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Nunavut Boy
04-07-2009, 02:06 AM
This is inspired by the current gun thread in the pit. I wonder why the US, given that Canada and the US have much shared history and problems associated with colonizing a vast 'uninhabited' land (notice the uninhabited in quotes) have such differences in their views of gun ownership. I have not been able to find good stats on 'gun density' for the two countries via casual googling. My feeling is that, outside of a few areas (Alberta and the western provinces especially) gun ownership is much denser in the US and that Americans are much more enamored with their guns than Canadians. Stats (I think) show that there is much more gun violence in the US than Canada. My question is, given our mostly shared early history, why does there seem to be much more gun violence and a more entrenched 'gun culture' in the US vs. Canada?

Out of my asshole, I think a few things could have contributed to this:

1) Early western Canadian territories were better policed by the NWMP than early American western settlements were
2) 2nd amendment rights have blocked attempts at gun control
3) Americans in general seem to have a deeper mistrust of their government than Canadians do. This seems to be part of the 'American individual spirit' that Canadians do not (IMHO) share.

Also, I feel I should give my background in case this thread gets totally derailed:

1) I grew up in Alberta and was taught to shoot by my dad with a .22 rifle and the many gophers in southern Alberta and Sask at the age of 8.
2) I am ex-Canadian military
3) I have legally owned a pistol in Canada. (which is apparently not as easy as in the US)

Having said all that, I would be willing to give up all gun ownership rights if I felt gun violence in Canada was getting out of control (which is subjective, I admit). This point of view does not seem to be shared by Americans. Why the disconnect?

Mosier
04-07-2009, 02:16 AM
Americans are proud of the Revolutionary War, in which citizens with privately owned guns formed militias to beat the strongest military on the planet and win their freedom. Canada never had such an experience, so Canadians are less likely to tie guns so closely with their national identity.

Nunavut Boy
04-07-2009, 02:21 AM
Ok, that I could definitely see be a contributing factor. But that was what- 200 years ago? Are you saying that traditions from 200 years ago are being passed on and are relevant now?

FinnAgain
04-07-2009, 02:36 AM
The Revolutionary War is part of our national mythology, and it'd be a mistake to underestimate its role in determining the construction of "Americanness".

Argent Towers
04-07-2009, 02:52 AM
Ok, that I could definitely see be a contributing factor. But that was what- 200 years ago? Are you saying that traditions from 200 years ago are being passed on and are relevant now?

Hah. 200 years ain't shit. Ever heard of "The Bible?"

Sophistry and Illusion
04-07-2009, 02:55 AM
Americans are proud of the Revolutionary War, in which citizens with privately owned guns formed militias to beat the strongest military on the planet and win their freedom. Canada never had such an experience, so Canadians are less likely to tie guns so closely with their national identity.

This may be part of the mythology, but I don't know how much the mythology matches the reality. In a thread from last year (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=484747), we had the following posts:
To some extent you have to accept that there are two kinds of native troops from the American Revolution. The various militias, as exemplified by the Minutemen at Concord and Lexington, or even Breed's/Bunker Hill, were using private arms. They also were poorly trained, unable to stand up to the Redcoats, and more noted for glorious defeats, than they were for winning battles*.

Then there's the Colonial Line troops who were effectively a European-style army, not made up landowners (or their sons) as was the case with the Minutemen, and who had their arms mostly supplied by the Congress via the Army.


*Let me make it clear I am not critiquing the courage of the militias, just their effectiveness. For example, it's worth noting that the militiamen at Breed's/Bunker Hill set up on the wrong hill, which substantially contributed to their eventual defeat. For real break-your-heart-stupidity there are numerous incidents of militia military idiocy from the War of 1812. My favorite is how the NY State Militia refused to evacuate General Winfield Scott's Army across the Niagara - because they were only tasked with defending the State of NY. Not helping their nation's troops. They fought with great courage and individual determination, but as units militias have earned a somewhat shaky reputation.

flurb and spoke- offer a somewhat dissenting view, but neither denies that the militias would have gotten their asses kicked if it had been up to them and their private firearms.

Mosier
04-07-2009, 03:07 AM
This may be part of the mythology, but I don't know how much the mythology matches the reality. In a thread from last year (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=484747), we had the following posts:


flurb and spoke- offer a somewhat dissenting view, but neither denies that the militias would have gotten their asses kicked if it had been up to them and their private firearms.

Of course, but the writers of the Constitution themselves acknowledged the importance of citizen militias. I'm not debating that the militias were effective, but rather that our perception of history strongly ties privately owned guns and citizen militias to the defeat of tyranny.

Nunavut Boy
04-07-2009, 03:17 AM
Does anyone these days actually believe that a citizen militia would be any sort of protection against the US government if the government actually turned against its citizens? Seeing how this is pretty ridiculous since the will of the government is the will of the people (voting and all that), and secondly what are a few semi automatic (or even fully automatic) rifles going to do against the military? This seems like a completely retarded argument. To me, this does not justify easy access of firearms if net effect if detrimental to society.

Argent Towers
04-07-2009, 03:42 AM
Bullies, whether they be governments or individual people, choose the path of least resistance.

When I was in high school, I was bullied a total of one time. A big hardass farm boy twice my size who I was on the freshman wrestling team with was razzing me for something or other, and I said, "hey, I'm going to kick your ass - meet me in the mat room, now." We snuck down to the mat room and the fight was on. We grappled on the ground for what felt like 20 minutes, grabbing, choking, and punching. Finally he got me in a headlock and choked me - I tapped out, and he let go. He had beaten me. But I had put up one hell of a fight.

After the fight, we were both sweaty, beaten up and breathless. Staring at each other, Billy (the guy I fought) clapped me on the shoulder or something, I guess as a gesture of manly friendship, and then started to hobble out of the mat room while the crowd that had gathered watched in amazement. As soon as his back was turned, I yelled - "fuck you, you motherfucker!" Billy left without a word.

The next day, we passed each other in the hallway. Billy gave me a smile and a manly nod of friendship. That was the last time I was ever bullied.

What's the lesson here? Billy kicked my ass that day in the mat room. He put me in a choke hold, and I tapped out. By all rights, he won the fight. But the fact that I had fought him at all was enough. Even though I lost, I was respected anyway, and nobody messed with me again.

A civilian insurrection going up against a bigger, stronger bully of a government doesn't need to WIPE OUT their enemy in order to win. All they need to do is make it not worth the enemy's while to keep fighting anymore. It may cost lives, and it may take time, but it's a proven tactic.

Vietnam. Barefoot farmers with rice-paper hats kicked us and our M16s and our Huey helicopters and our C-130 gunships back to America with our tail between our legs.

Iraq - need I say more.

It's not such a ridiculous proposition after all, if you really spend some time thinking about it.

And in the case of a second American Revolution - there's only so much force that the US military is going to be willing to put on an insurgent group. You really think they'll start nuking cities in the Midwest and bombing innocent Americans (many of whom will be the families and friends of the soldiers doing the government's fighting in the first place?) It would cost many lives, but eventually the citizen militia could win if the government decided it was no longer worth their while to keep fighting. And hey, if the whole country is nuked, then what is the government left with to rule.

Think about it. Really, think about it.

Nunavut Boy
04-07-2009, 03:54 AM
Argent I appreciate what you're saying, really. But I do not see that scenario being played out in any democratically elected system. Really, worst case scenario, is the US gov't + ~50% of the population against ~50% armed with semi automatic rifles. Which is hopeless for the side against the gov't. They don't need nukes. They can roll over everything in their way. Really? In my 28 years I've never once thought about taking up arms against the government, or even imagined it as a thought experiment. Do Americans really think about this sort of thing?

Argent Towers
04-07-2009, 03:55 AM
Note - the above is my explanation of why civilian militias holding their own is not completely out of the question. But it doesn't really address the OP's question. As to why there's a "gun culture" in America, it's a combination of many factors.

The first and most important one is that we have a second amendment, and that it's easy to get guns here and always has been (until recent restrictions in the latter half of the 20th century, which I think can largely be blamed on the JFK, King and RFK assassinations, and the general ignorance of guns which spread as fewer people grew up shooting and hunting, and more people moved to the city.)

There's lots of wide open land to hunt on. Hunting is a huge hobby here, of course, and so is target shooting. There's also a large contingent of people who collect weapons just because they're "cool" and they enjoy shooting them at the range. (This is the "assault weapons" crowd - by and large, hobbyists [including doctors and lawyers] who enjoy the novelty and versatility of military-style semiautomatic rifles.) Actual criminals very, very, very rarely use these so-called assault weapons in crimes.

And now there's a whole new breed of gun people coming up - young guys, programmer and engineer types, who like interesting devices and technology, who enjoy the physics of ballistics or the science of gun design, who are getting into shooting evil "assault weapons" as well. Most of these guys (me and my friends among them) have no interest in traditional politics associated with gun ownership, like religious bullshit, abortion, gay marriage opposition, etc - they're basically young hipsters with a libertarian streak when it comes to guns.

The gun culture of America is wide and diverse.

Argent Towers
04-07-2009, 04:00 AM
Argent I appreciate what you're saying, really. But I do not see that scenario being played out in any democratically elected system. Really, worst case scenario, is the US gov't + ~50% of the population against ~50% armed with semi automatic rifles. Which is hopeless.

If 50 percent of the population mounted an insurrection, I think that at least SEVENTY percent of the US Military would join it. American soldiers and Marines don't want to drop bombs on their own hometowns.

In the case of a smaller insurrection - you're thinking about this in terms of small arms only. It's not so. There's also ordnance. Sabotage. Misdirection and confusion tactics. Traps. There are all kinds of guerrilla tactics that a rebel group can use. Not to mention, hiding out among the suburbs of middle America!

Take out a fireteam of soldiers with sniper fire from bolt-action rifles or a roadside bomb - now you've got yourselves a bunch of full-auto M16s and body armor besides. Sneak into an encampment with a well-trained squad (maybe former military themselves) and kill all the troops - you've got yourselves 200 M16s, rations, helmets, armor, and maybe even a tank or an APC.

And many, many American soldiers would defect to the rebel side, if the rebel side was well-organized enough and had a charismatic leader.

Like I said, it would be a slow and painful war, and MANY lives on the insurgent side would be lost. Just like what happened in Vietnam. But eventually they could grind down the Goliath if they nip at his heels enough.

Nunavut Boy
04-07-2009, 04:10 AM
But really, is that a credible threat? Do you really own firearms for protection against the government or insurrection? Or do you own them because you like shooting them (I love shooting them)? Would you be willing to give them up if there was a demonstrable benefit to society at large? If not, why not?

Argent Towers
04-07-2009, 04:15 AM
Nah, I mostly just love shooting. That's why I'm part of the gun culture and I think that's the same for most people who are part of it. I doubt there's going to be an evil tyrannical government that takes over and a second American revolution, but hey, on the off chance that it does happen, at least I'll be prepared. I've got relatives who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto. Better to die with an empty magazine and a gun in your hand, than to die in a gas chamber. And of course - personal defense. Who knows when you might need to defend yourself? And if you're ever forced to, why NOT have the best possible means of doing so? (And what if you're in a wheelchair, or 90 years old, and don't have a chance in hell of fighting off an attacker.) Call the police? Sure, but while I'm waiting for them to come, I'm waiting with a loaded shotgun.

No, I would not give up my guns even if there was a "demonstrable benefit" to society. There would be a demonstrable benefit to society if CRIMINALS all gave up THEIR guns. There would be NO benefit to society if I gave up MY guns. So I am keeping them, thank you very much.

