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I've been following the discussions here about gun control and regulation. I see a good number of people stating that they own one or more guns and taking the position that any laws that would end their legal right to posses a firearm would be unreasonable and deprive them of something that they feel is necessary. I would like to ask people to share what experiences have occurred in their lives that convinced them that they require the protection of owning a gun.

I lived in the middle of San Francisco for 25 years. It is an intense urban environment and unfortunately incidents of violence happen on a pretty regular basis. However, in all that time nothing happened to me to make me feel that I needed a gun. I used public transportation most of the time and generally went where I wanted to go and did what I wanted to do. I certainly used some prudence about where I would go by myself after dark, but I wouldn't have acted differently if I had had a gun.

I have trouble understanding why so many people in the US seem convinced of the necessity of gun ownership. From the descriptions of Newton, CN it sounds like a pretty peaceful low crime suburb. Yet, there seems to have been extensive interest in gun ownership. It does not appear to be an atypical community in that regard.

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 03:07 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He'll I lived in NYC (11+ / 0-)

    During the 70s and 80s when crime was terrible and I never ever thought about buying a gun. In fact I had one guy show up at a party I was having carrying. I immediately threw him out. And this is still a rule in my home, carrying a gun you are not welcome and I now live in an open carry state. by the way nobody carries unless they are showing off at a Election rally for Obama and then they just look like ignorant dicks.

    Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?

    by jsfox on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 03:15:22 PM PST

    •  Nobody carries? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annecros
      by the way nobody carries unless they are showing off at a Election rally for Obama and then they just look like ignorant dicks.
      You may want to rethink that. This little 5 foot 4 inch waif of a girl manages to conceal carry in shorts and a tank top in summer.

      Plainly, people do NOT know that it is a hell of a lot easier to conceal than they thought. Also plain to see is that people are NOT as able to detect a gun on someone as they thought.

      It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink.

      by JayFromPA on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:43:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fishing on the Karluk river in Kodiak, AK (7+ / 0-)

    Bears across the river from us on a daily basis.  Pretty happy we had a rifle.  Although somehow I suspect I'm not the target audience for this question . . .

    If I were to play devil's advocate, I would say that gun ownership is perceived as a 'right.'  It isn't about examples of need, but about rights against the government.

    I have never been searched by law enforcement.  Therefore, I have never had the need to demand to see a warrant before consenting to a search.  However, despite the fact that I have never felt this need (and have a good chance of going my entire life without feeling it), I am very strongly attached to the right of limitting searches pursuant to the 4th amendment.  

    We argue a lot about guns saving people, or not saving people, but really it seems to me that the gun ownership is about psychology and rights.  It's not about facts.  

    •  I certainly would agree that there (6+ / 0-)

      are situations where people need guns and yours sounds like one of them.

      Part of what I'm trying to understand is if people go out and but a gun just because they want to affirm their right to do so. There are a number of things that I have a right to do that I don't do for a variety of reasons.

      •  i firmly believe in my personal right to free (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon

        speech, uncensored by the gov't. i don't feel compelled to assert that right, by going out to a local street corner, standing on my soapbox, and regaling the public with my "deep thoughts". in my experience, it is primarily males, who seem to need to overtly affirm their right to own a gun, by running out and purchasing one. yes, there are lots of women who own guns, but fewer of them seem to feel the need to have a big gun, to make up for the lack of big boobs, or own a gun, period. of course, middle-aged women don't go buying sports cars much either, as part of their mid-life crisis, so go figure.

    •  What Does This Mean In Concrete Terms? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon
      We argue a lot about guns saving people, or not saving people, but really it seems to me that the gun ownership is about psychology and rights.  It's not about facts.
      If arguments about the body count are smoke screens, what psychology (selfishness? insecurity? fear?) and rights (the needs of the many, don't mean jack?) are you referring too?

      The 1st Amdmt. of the Constitution prohibits abridgement of free speech and the press, the exercise of religion, the right to assembly and petitioning of grievances.  The 2d Amdmt. doesn't say anything like that about the right to bear arms.  If the 2d Amdmt. right is subject to abridgement, what concrete rights are you referring to?

      BTW I agree that one side - based on misinformation, the profit motive, and fear - is not dealing with the facts, particularly the fact of the public good referenced in the Preamble.

      We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
      •  What I mean (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majcmb1

        I mean that, as with many political opinions, opinions around gun ownership don't flow from statistics, they flow from philosophy.  

        This is similar with many rights we hold dear.  If you told me that the requiring warrants to search houses, or probably cause to arrest people costs 30,000 lives a year, that isn't going to persuade me to abandon the 4th amendment.  Because my opinion on this subject is not based on statistics about saving lives.  

        Similarly, on guns, I feel that a lot of the argument is on the 'surface,' if you will.  Do you "need" guns, is largely irrelevant, to those who defend them.  They feel the right to own guns for a variety of reasons.  It is this right that makes them argue that guns are needed or helpful.  

