Why you need to own a gun

I’ve not posted here before, but I’m impressed with the level of debate on the forum, so here goes:

I’m an Australian who has never owned a gun. We have much stricter gun control laws than the US. I was reading the post about how events in New Orleans has affected your opinion of gun control - mine has remained the same. I’m pro-gun control and really can’t see why private citizens should own guns (with a few exceptions - farmers, sporting shooters etc. - who use particular guns for particular purposes).
So why do people feel the need to own guns and protect their right to own guns… I’m trying to understand.

Is it because you think you need to protect yourself? In which case, if your community was safer would you still feel the need to own a gun?

Is it because you enjoy shooting or guns as a hobby?

Is it because of history and that whole armed militia thing (sorry, only have a basic understanding of US history :slight_smile: )

Are there other reasons?

As you probably know, this is a very controversial issue and people in the United States take it very personally.

In my opinion, most people who own guns do so because they believe it gives them more control over their personal safety.

No, but if I moved to a high crime area, then yes.

Yes. I’m a bad, bad man.

I’m not much for debate, but I can tell you why I own guns.

First and formost, they are fun. There is much satisfaction to be had by hitting a target. I can put 9 of 10 shots into a pie plate at 100 yards with my .45 pistol (Sig P220). I really have no idea if this is good, but it sure impresses my friends when we go shooting.

Personal defense. On three separate occasions, my being armed has saved me from being a victim of crime. All occured on I-25 between Santa Fe and Las Cruces, NM. Two attempted muggings happened in rest areas. The third happened when I stopped to help what I thought was a stranded motorist… 'till his hidden buddy came at me with a tire iron. I’d wager that if I hadn’t been carrying, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be here right now.

Anyhow, because of the personal experience I’ve had, I’m quite inflexible when it comes to gun control. As far as debating the point, my only argument is that “Guns saved my ass and that’s all I need to know.” (I told you I’m not much for debate. :smiley: )

I was brought up with guns.

I like shooting at targets.

I like having a gun if I hear a noise at night that I’m suspicious of, even though it usually is nothing.

I liked having a gun when it wasnt nothing and I had to hold a would be burgler at gunpoint until the cops arrived and took him to jail

I liked having a gun to chase off the knife wielding attacker that was trying to kill my neighbor.

I don’t need a gun. It comes in handy from time to time and my having one has saved my life probably at least once…and at least one other person as well.

I don’t need to own a motorcycle either, and its probably a lot more likely to get me killed. Lots of things in life are worthwhile that you do not need.

Did you shoot the attackers? Or just wave the gun at them?

If you’d had a non-firing replica would you have achieved the same result?

Not baiting, genuinely interested in how far you had to go to see off the baddies.

As others have said, guns are great fun. I hunt and shoot with my grandfather, father, friends, and someday, I hope, my children and grandchildren. Secondly, owning a gun does make me feel quite safe. I’m glad I don’t have as strong as personal experience as Lazlo, for justification, but I don’t count on the police for too much. Now I don’t walk around my safe city during the day packing, but I certainly would if I had some higher risk factors. (like if I went to dangerous parts of town, stayed out late alone, carried lots of cash, was a high profile target, wasn’t a 6’4’’ 25 year old male, etc.) At night, I sleep better knowing that if someone tries to break into my house I’ll probably live to tell the story. I’m not saying I would enjoy burning down some punk teenager looking for some drug cash, but the sound of me racking a shotgun is going to get him out of there much faster then the sound of me calling the cops and waiting 10 minutes at least for them to show up. Also, I personally believe that the 2nd amendment is still important today. It seems to me that private gun ownership has served America pretty well throughout her history. Sure the militia thing sounds pretty silly right now, with a stable government and the strongest military in world history, but I don’t really know what the situation will look like in 100 or 200 years. I’d rather have a government scared of its citizens than the other way around, and at the risk of sounding like a “gun nut” I’m pretty comfortable with a widely armed private citizenry. At the risk of sounding like a cold hearted bastard, I would not trade that kind of security to prevent a couple of gang shootouts or workplace killing sprees every year. Also, the OP may have acknowledged this when he mentioned farmers, but there are many parts of Alaska and the Rockies I would not care to spend much time in without a firearm to protect from bears. I think the OP was well asked, and I believe it’s important to talk about these heated issues calmly, honestly, and directly. Those on both sides of the coin could learn from the other.

