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.
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.
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.