I know we're all different thinkers, but I'm just curious if there is a consensus view among atheists regarding firearms?

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Where is your proof for any of this Dan? Most of the guns used by the cartels down in Mexico to my understanding are Military grade weapons that you can't get without going through the NFA rigamaroo. I don't think very many people going through the hoops to get a fully automatic firearm are strawmanning for cartels.
Upon further research, your assertion that we're supplying the cartels with the majority of their weapons is complete falsehood.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/02/myth-percent-small-fract...

http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/guns-fue...
http://www.oliverwillis.com/2010/09/08/report-mexican-drug-war-bein...

The first ten Google searches on mexican drug wars american guns show at least 50% of the guns confiscated from the drug gangs there come from the border US states.

You sourced FAUX News....

Research FAIL
This is taken from Guy Smith's Gun Facts Version 5.1 from 2009:
Myth: Citizens are too incompetent to use guns for
protection
Fact: About 11% of police shootings kill an innocent person - about 2% of shootings by
citizens kill an innocent person. The odds of a defensive gun user killing an innocent
person are less than 1 in 26,000.
279
And that is with citizens using guns to prevent crimes
almost 2,500,000 times every year.
Fact: Most firearm accidents are caused by people with various forms of poor selfcontrol. These include alcoholics, people with previous criminal records, multiple
driving accidents, and other risky behaviors.
280
Myth: Concealed carry laws increase crime
Fact: Thirty-nine states
282
, comprising the majority of the American population, are
"right-to-carry" states. Statistics show that in these states the crime rate fell (or did not
rise) after the right-to-carry law became active (as of July, 2006). Nine states restrict the
right to carry and two deny it outright.
Fact: Crime rates involving gun owners with carry permits have consistently been about
0.02% of all carry permit holders since Florida’s right-to-carry law started in 1988.
283

Fact: After passing their concealed carry law, Florida's homicide rate fell from 36%
above the national average to 4% below, and remains below the national average (as of
the last reporting period, 2005).
284
Fact: In Texas, murder rates fell 50% faster than the national average in the year after
their concealed carry law passed. Rape rates fell 93% faster in the first year after
Myth: Gun control reduces crime
Fact: The U.S. government “found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness
of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes”
315

and also concluded in one study that none of the attackers interviewed was "hindered by
any law--federal, state or local--that has ever been established to prevent gun ownership.
They just laughed at gun laws."
316
Fact: Violent crime
appears to be encouraged
by gun control. Most gun
control laws in the United
States have been written
since 1968, yet the
murder rate rose during
the 70s, 80s and early
90s.
317
Fact: In 1976,
Washington, D.C.
enacted one of the most
restrictive gun control
laws in the nation. The
city's murder rate rose
134 percent through 1996
while the national murder
rate has dropped 2
percent.
318
Fact: Among the 15
states with the highest
homicide rates, 10 have restrictive or very restrictive gun laws.
319
Fact: Maryland claims to have the toughest gun control laws in the nation and ranks #1
in robberies and #4 in both violent crime and murder.
320
. The robbery rate is 70% more than the national average.
321
These numbers are likely low because one of their more
violent cities, Baltimore, failed to report their crime levels.
Fact: In 2000, 20% of U.S. homicides occur in four cities with just six percent of the
population – New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. – most of which
have/had a virtual prohibition on private handguns.
322
Fact: The landmark federal Gun Control Act of 1968, banning most interstate gun sales,
had no discernible impact on the criminal acquisition of guns from other states.
323
Fact: Washington, D.C.'s 1976 ban on the ownership of handguns (except those already
registered in the District) was not linked to any reduction in gun crime in the nation's
capital.
324
Fact: New York has one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation – and 20% of the
armed robberies.
325
Fact: There are more than 22,000
326
gun laws at the city, county, state, and federal level.
If gun control worked, then we should be free of crime. But the Federal government
concluded that no criminal that attacked a police officer was “hindered by any law--
federal, state or local--that has ever been established to prevent gun ownership. They just
laughed at gun laws."
327
Fact: In analyzing 10 different possible reasons for the decline in violent crime during
the 1990s, gun control was calculated to have contributed nothing (high imprisonment
rates, more police and legalized abortion were considered the primary factors,
contributing as much as 28% of the overall reduction).
328

