What if everyone was armed?

What if the U.S. government reinterpreted the “well regulated militia” part of Amendment 2 to mean that all adults are required to be armed at all times, and to be trained with their firearm of choice? There would be mandatory gun safety classes in school, etc.
Also, replace guns with long-range tazers above, and think about it. What would happen in those two scneraios? People from other counties are welcome to contribute about their homelands.

I can think of a few places where everyone is armed: Afghanistand and Somalia.

Don’t think I’d like to live there.

I believe the criminals would be scared to death. They would know they are not attacking helpless citizens. Isn’t there a town in Georgia, (Kensington?) that passed a law requiring all its citizens be armed? They couldn’t enforce it, but boy, did crime rates drop.

I don’t think the gov’t could force citizens to be armed, though. I think the 2nd Amendment means the gov’t cannot prevent the citizens from owning guns.

Mandatory gun ownership has actually been tried. Allegedly it worked very well.

Well, for about 99.99% of my life so far, I’ve managed pretty well without owning a gun.

Not only would criminals be scared to death, but so would everyone else. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to walk around on egg shells because I’m worried about people loosing their temper and starting a gunfight.

In civilized society, it strikes me as more than a little paranoid to be walking around with a gun. Obviously, there are places to live that are very dangerous, but most people walking around downtown Dallas, TX or New York City do not have the need to be able rapidly respond with deadly force.

Why does everyone always say “Afghanistan” or “Somalia” but never “Switzerland”? America, after all, bears far more cultural similarities to the latter than the former, so wouldn’t it be a better model to look to?

Oh, right, the fear-mongering. I always forget the fear-mongering. Ah, well, more’s the pity.

No, but those few times that they do, I bet you’d be damned glad that they did. People were sure glad that Joel Myrick and James Strand were armed, and they didn’t even have to fire their guns.

I believe in Dallas, TX you are allowed to walk around on the street with a loaded gun, without needing a permit – so long as your gun isn’t concealed.

I seem to recall that Arnold Winkelried posted something not too long ago describing the Swiss rules on firearms, but I can’t find it now. As he described it, the restrictions are actually fairly substantial, notwithstanding that there are a lot of miltary firearms kept under lock and key. The Swiss are not walking around with guns all the time, that’s for sure. Hence, Somalia and Afghanistan are the more appropriate comparisons, despite the obvious legal and cultural differences that make the comparison rather iffy.

This is one debate that seems VERY polarized – people are either really for it, or really against it. I am somewhere in the middle. This ensures that both my right-wing friends and my left-wing friends hate me for saying the following.

  1. Plenty of burglaries and muggings are deterred by crooks’ uncertainty that a homeowner (or mugging victim) will produce a rod. We read a lot about dumb crooks, but most of them are smart enough to spot low-hanging fruit. A 98-pound grandma will get mugged before a 300-pound college wrestler will. Arming everyone would make everybody more like the wrestler. (This assertion pisses off my lefty friends).


  1. Arming everyone would cause lots of minor yelling incidents over road rage, etc. to turn deadly. (For saying which, my righty friends hate me.)

Talks to cops and you’ll find that most homicides aren’t committed by crazed psychopaths, druglords, etc. Rather, the typical gun killing occurs when two people disagree over something. E.g., a guy comes home from work to find a neighbor is whooping it up, playing music too loud. He yells at them to knock it off, one of them escalates it (say, a shove), the other retaliates with a knife or a ballbat, and eventually, someone brings a gun into it.

While a lot of crime is deterred by the availability of guns, A LOT OF GUN CRIME IS COMMITTED BY PEOPLE WHO ARE OTHERWISE FAIRLY LAW-ABIDING. Typically, these law-abiding people are pushed over the edge (our hypothetical guy above might have gotten laid off that day, been drinking too much, etc.)


To get back to the question, what do I think would be the net result of arming everybody?

I honestly don’t know. The result would depend highly on the population’s culture and demographics. How much indiscriminate drinking is there? How likely are they to resolve minor conflicts peacefully? Etc. I think this accounts for most of the difference between Somalia and Switzerland.

F. U. Shakespeare

Yes, however most public buildings usually have signs that say something like “no concealed firearms” or something to that effect.
pldennison - I don’t believe that a few annecdotal situations validate the need to carry a gun at all times. I don’t carry a fire extinguisher with me just in case there happens to be a small fire.

The biggest problem with having everyone carrying a gun around is that most people are not trained in law enforcement, close quarter combat, or even the safe handling of a firearm. I think that an untrained person attempting to resolve a situation with a firearm is just as likely to kill innocent people.

tracer, that’s a rather misleading statement of Texas law. I know I discussed this in a thread last year, but again, I cannot find it. But Texas Penal Code section 42.01 still makes it a crime if a person “displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.” It’s chargeable as disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor. And I gurantee that the Dallas cops will have a much broader definition of “a manner calculated to alarm” than any gun owner crazy enough to openly carry in downtown Dallas.

You mean you can carry a loaded firearm into a public building in Dallas, so long as it isn’t concealed? Even a courthouse?

minty green wrote:

Still, I can’t imagine that carrying a sidearm stowed in a belt holster, with a safety strap holding it in place, would constitute “a manner calculated to alarm.”

As you can certainly imagine, it would certainly freak out a lot of people who saw it. And because you can imagine that would be true, I’d say there’s a pretty damn good argument to be made that your act of strapping that gun onto your hip is “calculated to cause alarm.” If you think otherwise, fell free to try it and see what happens. As an attorney, however, I strongly advise against it, and I certainly am not defending you if and when you get arrested and/or prosecuted.

Every household is required by law to have an automatic weapon and something like 200 rounds of ammunition for it (both are issued by the government). Citizens are required to train with that weapon in the reserves for several weeks a year. Other than that, the weapon is under lock and key in the home, neither easily available for home defense, nor allowed to be carried in general.

I don’t remember. They might have said “no firearms at all”. Either way, its seemed kind of odd as people here in the northeast generally don’t carry their guns around.

tracer - If people are not accustomed to seeing weapons on a daily basis, ANY firearm not in the hands of a policeman is alarming.

I can’t speak for Texas, but I know that in Virginia, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon into an establishment that serves alcohol. However, Virginia is also an “open carry” state, which means that anyone who owns a gun can wear it on their hip, just like in the Old West. Consequentially, you can take your gun out of it’s hiding place, slap it on your hip, and walk into a bar.

The law is a funny thing, ain’t it?

msmith, the signs you see on businesses are there because the Texas concealed carry law permits businesses to prohibit the concealed carrying of firearms by using such signs. The concealed carry permit holder would be in violation of the law if he or she went in while carrying despite the sign. The statute also generally prohibits carrying into many kinds of places, including public buildings, courthouses, schools, etc.

Wrong, or at least vastly overstated. It also appears that pre-1987 restrictions by Virginia local governments are still enforceable.

Seems their definition of firearm is pretty exact. That leaves alot of very lethal, what I would call firearms, still legal. First of all I dont know many of pistols capable of holding near 20 rounds. And secondly, 4 to 7 round capacity is what you usually limit on most OTC shotguns. And that also leaves the non-center fire, like some .22 calibres, pretty open to have a c-mag put on it if you want. Notice it says “loaded firearm”.