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QotD: Guns, Part II

Question: Do you own a gun?

My Answer: You bet your booty. 🙂*

* In other words, people who know me or even read this blog know this already.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

26 Responses to "QotD: Guns, Part II"

  1. Perhaps the next questions of the day should be "what kind?" and "why?" I don't own a gun, nor do I ever plan to, but I can see that if you were into hunting, a long gun would be practical.

  2. Nope. Wish I did—and that I’d never have to use it.

  3. I own four of them! If I could afford it, I would own more!

  4. No. Personally, I don't see the need. My dad collects antique rifles and has a fair number of modern guns as well, so I've grown up surrounded by them. Its not that I'm afraid or uncomfortable or just want to get away from them, I just don't see any need for me to own one. Why do you own a gun?

  5. I actually own 8 guns. I would have to say my favorite is my Glock 30. I want to get a Walther P99 in 40 S&W. I also need to save up some money and put one of these together.

  6. Nope. And I never will.

  7. The morality of hunting aside - owning a gun for "defense" outside of a state of war is no different (aside from scale in terms of destructive power) from every single country in the world developing nuclear capabilities. As soon as one person "needs" one, everyone else "needs" one, and all that you are guaranteeing is that at some point, somebody will screw up and somebody will die. All you are protecting yourself from is other people who bought guns... for "defense". Anyone would think nobody had ever heard of M.A.D. or had "The Sneeches" read to them as a child. Your choice is either arm everyone, or arm noone.

    Michael Moore's point in "Bowling for Columbine" is that guns represent the worst part of a culture of fear which hangs in the air like a cold sweat in your country. Guns provide the illusion that you needn't be afraid, but lets face it, if someone really wants to take you out - with a gun - there's not a damn thing you can do to stop them.

    Guns are glorified, efficient catapults; tools for slinging matter at someone else, with the hope of destroying a part of their (our) fragile bodies. It's that simple. Anyone who covets these devices, the only purpose and function of which is to disrupt the life of something else is in my humble and hopefully sane opinion, an idiot. There is no art and no elegance present in guns. Instead, you should ask yourself why you love them so much. What is it, really, that they give you?

  8. Couldn't agree more with James. As a non-american from a culture that doesn't really share the same 'right to bear arms' ideology, I can't really comment though. I just don't understand why someone would put so much of their identity into owning a fire arm.

  9. James, I have to respond in two parts to your comment:

    Michael Moore's vague point was contradicted by his visit to Canada, where they have as many (or more) guns per capita as we do here in the U.S., yet people could hardly remember the last murder they'd heard "aboot."It's possible to own guns that are used for purposes other than hunting, "protection," or killing people. Olympians use guns to win medals, after all. Shooting a gun at a target in a safe, aware fashion can be a satisfying hobby, as can creating, cleaning, maintaining, or collecting guns. It's almost like golf, in fact. I bet more people are killed while golfing (lightning?) than are killed at firearms target ranges each year.

    Guns only represent a culture of fear when you're afraid of guns. I am not. Having a gun pointed at you is not the same thing as being afraid of guns, after all, and responsible gun owners who hunt, collect, compete in the Olympics, or just enjoy practicing marksmanship are not going to point a gun at you.

    I'm not in favor of everyone owning a gun. Not by a long shot (no pun intended). I'm a responsible individual who respects the destructive power a gun holds. What problem do you have with me owning a gun, deriving satisfaction the few times I manage to hit the center of a circle 50 yards away?

  10. Nope. Never will.

    Fuck guns, I don't need them to live my life.

  11. Erik, I would never feel safe if I went to a bar and began drinking, knowing everyone there has a gun.

    Would you?

    We're not cowboys, we don't need guns to solve problems.

  12. Jean, you seem to have completely missed the point. Your question is so off-base that this is the only reply it deserves.