        Torture is another anology.  I believe that torture is wrong.  I also know that torture does not 'work.'  When arguing about torture I will say that "torture doesn't work," but that isn't the source of my opinion.  The source is a more general philosophy.  If someone were to show me times when torture worked, my positin would no waiver.  

        Similarly, a gun rights activist might say that 'guns prevent crime' or that there are those who 'need guns' - but I don't think these opinions are the source of their opinion on gun rights.  If we lived in a crime free utopia, I suspect they would still argue for the right to own guns (many of them at least).  

        I do think the diary author is getting at something important though.  Why and when do people feel a psychological attachment to their guns.  I tried to write a diary on this awhile back and my use of a provacative title got a lot of backlash.

    •  Not every state is like that. I live in a suburb (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myboo

      of Seattle where we have several identified packs of coyotes, who eat pets. However they are protected by the State Department of  Something or other, and so the cops simply take the complaints, and of course nobody dares do anything to the coyotes. We also find wandering mountain lions and bears with similar protection in the City of Seattle from time to time, and I do mean inside the City, but they get anaesthetized and moved by the gummint, since nobody else can do anything to them. And we are IIRC an open carry state.

  •  Growing up (5+ / 0-)

    I grew up in a particularly bad part of Salem, OR known for its gang violence and drugs...never once did we feel we needed guns to protect ourselves. We needed a responsive police force, willing to make inroads in the community, more community programs like Latchkey and other after school programs. We knew guns would just add to the powder keg that was our neighborhood at the time. That neighborhood has slowly improved and become safer though. Now the biggest problem is lack of safe walking areas for children coming home from school. There have been a lot of deaths and serious injuries because of it.

    But I digress...

    Civility, courtesy, kindness. The CK mantra.

    by rexymeteorite on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 03:32:04 PM PST

  •  I own a hunting rifle, Richard. (13+ / 0-)

    It is very unlikely that the rifle I own would fall under any regulations. I do not have it for "protection." When it is at home, it is locked in the gun chest with the bolt removed and stored separately. At best, it would make an awkward club.

    I am amenable to any type of regulation concerning magazine size, registration, training required for ownership, or insurance. If it became too difficult for me to keep my gun, I would become a bow hunter exclusively. Admittedly, I'm a better shot with the rifle, and that would cut down on my meat hunting, but I would follow the law of the land.

    It's a tool. Nothing more. Nothing less. And not the only tool in my tool box.

    You can take from my nice, warm hands, if that's what it takes to make this country safer. That being said, I strongly doubt my particular rifle would be regulated short of an absolute ban on firearms. So I really don't have too much to worry about and can make high falootin moral stances all day long.

    Almost 10 year old Daughter: "Boys are pretty good, but daughters have sentimental value." Me: "I don't think that phrase means what you think it does." Daughter: "None of them do, Mom. More's the pity. Words have to be flexible in today's world."

    by left rev on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 03:32:24 PM PST

    •  Hunting is not something that I have (5+ / 0-)

      ever been interested in, but it doesn't strike me as an unreasonable pursuit.

    •  If you regard guns as tools.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, left rev, majcmb1

      .....you are almost by definition not part of the problem. They're tools for killing things. Do you need a tool that does this? Some genuinely do. But if you don't, you shouldn't have a gun.

      And no, baseless paranoia does not qualify as a "need."

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 03:45:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Describe "baseless". (5+ / 0-)

        If you learn I have a gun to prevent being raped and beaten in my home, do you consider that baseless? A gun IS a tool to prevent that.

        If you learn that I have a gun to prevent being raped and beaten in my home again, since I have already had it happen, do you consider that baseless? This is no paranoid fantasy. It's already happened to me.

        Never again.

        Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

        Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

        by Kitsap River on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:58:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You're not the guy who is the problem. (7+ / 0-)

      You're alright. You hunt. You have a rifle. You're cool.

      Nor is the problem folks who, for example, keep a revolver in the drawer safe.

      Now I don't think anybody needs guns, but it is a right and that has to be respected.

      The problem, however, are people who have machines that serve no other purpose than annihlating people on a mass scale. They aren't hunting weapons. They are far too overpowering for home defense. There is only one purpose for these weapons and that is rapid killing of many people. The people who are against gun control? Its the people who feel the need to own weapons like this.

      Those folks are the problem.

      •  I think that there is more than one problem. (6+ / 0-)

        That gun kept in the drawer at home all too often makes an appearance in cases of domestic violence. That is not the same problem as mass murder of school children, but it is a problem.
         

        •  I agree (4+ / 0-)

          I am afraid that due to Newtown we are possibly heading down a road in which only the types of guns that can kill 20 people inside of a minute are going to be identified as a problem.

          They are clearly a problem but it is handguns that are the source of most homicides in the US so we shouldn't ignore them.

        •  I agree completely. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lady Libertine, left rev

          Like I said, I don't think anyone needs a gun. It isn't a necessity of life like food or air. That's why I support outright repeal of the 2nd Amendment or barring that, raising the price of owning weaponry to a point where it is a very obscure fetish among a few rich people. Like hunting by dog.