Brandishing the weapon worked in all three cases. Thankfully, I’ve never had to shoot at a person. Anyhow, while a replica probably would’ve done the job in my situations, there’s no way I’d want to try it.

I own a gun because my work takes me into a very high crime rate neighborhood.

What is the point of a replica? If you know what your doing (as anyone who owns a gun should) It’s not any safer. In Lazlo’s situation it would be much more dangerous. What would you do if they attacker wasn’t fooled? If you are going to pull a gun on someone, you have to be preppared to use it. My guess is that you won’t have to 99% of the time you actually pull it.

I don’t own a gun, but that’s largely because (besides living in Japan) I wouldn’t feel like having to take it out and clean it regularly.

Walking into a gun shop and viewing the items they have hanging on the walls, it is fairly obvious that gun-sales are not intended just for skeet shooting. Indeed, I would say that for a good percent of gun-owners or people who are pro-gun freedom it is a matter of the publics ability to defend itself from the government should ever such a day come.

And when you think of military class guns, we’re not talking about bop-guns but HONKING RIFLES. So really limiting the purchasing ability of those doesn’t change much as most criminals will want handguns and other things that can be hidden about the person. And with handguns and small machine pistols or sawed-off shotguns, between concealed weapons laws, inability to sell to criminals, etc. you’ve got a pretty good block right there.

In the case of New Orleans where law becomes meaningless temporarily and weapon stores can be raided with impunity–I don’t see that much has changed. Criminals generally prey on the weakest target. With no guns, everyone is at risk. With guns only those without guns are at risk. And as gun wounds are generally less lethal than knife wounds and such and yet provoke greater fear, there may be better odds that the victim will give in to a person with a gun without any scuffle, or if there is a scuffle will be more likely to survive.

But the main issue is the populace being able to protect themselves from a future corrupt government and its military.

I realise the whole thing about protecting yourself from a corrupt government is written in stone, but is it actually a realistic scenario at all?

It’s a combination of things.

I very much enjoy shooting as a hobby. I never would have thought I’d say that, but ain’t that the way of it. I married a gun enthusiast and hunter never having touched a firearm, let alone discharged one. I found out that I like it, and, to my astonishment, I’m quite a good shot. It’s fun.

Personal protection does play into it. I did not own a gun until I came to live in my current home. While I don’t live in the Australian outback or the Alaskan tundra, I live in a quite rural area and am alone during much of the day and many evenings. If I were being attacked and I screamed, my nearest neighbors might hear me, but probably would not. As it happens, they are three darling ladies in their 80s, and they couldn’t do much anyway. A call to 911 would bring the nearest county sheriff, who could be two miles away, or twenty. I fervently hope that I will never need to protect myself with my gun, but I like having it and knowing how to use it. (Incidentally, the local law enforcement presence is very positive about responsible citizens owning firearms.)

You did mention farmers as people with reasons for gun ownership, and that’s part of it, too. My husband works away, but this is a working farm, and a gun is just practical. The only reason I’ve ever had to use one so far is an angry raccoon up at the house. I was very glad to have the option. I know they look cute and all that, but when they’re ticked, raccoons are mean as sin. Really.

I can’t really speak to the historical angle, since I only know the basic background. I will say, though, that gun ownership for me is much more a pragmatic decision than an idealogical one.

And thanks for asking your questions in such a nice way. We wild-eyed, gun-toting maniacs appreciate your respect. :smiley:

Hitler was elected in by a larger majority than GW Bush. shrug

Rome was a republic for 500 years before politicians with their personal armies took over and it turned into an empire. Modern-day republics have only had a bit over two hundred years so I think thre’s still a good bit of time left to allow for corruption.

No, I don’t mean is it realistic that a corrupt government could arise, I mean is it realistic that a bunch of armed private citizens could overthrow such a government?

