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CaptainHarley's avatar

It is only "gun nuts" who don't fear weapons?

Asked by CaptainHarley (22429points) January 6th, 2010

I have been around weapons for most of my adult life, and cannot understand why some people are so fearful of them. What makes the difference? Just personal experience, or is there more here than meets the eye?

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34 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think they’re fearful of the guns themselves but of what a gun used by a person can do.

janbb's avatar

I’m scared of what a gun used by any person can do. I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen a real gun in my life.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Maybe because guns were made to kill people. They weren’t made for decoration, they weren’t made for target practice, they weren’t made for hunting. Their only purpose was to kill another human being.

filmfann's avatar

People respect guns, and the damage they can do.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Many guns actually WERE originally made for hunting, although many more were made for hunting humans than for animlas. But so were swords. Why do we not fear swords, or fear what a sword used by a person can do?

dpworkin's avatar

I love a beautiful gun. If I afford to, I would collect beautifully made rifles, shotguns and handguns. I have a wish list.

I’m also a very strong defender of our 2nd Amendment rights, but I don’t believe I fit the generally agreed upon profile of a “gun nut” (I am very Left-Liberal, Jewish, urban…)

I have seen the phrase “kill people” repeated several times above. I would characterize this as a type of hysteria. Before there were guns we used other methods of killing people. I see no reason why “kill people” and “gun” should be conflated.

I’ve never killed anyone with a gun, but I’m glad I know how to use them, and if I ever had to kill someone in order to protect my family, I would have no compunctions. If someone can explain to me why I should, I will be pleased to listen, but you’d also have to explain to me how the Jewish martyrs in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising would have been better off without guns.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@CaptainHarley It could be because you can either choose to fight a person with another sword, or you can just run the hell away. No one can outrun a bullet, though.

CaptainHarley's avatar


LOL! True, but sometimes the sword owner was a faster runner. : D

ccrow's avatar

I think it’s a combination of having no experience w/weapons, & watching too much TV & movies.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Excellent answer. History is rife with examples of how oppressed minorities were unable to avoid genocide due to the illegality of gun ownership.

TexasDude's avatar

Many folks (take Carolyn McCarthy for example) don’t know anything about how guns actually work and have misconceptions based on movies, videogames, and other media.
As someone who enjoys shooting and gun collecting, I can tell you that if you treat guns with respect no one will get hurt. I’ve fired thousands of rounds in my life. I own so-called “assault weapons.” Have any of them ever gotten up and shot up elementary schools on their own? No. Guns are mechanical devices. Be responsible and nobody will get hurt. There is nothing to be afraid of.

jerv's avatar

Like I said about Nuclear Power, people fear that which they do not understand.

Guns are more than just a way to kill people, but they are also less. They are more in that they are a way to get food, a way to relax (if you are into target shooting or merely collecting), and can also serve as a deterrent by their mere presence.

However, they are less in that they are merely a hunk of metal (and possibly plastic) with no volition of their own. Many people say that guns kill people, but I have yet to see an instance where a firearm hurt anybody without either human error or malice being involved. If you leave a loaded gun in your nightstand and a child finds it and something bad happens, that means that the owner of the weapon was irresponsible. If someone gets shot during a mugging/robbery, they would’ve been hurt anyways if the assailant had a knife or a baseball bat as well. Neither can be blamed on guns.

@filmfann I beg to differ. Some people think that guns are toys, and it’s not just children who have yet to develop a concept of death that feel that way. There are other potentially dangerous things (electricity, chemicals, cars….) that people do not respect and often wind up causing a lot of damage, and possibly deaths. Remember, we are invincible; bad things may happen to other people, but we are immune to the consequences of our actions ;)

Berserker's avatar

I’m not afraid of guns, but I would be afraid of a person who has one but doesn’t know how to properly handle it.
Mind you, some dude swinging around a sword thinking he’s all cool would also freak me out.

It’s not any weapon specifically, rather than the jerkasses who don’t know how to properly wield them, and even worse if they have no sense of responsibility.

TexasDude's avatar

Great answer @jerv. Rationality and realism sure feels good, doesn’t it?

FlipFlap's avatar

I was raised around firearms. We practiced at a homemade outdoor range most weekends of the spring, summer, and autumn like clockwork. However, I don’t even own a gun at the moment. There is no irrational fear of guns on my part. Obviously, since I don’t own one, I’m not a “gun nut.” Some of the stupidity I’ve seen when it comes to lack of gun safety awareness makes me glad some people don’t want to own one.

jerv's avatar

I don’t own a gun either, but my early childhood had me around them all the time.

Unlike many people, I was only 3 or 4 when I learned to respect them. I was taught early on to always assume that they are loaded unless you verify that they are empty (though at the time I didn’t know how to do that so I just treated them as “always loaded” and therefore dangerous) and that you NEVER point them at something/someone that you are not ready and willing to destroy.

As much fun as properly used guns can be, they are not toys!

filmfann's avatar

@jerv I phrased that badly. People respect the guns other people are holding.

mattbrowne's avatar

On the contrary. Kids usually just have an abstract notion of weapons and some use them as toys or experience them as part of a computer game. When you actually learn to handle real weapons including machine guns, hand grenades, shoulder-fired anti-tank missiles and so forth you learn respect. You learn that weapons are not toys. You fear what can be done with them. I learned this when I joined the army for two years after high school.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Not entirely true. I think I had a better sense of what death was at age 4 than many people nowadays do at 24. Maybe it’s a matter of being desensitized, but a lot of people (even adults!) see death as merely a way to permanently solve a problem.
It’s not so much treating firearms as toys, but rather treating death and dismemberment as trifling little details so long as they happen to someone else.

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.”— Mel Brooks

Nullo's avatar

I’d say that it partially depends on your definition of gun nut.
I would not describe myself as such, but I have noticed that firearms don’t seem particularly menacing since I got my .22; in my mind, the forklifts at work are far more dangerous.

TexasDude's avatar

@Nullo, have you ever seen the German forklift safety video?

Nullo's avatar

With Klaus? Just looked it up. Like a bad horror film :D

TexasDude's avatar

@Nullo, haha, yes, that’s exactly what I was talking about!

Xilas's avatar

i made my own singleshot – shotgun out of some steel pipe…you fear me? or the gun?

Nullo's avatar

In that case, I’d probably fear the gun more; homemade firearms are that much more unpredictable.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Please don’t use it. “Zip guns” are notoriously unreliable and unsafe, not to mention illegal in most jurisdictions.

philosopher's avatar

The problem is most people do not wish to have to carry a side arm. That is why we pay the Police.
We need to find a method of stopping guns from falling into the hands of unstable people.
We need to stop gangs Psychopath’s and other criminals from having access to guns.
People are not against someone using a weapon to defend their family .
Captain I would not fear a gun in your hands because you are a rational Adult.
Guns kill innocent Adolescents on city streets daily. They have recently killed college students.
Some people abuse their privilege to have a weapon.

Xilas's avatar

it works great.. point is..the technology is simple

___'s avatar

I have not grown up around weapons, but no, I don’t fear them in the way you describe. I think a large part of it really is, as some have stated here, a misconception of the power of the weapon over the person.

Just a little tidbit, as some have mentioned swords. I forget the exact figures, but I do seem to recall that a sword fighter has the advantage (the kill) at 21 feet or something against someone with a firearm because they can close the distance before the weapon can be released aimed and discharged.. it’s all in perception.

___'s avatar

@CaptainHarley 12? well that does make more sense. Still, it’s always something I found somewhat impressive.

zensky's avatar

Love guns. Hate people.

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