General Question

rockfan's avatar

Could an obsession with guns and gun collecting be a form of OCD or mental illness?

Asked by rockfan (8683points) August 12th, 2017 from iPhone

A friend of mine on Facebook posted “New rifle! But I can still count how many guns I own on one hand, I must correct this asap.”

Realistically, someone who hunts and also wants a gun for protection really only needs 2 or 3 guns. So it strikes me as sign of mental instability if someone wants more than ten. Your thoughts?

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39 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think everyone has mild forms of OCD. Like with one any mental illness it depends on the intensity and how badly it disrupts their normal life.

I think in the example you gave it’s just a guy who is substituting his weapons due to some sort of masculine insecurity.

flameboi's avatar

Not really, with unlimited funds I’d have more cars than Jay Leno and Ralph Lauren combined. Your friend just likes guns. Besides, we are all a bit crazy in our own particular way.

chyna's avatar

I can’t even count how many shoes and purses I have. I don’t think I have a mental illness.

CWOTUS's avatar

As the others have said, why single out guns? Some people collect Hummel figurines, matchbook covers, stamps…

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. I own more than 2, or 3… Guns have many purposes. You may not understand the importance of the differences.

An avid hunter may hunt different animals. While a shotgun, rifle, and pistol could serve the purpose, a much larger variety is usually used. Almost like golf clubs. Different weapons will have different capabilities, and therefore be better for different prey. Quails, and Bears require different weapons….

When I’ve lived in really bad spots of town, I preferred a gun in each room (no kids at,the time,in the apts.) And I had a shotgun by my couch, that I would answer the door with.

I felt safe that way. I lived in those places many years. People just knew there were easier targets…

Is it a sign of mental illness? To me, it was preparedness. Guns are tools, and people who are more likely to require certain tools have more of them.

I’ll alot that there is a portion of people who shouldn’t own guns, but own a lot, and probably won’t use them responsibly, or, with care… But very basic/reasonable hurdles must be overcome to even start to control those who stockpile weapons, with no oversight.

Aster's avatar

My son in law collects expensive guns because he loves them. I don’t know how many he has but the safe is over six feet tall , four feet deep and four feet wide. It’s a gloss black and may have gold lettering on it.
There is no way it can be opened except by his key. He is very stable mentally and financially . Health wise not so much.

ragingloli's avatar

It is a paraphilia.
Just like when a paedophile looks at a little kid on the playground and thinks “I would tap that.”,
a gun collector looks at a shiny new rifle in the storefront and thinks “I would double tap that.”

Coloma's avatar

For some yes, for others no. Big difference between being a collector of something and a mentally ill gun nut/hoarder. I am neither as I don’t like cluttering up my space with lots of stuff.

Pachy's avatar

I don’t know but I sure wish he’d collect stamps or coins. I hate guns and tend to be uncomfortable with people who treasure them.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Some people play golf, some ride motorcyles or spend money on model trains. Guns are a fun hobby like any other.

Rarebear's avatar

An obsession with anything can be a mental illness. More likely your friend just likes to collect guns. I have a friend who is building a big model railroad in his basement. That doesn’t make him mentally ill. I collect musical instruments. Everybody needs a hobby.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My Dad worked for years creating a model train set-up in our basement. It started as a Christmas present for us girls. A track running around a the tree.
He worked on it for years, creating towns and mountains and forests, train stations, farms. He built each building, stick by stick, with balsa wood. Painted and trimmed.
There were at least 2 levels of track, and the top level ran through a mountain. Well, so did the bottom one.
It was electrical, controlled by a master control panel. The controller just sat there flipping switches and making things happen.
When Dad wasn’t around we’d put cows and the small model cars on the tracks and…well, lots of dead cows and wrecked cars! We only did it a couple of times because those HO scale engines were expensive, like $80+ in the 70’s.
But it had working grain and coal elevators (coal was bird seed painted black.) You could drive the train under the dumpers, key a switch, and dump coal in the open box cars.
Had cows and passenger cars get deaded by coal disasters on the line too.
One time our cat, FourBalls (dad thought that was the funniest name ever…we named them after golf terms) got up and kind of rampaged through the towns, but it a picky, cat-like way.
Dad called us down and he built a whole Rod Serling Twilight Zone story around that giant cat.

Dad was an electrical engineer with a passion for precise detail.

