Under the Gun

gun wordcloud

I’ve had a host of diverse, sometimes-conflicting thoughts about guns swirling around in my brain for some time but the recent shootings in Colorado & Wisconsin have kicked that into overdrive:

 

  • My late Father-In-Law learned to shoot a rifle (a simple .22 that he kept all of his life) as a child and used that rifle to hunt for small animals and birds. He knew how to clean and make the most of what he killed. It was often the only means with which his very poor rural family could add meat to their dinner plates. His rifle was, in a very literal sense, a necessary survival tool. But the time when guns were commonly needed and used as tools is long since gone. Guns now only serve to kill or destroy things.

 

  • There’s such rampant careless, neglectful gun ownership now that very few Americans really have to fear criminals. No, instead we have more to fear from our law-abiding neighbors. You know, the ones who have an unsecured, loaded .45 on their nightstand. Kids who take guns to school or playgrounds didn’t score those in a seedy back alley deal with some shady lowlife; children get guns right out of their parents’ bedroom or den!

 

  • Yes, I know of highly-skilled marksmen, for whom shooting handguns is a serious sport and their skill & accuracy are things of great pride. But by and large, I don’t believe most handgun owners fall into that category. Instead, I suspect that the vast majority of handgun owners would cite the need for possessing those weapons as “self-protection.”

 

  • If we’ve learned nothing else from the George Zimmerman case this year, it’s that while we may applaud the idea of “Dirty Harry” style vigilantism where some swift, finite—and preferably painful—street justice is doled out, our society doesn’t have the stomach for it. Sure, Zimmerman may still be alive because he took action and shot Trayvon Martin, but the event has undoubtedly destroyed his life and those of his entire family permanently. I wonder how many concealed carry zealots who fantasize about putting a hole in some would-be burglar are even remotely prepared for—or have ever even truly considered—the incalculable emotional, financial, and legal toll that their handguns could cost them and their families?

 

  • I believe there’s a strong case to be made that outlawing handguns would ultimately make us more safe, not less because of the lack of ease in concealing and spontaneously wielding a rifle. Wouldn’t the basic form factor—the size & shape of a rifle versus a handgun—make random, unplanned violence and/or accidental shootings (by legal gun owners) much less likely? Maybe it’s time that handguns be restricted to only military, police, or other civic groups charged with protecting their communities or country…

 

  • What does it say about our society when we don’t bat an eye at the prospect of restrictions on the sale of over-the-counter children’s cough medicines yet people march in the streets at the very mention of gun control?

 

  • 2nd Amendment supporters usually go berserk over the notion of limiting what they can possess, yet hardware such as sawed-off shotguns, fully-automatic firearms, rocket launchers, bazookas, and countless other “dangerous weapons” are already illegal to own. Why do they bristle so about new gun controls yet at the same time, calmly accept and willfully comply with those other restrictions?

 

  • Gun-rights groups argue that handgun prohibition would prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, but I have to wonder what percentage of handgun owners have ever—even once—fired their firearms for the sake of protecting themselves or their families. Perhaps it’s more the idea of self-protection rather than any actual need for said, that drives gun supporters. But wouldn’t the far greater accuracy that most rifles provide or the greater sheer destructive force of a shotgun make either of these a far better choice for self-protection? If you’re going to claim to own a gun for protection, why wouldn’t you opt for the most effective tool for that task?

 

  • If we cannot tolerate the idea of placing any limits on guns themselves, why not at least place strong restrictions on the sales of large quantities of ammunition, large capacity magazines, and tactical assault gear to civilians?

 

  • And finally, I read a quote from Austin American-Statesman this past weekend that really summed up how short-sighted gun control opponents are being: “While [control] measures might not prevent the next Aurora, they would make it hard for the shooter to […] kill so many people in such a short period of time. The alternative—to continue to shrug off America’s outsize gun violence as an inevitable risk in a free society—is helplessness.”

 

What’s your take on this? Do you believe outlawing handguns could reduce senseless gun-related violence? Is there some compelling reason why citizens should be able to purchase tactical gear like body armor? Is it possible to put in place some limits without voiding our 2nd Amendment right?

3 Comments

  1. I’ll address this point by point.

    – Guns only exist to destroy or kill things. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about 1950 or 2012, that’s what they are for. That’s what they were invented for, that will always be the intended use. People use them for target practice to increase accuracy to do what?… later kill things. But they are only the tool. The person using the tool is doing the action, not the tool. If I use a wrench on my car, the wrench isn’t wrenching, I am.

    – You only hear about the careless gun owners in the news. Who wants to do a story on the responsible gun owner?

    – You’re right, most gun owners don’t fall into the category of being marksmen, but does that mean it’s not enjoyable for them to shoot? I love to frequent the range. Firing off a couple hundred rounds puts a new perspective on things. It’s a fantastic activity and I would encourage anyone to try it. I look forward to the day I can take my boys out to shoot a few rounds and teach them about gun safety.