          However, since I do want to keep it in the realm of reality, it seems to me a practical idea to first limit the kinds of weapons that can't plausibly be called self defense weapons. And then maybe remove semi automatic hundguns and have some sort of revolvers only requirement with the kind of calibers and ammo that can basically stop a person but not kill them in most cases.

          But seriously...this "don't do anything" approach just has to be defeated. Kind of why I've taken the most hardcore position on the issue. I not only agree with it, but as a bonus it moves the overton window.

      •  Well, I'm not the GUY (4+ / 0-)

        period. I'm the woman. And women are considered THE Up and coming market for "self-defense."

        Its a self perpetuating feedback loop. War on women makes women less safe by taking the teeth out of domestic violence protection, normalizing the rape culture, and devaluing us as citizens and persons with agency. Women see a need to arm themselves for self protection-boom, CUTE LITTLE PINK HANDGUNS.

        I am former military. I know what a lousy shot I am with a pistol and how much work goes into achieving and keeping proficiency. Therefore, I am not tempted to get a handgun for personal defense.

        But I am seeing a great many women armed for protection who are NOT proficient, who are carrying a much larger pistol than they need, and who become less mindful of it over time to the point of carelessness in storage and handling. I'm not going to argue that they do not see a need for personal protection, even if I think they are going about it in a way that will likely exacerbate the overall situation. But they are being aggressively marketed to.

        Men do the same thing, by the way, when they get handguns for personal protection. There are an awful lot of people out there using firearms for "personal protection" who should not be, simply by virtue of their lack of skill or mindfulness. But if everyone is going to be wandering around armed, by God, I'm going to have one for MY protection too. It feeds itself. And its a freaking monster.

        Almost 10 year old Daughter: "Boys are pretty good, but daughters have sentimental value." Me: "I don't think that phrase means what you think it does." Daughter: "None of them do, Mom. More's the pity. Words have to be flexible in today's world."

        by left rev on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:24:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's my problem with this (8+ / 0-)

    "I see a good number of people stating that they own one or more guns and taking the position that any laws that would end their legal right to posses a firearm would be unreasonable and deprive them of something that they feel is necessary."

    NOBODY in the public sphere is talking about ending people's legal right to possess a firearm.  NOBODY.  People ARE talking about common sense regulations regarding what types of weapons the public should be allowed to own, and how ownership is handled.  The whole "they're going to take away my guns" argument is a complete straw man, and it's infuriating.  Nobody is going prevent you from owning a gun.  It will not happen (nor should it, imho).

    I don't own a gun, and have no reason to own a gun, but I live in suburban Orlando and I don't have any interest in hunting.  If I lived in the middle of nowhere I might consider it.

    •  I certainly agree that there will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh

      be no general prohibition on gun ownership. However, I want to know why people think that any move along that path poses such a threat to them.

    •  Part of the problem here is that the Second Amend (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      ment is generally treated as one which cannot be interpreted, limited or in any way qualified, whose freedom is the only absolute one in effect in this time, despite the terms about well regualted militia. No other amendment is supposedly so free of limiiters and qualifiers. If the second amendment was generally treated the same way as the other amendments, we would not have this issue.

  •  Being alive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theboz, Joy of Fishes

    Every creature on this earth protects themselves. Some are more cautious than others, some plan better or worse, each creature has it's owns methods within a framework of the means available. It is ingrained within the human species to protect oneself and one's loved ones.

    Evolution sorts out the successes.

    I choose to keep a pistol and a dog in my home in order to protect myself and my loved ones. My choice, my right, and no skin of anyone's teeth. It is my choice and my method, among others.

    I store my pistol safely. I keep my dog healthy, happy and safe. My dog and my gun are no threat to anyone. Nothing is going to happen with that gun unless somebody picks it up and uses it.

    I can't rely on others (cops take minutes when seconds count) to protect me. That's not the real world.

    In my opinion, and my opinion only, it is the right and responsible way to behave.

    Now please, don't deluge me with crazy "what if's" concerning bad things happening with my pistol. I have considered them, and weighed the options, and have reached a place where I feel comfortable.

    Balance.

    Thank you very much for your time and attention.

    •  Have you had experiences that make (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, radical simplicity

      you think that you and your family are in immediate danger? Or, is this a theoretical sense of danger that you are guarding against?

      •  LOL (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theboz, Joy of Fishes

        No. Most people do not have a clue they are immediate danger until they are in immediate danger!

        Nope. Just part of life. I prepare for Hurricanes as well. And I have a portable jumper in the back of my car and flares in an emergency kit in the trunk.

        Please do not characterize my (to me) common sense planning and preparation for contingencies as a paranoid fever dream that bogey men are stalking me.

        Most days that pistol doesn't even cross my mind. I don't obsess on it. But I know where it is.

        And hey, if you don't fee comfortable with a gun in your vicinity, that's your right. I understand perfectly that other people may not feel comfortable with them.

        And quite frankly, if a person is scared of guns, they shouldn't own one. That's how more than a few accidents happen.