I like that you're being civil and reasonable. It's really nice to have a gun discussion like this, instead of the kind where all you see is "small-penis-compensation" bullshit and strawman arguments. See, this is the difference between having a gun discussion - or even a gun debate - with a shooter, versus having one with people who have never handled a gun in their life and don't know an M16 from a Marlin 60.

Nunavut Boy
04-07-2009, 04:27 AM
Well...pistols at least can't be used for personal protection in Canada (your weapon has to be locked at the case and at least a trigger lock on the pistol itself, plus the ammo has to be stored separately, locked away) so in Canada that argument doesn't work. I'm pretty drunk, but I guess my point to your post would be that in a society that banned guns, criminals would not have easy access to guns like they do now in the US..law abiding people can buy them and have them stolen, or if they're not that law abiding sell them for a profit on the black market. I guess a better question would be why guns are so much more prolific in the US vs Canada seeing as how it's not that hard to get a pistol in Canada (go to a weekend course, write a test). I just don't get it I guess, why Americans see guns as such a big deal. Truth be told, I hide the fact that I was in the military in Canada as most people find it a bit creepy, which from my time in the US (in the army, everyone wanted to talk to me) is not the norm. Maybe part of the same phenomenon?

Argent Towers
04-07-2009, 04:32 AM
Guns can be stolen from law abiding citizens (although it should be their responsibility to keep them locked up properly!) but they can also be smuggled in, or even manufactured in small workshops. As I've said before, it's easy to make simple firearms, and in the current economy, it's not exactly inconceivable to imagine a down-and-out machine tool operator making a little money on the side by selling homemade guns.

As for people in Canada finding military service to be creepy, I don't know what to say about that. But it sounds weird to me, and not very pleasant. I do know that Canada has a very honorable history fighting alongside the United States, and for that I have a lot of respect.

I gotta go to bed. (What time is it over there where you are?) Enjoy the booze, talk to you tomorrow.

Half Man Half Wit
04-07-2009, 04:34 AM
I've always wondered if it's not tied to another archetypical American cultural phenomenon -- the self-made man. There seems to be an emphasis on bettering one's position through hard, honest work in American culture, to the point where not merely the fruits of this labour are viewed as status symbols, but the fact that one is hard working itself is, as well. There's this whole idea of dishwasher-to-millionaire. Americans are, in the rest of the world, generally seen as possessing an incredible work ethic, and nowhere are there more workaholics. Thus, Americans generally have worked hard for what they have -- not merely their possessions, but their place in life, and in a way, their (cultural) identity. They've earned what they have, and what they are. The thought of losing this to some low-life crook in one single instant, to have everything they worked for undone merely because somebody didn't play by the rules, and possibly possessed stronger means of coercion (like, for instance, guns), must be extremely unsettling; thus, this is something one must protect oneself against, by all means necessary. Guns are symbols of this protection, of having done everything to be safe.

Anyway, that's how it looks like to this European from far across the ocean; closer observation might, of course, reveal that I'm full of shit.

Nunavut Boy
04-07-2009, 04:39 AM
Ya, it's super late. Later.

E-Sabbath
04-07-2009, 05:20 AM
I think at least half of it is due to the gun _control_ lobby. People are never so tenacious as when their rights are threatened. And when you have an established group of backhanded liars trying to take your guns away, you tend to get a bit pissy.
(Note: Individual members may be perfectly honest. However, the movement as a whole tends to ask for an inch, take a mile, and ask for another inch.)

AK84
04-07-2009, 06:10 AM
If 50 percent of the population mounted an insurrection, I think that at least SEVENTY percent of the US Military would join it. American soldiers and Marines don't want to drop bombs on their own hometowns.

In the case of a smaller insurrection - you're thinking about this in terms of small arms only. It's not so. There's also ordnance. Sabotage. Misdirection and confusion tactics. Traps. There are all kinds of guerrilla tactics that a rebel group can use. Not to mention, hiding out among the suburbs of middle America!

Take out a fireteam of soldiers with sniper fire from bolt-action rifles or a roadside bomb - now you've got yourselves a bunch of full-auto M16s and body armor besides. Sneak into an encampment with a well-trained squad (maybe former military themselves) and kill all the troops - you've got yourselves 200 M16s, rations, helmets, armor, and maybe even a tank or an APC.

And many, many American soldiers would defect to the rebel side, if the rebel side was well-organized enough and had a charismatic leader.

Like I said, it would be a slow and painful war, and MANY lives on the insurgent side would be lost. Just like what happened in Vietnam. But eventually they could grind down the Goliath if they nip at his heels enough.
I can assure you, if there is a tyranical government, 99% of the US Military would support it, and many of the gun-toting "patriots" would do so as well. Governments don't wake up one day and say "you know what, oppression is a dandy idea". Usually such governments show up at a time of national peril (real or imagined) and they say something like "yes I know, freedoms are precious, but this has to be done, for the country".

SenorBeef
04-07-2009, 06:20 AM
To follow up on the tangent, long ago I made a thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=198939) about the prospects of fighting a modern army with small arms. I didn't get a lot of agreement in the thread, but that was the case I tried to lay out for it.

Wendell Wagner
04-07-2009, 06:28 AM
First, let's look at the statistics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_countries_by_gun_ownership

http://www.allcountries.org/gun_ownership_rates.html

So from the first set of statistics, you would think that there are vastly more gun owners in the U.S. per capita than in Canada, since there are three times as many guns per capita. But then you look at the second set of statistics. In fact, there are only about a third more gun owners per capita in the U.S. than in Canada. Clearly this means that there are a lot of gun owners in the U.S. who own many guns.

Note something further. Less than 40% of the households in the U.S. have guns. So why is there a perception that everybody in the U.S. has a gun? It's mostly because the distribution of gun owners in the U.S. is wildly uneven. The proportion of gun owners apparently varies quite a bit by factors like the region of the country, by family income, by whether the family lives in a rural or urban area, by political opinions, etc. What this means is that within various social groups, it is to be expected that some social groups will have a vast majority of its members owning guns and some will have only a small proportion owning guns.

I have no intention of debating whether gun ownership is a good thing or a bad thing. I only want to note that it's useless to go by personal anecdotes on whether most people own guns. There are many people in the U.S. who notice that nearly everyone they know owns guns. There are many people in the U.S. who notice that nearly nobody they know owns guns. These people are all correct if they are talking about just people they personally know. Your anecdotes about gun ownership may well be true for your own experiences, but they say nothing about gun ownership over all the U.S.

HMS Irruncible
04-07-2009, 06:38 AM
In my 28 years I've never once thought about taking up arms against the government, or even imagined it as a thought experiment. Do Americans really think about this sort of thing?
People often say this sort of thing, but in conversation it generally comes out that they're more concerned about being prepared for widespread civil unrest. If you read some of the wingnut rags, they're pretty straightforward in the expectation of a future race war. It seems kind of farfetched, but if you'd been in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots, you'd have found it indistinguishable from a modern-day civil war, and you'd probably be glad to have a shotgun by your side while you're waiting for the national guard to secure your neighborhood.

gonzomax
04-07-2009, 08:14 AM
If 50 percent of the population mounted an insurrection, I think that at least SEVENTY percent of the US Military would join it. American soldiers and Marines don't want to drop bombs on their own hometowns.

In the case of a smaller insurrection - you're thinking about this in terms of small arms only. It's not so. There's also ordnance. Sabotage. Misdirection and confusion tactics. Traps. There are all kinds of guerrilla tactics that a rebel group can use. Not to mention, hiding out among the suburbs of middle America!

Take out a fireteam of soldiers with sniper fire from bolt-action rifles or a roadside bomb - now you've got yourselves a bunch of full-auto M16s and body armor besides. Sneak into an encampment with a well-trained squad (maybe former military themselves) and kill all the troops - you've got yourselves 200 M16s, rations, helmets, armor, and maybe even a tank or an APC.

And many, many American soldiers would defect to the rebel side, if the rebel side was well-organized enough and had a charismatic leader.

Like I said, it would be a slow and painful war, and MANY lives on the insurgent side would be lost. Just like what happened in Vietnam. But eventually they could grind down the Goliath if they nip at his heels enough.

You are actually mapping out scenarios in your head where you revolutionary heroes stand up to the government . That is so sick. Wow. Do you get to marry the princess in the end?

E-Sabbath
04-07-2009, 09:10 AM
Yes, but she was from a different dimension. It was a lovely game. I got to drive over zombies in a stolen police car. Why do you ask?

pkbites
04-07-2009, 09:59 AM
Does anyone these days actually believe that a citizen militia would be any sort of protection against the US government if the government actually turned against its citizens?

Yes, I do. Guerrilla warfare is an extremely effective strategy against an otherwise superior force. Not only that, in the event the "government actually turned against its citizens" this would be a situation of chaos where not all members of the government force would be in favor of what they were doing and therefore would not obey orders. At least not in the long run.

Also, the "government" does not have to be the feds. There was a situation about 50 years ago where locals had to rise up against a tyrannical county sheriff.

Then there are the situations of unrest where the government force is of no help to the people. Quite a few private citizens in New Orleans were damn glad to have their own private arms during the Katrina disaster.

Scumpup
04-07-2009, 10:25 AM
You are actually mapping out scenarios in your head where you revolutionary heroes stand up to the government . That is so sick. Wow. Do you get to marry the princess in the end?

Those cites on handguns in Colonial America, gonzomax; where are they? You keep showing your face in these gun threads and I keep thinking "this time he has them!" but you keep dashing my hopes.

XT
04-07-2009, 11:03 AM
Those cites on handguns in Colonial America, gonzomax; where are they? You keep showing your face in these gun threads and I keep thinking "this time he has them!" but you keep dashing my hopes.

I'd definitely hold my breath if I were you. Soon now he's going to offer up a cogent, well thought out post chocked full of well cited links with all of the relevant information thoughtfully quoted and highlighted for clarity.

Seriously...it could happen....

-XT

elucidator
04-07-2009, 11:20 AM
Yeah, Gonzo's just the kind of guy to go totally off topic to vent his spleen about another poster! Good catch, there, XT.

Llama Llogophile
04-07-2009, 11:21 AM
Nah, I mostly just love shooting. That's why I'm part of the gun culture and I think that's the same for most people who are part of it.

After wading through many gun debates, here and elsewhere, I've come to feel that the above sentiment represents the distilled truth.

While its honesty and frankness is refreshing, I find it a rather selfish point of view.

XT
04-07-2009, 11:26 AM
Yeah, Gonzo's just the kind of guy to go totally off topic to vent his spleen about another poster! Good catch, there, XT.

Mister Pot...Mister Pot...call for you on line 3. It's Mister Kettle and he is calling you black...

Thank you 'luci. Good catch yourself. :p

-XT

smiling bandit
04-07-2009, 11:28 AM
In any kind of civil repression situation, even a few hundred people armed and willing to use violence could seriously damage the processes of govenrment (read: tyranny). Just one person can deal considerable damage to soft targets.

With the knowledge I possess, for example, I could probably destroy the bulk of Washington DC's central government area. People would freak if they how easy certain things were, and it's probably a good thing that terrorists aren't too bright and more concerned with theatrics than efficacy. With other knowledge, I could waste millions or billions in government funds having them chase false leads and nonsense. Anyone could do it, with a little basic know-how.

Fortunately, you don't have to fear me, because I've no intention of doing it. But you ought to keep in mind, and any would-be tyrant, too, that I could.

JXJohns
04-07-2009, 11:30 AM
After wading through many gun debates, here and elsewhere, I've come to feel that the above sentiment represents the distilled truth.

While its honesty and frankness is refreshing, I find it a rather selfish point of view.

