Author Topic: Generic gun discussion  (Read 2188 times)

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Online ParkingPlaces

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Generic gun discussion
« on: July 28, 2013, 01:12:02 AM »
Guns have been coming up in some of our discussions as of late, and it is pretty clear that we atheists are not of one mind on the issue. So I thought a guns only discussion might be interesting. I'll start.

I don't own a gun. I never have. Having no interest in shooting unarmed deer, unarmed targets or people that induce my paranoias, I simply have no need for one.  I don't need the meat, I don't need the power trip. There is a store nearby where I can buy beef, and my ability to have multiple tabs open in a web browser (which astonishes the locals) is all the power I'll ever need.

I don't live in fear, don't plan to live in fear, and would rather die because I should have been afraid than live 90 years in fear while never having needed to.

But thats just me. I live in Montana, so I'm an anomaly here. Most folks around here own guns, albeit for hunting rather than shooting skittle-munching black kids. I don't care that they own guns. I'm not one of those folks that think a free country has to look exactly like I want it to. And so while I do wish there were no guns floating around the neighborhood, such things are legal and I'm not going to go on a campaign to rid the county or the state or the country of weapons of mindless destruction simply because I wish they'd go away. I've learned to adjust. And, when needed, duck.

Note: Besides Montana, I've lived in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Texas, Massachusetts, Indiana and Pennsylvania. In towns and cities whose populations ranged in size from well under a thousand to whatever the heck Boston has. And I never had a gun in any of those places either. I did volunteer work in an inner-city community center is a moderately large Indiana city, where the crime rate was fairly high, and never considered carrying a gun. Notice that I'm fortunate enough not to have to live in Watts or any other marginal community in this country, so my views of reality are skewed in favor of a normal life.

Anyway, how do the rest of you look at gun ownership?
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Offline wright

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 01:52:48 AM »
I was raised to see guns as not necessarily bad, but very, very dangerous. Despite having friends who own guns, and having gone target shooting with those friends, my first reaction to seeing a gun is always fear.

But I recognize that's largely my own lack of experience with weapons. I certainly don't object to other people owning guns and using them responsibly and appropriately.

It only takes one irresponsible user to make a tragedy, though. When I was young, my family lived in what was then a lightly developed area on the outskirts of Redlands, Ca. Our closest neighbors were hundreds of yards away, and there were canyons and hillsides on three sides of our rental. One afternoon I was playing in the front gravel drive when I heard a strange humming sound, then another, from close by. As I stood there, a few seconds later there was a sharp crack and my mom was yelling from the house for me to come inside. Someone had been firing from far enough away that I'd heard the bullets passing me (how closely I'll never know) before the sound of the actual shot.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Offline Traveler

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 02:07:21 AM »
I've fired two guns in my life, both on the same day. Two co-workers invited me to shoot. They were both women, and both owned and/or carried guns for their protection. I started out with a 22 target pistol. It was fun. Sort of like archery, which I've enjoyed since I was a young child. It felt like a sport. Hand/eye coordination, getting something into a target, a game. Then I was handed a 38 police special. Crap. It felt like death. It felt like exactly what it was. Something made to kill a living being. It was heavy, it was dark, it had a stronger kick. I hated it. HATED it.

I have never lived in a "wild wild west" location, and I never want to. I also don't want to hunt. On an intellectual level I can appreciate hunters who hunt responsibly. I knew folks out in Washington state who used every part of an animal, just as native americans did. One guy built his own home, using antlers as drawer pulls, knife handles, wall hooks, etc. He used everything he possibly could, and shared the meat with poorer neighbors.

But I can't shoot Bambi. I just can't. I'm too soft-hearted, too separated from that primitive, hunter past.

I have very mixed emotions about a gun-toting society. I feel that gun ownership should be something that is not so easy that any asshole can own one. We train and test to get a driver's license, but any idiot can buy a used gun at a gun show without even so much as a background check. I don't get it. Guns have one purpose. To kill. Yes, we can shoot at targets, and I'm sure many of them do. But if one is planning to carry for protection, or to hunt, you'd better damn well know how to be safe with it. Because there are too many accidents. I forget the numbers, but the number of kids who accidentally shoot someone because a parent left a loaded gun around is heartbreaking.

Safety first. Then you can have your guns. But, please, be safe.
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Offline rev45

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2013, 08:19:50 AM »
I grew up in the country where we raised some rabbits and chickens.  Racoons and possums getting into the feed or the chicken house was always a problem so we put up traps to capture them.  When we'd get one my dad would have my brother or me get the rifle and kill it.  Racoons and possums are the only things I've ever had to shoot.  I've gone shotgun hunting a few times but the land that surrounded the land I was hunting on was crowded with other hunters so I never saw many deer in my area during hunting season.

I don't have guns in my house for now.  I have two little kids and no gun safe so my shotgun is at my dad's place.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2013, 09:47:11 AM »
In the days when it was legal, I had the opportunity to shoot a Smith & Wesson .357 at a gun club. The targets remained in pristine condition. In South Africa, my friend has a Sig Sauer P228 and I attempted to shoot up a couple of trees on his land but they evaded me by swaying slightly. Every time I have fired a handgun my only concern has been the cost of the ammo. I’ve never bought any, but it can’t be cheap. I saw no point in having a handgun, which seems to be a close-quarters weapon designed to kill people; no use for hunting or competitive target shooting.

