What are the negative and positive effects of guns in society?

Every thread that tangentially involves guns eventually hijcaked into an argument about whether or not guns are good or bad for society.

So given the current situation, is there any chance that we can repeal the second amendment enough to get rid of guns (or at least handguns) in society in the foreseeable future?

If we do repeal the second amendment and entirely ban guns will this lead to a net reduction of gun crime?

Would it lead to a significant reduction of suicide?

I think:

  1. there is no fucking way in hell we will repeal the second amendment in the foreseeable future. in fact I suspect that we will soon see “leaked” photos of Democratic candidates going duck hunting, etc.

  2. banning guns (after this hypothetical repeal of the second amendment) will not lead to a net reduction of gun crime.

  3. banning guns would not lead to a significant reduction of suicides.

I doubt anyone is going to argue on point 1 but maybe there is something I am missing.

I suspect a lot of people are going to argue about (a) how much gun crime is committed by previously law abiding citizens, (b) defensive gun use, © the effects of a gun ban on the people that commit gun crimes.

I used to think the suicide argument was the strongest for the gun control crowd until I took a look at US suicides and suicides in EU and NATO countries (gun control advocates always dismiss suicide rates in Asian countries because they don’t count for some reason) and it turns out that US suicide rates are very typical for industrialized nations despite the fact that we have a gazillion more guns per capita than any of these other countries. Its almost as if there were other ways of committing suicide.
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=17196228&postcount=127
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=17196349&postcount=128

No matter where we come out, I don’t think the facts support a position that guns are clearly so horrible for society that no reasonable person could support national gun rights. And given the existing prevalence of guns (especially among criminal) I don’t think the facts support passing laws that would only disarm the law abiding citizens of America.

IMHO: Outside of perhaps people who live in the countryside, there are no positive effects of guns in society. None at all.

No.

Eventually, but it will take a long time due to the already existing ocean of guns out there.

Yes, the presence of guns in a home significantly increases the chance of suicide. Removing them whether by law or the decision of the homeowner reduces the risk of suicide.

But people are less likely to use them than guns; guns make it too easy.

Nonsense, it would disarm the criminals as well; the “law abiding citizens” are where they get their guns.

The title of your thread and the OP don’t seem to be the same subject. In fact, your OP doesn’t seem to mention any negative effects of guns in society at all-it seems to be all about the possible repealing of the 2nd Amendment.
Do you think there are any negative aspects of guns in our society at all?

I am not going to debate the rights or wrongs of the second amendment but I am so glad we don’t have it in Australia.

Oh and yes my son and I both own guns for hunting. (legally of course)

Heck, if we can wander into magic-wand territory, I propose all handguns forever disappear from the U.S. but rifles and shotguns become casually available without background checks and whatnot.

Positive effect: the U.S. turns into a larger version of Canada, at least on the gun issue.
Negative effect: none, since the more Canadian you are, the better.

Negative effects: Lots people get killed and inured where they would not be otherwise.
Positive effects: Umm…er…umm…

I see I may have subverted the “positive effect/negative effect” format in my earlier post in applying it to my (admitted fanciful) proposal rather than to my assessment of American guns in general.

I think it is worth pointing out that even in the UK, a country with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the World, it is quite possible to own a rifle or shot gun for either sporting purposes (including hunting) or for vermin control. I doubt a repeal of the second amendment would stop duck hunting, though it may limit the sort of weapon you could use.

Interesting the anti-gun people in these debates never seem to recognise target shooting (an international, not to mention Olympic sport) as a “positive” reason to own guns.

If you don’t think target shooting is an OK reason for gun ownership, do you hate archery or abalestry? There’s not really any difference between them from a sporting point of view, except that archery and arbalestry are a lot quieter. :stuck_out_tongue:

In the end, gun control is really about handgun control. Long arms, even assault rifles, simply make up too small a part of the problem to be a real factor. Even the flashy things like Adam Lanza and such are really a small - but very mediagenic - part of the overall issue of gun violence.

There are certainly negatives such as more death and injury by handguns than there would be if such weren’t so freely available. I don’t think anyone could debate that. The presence of the thing increases the use - positive and negative - of the thing. Duh.

But are the negatives outweighing the positives? I think it will be impossible to tell. The issue has been so wrapped up in fabricated statistics and skewed studies and self-serving anecdotes that a real scientific analysis becomes impossible for a layperson.

I will say that the habits of the National Rifle Assn lead me to be disinclined to support their position. But I feel that about all extremists. I’m a middle-grounder by nature and like to work out compromises that all parties can live with. The NRA doesn’t meet that sort of criteria.

Or, to present a contrast:

  1. Extreme anti-gun side: some nutters who make noise but don’t represent much.
  2. Extreme pro-gun side: One of the most powerful and effective lobbying groups the world has ever seen.

Feh. We won’t get an answer. And the vanishing of the reasonable middle means that when there IS one it will be draconian. Should things swing that far the guns will be taken from everyone simply because things have been so torn up for so long.

