General Question

allen_o's avatar

Would you prefer America to be gun free or are you happy with the way things are now?

Asked by allen_o (1485 points ) March 21st, 2009 from iPhone

With so many gun related deaths in America, are they really a good thing?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

50 Answers

Lupin's avatar

Ok, I’ll start it off with the non-pc side I guess.
I think law abiding people should have the right to them. I live in.a rural area and use them as tools all the time. I’ve cleaned out drain pipes with bird shot in my 20 gauge, loaded shells with pesticide and talc to hit insect nests high up in my apple trees, scared crows away from the great horned owl nest they are harrassing.
I don’t mention “concealed” because you never mention concealed. That’s the point of it. But, in my state, I’d rather be next to someone with a CCW than someone not eligible.
As far as I can tell none of my guns have ever spontaneously jumped out of their cases and hurt anyone.

If you use them in a crime I’d have you locked up for a long time.

cookieman's avatar

If every gun in America disapeared tomorrow (with maybe the exception of law enforcement and military), I’d be perfectly fine with it.

However, there are many hunters who would be very upset. While I personally abhor hunting (or any kind of gun play), I have to respect their right/privledge to do so.

What I would like to see happen is hunting class rifles be allowed and strictly regulated while all other guns eliminated.

cheebdragon's avatar

I think that every gun owner should have to pass a class on proper gun safety and put in a few hours at the shooting range.
America can never be gun free, it’s too late to change anything. Crime rates would be insane.

Divalicious's avatar

Over 85,000,000 firearm owners killed no one yesterday. Legal guns aren’t the problem. I don’t mind owners of legal firearms walking around. What bothers me are the felons and other criminals that own them illegally so the guns cannot be traced.

If somehow all guns were destroyed, some other weapon would take their place. Knives, perhaps. You can’t hold inanimate objects responsible for people’s actions.

James17555's avatar

I don’t live in America, but after massacres like the recent one by a student in Germany, I think people should be less easily granted access to weapons. Deadly weapons should be a privilege of those who have to work with’em, like soldiers and policemen. Any other man or woman should be able to live in a secure enough environment to not require weapons to get through the day! And we won’t increase security by gicing everybody a weapon…

Bluefreedom's avatar

“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” I’ve sure I’ve seen that somewhere before but I can’t remember where.

There are a lot of deaths that occur in America from things other than guns.

allen_o's avatar

“guns don’t kill people, people do” this is a statement that really bothers me, of course you can blame a tool for a murder, how many children have found a gun and shot some one. Would the virginea tech massacre have happened with a knife?

Bluefreedom's avatar

@allen_o. It probably would have still occurred if he had a knife. He was a mentally disturbed individual and he would have found some kind of weapon to carry out his deed irregardless if it was a gun or not.

And the statement in my previous post does make sense. Guns don’t become animated on their own and inflict injury and violence on someone else without human manipulation. You know those children you mentioned finding a gun and hurting or killing someone? That is the fault of the irresponsible gun owner who did not place the firearm in a gun safe or have a trigger lock on the weapon. And they should have had the ammunition stored in a seperate location from the gun in the household.

bythebay's avatar

@allen o: How could anybody be happy with any unnecessary gun related deaths?

In another thread asking about how many guns people owned, you said “None, I’m brittish, we don’t have ridiculous outdated gun laws over here.” The UK, and surrounding countries are not gun free either. In fact, more households in Finland have guns than in the US. Yes, gun related deaths in the US are the highest, statistically speaking, but gun ownership isn’t the issue. And to answer your question about whether or not Va Tech would have happened…If someone has a desire to kill, they’ll find a weapon. You can build a bomb just as easily as buy a gun.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@johnpowell. Great video clip. Thanks for posting that. I needed a good laugh to begin my Saturday morning. =)

pekenoe's avatar

I support our right to have and carry guns, what I do not support are “gun nuts” claiming that semi automatic and automatic weapons are legitimate sporting weapons.

If the gun lobby would actually try to meet the anti gun lobby half way and outlaw possession of people killing weapons, the remaining weapons would not raise a fuhrer. They are, however, going to stick by their right to own a 20 round clip semi automatic weapon until all their guns get taken away…. IDIOTS!!

Mr_M's avatar

@Bluefreedom , realistically, if someone gets a gun for protection, they would NOT lock it up or keep the bullets separate. Instead, they would keep it somewhat available and loaded, no? There IS inherent danger with that, especially around children.

I’ve often thought of getting a gun, just in case someone breaks into my home in the middle of the night. What good is it if I keep the bullets locked up and the gun locked up?

And no, there is no weapon like a gun. A knife wielding killer would have been overtaken by the massive student body of Virginia Tech (not to mention Policemen with a gun) long before he had a chance to kill as many people as he did.