        •  I am a person who also likes (0+ / 0-)

          to be prepared. In San Francisco I made preparations for an earthquake having lived through a fairly significant one and I updated them every year. My perception of reality there was that a gun was not necessary preparation.

           

          •  And that's fine (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Richard Lyon

            that's your choice and your right. You are the best person to make that decision.

            •  exceptn we live in a society and guns (0+ / 0-)

              are intended to be used for killing. So, its not the same type of preparation. I keep going back to the reasonableness angle. You think carrying a gun is the same level of reasonable preparation for almost certain earth quake in SF? I think you should have to prove that your views are reasonable as far as the evidence. Yet, that's no what the l aw says. It says your view is enshrined in some 200 year old document whereas his precaution against earth quakes is given no such status as being a precaution we need to give people an absolute right to have regardless of the reasdonableness  of their beliefs.

              •  I say (0+ / 0-)

                my right to protect myself is enshrined in my humanness and the right to protect myself. Don't put words in my mouth.

                When seconds count, the police take minutes. In the case of a natural disaster, they can take hours or days.

                Reasonableness established. Have a great day.

      •  Indeed, that's the problem with the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, Richard Lyon

        Stand Your Ground Laws

        "Caution" there is basically whatever a person claims to be scared of without trying to determine if that fear is inf act reasonable.

    •  What I think Richard is getting at is a concept (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, Richard Lyon, Joy of Fishes

      called 'reasonableness"

      There's a reason why the law requires you to be reasonable in other areas (unlike  gun law ownership which gets entancled with claims of rights) . Its because everyone differs, and someone's definition of caution could include shotting  a guy who looks at them too long.

      Ultimately caution has to be reasonable or it take son the quality of a burden either on society or others. I think gun laws are at the point where they are unreasonably lenient on gun onwers. We are suppose to pretend these things are less dangerous than driving a car.

    •  realistically (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, Joy of Fishes

      your dog is much more likely to protect you than your gun.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:05:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and far less likely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis, Joy of Fishes

        to be turned around and used against you.

        Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you'll get it as soon as you like.” ~ John Lennon

        by Lady Libertine on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:16:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He's a great (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theboz, Joy of Fishes

        dog. But he wouldn't stand a chance against a gun. Or even a couple of bad guys. He's pretty calm submissive.

        Now, he is a better deterrent than my gun. That's a fact. And if it prevents me from ever being in a situation in which I would have to use my gun, so much the better.

        I like having a big dog.

        •  and how often (0+ / 0-)

          have you had to face someone with a gun? just the presence of dogs scares intruders away.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:33:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

            the presence of dogs tends to send the bad guy to another home that has easier pickings. That's how bad guys are. The go for the weakest, the easiest, the unarmed and unprepared. I don't think muggers tend to look for the biggest guy he can find to do violence to.

            How often has anyone who has had to face someone with a gun, had to face someone with a gun?

            How many women have wished that they HAD a gun, when the assault happened?

            More than one that I am acquainted with have sincerely wished that they HAD one at the time when a very bad thing happened.

            •  i know women who have been assaulted (0+ / 0-)

              none have expressed a wish they'd had a gun. which could have been used against them. different reactions, i guess. i do know women who have used dogs to scare away potential attackers.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 05:00:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                you and I have some different life experiences. I know a couple of women, in particular, that could have done society a huge favor.

                •  Data (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Richard Lyon

                  http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/...

                  This one points out that the overwhelming use of guns are not for self defense, but for gun violence in crimes:

                  http://www.bradycampaign.org/...

                  By the way, while we are on anecdotes, both law enforcement and several victims of violence have said the same. The people involved in the Virginia Tech Massacre said as much.

                  It also ignores some vital things when you suggest you can protect yourselve with a gun. First that you are trained to handle more than shooting a gun. Meaning its one thing to shoot a gun, and quite another to be aware enough to k now when and how to use it under a real attack. That's just one problem with the argument, and I would guess, as someone who has experienced violence, a lot of the reason why the accidental shootings happen is that most people aren't trained to deal with a real crisis in the moment as its happening. A number of things happens when one is in crisis. The adrenaline is just one fo them. Trying to ascertain what exactly is happening. Positioning, etc.

                  Here's an article that goes beyond the gun lobby anecdotes to again describe the reality as I try to allude to above:

                  http://www.mercurynews.com/...

                  Again, the question remains- is your position factual and is it reasonable

                  The evidence rather than just anecdote says no.

                  •  I've been trained (0+ / 0-)

                    I've had the pistol for a decade without incident. I do all the responsible things.

                    I'm going to keep it.

                    •  In short, "I can't rebutt what you wrote (0+ / 0-)

                      so I am going to dig in my heals just like the right wingers do."

                      Got it. But please stop pretending facts has anything to do with your religion.

                    •  By the way 2 other points (0+ / 0-)

                      1. You origiinally were babbling about caution and other catch phrases that wingers like to throw out for their extremist views, The data I present is to address that claim. You choose not to respond to it but instead make an assertion af you realize you couldn't

                      2. Whatyou want, and whether its reasonable is the question that a society who must live with you must ask. The reason why we ask that is you would use that weapon agaisnt us.

