE CONFISCATED GUN CRIMES ROSE TO ALL TIME HIGHS FOR FIVE YEARS.

The US government quit keeping figures on crimes prevented by legally possessed firearms but in 2007 an independent study was done that showed 2,500,000 crimes per year is accurate.

In the US the NRA, Factcheck.org, the ATF, SPLC, ACLU, Joyce Foundation and even Barbara Boxer have acknowledged that legally owned firearms prevent or stop **2.5 MILLION crimes with illegally obtained weapons EVERY YEAR. (** the government stopped keeping these stats in the 1980s and have since been done independently by universities and gun lobby groups.)

Here's one link. Easy search for several more with same info.
http://www.rense.com/general76/univ.htm

Be sure to scroll down for a look on the graphs about gun control and where guns rank in terms of accidental deaths.

To clear up what led to the gun buying panic after Obama became president... it all started with these words he said in Colorado Springs when he was campaigning.  I was in the Naval Hospital north of DC when I saw it on the news. I was sitting next to a USAF CMSgt who nearly passed out when he heard what Obama said.  He said if a sitting president ever made such a statement the Joint Chiefs of Staff would have given orders for his arrest and followed that up with, "there's been an app for that since Nixon."

Here's Obama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fO-usAlqak

I admit it.  A few days after Obama was sworn into office I took my Visa to the gun & ammo store because of those words.

Yep, that's pretty frightening talk from Obama. The very last thing a society needs is a civilian security force. I want a security force to be trained and dedicated, not a bunch of John Does on a power trip. I have the utmost respect for those in the military and police who put themselves in harms way. That's one of the main reasons I don't want a gun. I want more capable people than the likes of me wielding one.

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