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I Don’t Hate Guns, I Just Feel Better When They’re Not Around

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | Add A CommentBy admin | January 16, 2011

With Over 190 million guns in America, they’re not going away any time soon. Maybe if we called it “gun approval” legislation instead of “gun control” legislation, the typical gun owner would get less up in arms about registering their weapons.

Do you really feel safe knowing guys
like this have unrestricted access to guns?

For most of my life I’ve held the belief that the world would be a better place without guns. I’m enough of a realist that I don’t have any hope of that being the case in my lifetime, but the topic is still of some concern to me, because while I have little interest in having one in my own hands, I have even less interest in having one around if it’s in someone else’s hands. Before I go on, I should point out that as a youngster growing up on a farm, I had the opportunity to handle a variety of guns, including rifles, shotguns, and even a couple of revolvers. I also had the chance to shoot an Uzi once, and can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s quite an amazing little machine. The opportunity to handle and shoot guns in a responsible fashion like this is in fact why I don’t believe we need them around. My use of the word “believe” is quite pertinent to the topic; I think it safe to say that the pro and anti gun debate will stew for quite some time, largely because the logic behind most arguments on either side is usually based on sentiment, not objective fact. I would feel a lot more comfortable with most gun advocates, for example, if they were just more honest about their motives for gun ownership. The most commonly cited reason for owning a gun is self-defense. Which is a bit ludicrous, in my view; self-defense against a gun would be wearing Kevlar Long Johns. Firing a gun in “self defense” is actually hostile retaliation if the attacker shoots first, and flat out hostility if they don’t. Just explore the Han Shot First debate if you don’t get what I mean. If gun owners could actually just come clean and say they enjoy the feeling of power a gun gives them, I’d feel a lot more comfortable, because at least then I’d know the person in control of this tool of violence and destruction was not self-deluded. A soldier, for instance, knows why he has a gun – if called to action, he’s going to use it to injure or kill someone, and he’s trained accordingly. And the hunting argument feels a little feeble to me too. The food supply we have via commercial animal slaughter provides more than enough meat for everyone, and shooting Bambi’s mom or dad from a few hundred yards away is hardly what I’d call “sportsmanship”. Sportsmanship would be stalking the prey and taking it down with a buck knife. On the other side of the debate, I think there’s a general failure of reason; with over 190 million guns in the United States and a highly profitable industry producing more than 4 million more annually, they’re not going away any time soon. And the fact that it’s a typical gun owner’s belief that it’s a God-given right to own one suggests that firearm restrictions and prohibitions would have effects similar to prohibitions of mind-altering substances; i.e.: the problems would persist and perhaps evolve into even more complex problems. And while I find myself a bit awkwardly aligning with many gun advocates regarding the logic behind our constitutional right to bear arms, I’d hasten to point out that if civil unrest reached a level where we were violently resisting our own government, the authority of the constitution itself would reasonably be in question, and I might be first in line at the armory to preserve our freedoms. But in my opinion, the main problem with gun ownership in America is that there are so many cultural problems underlying the gun problem that legislation will remain an emotional, divisive, highly politicized issue for some time to come. Having lots of guns around doesn’t intrinsically mean high crime rates; Switzerland is commonly held up as proof of this fact. However, Switzerland has neither the poor standard of living nor the complex cultural diversity we have in America. But the comparison is useful in one way; the politicized language of “gun control” instantly evokes a dissonant chord for a gun owner, because power and control are intrinsic to their desire to own a gun. Maybe if we called it “gun approval” legislation instead of “gun control” legislation, the idea of registering firearms would be more palatable to those who want to own them. I certainly don’t want to take your gun away; although it’s clear to me that a gun has no purpose other than death or destruction, it’s not guns that kill people, it’s people. The guns just make it a lot easier, as Eddie Izzard points out below.