  13. I've been skeet shooting before, and while not my thing (I suck at it), I can see why people might find it fun. It is really hard. Imagine if when golfing, for instance, the hole you're trying to hit the ball into is moving. It's kind of like that. However, at the same time, I think there is a big difference between someone owning a few collectors guns or one that they take to a shooting range and someone feeling that they have a right to own a cop-killing weapon, with the later being too excessive.

  14. You make some good counters Erik - I had tried to cover all bases but yes, the 'pure sport' angle I hadn't considered.

    I suspect you've actually understood Moore's point without perhaps consciously realising it. He points out that Canadians have as many guns per head as Americans (or something to that effect), but wonders why it is that gun crime is so much more prevalent across a border. Since geography or gun saturation isn't a factor it must be a social issue.

    Having a gun pointed at you is, unfortunately, something you should be very afraid of. If an olympian is pointing their sporting rifle at you, you should be afraid, since any competent wielder of what is historically even if not contextually a weapon, should never, ever do that.

    That said, bringing sport into the issue somewhat enlarges the scope of this debate. Sport at its most noble is simply the testing and improvement of human physical achievement, but then so many other things have been done "just to see if they could be". Anyway that's a much larger issue that only serves to dilute the argument. I'd suggest that there are plenty of ways to sense achievement without using a weapon. Your very valid point about golf clubs goes somewhat to making my point that if someone is out to get you, there's pretty much nothing you can do about it if they really want to, 'weapon' or no weapon. But lets not start debating about free will 🙂

    The point is that even the most careful of licensing, mistakes happen and these weapons are misused. And due to the nature of democracy and the constitution, everyone (with a few special cases) who appears to be a sane citizen with a bit of patience can get access to a significant amount of firepower. On the offchance that mistakes have been made, more people get guns to protect the people with guns who might be less sane. And so it continues. Isn't it surely better to just get rid of all the guns, and if that means you need to obtain a sense of achievement by rock-climbing or watersports, isn't it worth the lives that would be saved by accidents and misuse avoided?

    (Apologies for the length of these comments, but it's an issue that deserves treatment, I hope you'll agree).

  15. What debate, James? I haven't enlarged anything. I asked the question "do you own a gun" and answered it in a few words. Clearly you do not. I have neither defined the scope of the debate, nor in fact really even created one on my own.

    An Olympian pointing a gun at me? James, I said this for a reason:

    responsible gun owners who hunt, collect, compete in the Olympics, or just enjoy practicing marksmanship are not going to point a gun at you.

    Your point, summarized, becomes this: "get rid of all the guns because they can hurt people." Clearly, this is silly, as Michael Moore's own documentary pointed out: they don't hurt many people in other countries. Merely this one.

    Besides, James: chainsaws hurt people. So do axes. Ice picks? Baseball bats. Liquor. Cigarettes. Cars kill a lot of people: should we take those away too?

    Isn't it surely better to just get rid of all the guns, and if that means you need to obtain a sense of achievement by rock-climbing or watersports, isn't it worth the lives that would be saved by accidents and misuse avoided?

    Hell no. Why? Because my use of my guns has and will result in the deaths or injuries of zero people. Zero. Which, incidentally, is less than the number of people who will ever be injured because of my use of chainsaws (I cut my finger open nicely trying to reseat a chain once). Once, while playing in Little League, I got a hit and threw my bat so that I could run to first and bruised the shin of the umpire.

    So, "shouldn't we just take all the guns away?" No. Not only is that response incredibly stupid, but it's incredibly impossible as well. Any attempt to "take all the guns away" will simply result in honest people who respect their firepower (and laws) not having guns.

    My dad has a sticker in his den. It reads "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." Go ahead James, put your weight on that slippery slope. I won't see you at the bottom.

  16. Incidentally, for those in favor of "more laws," especially those designed to prevent shooting people, my stance is that we have one, and so does nearly every other country. They go something like this: "it's illegal to kill people."

    In other words, I'm not denying that we have some sort of weird problem here in the US with gun-related deaths. I am saying - and Michael Moore has shown - that gun ownership is not the determining factor.