    – You have a seriously flawed view of the average CHL holder. These are the folks who willingly sought out instruction, and proved proficiency with their weapon. These are not the people robbing banks and convenience stores. I encourage you to look at the crime statistics of CHL holders, the data is available on the DPS website. You’ll quickly discover these are not people “dreaming of putting a hole in someone”, they are (mostly) responsible citizens who feel it necessary to have a means of protection. The very first thing my CHL instructor told us is “do not ever shoot anyone unless there is absolutely no other way out”. Most of the class is devoted to methods of avoiding having to use your weapon. They stress that if you ever do use your weapon, even if you are justified, you will spend the rest of your life paying for it one way or another.

    – You didn’t mention HOW outlawing guns would make us safer. I assume it’s because since nobody had guns, people wouldn’t get shot. The problem is criminals don’t tend to abide by laws. So under your plan the criminals would procure weapons in their classy criminal fashion, and the innocent people wouldn’t have any. How are we safer in this scenario?

    – I can’t speak on cough meds vs gun control. Seems like 2 pretty different issues.

    – I’m going to venture to guess the number of gun owners who have ever fired their weapon in self defense is low. I’ve never met anyone who wanted to shoot another person. You hit it on the head though, it’s the idea of having protection. Having to use a means so severe is scary and I shudder to think about it having to come to that, but if it did come to that I would rather be prepared. Long guns are fine, but for home defense they are difficult to store in a way that restricts access to children, but still allows easy access if needed. Handguns are easy to store in nearby proximity and still be secured from little hands.

    – Restricting large ammunition purchases I don’t have an issue with.

    In the end it doesn’t matter what you outlaw, criminals will ALWAYS have guns. People with a laundry list of offenses don’t buy their guns at the gun store. They will ALWAYS have a means to obtain them.

    So let me ask you this, a criminal enters your home at 2am. Your wife and child are sleeping. You hear him in the livingroom. I assume you have no guns in the house. What is your plan?


  2. Cary Vanley:

    Well, I think it’s not so much telling about gun ownership as it tells the story of the downfall of our society and the results of people who refuse to bow the knee to the Creator of the Universe.
    A good for instance is me, I don’t own a gun, might some day, grew up around guns, went shooting, deer hunting but I’m just not the hunting type and really don’t care about killing animals for sport. But if I owned a gun, I wouldn’t be any more a threat to society as if I had one, because the weapon is the state of mind, not the gun.

    I can make a car a weapon and run over and kill people and this happens a lot, some by accident, some by road rage, but there’s no cry to ban cars. That would be silly, and so goes the argument for gun control.

    So what makes me different from the crazies out their, my conscience and my heart that’s bent towards God, not away from Him. Does that mean I won’t ever lose it and go on a shooting rampage, no but it does if my heart is running towards God and not away from Him.

    And for me the problem is our government, it’s an out of control group of people who think they are smarter, better informed, better equipped, and just think they know what’s best for society better than myself, and that’s just not true. The reason is their version of reality in this country is skewed by their very lives, they are mostly millionaires, who are a part of the privileged few and honestly taking Pelosi’s own words, “I Have to vote for this bill so I can find out what’s in it”, that sort of logic is just so far from reality that it causes me to laugh at her every time I see her. It proves my point that their WORLD VIEW is just wrong, and so their version of gun control is wrong.

    So now the question comes down to how do we prevent these gun shootings, we can’t because the answer is everyone bowing a knee to the Creator of the Universe and surrendering their will to Him, but that’s not going to happen until later, so until everyone bows their knee and surrenders their will to the Creator of the Universe, there will always be people out of their mind killing others in senseless acts of violence, with guns, cars, hammers, knifes, crow bars, anything is a weapon if used with murder in their heart.

    My 2 cents…

    Sincerely,

    Cary

  3. So many misconceptions, I don’t know where to begin.

    You mentioned the recent Colorado shooting. That’s actually one of the best illustrations on how gun control gets people killed. The theater was a “gun free zone”, which meant that it was illegal for a CHL holder to carry in the theater. All this accomplished was to create a room full of unarmed victims.

    We’ll probably never know how many times a crime was prevented by a gun owner merely wielding his weapon and not discharging it. John Lott did a study on this and it’s more often than you might think. You’re just not likely to read about it in the newspaper.

    I cringe whenever I see someone say that only cops and military should have guns. I fear being shot by a cop more than by fellow gun owner. Toy guns, by law, have a red tip on the end of the barrel. Why? To protect children you would say. Protect children from who? Criminals usually don’t shoot kids by accident. No, those tips are to protect children from trigger happy cowboy COPS. Communities with high gun ownership tend to have less crime because criminals prefer helpless victims.

    200,000,000 guns killed nobody today. I have five guns myself – 3 handguns and 2 rifles. They have killed no one. Well, the one from the Czech military I can’t vouche for.

    A shotgun is better for home defense you’re less likely to take out your neighbor while you dispose of the perp. The problem with any long barrelled weapon is that it’s easier to jerk from your hands and use it against you. But, just cocking a pump action shotgun even from another room, will encourage an intruder to go look for another victim.

    The 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting or even self defense. It’s what guarantees the other 9. That’s why one of the first actions of a dictator is to disarm the people. Unarmed victims are so much easier to manage.

    The bottom line? Gun control only disarms the law-abiding. And criminals, both street thugs and politicians just love it.

    Mark

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