Atheists are a small minority in the U.S.  Advocates of gun control might be a minority in America as well. In light of the recent shootings in Aurora I am curious as to how atheists in this network view the lack of gun restrictions.  There are probably divergent views.

I have trouble believing that both presidential candidates are steering away from any call for reform after the horrific mass shooting. In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes.  It was even more shocking to hear on a news show that a family had to raise money to pay for the immense hospital bills for one of the victims while they were already crippled with medical bills from the mothers fight with breast cancer.

As a Canadian I came to stand with my U.S brothers for the reason rally and freedom from religion.  I would be willing to come down to the capitol and march for two other important causes.  Gun control and universal health care.

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I was taking small animals for food with bow & arrow by the time I was 5, and at 9 bought my first gun. I saw an ad in the paper, rode my bike to the address, gave the guy $10 and rode home with a .22 rifle across the handlebar. It's been about 20 years since I was last hungry enough to kill an animal, but feel no moral superiority by buying meat. The only gun I have now is Grandma's shotgun, and I'd have to file down a new nail for a firing pin to make it work again.

I don't begrudge anyone access to tools like guns, but see no reason why they shouldn't be at least as regulated as driver's licenses or building permits. The second amendment to our (US) constitution could be construed to preserve for the individual right to arms sufficient to resist or overthrow his government (via a socially moderated "well-regulated militia"). The only way today to even temporarily resist the US government's fantastic military is a rather large nuclear weapon, and those are fairly heavily regulated.

 

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Yes, the Founding Fathers probably couldn't have imagined semi-automatic weaponry when they were talking about the right to bear arms.  NOBODY needs these for personal use.

Do you have a clue what "semi-auto" means? The only option to that are single-action revolvers, or bolt action rifles. EVERYTHING else is semi-auto. A Springfield model 1911 is a semi-auto pistol..and as the name indicates it was release in 1911. That is how long guns have been semi-auto.

If a person breaks into your house at night and you have a weapon, you are likely to miss them due to adrenaline, fear, lighting, time constraints. Odds are that you are likely to miss your first 2 shots. But, I guess you will just hide in your room and call the cops anyway. Well, my children will get my best until the cops get there..Odds are your kids will just be killed as you cower in your closet.

"when vital seconds matter, the police are just minutes away"..

That is a scary one. 

Someone breaks into the house and your kids are killed before the police can get there. 

How often is that happening - because it would get into the news.  It is not happening too much up here in Ontario where most households do not have guns that can get off quick multiple shots - or any type of gun.  I suspect it is not a regular occurrence south of our border because that is the type of news that travels easily.

It is amazing how fear can be manipulated by special interest groups like the gun lobby to get a society to have an irrational social policy.

A lot of horrible things have been done by people and nations because of irrational fears.

Has it happened alot? Don't know. Could it happen? Definitely. There was a story in the news a couple of years ago..some psychopath broke into a home and killed all except the father that was tied up to watch as his family was massacred. I believe his wife may have been gang raped before they finally put her to death.

"It is better to have and not need, than to need and not have."

 

For me, it's about freedom. I will NEVER commit a crime with my gun. no matter if it holds 6 rounds or 30. Whether it is a revolver or an AK-47.

The premise that "no one NEEDS that weapon" is foolish. The speed limit on most roads in the US is 55mph., Some go as high as 70-80 on Interstate highways. So, by that logic no one NEEDS a car that does over 100mph. Should we outlaw Porsches? That would just be stupid, right? No one can own a car that does over 80 because you don't "need" it. Well, I WANT it because I think it is a nice car and I like the way it looks, handles, etc. No one's business but my own.

Just out of curiosity, should there be a line drawn that states a citizen cannot own a particular type of weapon? And, I'm including everything in here from a slingshot having surgical tubing with a metal ball bearing, up to and  including a nuclear device. Where is the line drawn?  And, in drawing the line, if there is one, who draws it, or where is it drawn? It's going to be an arbitrary decision by someone. So, who gets to decide? By the way, I'm a gun owner also.