I don’t think they fail to recognize that target shooting is fun. I do figure they assess that the fun of shooting at cans isn’t a compelling reason to stick with the murderstats. Which is why the bows and crossbows argument also falls flat - outside of a possible handful of hunting accidents, know of many incidents of bow-enabled school shootings (or would that be school loosings ?) ? Drive-by crossbowings ? That would be pretty metäl, I admit, but… :stuck_out_tongue:

(besides, gun control doesn’t preclude target shooting at designated ranges, so there is that too. Japan is pretty much a countrywide no-gun zone ; but they still have a handful of recreational ranges and sport shooting is allowed as well, albeit under strict regulation & monitoring)

Positive - They’re fun and it keeps Neo-Nazi gun-nuts from committing felonies. Hand guns in particular are great since they can be used with one hand, leaving the other hand to call 911.

Negative - Accidental shootings

I think the OP is completely wrong about the results of just simply repealing the 2nd Amendment. In this situation, the Federales still wouldn’t have the right to control gun ownership. Something like 44 of the 50 States have clauses in their own State Constitutions that guaranty gun ownership. Once we repeal the 2nd, the 10th Amendment kicks in.

If we enact a new Constitutional Amendment that does give the Federales the right to control gun ownership, I’m sure many of the 44 states would come into compliance. What do we do about those few States that don’t? C’mon, sending the Marines into Texas to take away their guns, we’ll have a lot of dead Marines, a lot of dead Texans … and I don’t see the Union lasting longer than a week.

Common Sense:

I have to register my Real Estate holdings with the government, and that’s a good thing. I have to register by car with the government, and that’s a good thing. Most of us are looking at computers that are registered with Microsoft, and I have no opinion about that [wolfish grin]. In these examples, the mere act of registration doesn’t abrogate my right the own these things, indeed these registrations protect my right to own these things (which is especially important with Real Estate).

Every square inch of the USA has a registered owner, that doesn’t interfere with my right to own some of them. I honestly don’t see where registering every gun interferes with my right to go buy one. Hell’s bells, if it helps law enforcement, I’d be happy to submit a ballistics test for each gun I own.

Disclaimer: I, personally, would never allow a gun into my home.

Positives: Increased individual liberty. Self defense - some people who would otherwise be dead or injured are alive or uninjured. Sales are good for the economy.

Negatives: Some innocent people die or get injured.

I find the NRA to be…too moderate myself. If they adopted a goal (along with everything else they do) to bankrupt every small city that has restrictive gun laws through litigation, that would be extreme. I’d join to support that.

So for the sake of guns you’d support the undermining of every other goal a small city might have?

Right, because the government and law enforcement are SO good at preventing citizens from ever getting anything illegal. :stuck_out_tongue: If they can’t keep illegal drugs and such off the streets, do you REALLY think that they would be able to do so with guns? And if people are willing to use illegal substances like drugs, do you REALLY think that they wouldn’t also have guns too? The only thing an attempt to take away the guns would have, outside of the magic wand/fantasy musing angle, is to make a larger percentage of Americans willing to do something against the law.

Then why does the US come in in the bottom half of the suicide charts when compared to the rest of the world (33rd in the top 50)? If guns make it so much easier, why is the US lower than Japan, which has very stringent gun control?

:dubious: Has making drugs illegal lead to the eventual decline in illegal drugs in society?
At any rate, as far as the OP goes, I think the positive effects are a net gain in personal freedom for the citizens of the US. Guns and gun ownership has always been seen as one of our founding principals, and while it seems quirky to folks from other countries (and even to some of our own citizens, as noted in threads like this one), it’s part of our national identity and I suppose collective myth. Other countries have similar things…gun ownership is one of ours. Net negatives, as noted, are that there is definitely a non-zero number of people who will be killed due to the policy of allowing your citizens to choose to own a gun or not own a gun. Like changing your regulations on safety or setting your speed limit higher, there will be tradeoffs that will effect people and cause some harm. At some point, that level will exceed the public’s tolerance and that’s when something Will Be Done™.

Thus far, that limit or tolerance has not been exceeded in the US, and in fact gun deaths and crime overall has slowly declined in the last decade, despite a changing gun control and regulatory environment. Unless there is a large upswing on that, I don’t see a large change in this policy in the US happening any time soon, if ever.

I certainly would for the sake of Free Speech, Equal Protection under the Law, Women’s right to vote and everything else the Constitution says. If a small city posts a sign saying “No Lutherans Allowed”, I’d support undermining the whole damn place.

Meh, if you want to reduce violence, don’t bother banning guns. Just legalize drugs.

I question your priorities in putting guns up there with Free Speech, Equal Protection, Suffrage and Lutherans, but okay.

Right, but you are a Canadian. To (many…perhaps most) US citizens gun rights ARE ‘up there’ with the rest. They are part of being an American and are thus all part of the whole fabric that makes up this country, on par with the others…as they are on par with gun rights.

Positive effects of guns:

[ul]
[li]makes a small weak person able to deter or stop a large strong person [/li][li]allows an armed majority to resist a tyrannical minority. [/li][li]conversely, allows an armed minority to deter a tyrannical majority, or failing that to put a higher price on their lives. [/li][li]makes home invasion a far riskier thing. [/li][li]fun- hunting and target shooting.[/li][/ul]
Negative effects of guns:

[ul]
[li]You can have a worst-case scenario where a small number of criminals and bullies have guns while most other people don’t. [/li][li]extreme premium on personal judgment and responsibility, often lacking.[/li][/ul]