    I don't believe that we can correct whatever the problem here in the US may be - the answer to the question Michael Moore poses but conveniently fails to answer - via legislature.

  17. I don't believe that we can correct whatever the problem here in the US may be - the answer to the question Michael Moore poses but conveniently fails to answer - via legislature.

    This is true, but I'm not sure it would be entirely outrageous to mandate that anyone requesting a gun permit should have to take a 3 or 4 hour gun safety class. For those who want a CCW permit I think even gun retention training and some kind of minimal tactical training should be in order (since carrying a gun for protection will be of little use if the criminal is able to take the gun away from you and use it against you and/or you aren't at least somewhat prepared for the situation). Possibly having to renew the permit every 2 years or so (which means sitting for the class again and having the background check rerun) might also be useful, though that could be substituted by simply documenting that you've been to a range at least a few times over the past two years (I'm mostly concerned that people who own guns and/or carry them keep up their skills, since I'd rather not have people running around carrying who can't aim worth a hoot). But from what I've read most legal gun owners are fairly responsible anyway (aside from the occasional accident which is usually a result of pure stupidity or lack of training, which the mandatory class would resolve), so these requirements would be a breeze for them.

    Otherwise, I agree. Any more legislation beyond that would be useless. Suggesting that we just "take all guns away" is of course absurd. It might be nice for wishful thinking, but it won't ever happen.

  18. Not to get back to the Bowling for Columbine QotD, but one thing about Moore's comparison to Canada -- the Department of Justice seems to disagree with percent gun ownership. I suppose It's possible that Moore counted guns per capita rather than gun-owning-households, and that gun-owning households have a lot more guns than in the US. If that's the case, measuring household gun ownership would more relevant anyway, unless you walk about armed to the teeth with all your guns. The Justice Department paper is actually worth a read; it contrasts gun stats in eight countries.

    One important statistic is that by-and-large, we're into long guns used for hunting/skeet/biathlon. While gun ownership is high here (22% of households), handgun ownership is low (2.6% of households).

    Personally, I have to agree that Moore's point was that gun ownership (for for the purpose of "self-defence") is one of the results of a culture of fear. I don't think he insinuates that this culture of fear is created by guns, but rather that high-gun ownership is one result. He argues that that fear is created by the media and backed by the current administration. I also wouldn't call it so much a documentary as an essay on film. Moore is a man on a mission -- an activist. He says "here's the problem; here are some of the results of that problem; discuss." That's it.

    Last point, as I'm running out of hot air: the morality of hunting. If you eat meat, someone is killing an animal to get it to you. I'll go so far as to say that someone is probably confining an animal in less-pleasant-than-wild conditions for its entire life, then killing it. I don't have the stomach for hunting, myself, but I believe that game hunters, who eat the animal they kill, probably give that animal more respect than those of us who mindlessly buy our meat at the butcher's.

  19. Newsflash: the outlaws have guns anyway. Your guns don't protect you from those criminals just as having your own personal nuke will save your life if China targets your back garden. All you guarantee is a bit of posthumous revenge. And with a gun you don't even get that. Mutually Assured Destruction is the inevitable result of the unilateral arming of individual entities (countries in this case).

    A society where the maintenance of order is so heavily tied to a deterrent is not the sort of society I want to be a part of (and I'm not, cooincidentally). That's just my personal choice, and I'm now old enough to geograhically exercise it.

    If guns weren't publically consumed, production of firearms available to the public should, from my limited understanding of supply and demand, ramp down. Where would the outlaws get their weapons from in that case? Where to they get them from now? Who makes these guns? What is their justification for building weapons? Does the owner of a 'gun factory' (yes I'm being naive here) go home at night happy in the knowledge that a certain proportion of the defense tools he produced that day will be used by aggressors? Does he feel happy in the knowledge that this very fact insures he will be required to produce yet more weaponry for the good guys just to maintain the correct balance? How does the K-mart owner feel when his child is shot with a bullet bought from his very store? Is he really powerless? I thought America was the land of the people.