I guess that is the hard question. Some items are certainly not meant for public consumption. A nuclear device is not something that can help you protect your family. if someone breaks into your house you are not likely to use a flame thrower either. BUT, if I want a flame thrower to play with in my yard, then that is my business. If I do nothing to hurt you or your property, then who are you to say otherwise. NOW, when I am being negligent and burn down your house, then I should be punished accordingly. For me, I get the "prevention" aspect of taking away those things, but I prefer the harsh punishment angle instead. Should I have a full auto AR.? Probably not, but if I have one in my gunsafe that never sees the light of day, then how dangerous is it? Taking away rights does not prevent crime. I can kill you with an ax all the same...do we disarm the lumberjacks int he name of all that is good and holy.??

I tend to agree in some respects. My arbitrary line would be narrower than yours; but again, I understand both are arbitrary. As to a flamethrower, I'd say no.  And here's why.  You may be willing to assume the risk of burning your own house down. However, as your neighbor, I'm not willing to assume  your risk for my house. And, it's not just a matter of "Oops, I tripped while spaying it. Sorry about your house, car, and wife." Those things can explode, through negligent use or a manufacturing defect. And, the consequences of a misfire in an fully AR is quite a bit different that a burning and expanding cloud of combustible material. I see those in the same vein as a hand grenade, C4, shoulder filed rockets, Claymore mines, and TOW missiles.

As to how dangerous a fully auto AK-47 is. Realistically, probably as dangerous as a 3/4 ton truck going the wrong way on an interstate highway with a drunk at the wheel. And no, we're not going to ban cars, trucks, and highways.

Like I said, it's arbitrary. Someone has to draw the line, and whoever does is assured that there will be those that rail against where it is drawn.

Mr Moose:

I'm suspect your scenario is rare.  Here is an actual case (not hearsay) that shows a more common tragedy involving guns 

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1263639--man-kills-masked...

How often are guns used when people know each other?

The societies that have more restrictions on gun ownership have significantly lower death rates due to guns. I'm fine with Porsches that go over 100 mph - not so happy if my whole neighborhood was armed to the teeth with revolvers and AK-47's.   

"an armed society is a polite one"..I'm okay with my neighbors having AKs..as long as they are law abiding citizens. Not my right to tell them otherwise...that is where freedom comes in. You cannot pick and choose which freedoms you like, unless you want to have a "Animal Farm" type situation. Same with other freedoms, like freedom of religion. I think we'd all have a problem if someone came to us and said we have to believe their way or be punished for it. I am a non-smoker. I believe smoking is bad for you..But, put it on the ballot and I will vote against banning it.

There was a saying that went something like this..not a direct quote: When they came for the Jews, I said nothing..I am not a jew...etc.etc..When they came for me, there was none left to speak for me...

I understand the point you make..if there were NO guns there could be NO gun violence..there'd just be other violence instead. Evil will find a way to be evil.

Sorry to hear you went through that experience and glad to hear no one was shot when you faced down an armed intruder. 

It sounds like a viscous cycle much like the religious wars that carry on with their own momentum. Protestants and Catholics in Ireland are tired of all the killing and want to make peace and then a faction does something stupid and then they can't make peace.

You have to have guns because other people with ill intent have guns.

The anecdotal account always has a lot of influence in discussions.  But, the statistics are more important.  Should my neighborhood be armed to the teeth?  The numbers indicate that societies with gun controls have a lot better control on firearm related deaths. 

We could look at the vaccination question with the anecdotal account and stats as well.  I may know someone who had a bad reaction and decide not to get vaccinated, but the stats may really point to more safety in getting that shot.

Many people have argued that they need guns to defend themselves.  It is too late in the U.S. because the bad guys already have guns. I am curious - do any of you regret how your right to bear arms has turned out?  Would you want to have guns if the U.S. always had strict gun control policy and the bad guys did not have as many guns.

If you moved to another country that has their guns under control would you feel upset if they did not let you have a gun.  Would you recommend to that society that a lax distribution of guns is a better policy?

Rusty:

There are no bucolic myths -  they would be called out for misrepresentation of the data.  I live in Ontario and there isn't an under reporting of homicides scandal occurring here.

Here is some hard data:

Canada Murder Average: 600/year
U.S. Murder Average: 14,500/year with 9,146 firearm related deaths

Canada Population: 33.8 million
U.S. Registered Population: 307 million

Canada Murder Percentile: 1.775%
U.S. Murder Percentile: 4.72%

Why is there more than double the murder rate - maybe easy access to guns is playing a part.

Both of our countries should be looking with envy at Australia and Iceland.

http://www.poptens.com/2012/04/17/top-10-safest-countries-to-live-i...

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