TaoSan's avatar

Heck, get rid of them, once an for all. Funny thing for me to say, I own one.

I can’t follow the “law abiding” gun owner logic. Every gun on the streets used in a crime has once been sold “legally”. Think “availability”.

The system is flawed. The “law abiding” logic is flawed. I guess every prison inmate in the country was once “law abiding”, before he made the wrong decision.

I’d definitely favor a European system, where handguns are flat out illegal, and hunting rifles can only be obtained by licensed hunters.

If any other “product” would cause this many deaths (just thinking accidental ones now), say an insecticide, or an appliance, it would disappear from the market immediately. Yet when it comes to guns, we insists on having to have them. I guess there is something phallic about them, haha.

Harp's avatar

Someone who wants to kill will find a way, yes, but the amount of damage he does will depend on nature of the weapon he gets his hands on. There’s a reason we don’t want N. Korea or Iran to have nukes, right? The V. Tech killer might have knifed quite a few people before being subdued, but does anyone seriously think the death toll would have been so high?

Harp's avatar

There’s a lot of truth to the saying that to someone holding a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.

Consider road rage + guns: ”...Experts at the Harvard School of Public Health have one more piece of advice: Don’t carry a gun in your car. The university’s recent study found that Americans with guns in their cars are more likely to engage in road rage than unarmed drivers. Of 2,400 people surveyed, 23 percent of those who admitted to making obscene gestures to other drivers while driving carried guns in their cars, while only 16 percent of those who don’t pack weapons made gestures. Similarly, 14 percent of gun packers said they “aggressively follow” other motorists, compared to 8 percent of those without firearms.”

TaoSan's avatar

@Harp

Would be interesting to know in how many cases simple altercations would have ended in a bloody nose instead of dead people if there were no handguns around.

Oh, and to all the home defenders, OC, Taser or a nicely trained German shepherd work just as well.

Many studies suggest that home invasions are more likely to end in severe harm if a handgun is present. Think heat of the moment, shooting at the wrong person, ricochets, etc. etc.

Mr_M's avatar

If a home invasion ended in severe harm to the person invading the home, all the better I’d say. Especially if the invader has a gun.

cookieman's avatar

@pekenoe: Couldn’t have said it better.

You want to hunt, (my feelings aside) that’s fine. But do you really use a semi-automatic for that? Really?

My guess is the “gun nuts” feel that taking away the semi-automatics is simply a first step to taking away their hunting rifle. I don’t buy that argument. I think it’s more about power and control.

Not to mention, I think they completely undermine their argument with slogans like, “from my cold dead hands”. Seems kind of aggressive to me.

jasongarrett's avatar

Virginia Tech + knife

I support freedom of speech, but the incendiary topics of religion and politics should be restricted to licensed pastors and politicians. Discussion of sports and the weather are more than sufficient for the rest of us.

TaoSan's avatar

@jasongarrett

comparing words to bullets, oh well….

Since speech is non-lethal your logic escapes me entirely

cookieman's avatar

@jasongarrett: So, to clarify, you’re saying that only pastors (priests, etc.) and politicians are qualified to have an intelligent discussion about religion and politics respectively?

And the rest of us common citizens should confine ourselves to discussions of sports and the weather?

Really?!?

So by your logic, sports should only be discussed by athletes and weather by meteorologists.

So that leaves…what for the rest of us to discuss?

Wow…just wow to the ignorance of that statement.

TaoSan's avatar

@cprevite

I think there was a big ~ in front of that post.

cookieman's avatar

@TaoSan: I sure hope so. I’d love to be wrong in my reading of that.

TaoSan's avatar

Did you read the linked article? Guy feels shitty ‘cause he lost some cash so he decides cutting off someone’s head in a school cafeteria.

WTF is wrong in this country????

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I’m not sure why we spend so much time discussing issues like this. Good or bad, the guns are out there. This paper is a few years out of date, but it gives you an idea of what you’re looking at; somewhere between 35% and 50% of American households have at least one gun. This quote is a little more telling:

“Concentration. Despite enough guns in private hands
to provide every adult in America with one, only
one-quarter of adults actually own firearms. Those
who have one gun usually have several: 74 percent
possessed two or more in 1994. ”

Farther down, it says,

“Of gun owners in 1994, 10 million
individuals owned 105 million guns, while the
remaining 87 million guns were dispersed among 34
million other owners.”

Hmm. 44 million gun owners. 192 million guns. How do you propose taking all of those guns away?

TaoSan's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex

This is not a problem to be solved overnight. Or in a month or a year.

