Social Question

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Would the world be safer if everyone were allowed to openly carry and display guns or would it make the world more dangerous?

Asked by Captain_Fantasy (11434points) February 17th, 2010

Gun activists claim their 2nd amendment rights allow them to openly display firearms in public.

Opponents say the practice is unnecessarily dangerous.

So when you’re in the local Starbucks and a guy comes in strapped with a .45, how do you feel?

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60 Answers

davidbetterman's avatar

People would certainly be far more courteous to one another!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Gangster behavior suggests otherwise.

ragingloli's avatar

The Vulcan Science directorate has determined that I would feel like I would want to cut the guy to pieces with a Katana.

TexasDude's avatar

I prefer concealed carry. Open carry makes you a target.

Something alot of people don’t understand is that most people who want to open or concealed carry don’t do it because they want to go on shooting sprees or kill liberals. That’s all nonsense.
The purpose of carry is to prevent that sort of thing.

For the record, I’m getting my concealed carry permit as soon as I turn 21.

Bluefreedom's avatar

“Everyone” is a very broad and probably inaccurate label considering all the different types of people that are in everyday society. I’ve worked in the correctional system before and I’ve been in a law enforcement career for 22 years now and there are just some people that shouldn’t be carrying weapons around, period.

Additionally, if people are carrying weapons around openly, that just seems to be a real bad idea, in my opinion. It’s going to scare people, appear threatening to many, and probably cause a lot of unnecessary aggravation for law enforcement professionals.

If I see a guy come into a Starbucks carrying a .45 pistol, I’m going to go about my business but I’m not going to be altogether comfortable with him walking around in public with that cannon either. I think that you’d find businesses eventually putting up signs notifying people that they wouldn’t be allowed onto their premises while carrying firearms.

In essence, no, I don’t think the world would be a safer place if individuals were allowed to walk around openly with firearms on their persons. Those carrying concealed weapons that were authorized that priviledge through taking the proper firearm(s) course(s) would be the exception of course.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Hi Bluefreedom,
Some businesses are doing just that. They are being sued for it by gun activists.
We’ll have to wait to see how that pans out in court.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy. If I had to guess, I’d say that the businesses have a better chance of winning because it is their private property and they are allowed to mandate what goes on there and who they decide to cater to. Many businesses reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. I’m not sure if it would be the most prudent move to refuse service to someone packing some serious heat in your store, though, but it’s the principal of the matter that counts.

cheebdragon's avatar

How many shooting sprees have occurred in police stations…...?

Darwin's avatar

I believe that open or concealed carry as a general policy can only deter and not cause problems if everyone with poor impulse control, ADHD, and so on, were first exiled to a distant corner of the galaxy. I cannot count how many times someone has ended up shot because someone else got pissed off suddenly and had access to a weapon. I still recall the first murder I heard about in the town I now live in, which was over a possible debt of 25 cents.

Currently in our town, businesses and public buildings all have signs posted telling everyone that it is illegal to carry a weapon into the building. Exceptions are only granted to law enforcement personnel either in uniform or displaying their badges.

TexasDude's avatar

@Darwin, does anyone really think those signs are going to keep illegally armed people out? I’d much prefer legally armed people to be in there as well and keep the playing field level.

ragingloli's avatar

I think a violent and uncontrolled shootout with a lot of people dying in the crossfire is the more likely scenario.

ETpro's avatar

I have mixed emotions on this question. In countries where strict gun limits have always been in place, you generally find a far lower violent crime rate than in the USA. Aslo, knowing how jumpy and downright loony some people are, I have visions of a car backfiring and 25 people walking down the sidewalk whip out handguns and open fire. Circular firing squads are a singularly bad idea.

But will all the guns on the street in this country, the NRA people have a good point in claiming that gun laws today only prevent law abiding people from being armed and able to defend themselves. With so many bad guys packing heat, it might make sense to be ready to deal with them when necessary.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t think it would really be any safer.

Also if people get to carry guns around, I get to strap a claymore to my back and be all badass.