I came home from college one time to see the whole thing thrown out, over the upper level, onto the hill that lead to the lower level.
I knew the end of my parent’s marriage was on us.
So, so sad.

kenwor's avatar

Mental illnesses, including OCD are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities. There is no evidence of debilitating distress or dysfunctional behavior among gun collectors, thus ruling out the possibility of mental illness.

Realistically, gun ownership depends on many variables including family size and type, property size, precautionary backups, type of animal or intruder or environment, gun style/assortment, historical relation, engineering appreciation, investment, recreation, and competition. Considering these variables, one can easily exceed the 20+ gun ownership without being considered mentally ill.

seawulf575's avatar

Does the drive to own guns cause your friend problems in his life? Is he sacrificing paying his bills so he can buy a gun? Is he distracted at work because he wants to shop for guns? Is his drive for guns causing marital problems? Is he fortifying his home because he is afraid the neighbors are going to come steal his stuff? Is he a convicted felon? If the answer to these and other questions like them is “no”, then he enjoys guns. It is no different than collecting other things. My wife is into essential oils and has a ton of them, but she isn’t OCD or otherwise mentally challenged. She enjoys using them. Many gun collectors never fire their guns. They buy them for the joy of the collection. Others enjoy taking them out to shoot them or go hunting, etc. Some want protection for the home and might want multiple guns available in different locations in the house. A simple statement that he has few enough guns that he can count them on one hand and that he wants to correct that is not enough to start worrying about his mental health.

Strauss's avatar

Hypothetically speaking, if your friend were a collector of anything else to the same extent would you have the same question?

Collection can be an obsession, and acquisition can be a compulsion, but not everything combination of these two activities is necessarily a disorder.

Ask any guitarist if they would be satisfied with only one guitar when they could afford two, or three, or forty? Like guns, different guitars have design characteristics for different effects.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(Apparently I collect grand children. I can’t afford to be OCD!)

SimpatichnayaZhopa's avatar

I think you are quite wrong and biased against guns as the liberal media tries to make everyone. One gun will not perform all functions. If you hunt much and hunt various types of game, you need several rifles for each type of game. You do not use the same rifles for elephants and woodchucks, for instance. You also need several handguns of various types for self-defense in different situations. The one you keep by your bed is not the best one for concealed carry. People collect different things. Guns is just one of many items people may collect. Collecting is not a mental illness. Is someone who collects coins insane? That is absurd to believe such a thing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No one I know is “biased against guns.” And I’m a snowflake. Oh, and since you mention it, I have fired an elephant gun. Knocked me on my ass! But I hit that bowling pin 20 yards away. Target shooting is a load of fun. But I’d gladly give up my “fun” in a heartbeat if it means one child is going to live to see their own kids come into this world.

Collecting weapons that are good for nothing but killing people is not the same as collecting coins or stamps. Coins and stamps actually have some intellectual appeal, @SimpatichnayaZhopa. Collecting murder weapons requires a completely different state of mind.

SimpatichnayaZhopa's avatar

Murder weapon
is emotional and thus cannot be objective. There is actually no difference in collecting one item or another. The liberal media demonizes guns and gunowners. Hitler confiscated guns as he rose to power, so millions of people he executed had no way to defend themselves.

Dutchess_III's avatar

AR15s are murder weapons, designed to murder human beings. And that’s what they are being used for. No reason to sugar coat that.

Hitler confiscated ALL guns. No one here is suggesting that.

I’m going to cut you off at the pass here: Assault rifles were banned from 1992 fo 2002. No other types of guns were banned.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Slightly wrong. Weapons deemed assault rifles, by people with no understanding of firearms, were banned. It was a stupid mess.

If any changes are to be made again, they need to have some people with some knowledge of what they’re doing. That would probably ease the minds of a lot of gun enthusiasts.

Effective change should be made. No just noise.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Assault rifles were banned from 1992 fo 2002”
Nope. A few minor and mostly cosmetic features were but they were still just as available. People who made those laws either genuinely had no understanding or simply did not care and passed it as feel good legislation. I don’t know which is worse. Also it was 1994–2004 I believe. Actual “assault weapons” have been banned since 1934.

@MrGrimm888 agreed.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I still have some of the mandated 10 round capacity magazines that came with some guns I purchased back then.

For instance, my Ruger P-94 had to be restricted to 10 round clips. Now. The normal clips were 14 rounds, or 15 for most full size semiautomatic pistols.

