At the outset of this discussion I want to make it perfectly clear that I understand that there are many Americans who own and use guns responsibly. Obviously declaring gun ownership in America to be unconstitutional would be an unfair blow to those Americans who do use guns responsibly. Having said that, I think a real discussion about the use of guns in our society is long overdue. Below I’ll list some statistics about the number of Americans killed and injured by guns. Then I’ll paste a link to an article about a man with a history of mental illness and domestic violence who used a gun to murder his wife and daughter. A second daughter is currently in critical condition. I’m hoping that, in the comment section, some of you intelligent people can convince me why guns should continue being so routed in our culture.

 

In 2009, guns took the lives of 31,347 Americans. To put that in perspective, in 2009 an average of 85 Americans were killed each day. In 2009, 66,769 Americans were treated for gunshot wounds at American hospitals. In 2009, firearms were the third leading cause of injury-related deaths in America.  In 2009 guns were used in 68 percent of all the homicides that were committed in America. On average 33 gun-related homicides took place each day in America between 2004 and 2009.

 

Between 1955 and 1975 the Vietnam War killed over 58,000 American soldiers. That number is less than the number of Americans killed by guns in America during an average two-year period. In the first seven years of the Iraq War more than 4,400 American soldiers were killed. Almost as many civilians are killed by guns in the US in an average seven-week period.

 

Those statistics can be found at: http://www.lcav.org/statistics-polling/gun_violence_statistics.asp. The article about the mentally-ill man who shot his family is at: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_RESTAURANT_SHOOTING?SITE=....

 

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I'll start by commenting that I am Australian not American so I cant understand the place guns have in the psyche of America.

That said I REALLY cant understand the place guns have in your society.

Why enshrine the right to own a gun in your constitution? The only answer I've ever really heard is to protect the people from their government.. Really? Don't you already have a mechanism for that? It's called an election.

I will agree that guns don't kill people, people kill people. However the more people have guns the more they will kill people.

I'll admit in Australia even without the gun culture you have there are way to many gun deaths. I would say however these are mainly the result of run ins with hardened criminals.

We just don't see guns in normal everyday life. Apart from Police and Security guards I would say the amount of times i have seen, let alone touched a gun in all my 39 years I could count on one hand. So when your average Joe's life goes to shit he cant reach for a gun and blow away his problems.

I'd like to think that most people on a website such as this wouldn't defend the American gun culture, but I'm looking forward to seeing what defenses do get put up.

MB

My husband and son each have a shotgun for the purpose of trap-shooting (you know, you yell "PULL" and a disk flies out and you try and shoot it).   They are in a club.  It is a fun hand-eye competition and they enjoy the club and companionship and being outdoors.  They don't kill animals, and at home the shotguns are in my husbands closet, and they actually don't have any shells for them as they buy them where they shoot at the clay 'pigeons'. 

I don't like the thought of hunting, although many do.

Handguns scare the hell out of me and we would never have those.  I know even if laws were passed banning them, criminals could get them anyway, but I don't want any handguns in our house!

Oh I understand Jonathan.  I think the US is gun-crazy and that there are too many gun owners who are NOT responsible, and too many accidents that happens with guns.  I have no problem with outlawing private gun ownership.  The bad-guys will still find a way to get guns though.  Even people who do stuff like trap-shoot like my husband and son, their clubs could own the shotguns, and they could just be used there for the sport and then kept there.  I wasn't putting up a defense, just saying how we actually do have 2 shotguns and why.  I actually wish guns were outlawed for private use.  States with concealed-carry scare the 'hell' out of me.  I think the NRA has a ridiculous amount of power here, and I don't think guns will ever be outlawed which I think is too bad in a world full of people who are getting crazier by the minute.

I have made this point elsewhere, but there's no reason not to repeat it here:

  • When the Second Amendment was written, the time it took to fire, reload, and again fire a muzzle-loaded musket was roughly 90 seconds, and that by a man trained and well experienced in that process.
  • Currently, the time to fire two rounds from some easily available automatic weapons is less than 60 milliseconds, an effective firing rate of over 1,000 rounds a minute.  Training is optional.

