Who needs guns for anything, anyway?

This line of thinking was brought up in the other gun thread going on right now, and called a hijack, but I want to talk about it.

I’ve been thinking about guns lately. I never really questioned the 2nd Amendment too much. It’s a right we enjoy, right? My dad had tons of guns when I was growing up. He took me shooting plenty of times, even when I was very young. He had a couple guns that he designated “mine” from a very early age (though AFAIK he still has them; I’ve never claimed them.) I even went hunting with him at least once that I recall-- though we didn’t so much as see anything bigger than a sparrow. So I know about guns. Gun safety was a required course at my middle school. I’m not one of these big city librul turds who never examined the other side of the issue.

But lately, I’ve been thinking, how far do my rights go? Where’s the support for my right to not get shot by a burgler, or a road-raging soccer mom, or any other random asshole who’s had a major gun-on ever since he saw True Grit?

On Super Bowl Sunday my mom and I went to the grocery store to get some last minute supplies. As we were getting out of the car, a guy comes plowing into the parking lot in what can only be described as a Monster Truck, drives right over a median, tires screeching, and double parks a few spaces away from us. I’m not making this up for rhetorical effect. This actually happened. It looked like something out of an '80s movie. The guy got out, he was probably 5’1, with a shaved head, a mean look on his face, a very bad case of ILS*, and a rather large handgun strapped to his waist. I was reluctant to even go into the store at this point, for fear that someone would look at him cross-eyed and he’d start blowing holes in them, but I didn’t want to look like a pussy. Luckily, nothing happened.

But what was the hand gun for?

What was the status of hand guns during the authoring of the Bill of Rights? I know they existed, because of the Got Milk? duel, but could they hold 17 rounds? Were they so accurate, and widespread, and was ammo so cheap? Were they semi-automatic? Was there ever any purpose for them other than to kill a human being?

I won’t pretend to be unbiased. I’ve come to a point in my life where I hate guns. My hate for them burns with the fire of a thousand suns. As far as I’ve been able to figure, they are only instruments of war and destruction and death. Hand guns, especially, seem to be manufactured for the sole purpose of ending human life.

I see the desire to have them for hunting, but I call bullshit. Pointing a gun at an animal and pulling the trigger is not manly, it’s not tough, it’s not even fair. If you want to be a rugged man and get back to nature, get a spear, or a bow, or better yet build one, and do it like our ancestors did for untold thousands of years.

Now, I come to the flip side. I don’t want to live in a society where the authority has all the firepower. Even though the effectively do already, the thought still makes me uncomfortable. It seems like an official sanctioning of Might Makes Right, and I’m not ok with that.

So that leaves me in a weird position. I hate these things, and I wish they didn’t exist-- they’ve done nothing but contribute to death and sorrow in the world . . . but I don’t think I want them outlawed.

Imagine guns were invented tomorrow. Would you be ok with them being legal?

Maybe I want hand guns outlawed.

I’m not real sure where I’m at right now.

*Invisible Lat Syndrome. It’s where your arms puff out as if your massive lat muscles were crowding them away from your body, except you don’t actually have massive lat muscles.

You are perfectly free to have an opinion on the issue of whether anyone should have a gun, but don’t forget that the question in your OP is exactly the same as the following questions: Who needs an abortion anyway? Who needs freedom of the press anyway?

So, when thinking about policy issues, don’t forget that you are dealing with a constiutional right.

Yup.

The absence of guns doesn’t stop bad people from doing bad things. It may make it marginally more difficult for them to do them, but it also makes it significantly more difficult for their victims to protect themselves.

A 20-something criminal has the luxury of going after easy, weak victims. A 70-year-old doesn’t have the luxury of insisting that only octogenarians attempt to break into his house. Firearms are far from perfect, but they make a good equalizer in a situation that’s already stacked in favor of the bad guy.

Yes, clearly we need an armed citizenry to stem the raging epidemic of home invasions. Oh, wait, there is no such epidemic. Well, there would be if we didn’t have armed citizens to prevent it! Yeah, that works.

Well a handgun is basically designed and used to kill a person.