Selfish, because he ws answering a question about why he enjoys something? I too own guns because they are fun to use. I shoot at a competitive level in a few different groups. The fact that they can be used to put food on the table and defend my life are added benefits.

XT
04-07-2009, 11:31 AM
Ah...the OP. Yes. Why the 'gun culture' in the US and not in, say, Canada? I think it's already been answered up thread. Whether myth or reality or something in between, America and the American revolution has always been intertwined with our sense of personal gun ownership. The FF's made much of personal weapons both as the means of our victory in the Revolution and their preference for citizen soldiers picking up their own arms and defending the country...or keeping it from becoming a tyranny. Whether this is now or was ever realistic is beside the point...it's ingrained in American's very concept of themselves.

It's not like we are unique in this either...it's just that for whatever reason personal gun ownership has become our own collective symbol. Other countries have other symbols that are part of the makeup of their own collective image....and many of them are based on quasi-reality or myth as well.

-XT

Argent Towers
04-07-2009, 11:31 AM
After wading through many gun debates, here and elsewhere, I've come to feel that the above sentiment represents the distilled truth.

While its honesty and frankness is refreshing, I find it a rather selfish point of view.

I don't see how it's selfish to have a hobby and enjoy it and not want it to be restricted because of OTHER PEOPLE'S crimes. This word "selfish" is getting thrown around way too much here.

Lumpy
04-07-2009, 11:43 AM
I have no idea why the US should have always had a gun culture, and why Canada does not (or stopped having one in modern time). But then I don't know why Canada and the US are different in so many other ways. Some facts are needed. Did Canada have a well-armed "frontier" period like the US, or has it always had fewer guns?

If I'm not mistaken, South Africa also had a flourishing "gun culture" during apartheid, but since majority rule the authorities have been pushing heavy restrictions on guns, much to the displeasure of gun owners there.

I hate to draw the connection, but- could the US have been more gun orientated because of slavery, and the perceived need to be prepared against slave insurrection?

XT
04-07-2009, 11:48 AM
I hate to draw the connection, but- could the US have been more gun orientated because of slavery, and the perceived need to be prepared against slave insurrection?

Doubtful. If that were the case then the 'gun culture' would be focused mainly in the South. Yet it's really in the West (were slavery was never really instituted) where, IMHO anyway, most of the 'gun culture' has been most prevalent. And you wouldn't get much 'gun culture' in from the North if it was a case that the focus of it was about slavery and being prepared for slave insurrections and such.

Then there is the whole thing about...well, it's been a while since folks had to worry about slave insurrections in the US. Since, like, 1860ish...

-XT

tomndebb
04-07-2009, 11:53 AM
You are actually mapping out scenarios in your head where you revolutionary heroes stand up to the government . That is so sick. Wow. Do you get to marry the princess in the end?Whatever he may or may not do in his spare time, this comment is both off-topic and personally insulting and you will refrain from posting this way, in the future.

[ /Moderating ]

Northern Piper
04-07-2009, 11:57 AM
just getting back to the OP's repeated reference to the "shared culture" between Canada and the US - yes, there's a lot in common, but one of the key dividing points was over the Revolution. Large parts of Canada (Ontario and parts of the Maritimes) were initially settled by people who rejected the Revolution, while Quebec suffered an invasion from the Americans.

I think that contributed to a mirror image view of guns in the two countries: in the US, guns were an important step in achieving freedom and self-government; for those who fled or were invaded, guns in the hands of the rebels were a major threat to property and good government.

Yes, it's +200 years, but in my opinion, helps to explain the much different attitudes.

There's also the point that in western Canada, the establishment of law and order, via treaties with the First Nations and the arrival of the NWMP, preceded most of the settlement by immigrants, who arrived to find effective government in place. The one major uprising by Métis and some First Nations was effectively and quickly suppressed by federal troops.

Guns were not needed to establish self-government, nor to protect the western settler population, so did not acquire the same mythic sense of importance as with our neighbours to the south.

Llama Llogophile
04-07-2009, 12:16 PM
I don't see how it's selfish to have a hobby and enjoy it and not want it to be restricted because of OTHER PEOPLE'S crimes. This word "selfish" is getting thrown around way too much here.

Selfish because I accept the premise that some types of guns, despite their legitimate uses, are the source of some societal problems. While I suspect most within the "gun culture" wouldn't accept this premise, I've met quite a few who do and yet say, "Well, I like my guns. So there." I think that's selfish.

Also, it speaks to the idea that some people don't really care about rights or defense against an oppressive government. They just like their guns, and use those issues as talking points. I think that's selfish too, and borderline dishonest.

In the final paragraph of the OP, Nunavut Boy says he would be willing to forgoe gun ownership if he felt it was for the greater good. That's rather unselfish of him.

elucidator
04-07-2009, 12:26 PM
Its hard to make any headway with a rational debate on a subject that rests on an non-rational foundation. I like guns, myself. Wanna go out to the arroyo and plink beer cans with a .22, this hippy is on board. But I loathe violence, which is the main reason I loathe handguns. I'm not entirely alone on that, there is that rifle/handgun divide, but when the debate gets heated, you are pressed to "take sides", all or nothing.

Like a lot of lefties, for me, its "fuck it, keep the goddam things!", the fight just isn't worth it.

But to the subject: its also hard to seperate cause from effect. Do American men crave guns because they had toy guns as children? Do Canadian boys crave toy guns more than American boys? Do boys in general crave toy guns from some instinctual attraction to objects of power? Do men? And why do "pro-gun" advocates often feel the need to stress the "home invasion" scenarios. As a Master of Cringing Mantis Kung Fu, I've protected my home just fine, on the other hand, I've got nothing much to steal.

If I've got to pick something, I'd say its because, for good and ill, American culture leans toward the boisterous, aggressive and impulsive. Its a good part of why we are so beloved of the nations. Yes.

gonzomax
04-07-2009, 12:52 PM
Those cites on handguns in Colonial America, gonzomax; where are they? You keep showing your face in these gun threads and I keep thinking "this time he has them!" but you keep dashing my hopes.

Reread what he wrote and come back with a clue.

Blaster Master
04-07-2009, 12:55 PM
Just dropping in to say that I agree that the gun culture largely traces back to the Founding Fathers and the Revolution. If there's one thing Americans are anal about, its our freedoms, whether it's speech, or something symbolic like a gun. Hell, gun ownership is encoded in the Constitution as a freedom, which Canada does not have.

The symbolic nature of the freedom of gun ownership traces back to our FFs, but it's been constantly instilled in our culture every generation or so. How many of our heros and major events have involved guns? Besides the revolution, you have other major wars that helped to associate the gun with overcoming injustice and tyranny. You also have the "Old West" and the "Frontier", both of which are inexorably associated with guns and are big parts of the American culture; I don't think any other country has an equivalent.

Scumpup
04-07-2009, 12:56 PM
Reread what he wrote and come back with a clue.

That sound you hear is my dreams being shattered once again.

XT
04-07-2009, 01:02 PM
You also have the "Old West" and the "Frontier", both of which are inexorably associated with guns and are big parts of the American culture; I don't think any other country has an equivalent.

Sure there are equivalents in other countries. Think Samurai and the sword or the Brits and their Fleet. In Mongolia today the horse is STILL considered a huge symbol, as well as having a practical value. There is a country in Africa (who's name currently escapes me) who has the symbol for an AK-47 on their flag. Nearly every culture has such symbols. With ours though it's more personal or less exclusive...every American (well, in theory) can own a gun.

To American's the idea of the gun is similar to the idea that the Japanese have for the Samurai sword...except that our idea of the gun is more inclusive instead of exclusive. But the symbol is very similar IMHO and is tied up in our national identity and the roots of our collective ideals.

-XT

Northern Piper
04-07-2009, 01:09 PM
There is a country in Africa (who's name currently escapes me) who has the symbol for an AK-47 on their flag.

Mozambique. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Mozambique)

Northern Piper
04-07-2009, 01:11 PM
Sure there are equivalents in other countries. Think Samurai and the sword or the Brits and their Fleet.

I don't think the Fleet is a very good example, since it's not an individualist symbol, but the epitome of a collective/government symbol. The Fleet was only possible through the people of Britain acting together, through their government.

XT
04-07-2009, 01:14 PM
Thank you for the link.

As for the Fleet...I think it's very similar but I'm willing to concede that it's debatable. The Brits have other symbols...the Royal Family, say, or even the Brown Bess rifle.

My point though was that gun ownership in the US is similarly such a symbol IMHO...Freedom of Speech is another one. They are symbols that we identify with being American, as well as practical rights that we enjoy.

In Canada they have other symbols that they associate with being Canadian. And that's why there exists a 'gun culture' in the US but not a similar one in Canada...or in most other countries. JMHO of course.

-XT

foolsguinea
04-07-2009, 01:22 PM
It should also be pointed out that the US is very far from homogenous when it comes to attitudes toward firearms.

In urbanized areas, guns are hated in the extreme, Second Amendment be damned. And I mean be damned--people want it repealed, desperately.

In some cultures with a sort of "minority resistance" or "mafia" culture, guns are seen as a means to power. "Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal."

In more rural cultures, guns are normal, they are used for hunting.

Some people react against the urban hatred of guns by creating an ideology of gun glorification. This then excites the anti-gun crowd, & rhetoric gets ramped up.

Really, this country needs internal borders & checkpoints to keep high-powered weapons which are inoffensive in New Hampshire or southern Illinois from getting into New York City, most of Massachusetts, or Chicago. But that's hard work, & would offend somebody. So guns with a lethal range of six city blocks get smuggled into high-population areas, & gun hatred in cities grows, & the rural types, unaffected, still don't get it.

Scumpup
04-07-2009, 01:27 PM
Yeah, those rural folks are just stoopud, aren't they?

JXJohns
04-07-2009, 01:44 PM
Selfish because I accept the premise that some types of guns, despite their legitimate uses, are the source of some societal problems. While I suspect most within the "gun culture" wouldn't accept this premise, I've met quite a few who do and yet say, "Well, I like my guns. So there." I think that's selfish.
No it is a simple disagreement. The source of societal problems does not begin with the tool in which the end result of said problems are manifested. Instead, it begins with the brain and heart of the individual holding the gun and pulling trigger, or the community in which they live, or the education in which they did or did not participate in. You state that we are selfish, I believe instead that your logic is lazy.

Also, it speaks to the idea that some people don't really care about rights or defense against an oppressive government. They just like their guns, and use those issues as talking points. I think that's selfish too, and borderline dishonest.
No, it speaks to the idea that on a day to day basis, most gun owners don't have to defend either their life from criminals or from the government. As such, the firearms that they own are used far more for recreational pursuits, no matter how much that concept may confuse or disgust some, rather than life or death matters. I thought I made that point quite clear. I enjoy my guns mostly for their recreational use. The fact that thy are also useful tools for providing food and self defense are great too.

In the final paragraph of the OP, Nunavut Boy says he would be willing to forgoe gun ownership if he felt it was for the greater good. That's rather unselfish of him.
Bully for him. Give the "gun culture" here in states something to think about regarding the greater good and you might find many who agree.

XT
04-07-2009, 01:45 PM
In urbanized areas, guns are hated in the extreme, Second Amendment be damned. And I mean be damned--people want it repealed, desperately.

I've lived most of my life in cities...small one's like Washington DC, New York, Phili, Boston, LA/San Francisco, Phoenix and most recently Albuquerque (I know the last two don't count btw...I've also lived for months or even years in several foreign cities but won't go into that).

I've never hated guns. Most of the folks I know don't hate them either. So...I'm going to have to call bullshit on this. I think the great divide is not necessarily urban vs rural on the gun issue but simply pro vs anti...or even moderate/conservative vs raving liberal.