I have a .22 air-rifle and have used it in anger only once. A squirrel had taken residence in the attic and threatened to chew through the electric cables… it had to go. I took the dog into the garden, found the squirrel and shot it. It wasn’t a clean shot and the dog had to finish it off. The dog thought it was fun. Other than that, I have shot it a few times at a target and am not too bad at 25 yards. But, and this thread made me think, I have not used it in 3 years for anything and if I didn’t have it, I don’t think I’d be bothered.
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Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2013, 02:46:33 PM »
This little guy was resting 50 feet from my front door last summer and I still had no desire to own a  gun. Well, actually I had less of a desire to own one. I can't shoot stuff.

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Offline Traveler

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2013, 03:12:12 PM »
The only way I'd shoot that guy is with a camera.  ;D
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Offline Nick

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2013, 03:56:14 PM »
Wow, how great would it be to wake up to that each morning.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2013, 04:38:48 PM »
Guns, in my opinion, will never be out-right outlawed on a national level. There are just too many out there. I don't own a gun, never have. Doesn't mean I never will; I like old guns but I'd probably never fire it. I have, in the past, practice shot with targets. I have gone paint-balling. Been awhile since I last went. I have no problem with guns, at all, except in concern to criminals being legally allowed to own them, mentally diagnosed people and guns being allowed in places where they really shouldn't be. And I am for harsh restrictions on them for those who do legally obtain them.

-Nam

This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2013, 05:11:53 PM »
I agree, Nam. We will never outlaw guns in this country, at least in our lifetimes, and most certainly restrictions should be placed on who can purchase a gun. No matter where they buy it. That won't solve every problem, but it will reduce some of them. And that is about all we can realistically hope for in the current political climate.  Well, it's more than we can hope for, but at least it feels slightly realistic.

Which automatically disqualifies it from serious consideration by nutjobs in politics.
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Offline Spit

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2013, 06:33:55 PM »
Anybody here is more than welcome to go shooting with me. You might find out that gun owners aren't nuts or fearful. We just have a backup plan much like having a spare tire.   :blank:
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 06:35:40 PM by Spit »

Offline neopagan

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2013, 06:53:00 PM »
I do live in the wild west in Oklahoma, but surprisingly they do have some rather sensible gun laws (albeit the open carry law they just passed is silly).  They require anyone who will carry, either concealed or open, to attend a certification class taught be a firearms instructor and to demonstrate some proficiency with their weapon - then there is a skill test and written test.  I've sat through a couple and they have been pretty good.  I go to the range occasionally and like to shoot zombie targets - never know!  I take my kids also and they enjoy it.

Note: I have lived a few other places, OK is just the latest stop, so I haven't fully learned the culture or the language...

I'm for sensible gun ownership and usage and I'm all for requiring classes for folks who even consider carrying one around.  I've found a lot of people out here take the class, get certified but never carry - others, it just seems like a power trip and it somehow makes them feel better (they scare me a little). 

I don't/won't hunt - so that will never be an issue, but should someone take to breaking in my home - should the alarm system not deter them, I will.  But, hey I'm a pagan :)
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Offline wright

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2013, 06:55:11 PM »
Anybody here is more than welcome to go shooting with me. You might find out that gun owners aren't nuts or fearful. We just have a backup plan much like having a spare tire.   :blank:

No argument from me about that. I know at least three gun owners I regard as at least as intelligent and responsible as I am. I would venture to say that most are; it's just that the crazy, fearful ones sell ad slots more easily.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline Odin

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2013, 07:55:47 PM »
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.

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Offline Spit

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2013, 08:29:41 PM »
I have to agree Odin. What a bunch of tools/fools. They have no clue about 99% of gun owners.  :police:

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2013, 08:50:26 PM »
Having fired guns at a target range (admittedly, when I was in Boy Scouts, so it was a while ago), I think I'm qualified under Odin's criteria to talk about gun ownership.  Also, my dad owned (probably owns, but I don't know that for sure) guns and took me hunting a couple of times.

That being said, I don't have any particular reason to own a gun, let alone carry one around with me.  Sure, that leaves me vulnerable to the occasional psycho or armed robber, but I practice the rules of self-defense (don't go places which might be dangerous, avoid people who look like trouble, and - although this hasn't come up - evade rather than confront), and that will cover me in most situations.

Offline Spit

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2013, 08:54:23 PM »
^Cool until a methhead decides he needs your stuff! As for me he gets a bullet. Let the courts decide what's next.  :police:

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2013, 09:37:19 PM »
^Cool until a methhead decides he needs your stuff! As for me he gets a bullet. Let the courts decide what's next.  :police:
If it comes to it, I can replace stuff I own.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2013, 09:42:46 PM »
But jaimehlers, isn't your stuff worth way more than any human life?
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

Offline Spit

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2013, 10:34:19 PM »
^^Cool. Until he doesn't want a witness!  :police:
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 10:36:35 PM by Spit »

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2013, 10:35:53 PM »
But jaimehlers, isn't your stuff worth way more than any human life?
I have a bit too much empathy to think that way.