This isn’t always a bad thing. The thing you can never really resolve is gun control doesn’t take the gun out of the hands of criminals. They get them and now the responsible person doesn’t have anyway to defend themselves.

Of course gun control may help prevent the cases of a wife getting fed up with a husband hitting her and using his gun to kill him. In that case maybe the wife wouldn’t have felt empowered to attack him or she would’ve used a knife that maybe wouldn’t have killed him.

And this is where the debate really lies

Luci, do you sleep with your door unlocked and no alarm? If not, why not?

Come to think of it, I actually have had my home invaded, by a bunch of scruffy looking white guys. Who were, no doubt, willing to swear that they had identified themselves as police officers with a warrant. A pity I didn’t have something to defend myself with, you might not have to endure my content-free one liners. As I would be, technically speaking, dead. Then they really could have pried it from my cold, dead hand.

Yes.

You lyin’ sack. :slight_smile:

OK, fine if you do. The point is that it doesn’t matter whether or not there is an epidemic of home invasions–what matters to me is what I’m going to do if someone invades my home (short answer–blow their head off).

If you arm yourself for fear, you’ve already lost. And no weapon in the world can save you from yourself.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times; Hunting is a way that many very poor rural families subsidize their yearly income via food.
I have family who is very poor, they live in a trailer purchased 20 odd years ago and put on family land, and barely scrape by (this has more than a little to do with the fact that my cousin, their son, requires frequent, expensive medical attention). Every dollar helps, and they literally can’t afford some of the barest necessities.

For the 200 dollars that their shotgun probably cost them and the few hundred rounds of ammo they’ve used in it over the years, they’ve probably got a few thousand dollars (or more) worth of meat out of hunting. They already raise a lot of the food they eat, and they still struggle. Without hunting, they’d probably be nutritionally deficient. I think he spends 4 days a year, more if needed, out hunting. A deer a year can make all the difference in the world to them.

(There are also areas where hunting is necessary, in a limited fashion, to preserve the ecology – remember that when Europeans “conquered” North America, we wiped out all of the predators that keep the Deer population in check. Without hunters, they’d eat themselves out of an environment.)
However, that only addresses your complete misunderstanding about hunting, not everyone does it because it feels “manly.” (On the years where my uncle couldn’t hunt, due to his medical problems – which I’m suspicious of, but that’s another story – my aunt did, and I don’t think she did it to be manly.)

To address your apparent hatred for guns in general – why the hatred? Why not recognize the fact that they’re inanimate objects… no more to be hated or feared than a table or screwdriver? Sure, people die from being stabbed with screwdrives relatively frequently, but that doesn’t mean I hate them.

I don’t even hate cars or cigarettes or alcohol, and all three of them kill more people than firearms – alcohol has even had a great impact on my life. Doesn’t mean I hate it, I understand that inanimate objects are not responsible for the way they are used.

Yes, there are negatives to firearms, but they do not outweigh the positives. Handguns aren’t bad, people who misuse them are. Handguns have saved half a dozen hunters lives, that I’m personally aware of. I’m sure they’ve saved more than that. Boars (and wildlife in general) are dangerous, and when they’re being hunted if one of them turns on you and your shotgun/rifle malfunctions, or you run out of ammo, or you drop your gun, or anything else, a pistol quickly drawn from a holster can save your life.
Being gored by a boar is not pleasant, I’m sure.

Well, being gored by a scintillating and interesting conversationalist is no fun either!

Irrational fear and hatred of anything is not a reason to deny those things to others.

Although we Humans tend to think it is.

You mean like irrational fear and hatred of society, which causes people to want guns and deny peace to others? Yeah, I agree.

How many hundreds of millions of people have died because of guns? No one has posted anything that comes remotely close to balancing that.

You can hunt with bows, spears, traps, raptors, and god knows what else. Guns aren’t necessary for hunting, even for the very few people who rely on hunting to eat.