Darwin's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard – The point is not specifically to keep illegal weapons out, but to 1) make well-meaning and law-abiding folks think twice about carrying weapons in a public place, and 2) make it easier to arrest someone who is either too stupid or to evil to read and obey the signs. With luck, 2) can occur before anyone is injured.

TexasDude's avatar

@Darwin, why should law-abiding citizens have to think twice about being armed when so called “too stupid” or “too evil” wouldn’t?

aprilsimnel's avatar

I can list five people off the top of my head that I know who should never, ever be allowed to carry a loaded weapon of any kind, openly or not. Every little thing becomes a volcano explosion with these folks, and anything that could be used as weapon that was near to hand has caused enough damage already. A gun? Oh, no. They’d certainly grievously hurt a few people before they got blown away themselves.

gemiwing's avatar

Well, it wasn’t called the Peaceful West so I’d go with no, personally.

TexasDude's avatar

there’s an awful lot of men made of straw in here

mammal's avatar

i love the way Americans are so casual about gun ownership. NOT! a very weird and sick society.

kheredia's avatar

I know I would not feel safe knowing everybody has a gun on them. In fact, i’d be afraid to leave my house. There are too many short tempered people out there and I can already see them going trigger happy. No way man.. keep me out of it.

jerv's avatar

The way I see it, if someplace like NH with fairly loose gun laws can manage lower crime rates (especially firearm-related violent crimes) than someplace where gun laws are very restrictive like Japan, then that tells me that guns aren’t the problem; people are.

Many of the areas where shootings occur also have people getting beaten, stabbed, and otherwise messed up without firearms entering the equation, so therefore it’s somewhat moot. True, it may lead to escalations and more firefights, but only in places that are inherently violent to begin with.

While @aprilsimnel has a valid point, bear in mind that she is talking about people who probably should not be allowed to use knives or sticks and may be best left in cuffs at all times.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv So, legalize guns and outlaw people. Problem solved.

YARNLADY's avatar

Are you kidding? We already have ‘road rage’ with crazy people running a car full of teen age girls off the road, killing them, just think how much worse it would be if they had guns.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

If the population of Eastern Europe were as well armed as the average American, the Nazis would have lost much of their military capacity attempting to implement the Holocaust.” – Clayton Cramer, from ”Firing Back

Whether or not this is true is certainly debatable. I thought it was interesting and pertinent to the discussion at hand though. :-)

jerv's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna Oh, definitely interesting and pertinent!

@YARNLADY That would be counterbalanced by the deterrent value of the intended victims also being armed, and anybody who disregards self-preservation enough to risk being shot doesn’t need a gun to be dangerous.
I mean, look at how many people do bad things with cars, baseball bats, wedges of Parmesan cheese (yes, that has been used as a murder weapon before!) and then realize than many of these people could have bought/used a gun and yet chose other weapons.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jerv All too true. It would only work as a deterrent if all adults who carried a gun are also required to learn how to use it, and visit the firing range regularly.

I recently read about a person who got shot to death because of a dispute over a video game. Perhaps readily available guns would solve our overpopulation problem.

john65pennington's avatar

Go watch any old wildwest movie and see what happened to them.

Alochol and guns do not mix. remember the movie High Noon?

TheJoker's avatar

Guns simply have no place what-so-ever in civilised society!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Actually I did carry my .45 (G30) into a Starbucks just a few days ago. No one raised an eyebrow. The weapon was holstered and I was behaving in a peaceful, normal manner. I’m also licensed to carry concealed.

I think peoples reactions to this are more of a cultural norm for where they live. Where I live it’s not unusual for people to carry firearms, openly or concealed; in New York City it would be unusual, in Montreal it would be illegal. In many states in the US, it is already legal to openly carry a firearm in a public place.

Actually the violent crime rates in places where many civilians carry firearms is much lower than in places where they don’t (at least in the US). I think this is more related to the fact that states permitting “open carry” tend to be rural. It’s difficult to say how many violent crimes are prevented by the presence of an armed civilian, since a crime not occurring is impossible to tabulate statistically. My personal opinion is that openly displaying a firearm in a crowded public venue is not a wise thing for a person in civilian clothing to do; even off-duty police officers carry their weapons concealed.