                      3. I have lied around violence. Your knowing how to shot a gun is not the same as being able to use it effectively or properly under fire. it fact, your answer that you hve  decade of shooting it only underscores the danger that folks like you present to our society. Your ability to shot is the least of my gun. My gun is to do you k now when to shot and when not to. That's a judgement question. Your response here after I presented you data, or, in other words your objectivity, does not fill me with confidence about that judgment.

      •  And they can keep your feet warm. n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros, Smoh, Laurence Lewis
  •  Well, I don't feel like I NEED a gun, I just (7+ / 0-)

    like to have some. I have never shot anyone or committed a crime and have no desire to do any of these things either, which is why it is so annoying when non-gun types  make the implication that that is the only reason anyone would want, own, or use a firearm.

    I'm healthy and while not "young" I'm also not old by any stretch, I could defend myself in a variety of physical means if necessary (and no, I have never found it necessary in normal, civilian life). I've lived without firearms for years at a stretch and felt no loss of life quality because of it.

    I'm military trained, served a year in Iraq (combat arms), lived in Israel for years and have no mental problems that would impair firearm use. I generally like people (even though I'm not particularly outgoing) and if I don't like someone in particular I'll simply avoid them rather than seek clashes.

    So I am one of literally tens of millions of gun owners in the US who feel that there is no reason for us to suffer collective punishment because a handful of people have gotten ahold of guns and killed people. To a lot of us, we're perfectly willing to discuss laws and regulations that make firearm ownership more selective; but we're not interested in being slandered as people who "turn a blind eye to murder" and other insane accusations I've seen posted before.

    Only a few gun owners truly feel that there should be no restrictions. Most of us are willing and capable of talking rationally about the issue; I feel I've tried in the past and willing to try again (although I have little patience for for people who make stupid or slanderous remarks).

    Owning a firearm does not turn a person into a monster. The thing that needs to happen is make sure that the people out there who are monsters don't get ahold of guns. I'll have that conversation.

    •  It sounds like you view it (0+ / 0-)

      as something like an adult toy, like a off road bike.

      •  Well, I'd never want to give the impression that (5+ / 0-)

        I'd conflate a firearm with the status of a "toy", but it is a sort of hobby outlet for me. I only own one "tactical" style rifle which is my pimped-out novelty weapon; I have a bolt-action rifle and a pump shotgun which are pretty "normal" and two semi-auto pistols. I may sell one because I never shoot it, but then it is kind of a historical curio too, so I may keep it.

        I may get into hunting, liking the "locavore" notion and not wanting to support a factory-farm industry (and veganism is not an option), in which case I may get a more suitable bolt-action, but that's about the only realistic expansion of my collection I can envision.

        I have a concealed-carry permit but I frequently go without. I am part of the security volunteer group for my local Synagogue, so I carry there and people know it. But then, when a criminal even is stopped by an armed citizen, it is typically by off-duty or retired police or military. I can see why; knowing the mechanics of firing a gun on a range or at game is not the same as keeping level-headed when someone is shooting back.

        That's why what I'd prefer to see is required training for people who want to own tactical-style weapons, since buying a tactical weapon means joining a well-regulated militia, IMO. That's what I'd do for gun control: you want a Tactical, then your purchase is the entry fee to joining a local militia. You get trained, take a class that includes legalities, get a license and do a qualify shoot at least once a year or lose your license. Being part of the militia means being willing to help local law-enforcement if called upon, say during disasters or civil emergencies (duties which may or may not even include anything to do with needing a weapon, for example helping to distribute supplies at FEMA tent cities after a population displacement event).

        I see a distinct lack of discipline as the big problem in free-for-all firearm ownership.

        •  Totally agree about the militia part... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, Joy of Fishes

          I was a volunteer for a Katrina shelter. Afterwards the city figured it would be a good idea to have a list of citizen volunteers on file. The "cost" to remain on the citizen volunteer list included a background check, including being fingerprinted.  I was happy to go through the paperwork up front.

          I'd feel much safer if anyone with a tactical weapon had to go through the same checks, along with the training. And had to re-certify on a yearly basis.

          It's crazy to me that adopting a dog from a breed rescue group usually involves a home visit (to make sure that the dog will be well cared for) but buying a tactical weapon does not (to make sure that the weapon will be secure).

