All we need is a bunch of people who don't own guns, have never owned or shot guns, and can't see any reason for guns to exist, discussing gun ownership.
Go to a skeet, trap or sporting clays range, hire an instructor and shoot a few rounds, and then get back to us.
On the issue of using guns for self-defense: Since I don't believe in an afterlife, I feel justified in using a gun to protect my life, in legitimate self-defense, against some idiot, robber, rapist, thug, murderer, or other ne'er-do-well, rather than succumb like a lamb before a lion.
Your mileage may vary.
Odin, Armed King of the Gods
This is obviously a contentious issue. Gun owners like owning guns for a variety of reasons. But with rare exception, everyone hates getting shot. So as far as I'm concerned, all of us subject to death by flying bullets should have a say in certain aspects of the issue. If gun deaths were a rarity, or better yet, always clearly justifiable, then there would be no issue.
Car wrecks used to kill nearly 60,000 a year, back when there were a hundred million fewer people in this country. Now days the death count for car wrecks is in the mid-30k range and dropping, while gun deaths are staying fairly static, at around 32,000 a year. Yes, almost 20,000 of those are suicides, and I guess if someone is determined to kill themselves, the lack of a gun isn't likely to have the despondent give up and just go on living. Ropes and aspirin and razor blades will probably always be legal. But the 11,000 annual murders and 1,000 annual accidental shootings are getting kind of old.
Because of that, there are some that question the current laws on the books. Because of that, some of us who might otherwise think about owning a gun decide not to because we feel that it would only add to the possible number of incidents.
I know one person in Texas who owned, back in the mid-90's, over 300 guns. And I've no doubt that his collection has gotten larger in the past 18 years. He loves shooting things, he loves being paranoid, and he loves that he's rich enough to buy lots of guns. Yes, he keeps most of them in a large, walk-in safes (he owned three large houses around the country) that were bigger than my little cabin, but when I was in his house, his six year old daughter had an unlocked gun case in her bedroom with her own set of custom, downsized guns, including a Remington 700. With boxes of bullets on the bottom shelf. And there are those of us who understand that you can get away with stuff like that some of the time, but you can never get away with it all the time.
I started this thread mostly to see where people stood on the issue, but I'll admit that I have ulterior motives when discussing guns. I understand that they will never be legislated away, but I would love to see changes in the law that improved the chances of more people dying less. I would apologize for my humanity, but I don't think that is necessary.
I know that there are no easy answers. I know that most people with guns are not total bullet-heads with nothing else of importance in their lives. I know that law-abiding people who own guns are usually very responsible and aware of the dangers. But I also know that there are plenty of armed idiots and plenty of armed fools and plenty of armed irresponsible dicks and I would think that the responsible gun owners in this country would also like the occasional law that helped ameliorate some of the dangerous situations made easy by lax and/or crazy gun laws. But usually they don't want that.
I live about two miles from a shooting range, and hear people there every day. It doesn't bother me, and I often only notice when someone opens up with some large caliber device that makes more than the usual amount of noise. A huge percentage of the people I know here in Montana are at least hunters, and many own sidearms as well. And again, if every gun owner was mature, responsible, safe, not prone to fits of rage and generally a nice person, I would have little to worry about.
But the situation isn't that good. The outlook for about 500 more people this year isn't good in the accidental shooting department. The outlook for the rest of this years 11,000 gunshot murder victims isn't that good. Hence I am concerned. And interested in why those who do own guns find firearms so important.
Edit: Spelling, which is hard to do when being shot at