    Yes, guns are a reality in America. Will they all disappear? Of course not. People like the illusion of power and defense too much. Besides, as your father's den proclaims, if you give up your guns willingly, who's going to protect you from all the bad people in the world? The police?

    If I was being attacked by someone with a gun, would i prefer to be armed or unarmed? Armed of course! Would I take steps that might avoid this choice for future generations? Hell yes. If that mean feeling unsafe until a generation had grown up without the gun culture as a norm? Hell yes. Will the nuclear powers of the world disarm completely and immediately? Of course not. We've all grown up with nuclear capabilities, so it feels so normal to us we hardly notice, but wouldn't it be better if countries didn't have these stockpiles at all? I suspect it might be something to really work hard towards. And yes, this involves being the 'bigger man', making sacrifices and making yourself vulnerable in the meantime.

    What struck me in your answer was: "You bet your booty", in other words "of course I do". Owning a gun is a poor, short-term solution to a social problem, and making guns more and more available goes nowhere towards solving that problem. There is a social problem here. You've had 200 years with a set of social guidelines - The Constitution - which defines an attitude towards gun ownership, rights and use. Clearly something in there isn't working. It's up to the American people to do what they can to work out this social problem for the future benefit of them and the rest of the world. Maybe when you find a solution, your children won't feel like they ought to sleep with a firearm in the bedside table to feel safe. That is the world I want for my children. It's not going to happen without sacrifice. Who wants to take the first steps to make the future a better place? Any volunteers?

  20. I don't own a gun, but I could see myself owning one at some point in the future. I most enjoy shooting .22 rifles, but I really enjoyed shooting a competition .22 pistol(that probably cost over $1000). The 9mm pistol had too much kick for me.

    If I ever own a gun, I would only buy it if I lived in a very rural area. I would only use it for plinking, maybe some target shooting, and maybe to take care of pesky rodents or crows or somesuch.

  21. James, you've gone off the deep end. Not only are you refusing to comment on the actual topics and points provided, but you've managed to twist things around so completely that they don't even seem to make much sense to you.

    Here, then, is as brief a response to your comment as possible.

    I'm ignoring your discussion of nuclear weapons because it has no basis in this conversation, and barely warrants this much of a response.

    Newsflash: the outlaws have guns anyway.

    Duh. Then you say the following two things:

    Your guns don't protect you from those criminals. If I was being attacked by someone with a gun, would I prefer to be armed or unarmed? Armed of course!

    Make up your mind, eh?

    Does the owner of a 'gun factory' (yes I'm being naive here) go home at night happy in the knowledge that a certain proportion of the defense tools he produced that day will be used by aggressors?

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people. That's true of a gangster on the street and it's true of the guy who authorizes a bomb that's dropped on some target.

    Alcohol-related (drunk driving) deaths result because people lack the (whatever) to not drive while drunk. Do you blame the alcohol - and the people that make it - in this case? I could use an axe, a chainsaw, a golf club, a kitchen fork, a few off-the-shelf drugs, or countless other things to kill people. Should the makers of my dinnerware sleep uneasily at night?

    In other words, you're completely out in left field. Please, join us. We're having a conversation in the locker room. Of an entirely different stadium.

    People like the illusion of power and defense too much.

    At what point has anyone said anything close to that? I have not. How's the sun out there in left field? Getting a tan?

    What struck me in your answer was: "You bet your booty", in other words "of course I do".

    My answer struck you incorrectly. My answer was "having read my blog, duh, yes, I have a gun as I've mentioned several times before." For example, I hunt. Want to see a picture of a deer with blood around it? Click that one. Tasty, that deer was. Mmmm.

    Owning a gun is a poor, short-term solution to a social problem, and making guns more and more available goes nowhere towards solving that problem.

    At what point did I say that I owned a gun to solve a social problem? Seriously dude, your mom is calling you back to the house. You seem to have wandered off a bit.