    •  Why do you "like to have" guns? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Smoh, Richard Lyon, Joy of Fishes, myboo

      I am asking that seriously.  Because it doesn't sound like you keep them in case you need them to defend yourself or your family, which is what I usually hear from gun owners when asked that question.  And I am genuinely asking.  They clearly mean a lot to you if you feel that you (and others) would "suffer collective punishment," if you couldn't own them.  It seems pretty clear to me that guns will never be banned in the U.S., so it doesn't seem like that's a big worry.  The only guns I grew up around were some old civil war relics that my grandfather had -- oh, and he and his family had a few civil war cannons, too -- that they occasionally had fun with.  They didn't scare me.  But I did grow up in rural Maine, and I resented the fact that I couldn't go walking in the woods in November.  That felt like collective punishment to me, as I loved the woods behind my house -- all 60 acres of them.  Woods that were owned by my parents, who didn't hunt themselves but wouldn't have thought to forbid deer hunters from that land.  That's the culture I grew up in.  So, I hear a lot about gun owners who object to having their right taken away.  But what about the rights of young girls who want to walk in the woods in November?  Or more broadly, the rights of all of us not to live in fear of people with guns who don't have our best interests at heart?  And I don't mean you. But I have also lived on some tough city streets where I did fear people with guns, and where innocent people were occasionally killed (by gun) in my 'hood.'  So, I guess I'm asking how can we -- reasonable people who have something in common or we wouldn't be on this blog together -- how can we have this conversation respectfully and acknowledge that rights are at stake on all sides when we coexist in any community.  I don't expect you to have the answer, but it's a question I guess I have for all of us, because I can rant and rave like the best of them, but it seems silly to do that now in reference to this topic. Thanks for reading this.  I didn't mean to go on so long...

      •  I have the same experience as you. (3+ / 0-)

        From September to February I can't walk in the woods that begin on my property and continue on.  I resent it a lot and can only suppose my dog does his version of resentment. I learned long ago to never trust hunters.  First, all the ones I knew personally always got drunk.  Illegal? Sure, but many responsible gun owners are not responsible.  Then there was the time I was horseback riding in the woods and got shot at (hit the tree next to me) when the only open season was turkey.  Make any jokes you like, I have a thick skin.  Obviously they were shooting at noise, not a visual target.  So even wearing orange I think it would be worse than foolish to trust the hunters.  I have nothing against hunting and have cooked the game for many a friend who was clueless about what to do with their kill.  I do resent the number of irresponsible hunters that make it impossible for me to enjoy my woods for 4-5 months of the year.

        Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

        by Smoh on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:30:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Speaking only for myself (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Slightly Wobbly, Joy of Fishes

        I enjoy target shooting.  I'm also interested in World War I and II era infantry rifles.  I usually combine these two interests by target shooting with WW I & II era infantry rifles.  The rifles are all bolt action with 5 or 6 round magazines.  Sometimes I'll use .22 and 9mm pistols for bullseye type shooting (that is one hand, not the two hand defensive type).  Or I might decide that it's a good day to bring out the reproduction Colt and Remington cap and ball revolvers.

        I learned when I was 12 years old that I just don't enjoy hunting so I don't do that.  I don't keep a firearm for home defense because I've never felt the need.  No children live or visit here but my guns are always under lock and key.

        So, I don't need the guns, I like the challenge of getting as many as I can in the center of the target at 100 yards or more.  An exercise in hand/eye coordination.

        This is one of my hobbies.  I don't obsess about it, I just find it a pleasant way to spend some time.

      •  I like to have them because, well, I can, and (0+ / 0-)

        I feel I have the right to do that because I'm responsible with them. I'm not afraid of confiscations or government takeovers (hell, as an Army Reserve member, I am "the government").

        Of course, I can use firearms to defend myself or my family, but that is incidental. While it is technically true that I could, for example, survive various challenges (from Red Dawn to Zombies and everything in between) with the help of firearms, the chances of this happening is infinitesimally small. If there was some sort of mass disaster, I'd probably need guns to hunt for food and possibly send looters packing (empty-handed) at worst. In disasters, most people tend to band together.

        I don't have an easy answer of girls that want to go walking in November, all I can say is that, temporarily, different people have to share the land in different ways, and things we want have to be deferred momentarily. After all, hunters don't get to have the woods all the time either, even if there's game to be hand they have to stick to seasons, otherwise it's poaching.

        I'd see confiscation as "collective punishment" because I would be deprived of legally-bought property because someone else committed a crime, and regardless of the object being confiscated, that is unconstitutional (and the Constitution is an attempt to create a compact of fairness among all citizens). I've spent almost two decades obeying the rules, doing the right thing, following instructions, not harming anyone, so it is bothersome to think that I would be held accountable for another's lapses-- especially since, if I had my way, most of these nutcases would not have been able to obtain weapons in the first place. If we applied the same logic universally, it really would be like revoking everyone's driver's licenses because a few people drove drunk.

        Of course, we do regulate cars and we regulate how they can be driven safely, and so I don't have a problem with gun laws that are smart and reflect reality. Some of the things being floated seriously, like universal background checks and mental health records being included in NICS checks, are things I think should have been done all along (for example).

        Hope that helps.

  •  last time i was in the castro (0+ / 0-)

    i was chased for about 10 minutes by a HUGE skin head, clearly crazed out of his mind on meth or something, he chased me thru a few stores & i finally lost him in a darker bar...
    i would have had the fuck beat outta me before any spectators came to my rescue, or called an ambulance...

    i was also picked up hitch hiking by my henry lucas and ottis toole.... one kept nodding yes & the other no, for about 10 minutes, then suddenly slammed on the brakes & told us to git the fuck out....