A person behaving in a bizarre or threatening manner while armed, or handling a firearm publicly in an unsafe manner does bother me. Such behavior is already a criminal offense.People with criminal records or have been declared mentally incompetant are already forbidden to possess or carry firearms. People who have problems controlling their behavior should not carry, as mishandling a firearm in a public place would lead rapidly to a criminal conviction.

A firearm itself is an inanimate object, no more dangerous than an automobile or a container of gasoline. The danger lies in how it is handled. People displaying firearms in an unsafe or threatening manner are a hazard to public safety, but the hazard is the person not the firearm. A person displaying a knife, baseball bat or a bottle in a threatening manner is equally a hazard.

Carrying a firearm in a public place is tremendous hazard to a person untrained in its use or unfamiliar with local laws regarding use of deadly force. The hazard is that of being charged with a crime if you mishandle the weapon, shoot unjustifiably, hit an innocent bystander or even cause property damage.

Some states do not require any form of training for a license to carry, personally I believe that they should. This would be difficult to implement, as many states protect the right to bear arms in their constitutions. Vermont doesn’t even issue concealed-carry permits since it is considered a constitutional right (and the violent crime rate in VT is one of the lowest in the nation).

Criminals. terrorists and insane persons will obtain weapons regardless of laws. By definition a criminal is a person who disregards laws. Armed law-abiding people are no threat to society and may actually add to its security. Armed civilians have stopped many terrorist attacks in Israel. Many violent crimes have been stopped in the US likewise.

Broken_Arrow's avatar

Safer. Why do you think that a chosen few who are allowed to carry weapons try to control that?

jerv's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land One thing you neglect to mention is that Vermonters (and many other people in rural areas, like those crazy bastards in Maine) who carry generally grew up around guns and thus don’t really need any formal training. I wasn’t even fully potty-trained when I learned to treat all guns as loaded and never point them at something/someone I wasn’t ready to destroy. Maybe they went hunting with their father when they were little. Maybe they just have more common sense than some scared suburban housewife who thinks that guns aim themselves.
Of course, that is not universal so maybe some sort of certification to prove that you are not a moron would help, but considering the way people drive, it would appear that competence has little/no bearing on getting a license anyways, making it moot.

@YARNLADY Anybody who gets that worked up over a game should be locked away anyways. Since stupidity is not a crime, I welcome anything that allows idiots to do something that can be prosecuted.

@TheJoker Most of human history involved us finding ways to hurt/kill each other. That was true even before we had anything resembling civilization or society. Before guns, we had bows, before bows, we had rocks. Are you saying that rocks have no place in civilized society either, or are you inferring that humans are inherently uncivilized and thus negating your statement?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@jerv Very true. They could make it like a drivers license test, just to document that you know the absolute basics.

mattbrowne's avatar

More dangerous. The risks outweigh the benefits.

We should leave this job to the police.

cheebdragon's avatar

@mattbrowne Did you know the police are not obligated to protect you or even respond to your calls for help.

YARNLADY's avatar

@cheebdragon Could you elaborate that please? I am under the impression that the police force are under an obligation to enforce the law. It this not true?

ragingloli's avatar

Matt lives in Awesomeland, so what is true for american “police” is not necessarily true for awesomeland’s police.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne We should leave this job to the police. That calls a saying to mind. “When seconds count, always remember that the police are just minutes away.”

TexasDude's avatar

beat me to the punch, @ETpro

YARNLADY's avatar

@cheebdragon Ahhh, I see – splitting hairs. They have no Constitutional mandate, but that doesn’t automatically void their contract with their employer, the taxpayer.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY What contract? I don’t recall signing any contract, and I’m pretty sure that neither do the police.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jerv Come on – you know that every Police Officer has to sign a contract and swear an oath. You gave your elected representative your permission to sign on your behalf. It’s scary how many people don’t have the foggiest idea how their own government works.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY I was being facetious, yet serious at the same time.