Here is the thing...if indeed the vast majority of folks who live in cities were opposed to guns and were desperate to get the 2nd repealed then guess what? It WOULD be repealed. Know why? Because most of the friggin PEOPLE who live in the US live in urban or suburban areas genius. Or did you think that most of the folks in the US still live out on the farm??

-XT

tomndebb
04-07-2009, 03:49 PM
I think that's selfish too, and borderline dishonest.Your views of the virtues (or lack thereof) among gun advocates is really not relevant to this thread.

Yeah, those rural folks are just stoopud, aren't they?While his expression was less than felicitous, he did not actually say anyone was stupid.

genius. Sarcasm invoked as a personal slam is not going to move this discussion forward.

= = =

Look, folks, the question is the origin of a particular trait in the culture. There is no need to defend or attack gun possession or those who attack or defend the same. Simply stick to the actual issue in question.

[ /Moderating ]

Lumpy
04-07-2009, 04:29 PM
Despite the constant efforts of the gun control crowd, recent trends have been pro-gun rather than anti-gun. Most notably, the majority of states have now passed shall issue laws. These specify that if someone who is qualified applies for a carry license, then they must be given one, rather than allowing local law enforcement to deny permits at will. The first assault weapons ban was allowed to expire in the face of questionable constitutionality and dubious utility. And then of course there's Heller, which struck down an outright handgun ban.

I'd say that the broad majority of Americans accept that guns have a valid place in society, and that efforts to delegitimize them have not made the country a better place.

XT
04-07-2009, 04:35 PM
Sarcasm invoked as a personal slam is not going to move this discussion forward

Um...well, normally I'm perfectly willing to fess up and take my lumps. And I suppose I'm willing to do so here. However, I seriously thought his name said 'foolsgenius' (you know, the whole dichotomy thingy) and have read it that way for years. So...it wasn't actually SUPPOSED to be a slam in the way you think it was.

I do apologize however.

-XT

Bryan Ekers
04-07-2009, 05:04 PM
Here is the thing...if indeed the vast majority of folks who live in cities were opposed to guns and were desperate to get the 2nd repealed then guess what? It WOULD be repealed. Know why? Because most of the friggin PEOPLE who live in the US live in urban or suburban areas genius. Or did you think that most of the folks in the US still live out on the farm??

It only takes 17 state legislatures to block a Amendment, fortunately. If the national constitution was subject to majority vote, the U.S. could be even more screwed up than it is now.

tomndebb
04-07-2009, 05:12 PM
I would guess that the "gun culture," (such as it is), took place in two separate movements.

The first was the invasion by white settlers of lands held by indigenous nations. This is actually pretty rare. The Spaniards used their military through the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries to actively conquer and reduce the Indian nations where they invaded. When the settlers moved in--often at the invitation of the governments--individual settlers were rarely threatened by the people who had already been conquered. As Northern Piper noted, above, much of Canadian settlement also followed military pacification rather than preceding it. In Australia, there were similar government efforts against a much smaller population.
In contrast, settlement in the U.S. (or its preceding colonies) advanced without the active support of the government and often despite active efforts by the government to prohibit it. (The British tried to forbid trans-Appalachian settlements and the U.S. government kept entertaining the fiction that each land-grabbing treaty would be the last while failing to take any serious measures to actually restrain the settlers.)

As a result, settlers continued to encroach on Indian lands and tended to band together using their own weapons, either for assault or defense. (There are instances of similar events in Canada, Australia, and Argentina and Paraguay, but they tend to be individual events rather than 250 years of ongoing conflict.)
The second aspect of the migration ahead of the military was that people tended to move into areas where there was no pre-existing structure of law and a lot of disputes were settled with weapons.

The second phase was the Western novel. Writers of fiction latched onto the cowboy as a reincarnation of the knight errant. Writers in South America did much the same thing with the gauchos. However, where the gauchos did not tend to carry firearms, their frontier having been pacified by the military, U.S. cowboys did carry firearms and used them. These actions were glorified in dime novels and, later, the novels of Zane Grey and his literary descendants and were ripe for use by filmmakers when motion pictures made their debut. This created an ongoing and self-perpetuating image that settling disputes, (always in defense of one's property or honor, of course), was a legitimate and even "normal" way to behave.

tomndebb
04-07-2009, 05:14 PM
Um...well, normally I'm perfectly willing to fess up and take my lumps. Ahh. I'm probably just jumpy that this thread does not have to be the same old "is so/is not" brouhaha over guns and yet I see it falling into the same tired rut.

Tristan
04-07-2009, 05:26 PM
Selfish because I accept the premise that some types of guns, despite their legitimate uses, are the source of some societal problems.


That right there is the problem. In a nutshell. Very plainly.

It is also the source of friction between the pro- and the anti- sides.

How can a gun be the source of a societal problem? It is an inanimate object. I have one right now in my basement. Is that a societal problem?

Back before semi-automatic weapons became as inexpensive and readily available, there were still gangs and thugs and people getting killed by violence.

Beware of Doug
04-07-2009, 07:05 PM
Guns are not so much the problem as the values we attach to them. Guns in America are too loaded (heh) with meaning as symbols of culture, gender, politics, etc.

Of course, denying this and saying "it's just a gun" is an excellent way to short-circuit any meaningful debate about the roles they play in our lives, which is something many gun types probably do not want examined too closely.

Llama Llogophile
04-07-2009, 07:47 PM
Guns are not so much the problem as the values we attach to them. Guns in America are too loaded (heh) with meaning as symbols of culture, gender, politics, etc.

Of course, denying this and saying "it's just a gun" is an excellent way to short-circuit any meaningful debate about the roles they play in our lives, which is something many gun types probably do not want examined too closely.

Thanks, that's pretty much what I was going for.

Tristan, did you really think I meant guns in and of themselves as objects? Not trying to be snarky - I'm asking because perhaps I wasn't clear.

Also, tomndebb, I respectfully disagree that my view that there is some dishonesty within the gun debate is not relevant to this thread. We're talking about how Americans relate to this issue. How those on both sides view and phrase the debate reveals how we relate to guns. I'm not attempting to call people liars pejoratively.

Wasn't sure if you were actively moderating with your remark to me, per se. If you were, I'll go by your judgment.

Wendell Wagner
04-07-2009, 08:41 PM
Did *anyone* bother to read my links? It's just not true that there is a much stronger gun culture in the U.S. than in Canada. 39% of households in the U.S. have guns. 29.1% have them in Canada. That's not that all-fired much of a difference.

Beware of Doug
04-07-2009, 09:16 PM
Once again, it's just the guns. There is no gun culture, only guns and numbers. Numbers are real and never lie. Notions of cultural signs and symbols are foisted on the gullible by abstruse French faggot philosophers.

PatriotGrrrl
04-07-2009, 10:18 PM
Guns are not so much the problem as the values we attach to them. Guns in America are too loaded (heh) with meaning as symbols of culture, gender, politics, etc.

Of course, denying this and saying "it's just a gun" is an excellent way to short-circuit any meaningful debate about the roles they play in our lives, which is something many gun types probably do not want examined too closely.

Quite the contrary, there definitely is a gun culture in the US and we do talk about the philosophical and cultural aspects among ourselves. However, it is difficult to explain these things when you know your thoughts are going to be deliberately twisted and each word nit-picked to death. (I don't mean by you in particular, Beware of Doug).

So I will instead use the words of others, who are more eloquent than I, anyway. Here are two of the more classic essays.

Metal and Wood (http://www.thefiringline.com/Misc/library/Metal_and_Wood.html)

A Nation of Cowards (http://www.thefiringline.com/Misc/library/cowards.html)

And for those who prefer less text and more illustrations,

http://www.a-human-right.com/

Rand Rover
04-07-2009, 10:26 PM
We could also discuss why there is no gun culture in Canada. Maybe we should send missionaries.

PatriotGrrrl
04-07-2009, 10:29 PM
Guns are not so much the problem as the values we attach to them. Guns in America are too loaded (heh) with meaning as symbols of culture, gender, politics, etc.

Of course, denying this and saying "it's just a gun" is an excellent way to short-circuit any meaningful debate about the roles they play in our lives, which is something many gun types probably do not want examined too closely.

Once again, it's just the guns. There is no gun culture, only guns and numbers. Numbers are real and never lie. Notions of cultural signs and symbols are foisted on the gullible by abstruse French faggot philosophers.

These two posts seem quite contradictory to me...

PatriotGrrrl
04-07-2009, 10:40 PM
On further reading, I see Beware of Doug's second post was supposed to be a sarcastic comment on Wendell Wagner's post.... I think. Never mind.

Isamu
04-07-2009, 10:55 PM
[QUOTE=PatriotGrrrl

So I will instead use the words of others, who are more eloquent than I, anyway. Here are two of the more classic essays.

Metal and Wood (http://www.thefiringline.com/Misc/library/Metal_and_Wood.html)

[/QUOTE]

Metal and wood? He forgot about the gunpowder. This guy obviously doesn't understand how guns work, and should not be allowed to have a license. :p

Isamu
04-08-2009, 12:45 AM
Sorry about double posting, but I just have to comment on that Metal and Wood "essay". That was one of the funniest things I've read all week. Thanks for posting that, I could completely visualise the author, wild-eyed and spittle flecking from his lips, as he re-read that to himself. The best part was when he double-dog dared me. Thanks.

P.S. Is that author, Dennis Bateman, the same Dennis Bateman who was charged with first degree felony murder for a shooting in California in 2007? Probably not, but it would be funny if it was so.

Sophistry and Illusion
04-08-2009, 01:14 AM
How can a gun be the source of a societal problem? It is an inanimate object. I have one right now in my basement. Is that a societal problem?
[devil's advocate]How can drugs be the source of a societal problem? A drug is an inanimate object. Ergo, there is no reason for the gov't to regulate drugs.[/devil's advocate]

Wendell Wagner
04-08-2009, 07:02 AM
Once again, is anyone reading my posts? The OP said " . . . gun ownership is much denser in the US . . . [than in Canada]" That's just not true. The proportion of households with guns isn't much more than in the U.S. than in Canada, only 39% as opposed to 29.1%. Regardless of whether there is more of a gun culture in the U.S. (if that term even means anything), there just isn't that much of a difference between the U.S. and Canada in the number of gun owners.

Scumpup
04-08-2009, 08:11 AM
[devil's advocate]How can drugs be the source of a societal problem? A drug is an inanimate object. Ergo, there is no reason for the gov't to regulate drugs.[/devil's advocate]

Exactly right. What I put in my body is my business. We have an illegal drug problem because we made the drugs illegal and, therefore, a lucrative business for the criminal class.

DrCube
04-08-2009, 08:14 AM
How can drugs be the source of a societal problem? A drug is an inanimate object. Ergo, there is no reason for the gov't to regulate drugs.

Well said. I don't know how you can support individual freedom and personal responsibility on the one hand, but suddenly throw that out the window when it comes to personal recreation.

gonzomax
04-08-2009, 08:49 AM
Once again, is anyone reading my posts? The OP said " . . . gun ownership is much denser in the US . . . [than in Canada]" That's just not true. The proportion of households with guns isn't much more than in the U.S. than in Canada, only 39% as opposed to 29.1%. Regardless of whether there is more of a gun culture in the U.S. (if that term even means anything), there just isn't that much of a difference between the U.S. and Canada in the number of gun owners.