It is simply time to say no more new guns. We got plenty. Phase them out. Over periods of time change from no new sales, to misdemeanor to felony.

Provide incentives to surrender guns. LA did.

This is a long term problem, not something to be solved over night.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Maybe we should start by building a society in which people don’t feel so afraid.

TaoSan's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex

Sounds like a start.

jasongarrett's avatar

I thought this was a conversation about how the the public can’t handle dangerous things. My bad.

TaoSan's avatar

@jasongarrett

I’m really sorry, but I’m still having trouble understanding what you are trying to say.

Now you’re equating “dangerous” things to guns, which are “things” that have only one sole purpose.

Cars are dangerous, but their sole purpose is not to kill.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i agree with @cprevite .

i just really really hate guns. i’m obviously aware that there are a multitude of weapons that can also be used to kill people, but i just feel like guns are the most widely used, easily accessible weapons (in american society, anyway). maybe i’m not entirely right, but i don’t think i’m completely off either. i just can’t find a reason to fight for guns to stay available. we don’t allow people to purchase a few things that don’t even have half of the potential to harm as guns do (such as marijuana), but when it comes to weapons, we’re fine with selling them to people who might be buying them to kill someone. i just… don’t get it.

i’m going to stop before i go off on a tangent that makes even less sense than ^ that does.

Cardinal's avatar

I’m happy with the way things are now? Except for the fact my son borrowed my new PPKS and he won’t give it back. Now that leaves me with only 8 loaded hand guns in the house. When you have been fired on by a total stanger and you are unarmed, your position on gun control may change. While laying in a ditch on top of your two kids in Jacksonville Arkansas 40 years ago, with .38 rounds flying over my head, I made a vow I have kept and intend to keep! I have stated before and will again, this will be a very poor choice of houses to break into in the middle of the night.

cookieman's avatar

@Cardinal: I have been threatened by a knife-packing, ex-con student of mine. My wife, when working for DSS was attacked with a baseball bat. We both spent a lot of time around troubled and sometimes threatening people.

In these and other instances, I am forever glad neither one of us had a loaded gun on us. Had the threat been serious enough, I’m sure the temptation would have been there – and I, for one, have absolutely no desire to become the exact same people whose behavior we were attempting to improve.

The veiled threat that your house would be “a very poor choice of houses to break into in the middle of the night” undermines the argument that only level-headed sportsman own/carry guns.

I’m sorry your family was threatened and am extremely glad no one was hurt. I am not glad however that you came to feel that your only solution in dealing with that violation was to become more like your attackers.

I would suspect that had you had your guns at the time of the attack, there is a better than average chance you would have ended up dead – leaving your children without a parent.

Garebo's avatar

I dont own one let alone shot anything besides a bb gun, but the real reason I want them is the same reason the founding fathers found it necessary. If the tyranny of the government is such and it needs to be overturned; it is pretty hard without guns.
The way things are going I better buy one before I can’t. So if there ever is civil unrest and I have people looting and trying to steal from my home I can protect myself-hopefully!

TaoSan's avatar

@Garebo

So when the government takes over running amok steering the country in a direction we all don’t want, and we lose our property and liberties, then the wise founding fathers thought we should resort to guns.

Oh wait, all of that happened already during the last 8 years, funny, people with guns didn’t really help there now, did they?

Believing in “shootouts” with that oppressive government is the most naive if not stupid view I can think of.

There is one and only one reason why we are the last civilized nation in the world where everybody and their dog can run around sporting high-powered concealable firearms, because it’s a multi-billion dollar industry.

You don’t need handguns for hunting and tasers and other non-lethal weapons are just as effective and much safer for home protection.

The smaller/fragile the ego, the more guns in the house.

laureth's avatar

If guns are made harder to obtain by legal means, those who go through legal means to obtain guns will have a harder time getting them. Bad guys (defined as “those who get guns through illegal means”) will still find a way to get them.

Which is safer? Some crazy guy with a gun blasting students away left and right with a bunch of people around and no way to stop him, or one gun-toting crazy in the midst of a bunch of people who all are carrying legal guns? The psycho wouldn’t have gotten nearly so far before someone stopped him. As they say, an armed society is a polite society.

It’s possible, too, to point at Britain’s gun laws and say that they’re civilized like that, but I’d rather live in a gun-armed society than one where they’re trying to ban kitchen knives because in the absence of guns, people move toward sharp pointy weapons. When all that’s left is plastic spoons, you live in a nanny state.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Well, I’ll try this one more time.

Gun violence kills around 13,000 people in a year. That’s about equal to the number of deaths related to drunk driving. The actual number of alcohol related deaths – from other types of accidents, illness, etc. is much higher. Therefore, alcohol is at least as dangerous as guns, and likely more so. So let’s outlaw the production and sale of alcohol in the U.S.