The past two hundred years have seen technology increase the efficiency and resulting lethality of firearms worldwide by a daunting amount.  Gun availability continues, owing to the lobbying power of the NRA.  How responsible the owners of these weapons are is a debatable matter.  To a degree, I LIKE the Second Amendment, because under extreme conditions, it might dissuade the government from taking unilateral action against its citizens.  I DON'T like the Second Amendment because it assumes that the requisite responsibility automatically comes with gun ownership, and it fails to recognize the changes in firearms technology which has occurred over the past two centuries.

Gun ownership in 18th-century America was likely a borderline necessity, not just for defense but for food, in some cases.  It has since evolved into multiple sports and competitions, personal defense, and a defiant statement against what may or may not be an invasive government's intrusion into private lives.  The problem is as much the people who own the weapons and the attitudes as it is the weapons themselves.  I don't pretend to have an answer to the irrational reasons for gun ownership any more than I have an answer for those who believe in irrational faiths.  I'm just laying out my take on the current situation.

And that and $0.50 will buy you a cup of coffee from the machine down the hall.

The key word there, Jonathan, is "reasonable."  Those who insist on an unmodified right to guns, regardless of regulation or circumstances are neither reasonable nor rational by any measure you or I would apply.

Therein lies the problem.

Well, technically i believe the rights outlined by the 2nd Amendment ARE supposed to extend to things beyond just guns, specifically "the right to bear arms." In full: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." And there have certainly been cases where civilian armies, especially when fighting on their own soil, have given large well-armed governments a serious run for their money. And many government change-overs have been brought about in this fashion.

Not to say that i'm a fan of the U.S. militias that often get inspired by the second amendment, and i certainly have no desire for a war on U.S. soil. I just wouldn't unilaterally dismiss the idea outright.

Yeah you bring up a good point here. So are you for gun control?

First of all I would like to say, I own many firearms and shot in tournaments when I was younger. 

The main thing I want to address is this: You have to have a hunter's safety course to get a hunting license, which is required to hunt legally, which involves gun safety. Thing is there is no gun safety course needed to actually buy a gun, which there should be, because most accidents occur because of mishandling of these weapons.

Not to mention, criminals are still going to have guns. They can't get them legally anyway, because a background check is required, how fair is it to me, a responsible gun owner, that I can't have a gun to possibly have to protect myself from one of these criminals and  without it i'm on an unfair playing field. 

As far as people purposely using a gun to murder or kill without it being for reason of defense, that person just used a gun to kill someone, its still that person who is to blame. You don't need a gun to kill someone.

Also to add to accidents, people need to have the knowledge of how to clear a misfire and how to properly care for their firearm. Proper care can lead to the less likely hood of jams and misfires, also possibly dangerous malfunctions, which they should be aware of the signs of these malfunctions in the first place and have the knowledge to at least take it to a weaponsmith or someone with ample knowledge, or at best recognize what the problem is themselves which brings the knowledge to know when its out of your hands and you need to take it to someone else. 

So, the main problem isn't guns themselves or the increase in their technology(which brings added safety, not just in the guns function, but safety in the ammunition itself( making it less likely to penetrate and hurt innocent bystanders or cause ricochet when it penetrates) its mostly ignorance or ill intent. At least a basic safety and maintenance course should be required before someone can own a gun. I could go even further and add that maybe a license should be added and a test be taken to renew that license. I was in the military and I was astounded by the number of people who so soon forgot how to properly use just  one rifle out many different rifles and types of weapons. I would also like to add to my resume, I am from Mississippi, guns are a part of my southern culture and I have been shooting since I was a child. 

