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 don't understand assault weapons myself - why would someone need a gun like that?

I am still researching these issues and trying to decide on them.

It's for all those mutant deer that shoot laser beams out from their antlers. Obviously. x.x

This is correct.  You forgot to add that the mutant lazerbeam deer are gay illegal immigrant muslim  atheists to boot.

The argument is not who "needs" that gun. It is who "wants" that gun. I have friends with AR-15 rifles. They are not full auto weapons. You cannot just buy a full auto weapon as a normal citizen. So, what a gun looks like is not a crime. That is the problem with gun control activits, they know nothing about guns. An AR-15 is a .223 caliber semi-auto rifle. My deer gun is a .308 caliber rifle. Any one with math skills knows that .308 is a larger number than .223 . In other words, my deer rifle does more damage than an AR-15. Also, semi-auto is semi-auto. 1 bullet is released with each trigger pull. An "assault weapon" fires no quicker than any other semi-auto rifle that you can pick up from Wal-Mart. People don't want us buying them because they look like military weapons. That is all.

All that being said, here is the issue to me: it is not about what I "need", it is about my right to have anything I want as long as it does not hurt others. I have been around guns all my life and have never shot anyone, robbed anyone, etc. And, what about this: I have never killed a deer with my rifles. I use them all for target shooting only. That is what I enjoy doing with them and that is my business, not some scared ill-informed activist.

It seems that we, as atheists, should always want to be on the side of freedom. My gun is my business. NOW< if I rob or shoot someone then I should be prosecuted. That is where this country drops the ball. We don't make it a deterrent to commit crimes..we only use the crimes to make our own politcal statement.

I agree. 

Right on, A. Noni.

How many atheists, who like to say we think more clearly than many others, are interested in the reasons for violence in America?

We could also be interested in the reasons for our using more presently-illegal drugs per person than any other nation.

What is it in America that explains those behaviors?

Rise to the challenge: theism won't muddle our thoughts.

Moose...you have  it all wrong....You are  talking  like it is all about  you....You may have the right  attitude about  guns  and  you may have  the experience handling  guns so  you  feel  you should  have a gun....Well news  flash....Most  people  do not  have  your  attitude  and  most do  to  know  enough  about  handling  a gun/rifle never mind  a semi automatic....I am sorry if you are  offended by the gun control advocates.....However  you have  to look at the big  picture.....We as Americans  have  a gun/rifle  problem.....The  more guns/rifles  out there the greater  the chance  of the wrong  person getting  a hold of one....If it means that  someone  like  yourself  won't be able  to  have  target  practice  don't  you think it is a sacrifice  for the greater good......Weapons  so dangerous should  be  for  the proper  authorities  only.....Maybe  if  we require  stringent training  before  a license is given  and  require  more training  every  year  it could  work....Gun shows  have to be banned....We can't  as a society  be so lax with something  so  powerful....Hasn't  the   several  massacres  especially  the one  at Sandy Hook elementary school  taught us anything............

I grew up with a houseful of guns, and I know full well the difference between an automatic and a semi-automatic weapon.  People--even hunters and other gun owners--sometimes refer to guns as automatic when they are actually semi-automatic, for example, to differentiate between a pump action shotgun and a semi-auto.  The confusion of terms has very little to do with the debate, and if a state legislature or Congress writes a legal definition for an assault weapon, then that's what it is for legal purposes.  My 700cc motorcycle is "high performance" because the insurance companies say it is, even though it's a turtle compared to my 1000cc bike and bike enthusiasts would never consider it "high performance."  So the generic use of "automatic" for a semi-auto is not an indication that gun control activists know nothing about guns.  Some of us know plenty.

The Second Amendment states that guns are necessary because a free state needs a "well regulated militia."   A militia in the 18th century was not a bunch of rednecks playing soldier on the weekends in preparation for a race war or for fighting off the government agents who come to collect long overdue grazing fees.  Militias were arms of the government, formed to defend communities against attacks, chiefly by native Americans.  In Massachusetts, they were called "trained bands," and in some colonies men of property were required to be members.  (Guns were expensive, so no matter what we see in the movies, not everyone had one, even in the Wild West.)  These trained bands were under the control of the communities' leaders.  Military technology has left the volunteer force far behind, and the US militia has been the National Guard since the 1930s, so there is no national security need for the citizenry to carry weapons.

Since my Dad was a hardcore gun nut who hunted everything that moved, practiced target shooting obsessively (I spent many days "pulling targets" for him), loaded his own ammo to get exactly the right weight of powder in each cartridge, competed on the New York State National Guard rifle team, and taught hunter safety classes required by the state, there's no pro-gun argument you can make that I didn't hear from my Dad fifty years ago.

So here is what I suggest.

Background checks for everyone.  I know some people will get around this, but nobody, and I do mean nobody, believes that everybody will obey every law.  Every law gets broken, but we don't get rid of good laws because some folks break them.

No ceramic guns.   They can't do anything a steel gun can't do except slip through metal detectors.  They have no advantage for the individual, but could pose a threat to society.

No 3-D printer guns.  Ditto.

Ballistics tests at the factory stored in a national database.  This would help police track down perpetrators of gun crimes.

Ban on hollow point bullets, cop-killers, etc.  Jacketed rounds only.

Guns with safety chips.  Wear it on your wrist so you can activate it--literally--in your sleep or leave it deactivated if an intruder gets your gun or if the gun is stolen.

Mental health evaluations.  I know most gun owners are safe, law-abiding citizens; if they care so damn much about safety and the law, they should no problem being evaluated for gun ownership.  I have to have a medical exam to continue flying so I don't have a heart attack and crash into the 4th of July parade.  Why shouldn't you have some sort of psych exam before walking among us armed to the teeth?

Liability insurance.  My car serves a purpose other than killing, but it can also kill, maim, and cause property damage.  The law in every state says I have to have liability insurance in case I do cause death, injury, or damage, just as I have liability insurance in case my dog bites someone or the mailman slips on my steps.  These laws do not infringe upon car or home ownership, so why shouldn't you have insurance on your guns?

There's not one person in ten thousand who will respond appropriately when the gunfight starts.  Read about the clusterfuck that resulted in the death of Pat Tillman.  Well trained members of the finest military in the world shot the shit out of each other.  Tillman took three beautifully placed rounds in the forehead from a SAW gun.  Good shooting, terrible judgment.  Trained soldiers, police, and FBI agents make mistakes when the bullets start flying, and sometimes their bullets fly first.

I think there should be a reasonable compromise between the individual's rights and public safety.  Personally, I would like to have a helicopter gunship, a couple of rocket launchers, and three or four .50 cal machine guns.  Plus a doomsday machine.  When the guvmint comes after my backyard pot plants, the revenooers will be under fire all the way, and when they win it will be a Pyrrhic victory.

Finally....a comment  I can agree with...Thank you  Craig for  writing  such an eloquent  essay.......Especially  from someone  who  actually  knows  a lot  about guns and and  realizes  that  guns  are  dangerous weapons  that need  more  regulation not less.....I respect you so much.......

Steph,

   I agree with you.  Please see my reply below.

   The Colonial Gunsmith

I agree, but it seems we are definitely in the minority on this one. Americans love guns and will not stand for any restrictions on their possession.

You're right about Americans not standing for restrictions on their possessions even though the 2nd Amendment gives the states the right to regulate weapons.

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