I suppose we can argue whether 10 % is a big difference or not but the real point is how they view guns. Perhaps they see guns as a tool rather than a cause. In America many gun loonies make guns their cause, their hobby and the their religion . I see it as a distortion which makes them very difficult to deal with. They have won and just can not quit crying at imaginary assaults against their rights. Nobody could possibly take guns back. that ship has sailed. There are billions of them. But these loonies think if a community wants to take efforts to curb gun violence it becomes an immediate threat to their rights. it is so sad.

Wendell Wagner
04-08-2009, 09:11 AM
gonzomax writes:

> There are billions of them.

How can there be billions of them if there are only a third that many Americans?

I think that gun culture in the U.S. is like the death penalty. It's claimed that having the death penalty makes the U.S. wildly different from other countries like, say, Canada. In fact, the death penalty is only applied with any significant frequency in the U.S. in about a third of the country. The other two-thirds of the U.S. either has no death penalty or it's very rarely applied. (Only 37 people were executed in the U.S. last year, and nearly every single one was in a small set of states.) The same is true, I think, of the supposed gun culture. Approximately two-thirds of the U.S. is very much like Canada in gun ownership. Something like 30% of the households have guns, some for hunting and some for self-protection. Most people in this part of the U.S. don't make a big deal of owning guns. There's another one-third of the U.S. where it's considerably more common to own guns and people make a big deal of it.

I'm tired of people taking an attitude that's only true of a minority of the regions of the U.S. and treating it like it was true of all of the U.S. Two-thirds of the U.S. is like Canada in respect to the death penalty. It's hardly ever applied. The death penalty only is regularly used in one-third of the U.S. In two-thirds of the U.S., the attitude towards guns is basically just like in Canada. The proportion of gun owners is the same and people tend not to make a big deal of owning guns. It's only the remaining one-third of the U.S. that there's a considerably larger proportion of people owning guns and making a big deal about it. I'm tired of this deliberate distortion of American culture to make it more different from other countries than it actually is.

ExTank
04-08-2009, 09:13 AM
Once again, is anyone reading my posts? The OP said " . . . gun ownership is much denser in the US . . . [than in Canada]" That's just not true. The proportion of households with guns isn't much more than in the U.S. than in Canada, only 39% as opposed to 29.1%. Regardless of whether there is more of a gun culture in the U.S. (if that term even means anything), there just isn't that much of a difference between the U.S. and Canada in the number of gun owners.

Wendell, for the sake of argument, I'll give you your numbers.

But the CIA World Factbook lists the population of Canada at ~33.5 mil. Approx. 30% of that is ~10 million.

The U.S. population is ~300 mil. Approx. 40% of that is ~120 mil.

While that has no bearing on relative "densities" of gun ownership, in absolute numbers, it does represent on hell of a larger "culture." Looking at it from just an economic viewpoint, hunting, recreational/target shooting, home/self defense, all are catering to much larger numbers in the U.S., translating into serious $$$.

When you consider the "depth" of the entire firearms industry, from gun makers, ammo makers, and all the industries cranking out gun cleaning kits, targets, firearms accessories (from "furniture" to gun safes), to hunting apparel and paraphenalia, there is more than just a little vested interest for the firearms industry to "propogate" the "gun culture" in the U.S.

Considering Canada's and the U.S.'s geographic and overall cultural proximity, I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a good deal of economic "overlap" between the two counties "gun cultures." Even if the marketing is different between the two.

Call me a materialistic weasel, but as in most things, I think that if you "follow the money," the picture becomes much clearer.

Lumpy
04-08-2009, 09:39 AM
A Nation of Cowards (http://www.thefiringline.com/Misc/library/cowards.html)My favorite sentence in the essay:

"To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts from the state."

Northern Piper
04-08-2009, 11:50 AM
I'm tired of people taking an attitude that's only true of a minority of the regions of the U.S. and treating it like it was true of all of the U.S. Two-thirds of the U.S. is like Canada in respect to the death penalty. It's hardly ever applied. The death penalty only is regularly used in one-third of the U.S.

Well, two things. First, it's factually incorrect to say that two-thirds of the US is like Canada with respect to the death penalty. That's because the death penalty applies throughout the United States, not just in some states. Death is the penalty for a variety of federal crimes, both civil and military. When the federal government killed Timothy McVeigh, it did so on behalf of all Americans. As long as the death penalty is available for federal crimes, it's not correct to try to say that only a minority of Americans support the death penalty, or that two-thirds of the United States is like Canada with respect to the death penalty.

Second, in my opinion there is a world of difference between governments that kill felons, whether either "hardly ever" or "regularly", and a government that never does so. This isn't just a question of degree, but a fundamental difference in approach. Americans have instituted the death penalty nation-wide, and in some states; Canadians have abolished the death penalty for all purposes, including military offences.

Sophistry and Illusion
04-08-2009, 11:57 AM
Exactly right. What I put in my body is my business. We have an illegal drug problem because we made the drugs illegal and, therefore, a lucrative business for the criminal class.

I tend to agree, actually. I suspect, though, that this makes you a minority among gun-rights advocates, whose notions of personal freedom sometimes seem a bit gerrymandered, as DrCube points out. (Of course, gun-rights activists might accuse pro-gun-control liberals of the same.)

XT
04-08-2009, 12:05 PM
Second, in my opinion there is a world of difference between governments that kill felons, whether either "hardly ever" or "regularly", and a government that never does so. This isn't just a question of degree, but a fundamental difference in approach. Americans have instituted the death penalty nation-wide, and in some states; Canadians have abolished the death penalty for all purposes, including military offences.

Especially when you consider that folks who advocate or oppose the death penalty aren't exactly clustered all together into separate enclaves in the various states. As with 'Red States' and 'Blue States' the reality is a lot of purple with more of a red or blue tinge depending on how the state swings. The DP is the same...advocates and opposed folks are generally distributed throughout the country.

And of course, that goes even more so for guns. And you can't base this solely on who OWNS a gun either...I'm a prime example of that. I don't own one...I'm still highly in favor of the right of private citizens to keep and bear arms. So...just looking at the raw numbers of gun owners really tells us nothing. I'm not even sure polls on the question would be meaningful, as it would depend on the type of questions asked.

-XT

Northern Piper
04-08-2009, 12:13 PM
In two-thirds of the U.S., the attitude towards guns is basically just like in Canada. The proportion of gun owners is the same and people tend not to make a big deal of owning guns. It's only the remaining one-third of the U.S. that there's a considerably larger proportion of people owning guns and making a big deal about it.

With respect, I think that just looking at the proportions of gun ownership in the two countries is simply not sufficient to determine that there is no difference in gun culture between the United States and Canada.

Let's start with constitutional provisions. In the United States, guns are so important in the political and popular culture, that the right to own guns is constitutionally entrenched. The Supreme Court of the United States has used that constitutional provision to strike down both gun registration and trigger locks, in Heller (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller). Striking down the trigger locks provision is particularly significant, since it is premised on the idea that citizens have a constitutional right to own firearms for self-defence of their homes.

By contrast, in Canada, firearms are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld extensive gun control, both registration of all firearms, and the requirement to hold a federal firearms permit: Reference re Firearms Act (http://csc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2000/2000scc31/2000scc31.html).

And then there's the difference in federal laws regulating firearms. In Canada, to own a firearm, whether a long-arm or a handgun, you need to have a firearms permit, and you need to register it. All sales and transfers of firearms must be reported to the federal government.

And the laws are more strict with respect to handguns, which are classified as restricted weapons. To own a handgun, you need to get an additional permit. And even with a handgun permit, there are only three places you can lawfully possess the handgun: in your home, and at the firing range, plus in transit between the two. You cannot take the handgun anywhere else.

And even in your own home, you have to store the firearms in secure locations, such as a gun-safe, or with a trigger-lock. You can't keep a loaded handgun or shotgun in your bedroom, or by the front door, for self-defence purposes. That certainly sounds to me to be quite different from the legal position in the US, at least as I understand it from posters on this board, and the attitude that guns are necessary for self-defence of one's home.

Nor are there any concealed carry laws in Canada. Concealed carry is a federal offence. Nor can you carry a loaded long-gun or hand-gun in your vehicle.

All told, looking at the difference in constitutional and statutory provisions between the two countries, I would argue that the laws do demonstrate a substantial difference in attitudes towards guns, or "gun culture."

I'm tired of this deliberate distortion of American culture to make it more different from other countries than it actually is.Just as a point of curiosity - what other countries view guns so important to the political culture as to entrench gun ownership in their constitutions?

Northern Piper
04-08-2009, 12:21 PM
Just wanted to add - I forgot to mention that there are exceptions for handguns if required for one's occupation (e.g. - guard of a Brink's truck), and there is a provision for a hand-gun when needed for self-defence, but those are rarely granted - last stat I saw on that point was that there were at most a couple of hundred self-defence permits in the entire country.

Spoons
04-08-2009, 12:40 PM
Approximately two-thirds of the U.S. is very much like Canada in gun ownership. Something like 30% of the households have guns, some for hunting and some for self-protection.This is, I believe, the crux of the argument: in the US, the uses of guns include self-defense; in Canada, the uses of guns do not include self-defense. This is the difference in culture.

All the Canadian shooters and gun owners I've known (and I've done a lot of shooting) are unanimous in their feeling that guns are for sporting purposes: for target shooting or for hunting, for example. Guns are not for protecting one's home or person against others. That's what police are for. (Whether you agree or disagree, this is the general feeling among the Canadian gun owners and shooters I've met.)

And yet we read, time and time again in the news and even on this very board, of Americans who have defended themselves in their homes with firearms (IIRC, catsix once claimed to have done so); or who admit to keeping firearms for home- or self-defense. This is something a Canadian gun owner would never think of doing.

Now, of course, there are those in Canada who own unlicensed/unregistered firearms, and who will use them--we have plenty of hoods, gangbangers, and other unsavory characters who make the headlines often enough for drive-by shootings and other gun violence. But based on experience, I feel that the Canadian gun owner who is law-abiding and in possession of legal firearms would never think of protecting him- or herself or property with a firearm. It may be part of the American culture, but it is definitely not a part of ours.

XT
04-08-2009, 12:45 PM
Are you saying that a Canadian with a gun would not defend his or her home with it if invaded?? They would just stand by and let the chips fall where they might and hope the police happen to come by, never even considering using the gun they have handy?

Seriously? I lived in Ottawa for a couple of years...and I dinna think that all Canadians feel about this the same as you do. Or maybe these Canadians were simply corrupted by America and Americans....

-XT

elucidator
04-08-2009, 12:50 PM
I suspect it is clumsily worded, perhaps he meant to say that the average Canadian isn't as haunted by fears of home invasion as Americans seem to be.

XT
04-08-2009, 12:57 PM
I suspect it is clumsily worded, perhaps he meant to say that the average Canadian isn't as haunted by fears of home invasion as Americans seem to be.

Well, that would certainly be accurate.

-XT

elucidator
04-08-2009, 01:03 PM
By the way, you don't have a gun? How about a large, flat-screen TV? Any loose piles of cash, by any chance?

XT
04-08-2009, 01:06 PM
Nope, no gun...yes, large screen TV (though better bring a couple friends to cart it out). Sorry, no large piles of cash laying about...

I do have some fuzzy bunny slippers however...and I'm not afraid to use em! So...trespass at your own peril....

-XT

Spoons
04-08-2009, 01:09 PM
Are you saying that a Canadian with a gun would not defend his or her home with it if invaded??That's exactly what I'm saying. In my experience, the thought simply does not occur to Canadian gun owners to defend their home with guns. They do think to reach for the phone and call police, however.