All police officers are really bound to do is what they are told by their superiors, and by superiors, I am not talking about regular tax-paying citizens. And trust me, as someone who has signed a contract and taken an oath to serve a government agency, you wouldn’t believe the “wiggle room” allowed anyways and/or interpreted whimsically.

You may know how the letter of the law works, but I’ve been on the inside enough to know how the government really works. Besides, it’s hard to trust a contract that can be edited unilaterally.

jerv's avatar

Just out of curiosity, is this the type of protection our tax dollars pay for?

Those were not private rent-a-cops; they were issued badges by the government. I think I’ll stick with legalized concealed-carry, thank you! And if you think guns would’ve made it worse, bear in mind that there were plenty of concerned bystanders that could’ve been armed as well, and I think that most citizens are more likely to pull a gun in support of the law than breaking it, meaning that the criminals would be outnumbered and (finally!) outgunned.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am not one to pull stupid shit if I feel that there is little/no chance of me actually getting away with it. And the prospect of being shot at the scene might prevent more crimes than the risk of possibly being ID’d days/weeks later.

cheebdragon's avatar

A few years ago I came home to find a burglar in my house, I called the police and reported a burglary in progress and informed the dispatcher that i was 7–8 month pregnant. my bf and I were able to detain the guy for about 10–15 min (during which I made the guy empty all of his pockets), when I picked up the phone to call the cops a 2nd to find out how much longer we would have to wait, the guy took a chance and bolted thru the screendoor and took off down the street.

Do you know how long it took the police to arrive that day?
About 45–60 minutes…..I lived across the street from the police station, no joke, I could throw a rock from my front porch and hit a fucking cop car in the police station parking lot. Fuck the police.

jerv's avatar

@cheebdragon I dunno. After we had a shooting in our neighborhood, it only took the cops 20 minutes to get here… and cuff me (the guy who called 911), my wife, and our roommate at gunpoint. They can respond quickly, but it’s debatable if they respond properly.

YARNLADY's avatar

For every story about Police incompetence, there are a thousand about Police protection

cheebdragon's avatar

As far as the police knew, I was a 17 year old, pregnant girl alone with a burglar in my house, I never told the police my bf was there with me. Lesson learned. If I ever end up in a situation where I need help, I’m just going to report a fire, or order a pizza.
Btw, as it turns out, if the the guy doesn’t leave with any of your items on him, it pretty much just becomes trespassing.

mattbrowne's avatar

In Germany every citizen must help another citizen (not just the police) unless there’s a severe threat to the one able to help. Under the German law of “Unterlassene Hilfeleistung” (neglect of duty to provide assistance), a citizen is obliged to provide first aid when necessary and is immune from prosecution if assistance given in good faith turns out to be harmful.

And I said the risks outweigh the benefits. There are circumstances when seconds count and the police is minutes away. It might be beneficial to have a whole country full of trigger happy John Waynes in these circumstances. Put people also get very angry all the time. I fear that in one of a thousand cases this display of anger includes drawing a gun if available.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne There are 8 US states that have similar laws. I happen to live in one of them, so if I had ignored the guy, I might’ve been charged!

Risks outweighing the benefits. Hmmm. I think you fail to look at many other human endeavors. For instance, I suppose making the air unbreathable and risking getting squashed is a small price to pay for having a personal means of transportation that can get me someplace 10–20 times faster than walking though, yet converting it to run on a cleaner, cheaper energy source would be too risky, as would requiring actual proof of competence before allowing one to operate such a conveyance as opposed to allowing anybody with $50 and a birth certificate to mow people down.

And notice how these arguments always boil down to how fucked up our society is? Or how many places that are pretty free about gun ownership have fewer problems than we do? But if people think a band-aid palliative will solve the issue well enough to ignore the root of the problem then I am in favor of guns for the simple reason that it will weed the dangerously optimistic people who can’t handle reality out of the gene pool.

Do not confuse correlation with causation! Look at the real problem here. Or are you also up for restricting blunt objects and cutlery?

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, western European countries do have severe problems as well. Take the 2005 riots in France as an example. Still the overall homicide rate per capita in the US is more than 4 times higher than in countries like Germany or Denmark.