If you keep one in the chamber (which I don’t,) that’s a difference of 3 bullets, per magazine. Did that thinking make the world safer? Not at all.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@MrGrimm888 My point was that gun nuts always chant “You start banning one kind of gun and then ALL guns will be banned.” History proves that isn’t necessarily true.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Sorry. That’s exactly the problem. People who, in the past, made the decisions on which weapons were banned didn’t ban the right guns, and wouldn’t likely do it now. The reasons for banning the guns that were banned were aesthetic. Pistol grips, certain stocks, and lots of weird rules about shot guns, and magazines were the results of the last ban.

With such ignorance deciding what is banned, it is easy to see the slippery slope. For some…

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I actually prefer 10 round magazines, larger than that and they interfere with shooting rests, sand bags etc. At .40 or.50 cents a pop going through a whole 30 round mag gets expensive.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Depends on the weapon. It made no difference in pistols. In fact, a plastic part had to be added to the bottom of the clip, making it easier to break. My 15 round mags, are all metal.

Definitely on some rifles, I would agree that the larger mags are pesky. Maybe most rifles…

Yes. Ammo is pricey. It’s no fun hand loading a 30, or 50 round clip either. 5 minutes of finger mashing, and 5 seconds of shooting…

SimpatichnayaZhopa's avatar

I see that no one even knows the meaning of “assault rifle”. They have been strictly regulated a long time. The AR-15 is a civilian copy of the M-16 US Army assault rifle. The M-16 is an assault rifle, but the AR-15 is not. Common sense shows that if you give a tyrant an inch, he will take another one until you have nothing remaining.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s an assault “like” rifle, if you prefer. Semantics aren’t going to save the children @SimpatichnayaZhopa.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Dutchess_III What makes an “assault rifle” different from any other rifle?

Dutchess_III's avatar

It can be made fully automatic, or almost fully automatic, very quickly and very cheaply. Other rifles are fired one shot at a time.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

No, but points for trying. Select fire (automatic) rifles are issued to the military but what makes a civilian “assault rifle” different from a regular rifle are cosmetic things like color, pistol grips, collapsible stocks and mounts for crap like flashlights that serve basically no purpose except make it look more menacing. Functionally it’s still just a rifle. That’s it, really just cosmetics. When legislators speak of banning so called assault rifles thats what they end up going after. It’s no wonder gun owners are wary of any new gun legislation. People demand action, politicians “do something” neither the people calling for it nor the legislstors really know wth they are doing and the result is shitty, nonsensical and completely ineffective laws. Just like we have on the books now. They really need to remove the junk laws, insert ones that make sense and look at ballistics, capacity and other things that make guns more deadly. Not just “scary looking”

MrGrimm888's avatar

Most basic AR, that I ever sold, around $800. Bump stocks I’ve seen are starting at $400.
To fill a 20 round magazine with 5.56/2.23 ammo, is about $9–12.

I personally don’t call that cheap.

And as explained above, the “tactical” designs get most of the attention from the law makers.

Want an example of how gun laws are stupid? In my state, shotgun barrels can be no shorter than 18.5 inches. The Taurus Judge (a pistol) can chamber .45 long colt (large, but normal bullet) and can also chamber. 410 shotgun shells. The weapon is available in several barrel lengths. All under 18 inches, some under 4 inches.
This is the result of a lack of overall understanding of why laws are in effect, and consistency in reasoning. Factor in that many laws are different in each of our 50 states, and things get complicated quickly.

A lot of knowledge is required to make realistic, and effective gun laws.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hell, my 17 year old grandson has an AR 15. He wouldn’t have it if it costed thousands instead of just hundreds.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Well. They aren’t just hundreds.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^That weapon doesn’t even have iron sights. How are you supposed to aim it?

You’ll have to buy some form of sight, and then you have to buy a way to increase the rate of fire (as you mentioned.) Hundreds more. And then there’s the price of the ammo. If you’re very lucky, you might find some for .30 cents/round, but you usually have to buy bulk to get that deal, so another few hundred…

At the absolute cheapest, you’re looking at $1,500, to be a mass shooter. Most teenagers don’t have that laying around…

I’m not saying that it’s impossible to find a used gun, or something. But the weapon you linked is anomalous in price, and stripped down.

I did some research, and found a decent one for $579 (before taxes.) Still have to spend money on a bump stock, and ammo though.

Far cheaper to buy some gas, and a Bic lighter.

ragingloli's avatar

“_ How are you supposed to aim it?_”
Not necessary for a full classroom.

MrGrimm888's avatar

If a full classroom is your target, get a shotgun. Hallways, cafeterias, courtyards etc require aim…

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