    Have you ever been face to face w/ WBC members?

    Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

    by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 03:37:18 PM PST

    •  Well.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, Smoh

      ....according to your own testimony, you handled the situation successfully without having a gun. So if you're using it as an argument that you should have a gun, you're sort of shot yourself in the foot there.

      And complaining that you got into a dangerous situation while hitchhiking is rather like complaining that you caught the clap while having unprotected sex with strangers.

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 03:49:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He handled the situation without a gun (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annecros, theboz

        that time.

        Why assume that that was the only possible outcome? Personally, I would be unable to run for ten minutes, having reduced lung capacity. Of course, the crazed meth addict might have been willing to wait for me to use my inhaler, and then give me a five minute head start...

        Or I could have relied on the kindness of strangers to hold him back. Or I could have relied on the prompt arrival of police officers to keep the crazed meth head from beating the fuck out of me - notwithstanding the total absence of police in the original anecdote.

      •  ''an argument that you should have a gun'' (0+ / 0-)

        More like why i could now & DO have a (concealed hand) gun & why Im such an enthusiastic supporter of the death penalty

        Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

        by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 07:57:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I lived about three blocks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Slightly Wobbly

      from the Castro. Nothing like that ever happened to me there. I don't think that your experience was very typical. There was a well organized of alert whistles used to alert people to incidence of queer bashing.

      •  both experiences were atypical (0+ / 0-)

        however, Ive met a few people who's ugly experience...lead to the establishment of those whistle systems. Ive also helped wrestle someone crazed from drugs, wrestle the knife outta their hands, intent on suicide, 4 guys wrestling someone w/ superhuman strength.

        Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

        by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 07:53:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have several guns that would be of little or no (5+ / 0-)

    interest to gun nuts.  Collected them over a 50-year period, don't myself understand the fascination, other than I was raised in West Texas in a gun culture and there is a certain nostalgia connected with them.  I haven't fired them in years.  Every now and then I clean them.  I don't need them for protection.  In fact they're useless for protection, as my wife does not permit the ownership of any sort of bullets in our house.

    I won't sell them for fear of what someone might do with them, except perhaps for a Civil War (replica) Enfield musket that I might sell to a reenactor.  My children were not "raised with guns" and have no interest in them.  I suspect that they will be melted down after I die.  Maybe before.

    And who the hell is Grover Norquist???

    by ZedMont on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 03:45:04 PM PST

  •  In the south... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros, Smoh, Joy of Fishes

    I cannot speak about Newtown.

    What I do have experience with is the south.  Coming from a the point-of-view of a former suburban yankee.

    I too don't own a gun and haven't felt a need for one yet. But I've got inlaws in MS that do.  The reasons why are listed below.  I don't necessarily agree with them. But I now have more understanding on where they're coming from.

    (A) Their ancestors lived through "government aggression."  As a yankee I thought about the Civil War as a painful but necessary step towards equal rights.  In the south, some may not think too hard about what the war was about, but are still pissed that their ancestors lost.  Case in point, Vicksburgh MS.  They surrendered from a siege on July 4 to try to get better treatment from the Union.  But were so pissed about having to surrender that they didn't celebrate Independence Day until 1945.  Which means that folks that are still alive today who grew up thinking that the 4th of July was a day of sorrow instead of celebration. Case in point, one of my inlaws.  Grudges can last a looooong time.

    (B) They've lived through an apocalype or two, when they were on their own. They stayed through Katrina.  They'll probably stay through the next hurricane.  And when they're out of power for a few days living off of their pre-stocked provisions, they want to make sure that they'll get to keep what they set aside for themselves, their family, and their friends.  They're not prepping for some imaginary breakdown.  They're preparing for things they've lived through.

    (C) They're used to hunting, and being in the back woods. When (not if) you're on your land and a stranger walks up to your camp with a rifle, there's no option to call 911. That backwoods mentality is there, even when they're back in town.

    That said, I'm happy that they go to the range to practice.  I'm all for gun control in all senses of the word.  It's the folks that think they can be Rambo without the training that scare me the most.

  •  I have already been raped and beaten in my home (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annecros, exlrrp, theboz, Joy of Fishes

    and it is never, ever going to happen again. After leaving, the rapist tried to break back into my home to kill me. Even in an urban area, it took over ten minutes for the sheriff to arrive while the rapist was actively trying to break in. I knew who it was - he lived across the street - and had him tried and convicted. He was in jail for a year and a half, that's all, but he stalked me in my home after I moved, every single day for seven months, up until the hearing. I still get screaming nightmares 26 years afterward. There are places on my body where no one except Charles is allowed to touch me because of PTSD, and it took a long time before I could let even him touch me there, One of them is the back of my head, because the rapist dragged me across the floor by my hair. It took years before I'd permit Charles to touch me there. I just jumped down a female friend's neck last week for touching the back of my head. It triggers me to this day.