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2013, 10:48:49 PM »
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

Odin

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  :)
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 10:51:06 PM by ParkingPlaces »
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Offline Spit

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2013, 10:52:09 PM »
^Canada?

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2013, 11:57:20 PM »
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2013, 12:10:51 AM »
Actually, while I think nobody would want to be one of those killed or injured by a gun (excepting suicides, but we're not counting those), that's a remarkably low number considering the number of people and, more importantly, number of guns in this country.  Though that doesn't count guns used to commit crimes that don't hurt or kill other people.

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2013, 12:53:30 AM »
Well, 3,000 dead on 9/11 was remarkably low. Our measured response reflected that.

No, remarkably low is the 5 people a year (on average) who die falling on knives sticking up in their dishwasher before they can close the door.

You are right, of course, 10 deaths per hundred thousand (the national average) isn't terribly high. And since liberal states loose folks at a lower rate (Massachusetts, 4 per 100k) and bible belt ones loose 'em at a higher rate (19 per 100k for Louisiana) you would think I would be less concerned. Even though I live in a state where 15 per 100k die that way. However, the uselessness of it all nags at me, so I think I'll keep saying that I don't like it.

Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2013, 01:54:42 AM »
3,000 people dying all at once tends to trump 300,000 dying over the time of a year in the public mind.

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2013, 05:49:39 AM »
I did own a gun when I lived in SA. I don't know what make or model it was[1] I fired it once at a lump of wood and then locked it in a safe until i moved back to the UK.
It was supposed to be for protection but the 3 german shepherds that I kept were a far more effective deterrant to would be burglars and much more fun to boot.
I personally don't see the need for anyone to own a gun.
I'm happy that in the UK gun owners are few and far between.
 1. some sort of snubnosed 6 shooter

Offline screwtape

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Re: Generic gun discussion
« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2013, 08:24:44 AM »
I grew up in a rural area.  Many people in the community had guns.  The first week of hunting season meant most of the other boys from about 3rd grade up were absent from school.  My family did not hunt.  I had several BB guns as a child, as well as a bow and several utility knives.  We did have a rifle later on, which I shot and enjoyed.  I was comfortable around guns, having been trained how to use them and handle them safely.  I enjoy shooting guns and always have. 

I would not describe myself as anti gun, though I suspect many gun advocates would take me as such (I'm lookin at you, Odin).  I was even considering buying a gun for home defense as recently as a year ago.[1]  However, the recent statistics on gun violence gave me concerns. 

As I looked at the data, and at gun owners themselves, I realized that owning a gun does two things.  First, it actually makes you less safe.[2]  Owning a gun makes you 4 times more likely to be shot than someone who does not own a gun.  Having a gun on you during a violent crime makes you 5 times more likely to be shot and 4 times more likely to be killed than if you were unarmed.  If protection is the motivation, it seems that owning a gun does not achieve that goal.  It does the opposite.

The second thing it makes you do is become even more insecure and paranoid.  This is anecdotal, but seems to be a common trait of literally every single person I have ever known or heard of who owns guns for "protection" and not some other reason.  Several of my family members have caught gun-mania, particularly, Screwtape Sr.  He's gone so far as to put a gun holster under the coffee table in the living room.  I suspect he is going to have more weapons hidden about the house in the near future.  I can only imagine the weird, paranoid fantasies have driven him to this.  I would not bring children into his home now. 

So, that, coupled with input from Mrs Screwtape, made me decide against the Mossberg.

My views on gun rights have shifted as well.  Given the ease with which armed fellow citizens - and especially the police - may execute one another, I feel much less comfortable around people with guns.  I see them as paranoiacs.  Maniacs who see danger in every shadow.  I have no idea what they will perceive as a threat and thus justification for shooting any given person within 100 yards.  And unfortunately, the laws in so many states support them. 

In my mind, the goal is to reduce the number of people killed or injured by guns.  To me this means keeping guns from the wrong people.  The wrong people include criminals, the mentally ill and morons.  I think that is practical and sensible.  I think registering every single gun is a good idea.  I think requiring background checks for every transfer of every weapon is a good idea.  I think carry permits are crazy.  I think unless you show exquisite responsibility with your weapon, your gun owing rights should be revoked.  See the gun fail thread for what I'm talking about.

The last thing I will mention is there are people who think the second amendment is there to ensure the people can overthrow the government.  They are wrong.  That ship sailed a long, long time ago, if it ever even was true.  I suspect it was not.  I've discussed this in other threads and will not take it up here.


 1. this lovely: http://www.mossberg.com/product/shotguns-autoloading-930-special-purpose-tactical-5-shot/85336
I even planned to get a wieldy 20 gauge for Mrs Screwtape.
 2. Yes, it does. There are links to data in posts I've made.  Look 'em up.
Links:
Rules
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