There is a point to the fear of home invasion being less; but I have never known a Canadian legal gun owner to use a firearm in home defense or even to consider the idea. The gun owners of my acquaintance tend to feel it is better to lose some goods (which are usually insured and usually what any B&E guy is after) than to be up on criminal charges for misuse of a firearm.

E-Sabbath
04-08-2009, 02:34 PM
Man, you guys got polite robbers.
http://gothamist.com/2009/04/04/early_morning_shootout_in_queens_ro.php
Ours do home invasions (eg, b&e whilst persons are in their homes) and then engage in multicounty shootouts with the cops.
http://wcbstv.com/investigates/home.invasion.queens.2.687178.html
It's the economy, I know, but Canada doesn't have any of this?

mlees
04-08-2009, 02:52 PM
Man, you guys got polite robbers.
http://gothamist.com/2009/04/04/early_morning_shootout_in_queens_ro.php
Ours do home invasions (eg, b&e whilst persons are in their homes) and then engage in multicounty shootouts with the cops.
http://wcbstv.com/investigates/home.invasion.queens.2.687178.html
It's the economy, I know, but Canada doesn't have any of this?

Heh. I'm sure Monty Python has done a sketch on overly polite muggers with a stiff upper lip. (John Cleese, Eric Idle)

"Excuse me... I'm terribly sorry old chap... but may I trouble you for your wallet?"

"Oh dear me. No trouble at all, my good man. Errm... would it be all right if I might remove my driver's permit first? Those things are such a trial to replace. God save the Beauracracy and all..."

"Ohhh, I'm afraid not. I'm must apologise, but those will fetch a pretty penny down in the right quarters. I have a family to support, to be honest. If you would be so kind..."

"Ohhh certainly. No problem. Here you go. Never hurts to ask, I always say."

(I know we're talking about Canada.)

Hypnagogic Jerk
04-08-2009, 03:23 PM
Large parts of Canada (Ontario and parts of the Maritimes) were initially settled by people who rejected the Revolution, while Quebec suffered an invasion from the Americans.

I think that contributed to a mirror image view of guns in the two countries: in the US, guns were an important step in achieving freedom and self-government; for those who fled or were invaded, guns in the hands of the rebels were a major threat to property and good government.
Nevertheless, many Canadians are proud of their country's participation in several wars (the War of 1812, World War I, World War II), and the Patriotes are still a relatively important symbol today (and usually represented holding a rifle (http://www.cmhg-phmc.gc.ca/cmh/book_images/high/v2_c5_s09_ss02_01.jpg)). So the idea of firearms as a way to defend oneself against oppression is not unknown in Canada.

But Canadians seem to have this idea of their country being "peaceful" and an advocate for peace in the world. This idea is relatively recent, but could it be part of the reason why Canada has less of a gun culture than the US?

Hypnagogic Jerk
04-08-2009, 10:27 PM
That's exactly what I'm saying. In my experience, the thought simply does not occur to Canadian gun owners to defend their home with guns. They do think to reach for the phone and call police, however.
Are Americans really afraid of home invasions? I just don't think about this eventuality at all. (I do live in an apartment, so I have neighbours close by.) Home invasions aren't unheard of here, but they're pretty uncommon.

Nunavut Boy
04-08-2009, 10:59 PM
Are Americans really afraid of home invasions? I just don't think about this eventuality at all. (I do live in an apartment, so I have neighbours close by.) Home invasions aren't unheard of here, but they're pretty uncommon.

Yeah, ignoring the fact that any firearm I might own in Canada cannot be legally used in self defense, to me preparing for a home invasion seems like preparing for asteroid strikes. (Not just in Nunavut, I've lived all over this country).

Magiver
04-09-2009, 03:34 AM
Yeah, ignoring the fact that any firearm I might own in Canada cannot be legally used in self defense, to me preparing for a home invasion seems like preparing for asteroid strikes. (Not just in Nunavut, I've lived all over this country).
So how are Canadians suppose to defend themselves?

Duhkecco
04-09-2009, 06:47 AM
How do most Americans defend themselves?

Fuzzy Dunlop
04-09-2009, 07:06 AM
I think I speak for everyone here in the U.S. when I say - Metal Penis.





*30 Rock joke - don't get mad at me. :)

Duhkecco
04-09-2009, 07:27 AM
When I was in high school, I was bullied a total of one time. A big hardass farm boy twice my size who I was on the freshman wrestling team with was razzing me for something or other, and I said, "hey, I'm going to kick your ass - meet me in the mat room, now." We snuck down to the mat room and the fight was on.
...
What's the lesson here? Billy kicked my ass that day in the mat room. He put me in a choke hold, and I tapped out. By all rights, he won the fight. But the fact that I had fought him at all was enough. Even though I lost, I was respected anyway, and nobody messed with me again.

A civilian insurrection going up against a bigger, stronger bully of a government doesn't need to WIPE OUT their enemy in order to win. All they need to do is make it not worth the enemy's while to keep fighting anymore. It may cost lives, and it may take time, but it's a proven tactic.Are you saying that your fight in high school is an example of why citizens should have guns? :confused:

ivan astikov
04-09-2009, 07:43 AM
So, it's got nothing to do with the USA gaining everything it has by the use of force, and not wanting to let go of their favourite bargaining tool?

Phew, that's a relief.

Scumpup
04-09-2009, 07:58 AM
Clearly you believe private ownership of arms in the US to be a facet of US international relations. Please explain in detail why you believe this to be the case. Don't skimp on the documented examples that support your assertion.

JXJohns
04-09-2009, 08:06 AM
You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.

~ Isoroku Yamamoto

Spoons
04-09-2009, 08:17 AM
So how are Canadians suppose to defend themselves?Good question. The easy answer is "with whatever it takes," according to s. 34 of the Criminal Code of Canada (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/C-46/bo-ga:s_3_1-gb:s_34//en#anchorbo-ga:s_3_1-gb:s_34):

34. (1) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force if the force he uses is not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm and is no more than is necessary to enable him to defend himself.

(2) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted and who causes death or grievous bodily harm in repelling the assault is justified if

(a) he causes it under reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from the violence with which the assault was originally made or with which the assailant pursues his purposes; and

(b) he believes, on reasonable grounds, that he cannot otherwise preserve himself from death or grievous bodily harm.I did a little quick research into caselaw, and could find nothing, however, where a homeowner has been found to be justified in using a gun to protect people or property. (That doesn't mean that there are no such cases, just none I could find in ten or fifteen minutes of looking.) Most often, such cases run up against another prohibition of the Criminal Code--section 87 (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/C-46/bo-ga:l_III//en#anchorbo-ga:l_III):

87. (1) Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, points a firearm at another person, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded.

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.But the fact that the law as written makes it very difficult to self-defend with firearms helps maintain my assertion that the reason why the gun culture is different is because Canadians do not use them in self-defense. Certainly, Nunavut Boy, who admits he is a gun-owning Canadian knows this (from post 94: "Yeah, ignoring the fact that any firearm I might own in Canada cannot be legally used in self defense")--yet Magiver, from Ohio USA, with his question does not seem to be able to conceive of any other way. (Not meaning to pick on you, Magiver, and I hope I'm not making an unreasonable assumption about your question, but you did ask.)

Scumpup
04-09-2009, 08:33 AM
So, it's got nothing to do with the USA gaining everything it has by the use of force, and not wanting to let go of their favourite bargaining tool?

Phew, that's a relief.

It just occurred to me that one of the things we wanted, and got by force and the use of privately owned weapons was independence from you lot. Is this why you are in such a constant state of butthurt over our gun laws, ivan?

Northern Piper
04-09-2009, 08:43 AM
So how are Canadians suppose to defend themselves?

call 911. honestly, I don't spend nights lying awake over this issue.

Spoons
04-09-2009, 09:08 AM
call 911.I was wrong above. This is the really easy answer. :D

Duhkecco
04-09-2009, 09:29 AM
I'm wondering about something: How do Americans defend themselves when they travel outside of the U.S.?

Do diehard gun-carrying Americans never travel unless they have their firearms close at hand?

If you usually have a gun or rifle close by, do you feel uneasy when you are separated from your firearms?

Scumpup
04-09-2009, 09:34 AM
I don't know about anybody else, but when I leave the US I simply don't travel to places where I think I would need a gun. Also, when I am outside the US, I don't go wandering obliviously about.

Duhkecco
04-09-2009, 09:51 AM
Okay, sorry, but I need to ask: Do you sometimes carry a gun (or have a rifle close by for self-defense) when you are in the U.S.? If yes, when?

It seems to me that if you think you need a gun then you're always going to think you need one, except under very unusual circumstances.

I guess I'm wondering how prevalent the "I need a gun to protect myself" viewpoint is, rather than the other reasons that people have for owning guns.

yoyodyne
04-09-2009, 09:56 AM
1) Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, points a firearm at another person, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded.
Self-defense not being a lawful excuse?

XT
04-09-2009, 09:59 AM
It depends on where you live...and what kind of person you are. A lot of people have all manner of irrational fears...people are horrible about risk assessment. Some people fear home invasion when the odds are astronomically against such an event...others fears are more justified (though it's still a pretty small probability even if you are in the highest risk areas).

By and large I think that gun owners and pro-gun advocates use this mantra 'we can use them to protect our property and our families' to counter the gun grabbers various mantras. IOW, it's merely an attempt to show people without a clue about guns another 'justified use' for the things...and one that people (or at least American's) can understand and identify with, at least intellectually.

Personally I don't lose any sleep about someone invading my home and I don't know anyone who does...even some folks I know who DO live in the highest risk areas for that kind of thing. But I'll say that worrying about someone invading your home and thus needing some form of protection isn't the nuttiest or most improbable thing I've ever seen folks worry about...and I've seen plenty of non-American's who worry about some pretty improbable things as well. Even Canadian's. ;)

-XT

ExTank
04-09-2009, 10:00 AM
call 911. honestly, I don't spend nights lying awake over this issue.


I'm an American gun owner, and neither do I.

Scumpup
04-09-2009, 10:04 AM
Okay, sorry, but I need to ask: Do you sometimes carry a gun (or have a rifle close by for self-defense) when you are in the U.S.? If yes, when?

It seems to me that if you think you need a gun then you're always going to think you need one, except under very unusual circumstances.

I guess I'm wondering how prevalent the "I need a gun to protect myself" viewpoint is, rather than the other reasons that people have for owning guns.

In the US, I carry a handgun everywhere that I am legally allowed to do so. In the places where I am legally unable, its absence does not unduly distress me. On a few occasions in my life I have used a handgun to protect myself, thankfully without actually needing to shoot anybody. It takes but little effort to have it along and it is the best tool for the job when it is needed.

Northern Piper
04-09-2009, 10:07 AM
call 911.

I was wrong above. This is the really easy answer. :D

not for nothing that our national icon, recognizable around the world as representing Canada, is a police officer (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/rcmp/musicalride.html).

Spoons
04-09-2009, 10:11 AM
Self-defense not being a lawful excuse?That was one of the things I looked for but couldn't find in the caselaw--but then I didn't have a lot of time to look. I know, however, that ss. 34 and 87 of the Criminal Code tend to work in tandem, and so I would imagine that a "lawful excuse" would have to be decided by the provisions of s. 34: you have a lawful excuse if you are reasonably afraid that you will die or suffer grievous bodily harm (note that this wording does not extend the defense of self-defense to protecting property), and you reasonably believe you have no other way out of the situation other than to fight your way out. In other words, if you have any other way out, you are expected to use it.

Note that both s. 34(2)(a) & (b) must be established in order for the defense to work.

JXJohns
04-09-2009, 10:23 AM
I'm wondering about something: How do Americans defend themselves when they travel outside of the U.S.?