    I have taken a stand. I will not go through this again. It takes the sheriffs at least 15 minutes to get here after a 911 call and I need to be able to protect myself. I would prefer death to going through it again, mine or the rapist's.

    Don't tell me to get therapy - I have, extensively. I am mentally healthy according to professional opinion. I am not depressed, or paranoid, or in any way psychotic.  This is what I am left with. Not everyone heals completely from being raped.

    Being raped and beaten in my home is not a paranoid fantasy. It's already happened once. Never again.

    Organ donors save lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate.

    Why are war casualty counts "American troops" and "others" but never "human beings"?

    by Kitsap River on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 04:52:02 PM PST

  •  I've got a .22 rifle... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joy of Fishes

    ...but I didn't get it for protection.  I got it because I could put meat on the table with it, if necessary.

    For home protection, I have a number of Dangerous Hand Tools I'd grab first.  

  •  We need to roll back the arms race (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon

    for private citizens about 100 years.

    Revolvers, shotguns and bolt action rifles or semi auto rifles without detachable magazines should be sufficient for the purposes of hunting and self protection.

    Semi auto handguns and rifles which are compatible with large detachable magazines should be for military and police use only.

    If you can't defend yourself with a 5 shot revolver or shotgun then you're dealing with fantasy scenarios (e.g. Red Dawn and/or fast moving zombies).

    The 17 round Glocks and 30 round magazine capable AR-15 knockoffs are fun to shoot (admittedly) but a person's right to have fun has to be balanced against everyone's right to live. The latter trumps the former.

    Time to roll back the arms race a bit. At least slow it down.

  •  ever taken a trip (0+ / 0-)

    across the bay ;)

  •  Why own a gun? (0+ / 0-)

    I am probably the gun owner you are looking to hear back from.  I own an AR-15, an AK variant, a Mossberg 500 persuader, 4 pistols, a 30-06 bolt action, a .22 remington sportster and most of them are pretty decked out.  At this point I am sure many people are winding up for the right wing nut job response and that is fine, I have dealth with plenty of that since I have been here.  I will attempt to address your question anyway, and by the way, thankyou for asking it.  Discussion on this topic helps each side to understand each other.  My first weapon was purchased for a job first in the law enforcement field, then as a contracter on the private side.  As a contractor I was part of a team that escorted high value items, and by high value I mean the insurance paperwork on them was listed as priceless.  The Tiffany diamond, priceless art, and airplanes loaded with gold bars were just a few of the items.  For this job it was important to be armed.  Now I run a bussiness and I no longer work in that field.  I still have my body armor and all of my weapons.  To an extent, some other responses noted that it is a right.  That is certainly one reason I own these weapons, because I can.  Other than three occasions where I actually had to deploy my weapon, one of which was actually off duty when a knife was pulled on me, my weapon has never been pointed at any human being.  Thankfully I have never needed to fire my weapon at a person.  That being said, its deployment has indeed saved my bacon, twice on duty and once off duty.  From a self defense perspective, firearm ownership is part of being a responsible citizen.  Typically when the police are called it happens during the commision of a crime or after the crime has been complete.  It is rare to hear of a police officer actually stopping the crime.  Typically we hear that an investigation is underway or perhaps that the suspect was apprehended a few blocks away.  Certainly justice is served, however that does not undo the crime or bring back any victims of the crime.  As a man I feel it is my responsibility to protect my family and loved ones.  Before I married my wife she was afraid of criminals in her neighborhood, crime in the area was a weekly event.  It is amazing to see the change after 5 years.  Having weapons in the house I felt it was very important to teach her the safe handleing and maintainance of the weapons I own, this is part of responsible gun ownership.  Now she is very comfortable with them.  My mom recently asked her if she gets scared with all the crap that happens in our neighborhood.  Her response was that she has me and if I'm not here she has a weapon at hand at all times.  As a man, it is important to me because it is my job to protect my family.  If a loved one is being attacked or assaulted I can do better than wish them luck and tell them the police will be here in 10 minutes.  I believe that it is part of a husbands duty to protect his household and make his family feel safe.  When there is a bump in the night my wife can go back to sleep, and sleep well knowing that I am going to investigate and that I am more than capable of handeling just about anything that could come onto the property.  To me, a husbands obligation to defend his family and home is just as important as his obligation to provide for his family, and discipline his children.  To me its part of a mans job.  So does owning a gun make me feel like a man?  Yep, the same as bringing home a paycheck after a long weeks work.  To me, the notion that a firearm is too dangerous tends to come from people who are ignorant or inexperienced with firearms.  The horror at Sandy Hook is the perfect example of the evil in this world that law abiding men and women should be prepared to defend themselves against.  99% of gun owners must not be lumped in with that evil soul and his ilk.  To all responsible gun owners, be good citizens, keep your home safe and extend that vigilance to your neighbor and their property.  Call 911 but if there is an imminent threat to life, do not hesistate to take action.  Remember your training, always be aware of what is behind your target in case you miss.  Be smart, be safe, and God bless.  

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