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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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.

It's a little known fact that the DC snipers failed on their first attempts to murder unsuspecting strangers because they simply couldn't throw their axes half a mile.  So they switched to an AR-15 and the bodies began dropping.  Why should anyone have the ability to blow your head off from 1,000 yards away?

Why should the line be arbitrary?  Some things are more dangerous than others.  I don't care if you set off a few firecrackers in your back yard on July 4, but I would be very upset if you started lobbing grenades or setting off dynamite.

Let's all just get swords.  Oh, and be sure to get that flame thrower rider on your homeowner's policy.

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.

That is the problem with you  gun lovers.......You  fantasize about  someone  robbing  you  or  hurting your  family  to justify owning a weapon.....In the meantime  the  chances  of  domestic violence  using said weapon  is  way   more  likely.....and if robbed  when no one  is  home  the bad  guy  can steal  your  weapon and  use  it  to kill , try  living with that........

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...

I'd be interested to see those breakdowns with an additional column for impoverished people, cultural diversity, etc. I would assume we (U.S.) have more innercity violence due to poverty, education, drugs, and race issues...

Also, how many of those firearm related deaths are due to hunting accidents, idiots hurting themselves, and children having easy access to guns with no training/supervision from parents.

it is a totally different culture here and cannot be compared to other countries accurately.

I often travel overseas and observe armed policemen or security guards.  There are many societies where it is very difficult for the general public to possess firearms, other than perhaps hunting-shotguns.  Law enforcement officials carry guns, but private citizens do not.  Such asymmetry confounds me and bespeaks of a basic injustice.  Such societies almost certainly have lower incidence of gun-related crimes, accidents or suicides.  But at what price?  For me personally, the purpose of firearms isn't self-defense against nefarious evil-doers who aim to commit a potential crime against me, but to ensure an armed citizenry.

In a society with no highways or motor vehicles, traffic deaths would be very low.  But at what price? 

I do not side with America's conservatives who insist that personal ownership of firearms is crucial for self-defense against intruders, robbers and so forth.  Most people lack the athleticism, the poise, the training and instincts to react sufficiently promptly to make a difference, even if a gun is available at hand.  Neither do I exalt the hunting-culture as a crucial tradition whose tools must be preserved.  Rather, private possession of firearms is an abstract expression of personal freedom, rather than a toolkit for practical aims. 

If moving to another country where firearms possession is strictly controlled, I would indeed lobby, to the extent practical, for wholesale revision of the laws and the culture to render firearms more available.  And I would much rather live in a neighborhood bristling with firearms, where people carry them like wallets or combs, than one devoid of guns, or with only the occasional gun locked in some basement storage cabinet.

Got to love those analogies... low traffic deaths - but  no cars to drive .... comfort of an armed citizenry at the expense of the highest death rate in all civilized nations.

I think it all comes down to your upbringing.  Some of us have escaped the ideology of religion and some have not.  Some people are brought up Christian, Muslim, or Jewish  and can not be budged in their core beliefs.  The same thing goes for your take on guns in society. I was brought up in a culture that does not believe we need access to all types of guns to possibly overthrow our government or to defend ourselves from criminals. Who knows, if I was brought up in the U.S maybe my arguments would be as passionate as some of the gun advocates.

But, this stuff about guns all sounds crazy to me and most of my neighborhood. 

Are there any pro gun people, people who were brought up with the belief that all types of guns are essential to society who have changed their minds a little?  Maybe a ban on assault rifles or tighter controls. 

Personally I am very glad that our politicians would not back off of a debate on access to assault weapons because it might lose them the election.

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