Here is the link: http://www.gunfacts.info/pdfs/gun-facts/5.1/gun-facts-5.1-screen.pdf
Both sides of the debate tend to use false causality while ignoring other social, demographic and economic factors. This is not helpful when trying to formulate policies that might actually have a chance of reducing gun violence and violence in general. Obvious factors, particularly in large cities, are poverty, social marginalisation, inadequate social services, substandard housing, lousy education, gangs and drug influence. While the vast majority of people in those situations do not become criminal it is an ideal breeding ground for criminality and violent behavior.
Other factors, on the individual level, might include fetal alcohol syndrome which is more common among poorly educated mothers than the general population. One of the less obvious affects of FAS is lack of empathy which results in psycho-pathological behaviors. Dysfunctional families and absent authority figures leave individuals without understandable limits to behavior.
We spend $50,000+/ year to maintain a prisoner; if a portion of that money was redirected toward prevention and amelioration of some of the aforementioned conditions, IMO, it would be money better spent with a reduced prison population as a bonus (except for the private prison industry)
Personally, I'm against all firearms except for use the military. I think that non-lethal weapons like pepper spray or (probably) tasers should be allowed for non-military use, but more lethal weapons are just too dangerous. Registration is practically useless, since most guns used in crime are stolen, and I'd also like to point out (like another poster here) that the guns used in drug wars are usually smuggled from places with lax gun control laws, which is why you'd have to ban them consistently. That's why gun laws fail - not because they're inherently ineffective, but because they're ineffective if someone can drive to the next county and get them there, instead.

As others have touched on, the American Constitution was written at a time when they were worried about establishing another British monarchy and wanted a failsafe; at the time a militia could effectively overthrow the federal government. Not so today - to be blunt, anyone who thinks that their little handguns or hunting rifles are going to do squat against nukes and F-16s is delusional. The only way you could overthrow the federal government is through some sort of mass upheaval, and if you have 20% of the population willing to do something, peaceful protest is just as effective (if not more so - achieving a military victory is basically impossible, and violence would likely weaken political methods).

Banning things does create a black market, but mostly only when those things can be realistically smuggled past borders or made at home. Prohibition didn't work not because banning something never works, but because everybody could just make their own spirits at home, and the same is true for the modern War On Drugs, or for prostitution, etc. - but the same isn't true of guns. You can't just smelt one in your basement without anyone knowing, so the analogy fails when you try to compare the two.

To those people that would say that I'm infringing on their rights, or anti-freedom or anti-democracy or whatever because I'm pretty categorically anti-gun, I'd just say that I don't respect purely symbolic rights, especially when there are real harms involved. You're not going to overthrow the government with your hunting rifle, and statistically you're more likely to shoot yourself in the face than defend against an intruder (an intruder that's much less dangerous if unarmed). Whenever somebody puts some ideal above actual human health or benefit, that's ideology, and that ideology can be for anything, even "freedom".

And no, I frankly don't think that people have a constitutional right to shoot at cute forest creatures just for the fun of it. Go buy a freaking video game, people.
I would have agreed with you pre-2000, when it was made clear that law enforcement and military can be as dangerous as they are protective. I personally don't want to trust the government to protect me from violence. Especially if that protection comes from a paramilitary organization without any accountability.

I don't own a gun, but any intruders in my home will be introduced to the samurai sword I bought while I lived in Japan.
I think I would rather be shot....lol ;)
The police had thugs in there ranks for as long as a police force has been around.
Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. 15 minutes to be exact when a friend of a roommate set off our alarm on accident. We also lived within walking distance to the police station.

Those that would give up liberty for safety deserve neither. The supreme court has also consistently ruled that the police are not duty bound to protect anyone. They don't protect and serve anyone but themselves and the legal system.
I respect your opinion, but I have to disagree. I live in the mountains of TN. People actually do still hunt for food here. Also, there are bears and lots of them. I hate the killing of animals just as much as the next person. I don't eat meat, and I don't appreciate killing for sport, but there are actually mountain people here, who survive on farming and hunting. I'm not prone to exaggeration either. There are people here who are land poor! They own hundreds of acres, but don't have a pot to piss in or a nickel to their name, and will never sell their property because it has been in their family for generations. For those of us who live near a WalMart or have a job, this seems insane, but there are actually people who still live like this in the United States. I think it's wrong to pass judgment on the whole of America when there are actually people who still have a real world use for a gun, even if you think they shouldn't.
There are people who shoot for sport as well, and I am one of them. I trap shoot, and enjoy it. I was on my high school team and was quite good. Yeah a gun is dangerous but so is a race car or a motorcycle, or gasoline, even alcohol. I mean if you apply the principal you state above, with the "harms involved" thing, you would have to apply that same thinking to alcohol and so many other things.
It's a slippery slope for sure and there is just no good answer to this problem. I'm just no fan of being told what I can and cannot do, because of someone else's view of morality. I've dealt with it my whole life, because I am an atheist living in the bible belt.
John D, I did not introduce killing animals into this discussion. The original writer and about 5 others said that it is OK to kill animals with guns. I have every right to point this inconsistancy out. Don't you guys read what you write?
Guns are not just dandy as long as they are only used on defenseless animals. Most of you think it's wrong to shoot innocent humans. I add that it is wrong to kill innocent animals, too.
I cut and pasted your statements here:
I was around shotguns and rifles used for hunting all my life and during college hunting supplemented my diet I support the right to maintain firearms for that purpose.


but aside from hunting purposes i oppose lethal ammunition

I'm with you.

Hunting, home defense, and shooting at designated areas is all fine

." To me, exercising your second amendment rights means three things: Hunting, home defense, and honing skills.

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