Do diehard gun-carrying Americans never travel unless they have their firearms close at hand?

Some message boards that I frequent have plenty of member who will not travel somewhere where they can carry. Many a discussion is had over what they CAN carry in specific locales such as cruise ships or foreign countries.

If you usually have a gun or rifle close by, do you feel uneasy when you are separated from your firearms?

Yes they do, I really can't say this is the norm however.

Northern Piper
04-09-2009, 10:25 AM
Spoons' post reminded me of another difference between Canada and the US, which is related to the discussion in this thead.

Both countries use the term "Castle doctrine", but it seems to mean quite different things.

In the US, as far as I can tell from posters on this Board (a very reputable legal cite, I assure you :p - I've actually cited Dopers in a couple of legal articles), the castle doctrine is related to self-defence of one's own home: One is entitled to use force to defend one's home, without any duty to retreat.

In Canada, the castle doctrine means that the police (or other agents of the Crown) are required to produce a search warrant before they can enter one's home. It's not about self-defence at all. (And last time I looked, Canadian law requires a duty to retreat when that is a reasonable alternative to the use of force in self-defence.)

Northern Piper
04-09-2009, 10:28 AM
I don't know about anybody else, but when I leave the US I simply don't travel to places where I think I would need a gun. Also, when I am outside the US, I don't go wandering obliviously about.

So are you saying that you feel safer outside the United States than in your home country? :confused: I'm not trying to put words in your mouth - I'm trying to understand if that's what you mean?

Duhkecco
04-09-2009, 10:29 AM
In the US, I carry a handgun everywhere that I am legally allowed to do so. Okay. About what percentage of people in your area would you say carry a handgun?

Also (sorry for all the questions): When you say "On a few occasions in my life I have used a handgun to protect myself", is that, say, two or three times, or more often?

I'm asking because, in over 40 years, I've never been in a situation where having a handgun would have made a difference, other than getting me arrested.

Northern Piper
04-09-2009, 10:31 AM
Some message boards that I frequent have plenty of member who will not travel somewhere where they can carry. Many a discussion is had over what they CAN carry in specific locales such as cruise ships or foreign countries.
Did you mean to say "will not travel somewhere where they cannot carry"? Otherwise. I'm not sure I understand.

Many a discussion is had over what they CAN carry in specific locales such as cruise ships or foreign countries.

So these folks wouldn't even come to Canada, which is a reasonably safe country and shares many common values with Americans? :confused:

Spoons
04-09-2009, 10:32 AM
(And last time I looked, Canadian law requires a duty to retreat when that is a reasonable alternative to the use of force in self-defence.)That's my impression also, based on my reading of CC s. 34(2)(b). I cannot remember any cases where this was tried though--can you?

JXJohns
04-09-2009, 10:32 AM
Sorry, make that "where they cannot carry..."

Scumpup
04-09-2009, 10:32 AM
The times I've left the US have been to visit areas that, due to them being tourist destinations, the local authorities were at great and obvious pains to keep very secure. When I left the resort areas, I didn't go blindly wandering about. There are bad areas in every country.
If I were staying in an equivalent resort here in the US, I'd handle it the same way. The gun is only part of self-defense. Situational awareness is a larger part.

JXJohns
04-09-2009, 10:36 AM
Did you mean to say "will not travel somewhere where they cannot carry"? Otherwise. I'm not sure I understand.
Yeah, I missed the edit window. Work got in the way... :)

So these folks wouldn't even come to Canada, which is a reasonably safe country and shares many common values with Americans? :confused:
I would say that many would not. I'm not part of that crowd, but I can respect their own personal safety concerns without calling them nuts or anything. I think that not going to Disney because they can't carry is a bit extreme, but I am really not in any place to judge.

Scumpup
04-09-2009, 10:36 AM
Okay. About what percentage of people in your area would you say carry a handgun?

Also (sorry for all the questions): When you say "On a few occasions in my life I have used a handgun to protect myself", is that, say, two or three times, or more often?

I'm asking because, in over 40 years, I've never been in a situation where having a handgun would have made a difference, other than getting me arrested.

3.
Once to dissuade a would-be rapist who thought that it was okay to sexually assault hitch hikers.
Once to run off a fellow who wished to rob me at an ATM.
Once to deter a car full of chemically-altered yoots who were spoiling for a fight and irritated that I passed them.

The first two were failures of situational awareness on my part. I was younger then.

Spoons
04-09-2009, 10:41 AM
So these folks wouldn't even come to Canada, which is a reasonably safe country and shares many common values with Americans? :confused:An anecdote is not data, of course, but I recall at least one friend from another message board who wouldn't. He was a Texan, who planned to take a few months driving through the continental US and Canada, eventually ending up in Anchorage, Alaska. When he found out the correct information--that he couldn't have his guns in Canada under any circumstances (before he took the time to find out for sure, he was under a number of misunderstandings, such as "Canadian Customs seals them at the border and I get to keep them with me, sealed until I get back in the US" and "As a US citizen, it is my constitutional right to have my guns, even in a foreign country"), he decided to park his truck in Seattle and fly (with his guns presumably in his checked luggage) to Anchorage. He wouldn't go into or through Canada at all, for the sole reason that he couldn't have his guns there.

He was a nice enough guy, but we must never forget that the fight against ignorance continues.

An anecdote is never data, as we so often say, but there is at least one such incident from my experience.

Argent Towers
04-09-2009, 10:47 AM
call 911. honestly, I don't spend nights lying awake over this issue.

Neither do I. Except I would have my girlfriend call 911, and I would grab the shotgun from the closet. If I'm going to wait for the police to arrive - and who knows how long that might take? - I'm much more comfortable waiting for them to arrive with a shotgun. Wouldn't you be?

I mean - think about it - there's a criminal in your house; you've just dialed 911; that means you're going to be alone in there with him for at least a few minutes, which is far too long for my liking. In that thread we had some time ago about "someone breaks into your house, what are they met with?" I heard all these answers like, I'll hit them with a lamp, I'll hit them with a kitchen knife, I'll hide in the corner, etc. Who are these people kidding? Unless you're a seasoned veteran of bar-fights you're not going to take on a burglar with some found object and win.

Calling 911 is a good idea but why be defenseless while waiting for the cops? Or for that matter, waiting for the dispatcher to figure out what you're saying?

The idea of not having at least a shotgun around in case of a break in is as alien to me as not having a fire extinguisher.

Northern Piper
04-09-2009, 10:52 AM
[ETA - replying to Spoons, not Argent Towers]

interesting - I remember a thread from years ago where a poster was asking about that very issue, because the poster's father-in-law was planning on driving an RV to Alaska and was upset about the gun issue. (If I recall correctly, it may have been Qadgop the Mercotan who was asking.)

Northern Piper
04-09-2009, 10:55 AM
Yeah, I missed the edit window. Work got in the way... :)
Those inhumane bastards!

I think that not going to Disney because they can't carry is a bit extreme, but I am really not in any place to judge.

Hey, I've always wondered about just what Mickey is carrying under that bulky costume. Can't be too careful...

Northern Piper
04-09-2009, 11:29 AM
That's my impression also, based on my reading of CC s. 34(2)(b). I cannot remember any cases where this was tried though--can you?

Not offhand, no.

Spoons
04-09-2009, 11:54 AM
Not offhand, no.I really should be working, but a very fast look found the following. There isn't a duty to retreat, but whether that option is open to the defender is a factor that the jury can use in order to decide whether there is a justifiable defense under CC s. 34(2). Nicely summed up with cites to other cases in R. v. Kong (http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight.do?text=%22duty+to+retreat%22+self-defence&language=en&searchTitle=Advanced+Search&path=/en/ab/abca/doc/2005/2005abca255/2005abca255.html), 2005 ABCA 255 (CanLII) at paragraph 117:

[117] Finally, in considering the force necessary to repel the real or apprehended assault, the court is also entitled to examine whether the accused had other reasonable options open to him or her, for example, retreat, and whether he or she should have seen those other options. While it is true that there is no duty to retreat before resorting to self-defence under s. 34(1), the fact that this was an available option is a factor to be considered in assessing whether it was necessary to use force and whether the force used was no more than necessary in the circumstances: R. v. Ward (1978) 4 C.R. (3d) 190 (Ont. C.A.).[65] In other words, the existence of a retreat route goes to the reasonableness of the accused’s actions: R. v. McInnes [1971] 3 All E.R. 295 at 300 (C.A.); R. v. Northwest [1980] 5 W.W.R. 48 at 60 (Alta. C.A.). There is also an interesting historical survey of the development of CC s. 34 in the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in R. v. McIntosh (http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight.do?text=%22duty+to+retreat%22+self-defence&language=en&searchTitle=Advanced+Search&path=/en/ca/scc/doc/1995/1995canlii124/1995canlii124.html), [1995] 1 S.C.R. 686, in paragraphs 62 to 75. It's part of McLachlin's dissent, but it does show the history of the statutory provision for self-defense.

elucidator
04-09-2009, 12:05 PM
3.
Once to dissuade a would-be rapist who thought that it was okay to sexually assault hitch hikers.....

Hitchhiking with a loaded weapon? I'm not at all sure that "situational awareness" quite covers this one....

Scumpup
04-09-2009, 12:09 PM
Hitchhiking with a loaded weapon? I'm not at all sure that "situational awareness" quite covers this one....

Would it have been better for me to have been sexually assaulted and/or murdered? The weapon was legally mine. I was legally carrying it concealed. All I wanted was a lift.

Sophistry and Illusion
04-09-2009, 12:43 PM
I'm not part of that crowd, but I can respect their own personal safety concerns without calling them nuts or anything. I think that not going to Disney because they can't carry is a bit extreme, but I am really not in any place to judge.

Okay, then I'll judge for you. Are those the same people who, in PatriotGrrrl's link, are calling us non-gun toters cowards? Oh the irony.

JXJohns
04-09-2009, 02:32 PM
Okay, then I'll judge for you. Are those the same people who, in PatriotGrrrl's link, are calling us non-gun toters cowards? Oh the irony.

Again, not speaking for anyone in particular, but I would venture a guess that they would call cowards, those who choose to fear an inanimate object.

Deeg
04-09-2009, 04:04 PM
Again, not speaking for anyone in particular, but I would venture a guess that they would call cowards, those who choose to fear an inanimate object.
They could say that but they'd still be wrong. They have too strong of an emotional attachment to their guns if they won't go to DW.

ExTank
04-09-2009, 07:05 PM
Okay, sorry, but I need to ask: Do you sometimes carry a gun (or have a rifle close by for self-defense) when you are in the U.S.? If yes, when?

It seems to me that if you think you need a gun then you're always going to think you need one, except under very unusual circumstances.

I guess I'm wondering how prevalent the "I need a gun to protect myself" viewpoint is, rather than the other reasons that people have for owning guns.

Several years ago (sheesh, it was over a decade now; where does the time go?) I worked as a contract tech for a telcom located just south of downtown Dallas (Texas). I worked nights, along with lots of other people.

The neighborhood is okay by day, but not a place you wanted to be in at night. A lady (employee) was attacked in the parking lot one night. She lost an eye from her injuries.

Several of us, with unspoken but tacit approval from our supervisors, began bringing handguns to work. My supervisor simply kept mine in his desk during work hours, and handed it to me after my shift was over.

We would escort people to their cars. Security wasn't allowed to leave the building to escort us (it wasn't in their contract).

I've lived in neighborhoods where, yes, you did keep a loaded gun in the house/apartment, as middle-of-the-night break-ins were prevalent.