They aren’t the same at all. The first is a matter of a woman having rights over her own body; the second is an important freedom in itself. Guns are neither. Guns are not part of your body, and don’t protect freedom in any way despite all that right wing nonsense. Tyrannies all over the world have heavily armed populaces; it doesn’t make them more free. IMHO, the main purpose of guns in America is a distraction; they give people a fake sense of being free, of having rights even as they are taken away. They are pacifiers.

Wrong on both counts. Making guns illegal makes them less available to criminals; they steal them or buy them legally, they don’t have gun factories. And no, “they’ll just import them from Mexico” doesn’t hold water; WE are the ones who supply the Mexican criminals with guns in the first place ( one reason the Mexican government doesn’t like us very much ).

As for protecting yourself, that’s very unlikely. Most likely, the result of encountering a criminal when you have a gun, is the criminal will walk away with two guns. They tend to draw and shoot first, being criminals.

And then there’s all the people who get killed by mistakes and accidents. Killing your daughter because you thought she was a prowler is hardly protecting her, or yourself.

Cecil says here that guns prevented 1,400 murders from 1977 to 1992, before going on to suggest that that’s probably an overestimate. That’s about 93 murders per year, optimistically. The FBI says here that there were about 16,000 murders by firearm in 1990 alone. Subtract the 93 people that guns saved, and that’s still 15,907 bullet-filled corpses. Hardly a balanced equation. Is it worth it, for your “freedom” to have a boomstick?

I’m still not very clear on how, precisely, one is supposed to use a gun for protection. Sure, you can put holes in an assailant, but unless you’re a better shot than anyone this side of a Hollywood movie, you probably can’t put those holes someplace that’ll kill instantly. Maybe that guy will be dead of blood loss in sixty seconds, but in that sixty seconds, there’s nothing to stop him from doing whatever it was you shot him to prevent.

We need freedom of press because that’s the weapon that enables us to defend ourselves against tyranny, and otherwise contributes to a functional society. It’s the freedom that protects all the other freedoms. Guns, on the other hand, can be used only for coercion and force, things which I thought you considered abhorrent.

Not exactly the most neutral language, but I’ll take your question at face value. When my home state of Minnesota was debating passing a “shall issue” gun permit statute (meaning the authorities cannot deny you a carry permit without showing cause), the people who were against the proposed law constantly predicted that it would turn Minnesota into Dodge City, with a skyrocketing rate of impulse murders. But the carry law was passed and since then… nothing. Absolutely no observable effect whatsoever. My guess is that the requirements for permits require a level of serious responsibility and committment to being a lawful citizen that weed out the yahoos and wannabees. There have been studies that suggest that permit licensees are statistically less likely to misuse guns than the overall population. Nothing teaches manners faster than realizing that guns are not action-movie props, they’re for real.

Quite possibly part of his “tough guy” self-image. However, people who blow holes in anyone who look at them cross-eyed undergo a drastically Darwinian selection as to their ability to continue walking free (or alive.)

War, destruction and death are ugly facts of life, and people are trying to eliminate them as much as possible. However it’s been said that the only thing worse than war is defeat, which looking at the defeated around the world I would have to agree with. Similarly, the only thing worse than everyone having guns is someone else having a gun and not me.

Which is a refreshingly honest admission. There’s no law that says everyone has to have a perfectly consistant opinion on subjects all the time. Life is messy and contradictory, and people have to work out dilemmas.

To me, these kinds of threads always boil down to one thing…who defines ‘need’, and how do you project that onto others? Once one starts deciding what others ‘need’ then where does it stop? Who ‘needs’ a million dollars? Why can’t everyone be satisfied with less? Who ‘needs’ a new TV, computer, cell phone, house, etc? Why do they ‘need’ it? Who ‘needs’ porn, or alcohol or reality TV? Why ‘needs’ freedom of speech, why do people ‘need’ religion or a representative government? Who ‘needs’ fast food or sports cars?

The answer is the same…it depends on ones perspective and what one finds important. So, before deciding whether others ‘need’ access to personal firearms, try and consider what you might feel you ‘need’…and how you’d feel if someone decided that you really don’t ‘need’ to have it.

-XT

Wait a sec, are you trying to twist the Golden Rule into an argument to defend gun ownership? Talk about beating your plowshares into swords…