    Besides, as your father's den proclaims, if you give up your guns willingly, who's going to protect you from all the bad people in the world? The police?

    That's not what it implies, infers, or in any way says.

    It's not going to happen without sacrifice. Who wants to take the first steps to make the future a better place? Any volunteers?

    You've failed to tell me how I, a responsible gun owner, am doing anything to make the world a worse place to live. As Michael Moore shows, Canada owns a bunch of guns and doesn't go around shooting themselves up a whole lot.

    Enjoy the view out there in left field. And please, no further responses from you are necessary if they're going to continue to be as "out there" as this one.

  22. My apparent contradictions are simply an acknowledgement that personal 'rights' and desires (including my own) often clash with what is good for us as a collective in the long term.

    I disagree with most of your rebuttals, but much as I am as stubborn as Erik is (and I don't mean that in a bad way, I'm sure he won't take it as such), I'll hold my tongue; this is your site Erik, and I do feel bad for taking up as much comment space as I already have. Sincerely. Have you looked at BitBeamer yet!? 🙂

    My revised answer, if I might peek back in through the locker room door (I'm fairly sure we're in the same stadium however, and you're welcome to consider with me the view outside): No, I do not own a gun; I believe the world would be a better place if noone did, regardless of how responsible individuals might be; and a better world is worth temporarily sacrificing personal 'rights' for.

  23. No, I do not own a gun; I believe the world would be a better place if noone did, regardless of how responsible individuals might be; and a better world is worth temporarily sacrificing personal 'rights' for.

    The problem is that the only people who would end up temporarily sacrificing their personal rights would be the good people. How many criminals do you think are going to throw up their arms, rejoice, and hand in their weapons because they also want a "better world"?

  24. I think your golf analogy is a bit misleading. Add in a the deaths of guns off the range with those due to golf paraphernalia off the course and it's going to be a bit lopsided.

    Guns aren't evil. They're well made tools. Their original purpose was to kill things, which has been adapted by some to put holes in things from great distances. Your baseball bat has a [in my opinion] legitimate purpose. It can be misused and bruise someone's shin, but the value to society is enough and the number of bruised shins low enough (and a bat's function isn't all that unique) that we allow them. Liquor and cigarettes also kill people like you point out. So do cars. We regulate those all by age, too. To use a car (which provide the most value to society) we require you to take and pass safety courses and tests.

    But for some reason we shouldn't regulate guns?

    ~BS

  25. I have a couple guns that shoot little plastic pellets.

  26. I own several guns (I lately stored a few of my guns and don't have a count of how many are actually in the house) and I practice high gun safety (keeping everything locked up, ammo separate from the guns, etc.). I use the guns solely for hunting. I don't own a handgun or any assault rifles but only guns that I find appropriate for hunting. From this background, I see no reason that certain weapons should be available to the average citizen. The right to bears arms no longer applies to allowing every gun made to an individual for the purpose of overthrowing the government since there is no possible way to amass an arsenal needed to fight the American army by a civilian group in my opinion.

    Perhaps I'm am holding some sort of hypocritical grounds since I don't see how those guns are of any purpose for civilians and yet I still hold guns whose purpose is made extraneous by the availability of commercial products. I don't believe that guns are effective protection devices, either. I say this to frame my background from which my views come.

    Personally, I hold that the availability of guns for hunting to those of sufficient responsibility are acceptable. I don't care for guns in the home for "protection," but I can accept it for the time being. I don't, however, believe that any other weapons is appropriate for any to obtain. I support getting assault rifles off the street and out of gun shows (and expos that often bypass normal gun laws), but I can trust responsible people to handle appropriate guns responsibly.

    By the way, I also don't see how owning a gun is a "right." It just doesn't seem to fit into that category. "Freedom," "free speech," and other lofty goals like that just sound like "rights" to me. The "right to bear arms" always sounds like a stretch for some reason. Perhaps it just isn't self-evident to me.


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