But wait. We tried that once.

You can’t make a social problem go away by passing a law against it.

Harp's avatar

The question was not, “would it be possible to get rid of the guns in America?”; it was “would you prefer America to be gun free?”. I’ll be the first to recognize that that can’t happen, but I have no doubt that we’d be better off it did.

The old truism “guns don’t kill, people kill” ignores the fact that the very presence of guns makes people think in terms of killing. I refuse to believe that anyone who invests money in a gun and spends time squeezing off rounds at a range doesn’t become more psychologically inured to the idea of killing.

TaoSan's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex

I’ve just gotten outta bed and am still all disoriented. Haven’t even googled yet or anything but if you tell me that last year only 13k people died by a gun (violence, suicide, accident) my name is Larry the cable guy.

Waking up now:

…any suffer non-fatal gunshot wounds, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000. Here

And that only considers the 17,000 cities and counties that report to the FBI annually….

TaoSan's avatar

and PS:

Every single pro-gun person I know constantly tries to “compare” the product gun to other products. E.g. cars, alcohol whatever.

This logic is flawed flawed flawed. Why, because no other “product” has the sole purpose of killing. That’s the sole purpose of a gun, non other, you can not compare a “killing device” to “related incident rates” that’s like saying “if I can’t have a gun electricity must go, that kills people too”. That’s plain ignorance, preposterous and an insult to every person that has ever lost someone to gun violence.

jasongarrett's avatar

To claim that the sole purpose of any gun is to kill is incredibly ignorant.

TaoSan's avatar

@jasongarrett

The purpose of a gun is not to kill? Care to elaborate? I mean sure, a wood grinder is not a wood grinder because technically you could make carrot salad with it. Ah I see, they aren’t made to kill something, but to convey an “I could kill you if I wanted you” messages.

c’mon

cookieman's avatar

@jasongarrett: So then, what is a gun’s primary purpose?

I really don’t know

jasongarrett's avatar

For starters, there are 15 Olympic shooting events. There are some really fun shotgun games. Some people get into cowboy action shooting, while others prefer basic target shooting. Guns can be used recreationally over distances long or short without anyone being threatened.

I’ve poked holes in paper, broken clay pigeons, and exploded pumpkins with a variety of weapons that would be unsuited for self defense. Maybe you should go to the range before you talk about how other people use their guns.

TaoSan's avatar

@jasongarrett

First of all, you’re losing track, here. I am talking explicitly about handguns, not rifles or shotguns.

Second of all, your getting a bit presumptuous, I am on the range twice a week cycling through a Beretta 96, HK USP Compact and a SigSauer P220.

I don’t mind hunting rifles, I don’t mind shotguns. And if you need to go into competitive handgun shooting, why not do as they do in most European countries, where the handgun stays at the range in a locker, or else.

As I mentioned before, over 70,000 people died last year as a direct cause of gun violence or accidents.

Question is, is Thadeus Pinkerton’s need to feel save at home, worth these 70,000 lives?

It is easy to loftily discuss the pros and cons if you’re not immediately affected. Question here really is this, is the outdated right to own a “killing device” worth the lives of these people that vanish every year?

Nobody says that there isn’t a healthy amount of good, upright responsible citizens that own guns and will never cause harm with them. But the current status quo is 70,000 dead last year alone, and that is that. Cause is guns being available, effect is dead people. It’s a pretty straight forward thing. Even the NRA can’t argue that away.

At least make it a class A felony to sell a gun to Joe Shmuck or something, because obviously, plenty of handguns end up in the wrong hands.

My pleasure in popping off a few rounds or my (imagined) sense of heightened safety simply can’t be worth other people having to die for it.

jasongarrett's avatar

You’ve claimed twice in this thread that the sole purpose of guns is killing. That assertion is false and you know it. You aren’t killing people at the range every week are you?

TaoSan's avatar

@jasongarrett

So what is the purpose of a gun? You merely deny yet fail to offer alternatives

and PS, I do respect your opinion and appreciate the exchange

jasongarrett's avatar

I tried to list a bunch of non-hunting alternatives above. Skeet and sporting clays are my personal favorites.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@TaoSan the stats I looked up date back to the 1990s and may well have been low, or may have excluded suicides, but it does not change my point at all. I concur that guns are dangerous and that there’s no reason for most private citizens to own them. But the genie is out of the bottle, or more properly, it was never in the bottle.

The point I keep trying to make is that we can’t do anything about them. Except, perhaps, look at the things that motivate people to buy guns and address those. When you can’t fix a problem, you move on to something you can fix. At least, it’s what you do when you’re a pragmatist.

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