I don’t think anybody’s mentioned (or admitted) it yet, but a lot of Americans (who don’t hunt or have a realistic need for a firearm) own one because it feeds an enjoyable power fantasy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Depends on their tactics. Certainly a 65 yo man with a shotgun isn’t going to be much of a fear to an F14, but in the case of an actual revolution it would be much more of an issue of whether the government does a better job finding insurgents than the insurgents have of finding ways to their targets.

The IRA won eventually. But then, Ghandi won as well without a single weapon. I imagine it depends on which method you think is more dependable. Personally, I was always more Malcolm X than Martin Luther King as an American, but that’s me.

I enjoy the physical challenge of shooting… of controlling a piece of machinery to place 0.38 inch-wide projectiles within a small space of each other on a target.

I’m cognizant of the personal protection aspect as well. I live in a very safe neighborhood. But “very safe” does not equal “completely crime free.” I am unwilling to use my handgun to protect my property… if I found someone trying to steal my stereo, I’d retreat, call the cops, and let them either catch the guy or not. But I couldn’t possibly pull the trigger and trade a human life for a stereo, or, indeed, anything I own.

On the other hand, I would without hesitation shoot to kill if my personal safety, or the safety of my wife or child was at risk. I might have nightmares afterward, but I am certain that I could and would kill to prevent injury to me or my family.

In order to maximize the chances of an armed encounter coming out the way I want it to, I have taken training, and I practice. I am licensed to carry a concealed weapon in my home state, and mutual recognition and reciprocity extends that to thirteen other states. I very rarely exercise this right, but as with many other things in life, I believe luck favors the prepared.

The OP can’t see “…why private citizens should own guns.” There are many reasons, but the one that addresses personal protection is relevant here: I don’t have a police sub-station in my basement. If a malefactor breaks in my house, the police are not there. They cannot protect me. I am the only one that can protect myself and my loved ones. Given that truth… why in the world SHOULDN’T private citizens own guns?

Gun non-owner here. They’re kinda fun to shoot as a hobby, but I don’t find them interesting enough to actually bother owning and maintaining one, and hunting and shooting animals is of no interest whatever. Maybe if the supermarket ever runs out of ground beef I’ll consider hunting.

As for self-defense, somehow I’ve manage to get through 52 years (as of this week) without ever having to pull a gun on anyone else (good since I’ve never had one handy) and more importantly, without anyone who appeared to be a legitimate sporting or self-defence gun owner ever pulling one on me. There was an incident in Denver one time where some drunken yahoo waved a .22 auto at me from behind the wheel of his car, but what should I have done? Get into a moving shootout with that idiot?

Lest this makes it sound like I’m anti-gun, read the first sentence of the previous paragraph again. I’ve never felt any particular sense of danger from being surrounded by owners of sporting firearms. Well, I generally don’t go out in the woods the first day of deer season, but that’s about it.

As for opposing a corrupt government, I can think of lotsa interesting ways to do that without having to resort to sniping at storm troopers with a .22.

I own guns to protect my family.

I laughed at the idea…

" If your community was safer would you still feel the need to own a gun?"

But after some thought it is at the crux of my personal reason for owning a gun so I have to say no. The world would have to become safer to a degree impossible in my lifetime but in theory if there were no more muggers, robbers, home invaders, murderers, disgruntled workers on killing sprees, “factor X’ers” like BTK, and a lot of other dangerous people I would not feel the need to own a gun.

As long as “they” are out there with guns killing people every day I like the option of “us” having them as well.

Once in a while I hear a story of armed citizens stopping crime because they had a gun. I think a month or so ago a guy stopped somebody in a parking lot that was attempting to stab a woman to death. Also I had a neighbor that caught an invader breaking into her house while her husband was out of town. Her kids were sleeping upstairs, so she got a shotgun and blasted him. It might have been that somebody was going to die there that day anyway and because she had a gun it was the bad guy and not 2 kids and their terrified Mother.

If we could get to a point that no bad guys are going to break into your house, try and slice you do death at the grocery store, or simply walk into your place of work/restaurant/school and start gunning people down people might feel better about giving up their guns.