That's been some time ago. I no longer work in an urban hell-hole. I live in a quiet suburb. There are break-ins, but they are rare, and always when the homeowner is away. Typical items targeted for theft are portable electronics and jewelry.

I no longer keep a loaded firearm in my home. Mine are all unloaded and locked up in a stout gun safe that's anchored to the floor. They are purely "recreational shooting" guns, now. That is, I take one or two to the local shooting range about twice a month.

I have no emperical data, but I think that I'm fairly "normal."

Duhkecco
04-09-2009, 07:50 PM
Several of us, with unspoken but tacit approval from our supervisors, began bringing handguns to work. My supervisor simply kept mine in his desk during work hours, and handed it to me after my shift was over.

We would escort people to their cars. Security wasn't allowed to leave the building to escort us (it wasn't in their contract).According to the company and the law, were you allowed to have guns at work? And, what specifically was the purpose of the guns? Wouldn't a group of employees walking together have been enough to deter a would-be mugger? Or was there a gang of hoodlums menacing the neighborhood and you felt that you needed guns as deterrents? Did you think that any of the possible attackers had guns?

After the woman was attacked, were there any policy officers patrolling the area?

Also, if the neighborhood was "not a place you wanted to be in at night", why was the woman allowed to walk unescorted in the parking lot at night?

Based on the bare bones of the story, I don't understand why guns were needed to protect the employees, or, if the area was so dangerous, why a telcom company would have an office there and why people would choose to work there.

pkbites
04-09-2009, 07:54 PM
call 911. honestly, I don't spend nights lying awake over this issue.

Uh, huh.

And if someone in your house were choking would you call 911 and relax, or would you take action while waiting for them because they might not get there in time to be any good?

Lumpy
04-09-2009, 10:27 PM
Based on the bare bones of the story, I don't understand why guns were needed to protect the employees, or, if the area was so dangerous, why a telcom company would have an office there and why people would choose to work there.Lessee... when an area is unsafe for unarmed people to go at night, the solution is (A.) flee the area and hope to find someplace safer; or (B.) go armed.

I'll pick B.

tomndebb
04-09-2009, 11:13 PM
It just occurred to me that one of the things we wanted, and got by force and the use of privately owned weapons was independence from you lot. Is this why you are in such a constant state of butthurt over our gun laws, ivan?Not relevant to the discussion and too close to personal carping.

Back off.

[ /Moderating ]

ExTank
04-09-2009, 11:39 PM
According to the company and the law, were you allowed to have guns at work? And, what specifically was the purpose of the guns? Wouldn't a group of employees walking together have been enough to deter a would-be mugger? Or was there a gang of hoodlums menacing the neighborhood and you felt that you needed guns as deterrents? Did you think that any of the possible attackers had guns?

Being as the company was private property, the law was/is silent on that point. Company policy prohibited it, but in the absence of either law enforcement or security taking a hand to protect their own employees (even contractors) on company property, local supervisors looked the other way on the issue.

A group may have been enough, but we weren't going to find out the hard way. We felt that an armed group (three of us most of the time) would be sufficient. The lady that was attacked reported that their were 4 or 5 assailants. We never found out if they were gang affiliated.

They may have had guns themselves; we only saw one group of skeevy looking characters occasionally hanging around a dark corner of the parking lot (they would be laughing/joking amongst themselves until we came out; then they just watched us, the way hungry lions watch a herd of zebras). We carried concealed, so there was no way for them to tell if we were armed. I don't know if it was the same group that attacked the lady; they never approached us as a group.


After the woman was attacked, were there any policy officers patrolling the area?

Also, if the neighborhood was "not a place you wanted to be in at night", why was the woman allowed to walk unescorted in the parking lot at night?

Based on the bare bones of the story, I don't understand why guns were needed to protect the employees, or, if the area was so dangerous, why a telcom company would have an office there and why people would choose to work there.

The police refused to assign a regular patrol after-hours during shift change, They did offer to allow off-duty police officers to patrol as "armed security." The company declined to pay the additional cost.

Security (another contractor company) wouldn't patrol unarmed outside the building at night in that part of town.

It was a large lot, that would be full when we came to work at 4:00 PM in the afternoon, se we'd park wherever we could find a spot; this left those of us on night shift scattered all over the lot. So when we got off work at 1:00 AM, not always "all together," we'd all split up and head hither-and-yon to our cars. She was in a corner of the lot and was jumped out of the shadows.

After that incident, we would try to get out to the lot around ~6:00 PM to move our cars in closer to the door.

Why guns were needed? Are you fucking retarded? Have you ever tried to physically fight off 4-5 20-something assailants, in the dark? I haven't, and I don't ever intend to try.

And as I stated previously, the telcom was located just off of downtown Dallas, an area that's okay during the day due to high traffic and visibility. When the company originally started there in the '60s the neighborhood was rather nice; a couple of decades of urban decay have taken their toll.

And why people would work there is simple: it's a fucking job that pays. Not everyone has the luxury to pick-and-choose.

Sophistry and Illusion
04-10-2009, 01:33 AM
Again, not speaking for anyone in particular, but I would venture a guess that they would call cowards, those who choose to fear an inanimate object.

As I've pointed out, they fear plenty of inanimate objects (like illicit drugs, for example). And I would argue that being literally unwilling to go somewhere like Disney World where you cannot go armed is not the sign of a brave person. I think people like this make the mistake of equating bravery with some kind of aggressive or martial achievement. They don't understand that there are other ways of being brave.

I'm not accusing you of any of this, naturally. You haven't said anything that indicates that you subscribe to this (nor have the other gun defenders in this thread, like scumpup). And I am not personally afraid of guns--I grew up hunting.

Declan
04-10-2009, 02:24 AM
Are you saying that a Canadian with a gun would not defend his or her home with it if invaded?? They would just stand by and let the chips fall where they might and hope the police happen to come by, never even considering using the gun they have handy?-XT

It depends on the Canadian, most of the owners of firearms that I personally know are complying with various laws regarding storage , but given the right circumstances would probably keep them handy in a condition one mode.

There is not that many places in Canada were the threatcon is sufficient to worry about various sundry crime and the cops do tend to devote alot of time and energy to clamping down hard when ever home invasions crop up in the various metro areas.

One thing for people to understand is we are really not that different from Americans when it comes to second amendment rights, in polite society most Canadians would poo poo outright ownership of weapons , but in more private setting its a different story, obviously milage will vary.

We dont need guns for most reasons, thats not the same as people dont want them.

Declan

Duhkecco
04-10-2009, 08:35 AM
Why guns were needed? Are you fucking retarded? No, I'm not. (Or, if I am, I'm too retarded to know that I am.)

I said:Based on the bare bones of the story, I don't understand why guns were needed to protect the employees.You hadn't yet said that the woman "reported that there were 4 or 5 assailants." Also, I had previously asked this:Or, was there a gang of hoodlums menacing the neighborhood and you felt that you needed guns as deterrents?In any case, why did you carry the guns concealed? Were you trying to deter or were you hoping for an attack?

A few more points:Being as the company was private property, the law was/is silent on that point.So, everyone who brought a handgun to work was doing it lawfully? Just wondering.we only saw one group of skeevy looking characters occasionally hanging around a dark corner of the parking lotWas anybody charged with attacking the woman? Did the police investigate the crime?The company declined to pay the additional cost.After one of their employees was brutually attacked? So, this isn't just about gun culture.

Also, it is seems to be about vigilantes. And choices.

ExTank
04-10-2009, 10:13 AM
No, I'm not. (Or, if I am, I'm too retarded to know that I am.)

I said:You hadn't yet said that the woman "reported that there were 4 or 5 assailants." Also, I had previously asked this:In any case, why did you carry the guns concealed? Were you trying to deter or were you hoping for an attack?

A few more points: So, everyone who brought a handgun to work was doing it lawfully? Just wondering.Was anybody charged with attacking the woman? Did the police investigate the crime?After one of their employees was brutually attacked? So, this isn't just about gun culture.

Also, it is seems to be about vigilantes. And choices.

We carried concealed because even having firearms on company property was against policy, While we had a sort of silent approval from some supervisors, we weren't going to blatantly advertise the fact to every single person by strapping a gun on our hip.

Again, "Law" or "Lawfully" doesn't enter into the equation on private property. Since the woman couldn't identify her attackers, the investigation didn't go very far.

We never attacked/assaulted anyone with our firearms; I don't see how vigilantism enters into the equation. We broke no laws, and only violated a company policy with the knowing consent of several members of company lower- and middle-management, who were as equally disgusted with the police and upper-management's inability and unwillingness to protect people.

I know that moving our cars closer to the doors after 6:00 PM and leaving as a group did more to deter any more attacks, and that the firearms, of which no potential attacker(s) even knew of, were a non-issue as a deterent.

Those guns were just there. Just in case.

elucidator
04-10-2009, 10:22 AM
How many such incidents had you had before? If this were the only one, I'd be inclined to think of it as one of those urban anomolies which, like shit, just "happen". And if you didn't make a point of openly carrying, you certainly can't claim any deterrent value, since nobody knew you had a gun, they could hardly be "deterred".

ExTank
04-10-2009, 10:33 AM
How many such incidents had you had before? If this were the only one, I'd be inclined to think of it as one of those urban anomolies which, like shit, just "happen". And if you didn't make a point of openly carrying, you certainly can't claim any deterrent value, since nobody knew you had a gun, they could hardly be "deterred".

Er, yeah. That's what I just said.

Duhkecco
04-10-2009, 10:48 AM
Again, "Law" or "Lawfully" doesn't enter into the equation on private property.Do U.S. gun laws make a distinction based on public or private property?
This doesn't seem to be the case with most laws.

ExTank
04-10-2009, 10:52 AM
Do U.S. gun laws make a distinction based on public or private property?
This doesn't seem to be the case with most laws.

The United States does not. Individual states may. Texas, to the best of my knowledge, respects the public/public access/private property divide.

Duhkecco
04-10-2009, 11:10 AM
Well, I was going to ask for a cite but I found one in the Wikipedia article on Gun laws in the United States (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_the_United_States_(by_state)#Texas):Texas has no laws regarding possession of handguns, shotguns, or rifles by persons 18 years or older without felony convictions.
...
A rifle, shotgun, or other long-barreled firearm may be carried openly, although there is debate as to whether doing so constitutes "disorderly conduct" (which defines an offense, in part, as "displaying a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to cause alarm"). Open carry of a handgun in public is generally illegal in Texas; exceptions include when the carrier is on property he/she owns or has lawful control over, while hunting, or while participating in some gun-related public event such as a gun show. A permit to carry concealed is thus required to carry a handgun in public. Based on this article, it seems that you are right.

Thanks for your answers.

ivan astikov
04-11-2009, 02:21 PM
"The first state court decision resulting from the "right to bear arms" issue was Bliss v. Commonwealth. The court held that "the right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State must be preserved entire, ..."" "This holding was unique because it stated that the right to bear arms is absolute and unqualified."

Could someone elaborate on the significance and circumstances surrounding this ruling?

Grumman
04-11-2009, 03:35 PM
Could someone elaborate on the significance and circumstances surrounding this ruling?
From the looks of it: in 1822, Bliss was fined $100 for carrying a cane-sword, a concealed weapon, but this ruling was reversed, as the law was apparently held to be unconstitutional, as the state constitution stated "that the right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the state, shall not be questioned."

ivan astikov
04-11-2009, 03:58 PM
What about this line?
"This holding was unique because it stated that the right to bear arms is absolute and unqualified."

Based on what?

Grumman
04-11-2009, 04:10 PM
What about this line?


Based on what?
Based on the constitution, because that's what the state constitution said: that the right to bear arms for self defense would not be questioned.