Also its a good Idea to read the manual on a specific the specific gun you own. Most people don't, that includes myself but I am very proficient and knowledgeable, and have tons of experience, I still tend to look over I few things if I buy a new type of weapon but If I buy say another type of glock pistol(excellent reliable pistol I might, good choice if any of you freethinkers decide to buy one) I most likely won't look at the manual, their function and disassembly are generally going to be the same. 

Message me if you have any questions on firearms or if you are looking for a gun for personal protection or hunting, Ill be happy to recommend some suitable reliable firearm for your needs or interest and how to choose from the ones that I recommend, always happy to help out.

I guess my confusion whenever this conversation comes up is, why guns?

Why not, say for instance, cars. Cars also do not really save many lives, but take a LOT of lives. Like guns, they are useful tools that are usually handled responsibly but when handled irresponsibly have disastrous effects. They are not necessary to live, but they come in real handy when you need them.

I will venture a very hesitant, tentative theory as to one reason why guns are so quickly put in the "ban" pile while other dangerous tools are not: city people have little to no use for them. And one thing i have observed in many subjects of life is that urbanites seem to forget that not everyone lives like them.  I have tried to explain to those who have never lived in a rural environment why guns can actually be useful tools -- yes, even life saving -- but i think they think i make this shit up or something! It's just inconceivable to them, like i'm describing science fiction!

Suffice to say, most people i know use their guns only very rarely, but like a good chain saw or air compressor (both also very dangerous, btw!) when you need them you really need them and are glad to have one around.  

Guns help provide affordable, nutritious food and occasional protection from the rare threatening animal. 

They also provide a suite of fairly healthy sports, but i understand if someone wouldn't prioritize that as highly.

FWIW, i would argue cars are't strictly needed either. For many periods of my life (including now) i've biked everywhere. Cars are actually a bit of a nuisance and a noticeable danger, but i'm not going to suggest banning them because i realize not everyone's lifestyle is like mine, and other people need their cars to get by.

I was also going to bring up cars Joe.

Yes they are very useful tools, when the time calls for them and they are used for for sport and competition. I don't have the facts on this, but highly doubt very many people are injured or killed at competitions. As for hunting, accidents do happen and its usually do to negligence, ex: not wearing an orange vest or when your bird hunting not paying attention to where you are shooting etc. 

Not to mention some of my family relies on hunting and fishing heavily to support themselves. I don't kill anything when I am hunting anymore(so I guess I'm just observing most of the time) unless someone actually needs the meat. Yes there are people who still rely on hunting and fishing, they also plant their own gardens. There are bows, but they are only really useful for deer and boar, try killing smaller game with a bow, I doubt there is anyone who can do that consistently, if there is , its a rare feat. Not to mention bows are not anywhere near as effective and I would almost consider it inhumane to kill something with a bow, considering the animals tend to live more often or live longer. Plus they severely lack in range vs a gun.

I would also like to add, its very hard to gauge how many people guns save versus how many they kill, and I think a push to teach proper safety and maintenance would drastically reduce deaths attributed to guns, since it isn't going anywhere soon.  

Also if anyone decided to invade our country(however unlikely that is already), The fact that many Americans it further decreases that likelyhood and would severely dampen any invasion. Again not a huge point. 

Personal account on at least one life saved. Someone tried to rob me at knife point about 2 years ago, I have a concealed carry license(I am no stranger and neither is my immediate family, law enforcement, to the horrors this life can bring) and I pulled my gun on this fellow, Neither person died and I retained my money. Now if I wouldn't have had a gun, I would have had a knife(I carry both) we both could have possibly died, I wouldn't have let him take my stuff without a fight. When my adrenaline is pumping, I get angry, fight or flight, if i'm on an even field I fight, If they have the advantage I run or try to make the decision that allows me to live another day. Since I had the advantage and control I was allowed to push the situation the way I wanted it to go, and I don't know the fellow's intent , but I generally wouldn't have taken any chances and would have fought. 

I also think guns get a bad rap is because their original intent was a weapon, but I seem them not just weapons but tools. 

Godwin'd by page two. Who didn't see this coming?

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