Then look at eastern Europe which is full of black market weapons from the former Soviet armies. Homicide rates are similar to the US rate, often worse.

We have to educate our kids how to resolve conflicts peacefully. If this doesn’t work in some cases, I’d rather have them start punching at each other than pulling semi-automatic weapons.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne I agree with you in priciciple, but I am too much of a realist to go beyond that. Besides, I think it safe to say that many parts of Eastern Europe have had those sorts of issues since before firearms. BTW, how many guns did Vlad Tepes own?

TexasDude's avatar

Also, people neglect to admit that the majority of acts of gun violence in the US are committed by gang members who typically cannot lawfully possess weapons anyway. I’d rather not punish the law-abiding gun owner for the acts of a few idiotic thugs.

buck19delta's avatar

lets see… we have the first amendment, that protects freedom of speech, even things we dont like, like hate speech, porn, religious stuff, abortion things etc. having a freedom, means you must tolerate the bad, along with the good that comes from it.

the second amendment is the same way. many people abuse this right, just as other people drink and drive, murder, etc, but the vast majority of people who enjoy their right, to drive, do not abuse it by drinking and driving, 99.9 % of the people who legally own guns do not commit crimes. we are the only country i know of, that guarantees its citizens the right to own guns, there are very good historical reasons for this.

i personally carry a gun almost every day, i know several friends who do as well, i know probably several hundred people who own guns. noone i know of has ever threatened anyone, shot anyone, or anything else. ... criminals, by their very defination, do not follow laws. therefore banning guns, will not stop the bad guys from killing, robbing, and raping at gun point. however, having it easier for the good guys to carry a gun, ” your average law abiding person”, you basically end up with millions of part time police officers, who help keep the peace. ...

final thought….... in the united states, every single location, that has extremly strict gun laws, has the highest murder, rape, and robbery crimes in the nation….. i wonder why?

buck19delta's avatar

i copied this from cheebdragons response from earlier…

Did you know the police are not obligated to protect you or even respond to your calls for help.

this is true, and has been found to be true through lawsuits. the police are required to police the citizens, as a whole. not you, as a individual. if you call 911, and noone arrives for hours, and something bad happens to you…. the government cannot be held responsible.

your responsible for your own safety, just as your responsible for your kids safety. noone else can be expected to look out for you and your family, except you. the world, is the world we have, its not the world we WISH we had. bad things happen to good people. all the police are usually good for, is mopping up after a crime occured. there is one person always present, to help stop crime, and to protect you from harm…. you.

mrrich724's avatar

amen to @buck19delta also, ever been to a gun show, or even in a gun store, where people are open carrying?! The respect level goes through the roof very quickly.

Criminals are cowards, and will be alot less likely to hurt anyone when they know that alot of good people wouldn’t hesitate to set them straight very quickly.

If there are two houses next to each other, one is unmarked, and one has a “I have guns” sticker emblazoned on the front window, a criminal will choose the unmarked house every time. Hell, if I were a criminal I’d choose the “other” house even if it had a “protected by alarm” sticker on it! I’d rather deal with the alarm than a person with a gun.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@cheebdragon I haven’t heard of a shooting spree in a gun store, either!

In my city, we had three incidents in the last few months where a store owner shot a would-be burgler, and guess what – the amount of robberies have drastically reduced. Well, except the “smash and grab” in the night type.

I have a carry permit. I wish I could carry openly, because I would rather deter a bad guy from attacking me than have to surprise him by shooting him dead without warning. When you get a carry permit, one of the things they teach you is not to draw your gun unless you are going to use it. So pointing it at someone and saying “stop or I’ll shoot” is a no-no. Just gives the guy an opportunity to try to disarm you while you are waffling around.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Actually, I would be likely to feel safer in a public place where there are armed “normal citizens” close by. Bad guys don’t normally carry their piece in plain view.

My house was also robbed in 2008. They had left by the time I arrived home, but left a knife sitting on the counter with a 9-inch blade. They weren’t planning on being caught if someone had come home. When I called the police, they took 2½ hours to arrive.

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