If you are anti-guns, or afraid of guns, or just don't like them and don't want them in your house, then this blog is for you.
(It might just change your mind)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why Guns? Why Gun Control?

By Zee

I hope that  whether you are pro-gun to anti-gun, you can read this with an open mind, and see the truth about the reality and dangers of ownership and use of firearms in America.  So, the questions become Why guns?   And why Gun control?

Why Guns?

Guns have been a part of American History and American society for as long as we've been Americans, and even before that. 

In continental Europe and England, hunting was tightly controlled by the aristocracy. Common people were often forbidden even to kill a rabbit that was eating their crops on their own land. No sane governor or legislature in the American colonies would have attempted to impose European-style hunting or gun-control laws, for such repressive laws would have made it impossible for much of the American population to survive.
Colonial laws generally required each household to possess a firearm, for service in the militia and other civil defense. Households that could not afford a gun were often given "public arms" by the government to keep at home.

The American Revolution was in part assisted by America's already well-developed gun culture. The United States won independence through a sustained armed popular revolt.

Bbeginning in 1774, when the British army occupying Boston began confiscating the inhabitants' firearms, the American Revolution confirmed what the founders had learned from their studies of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as from English and French history: The possession of arms was essential to the retention of political and civil rights.

Thus, starting with the Pennsylvania and North Carolina constitutions in 1776, American state constitutions have usually included a right to arms provision. The federal constitution added the Second Amendment in 1791

The very existence of written rights--taught in school and upheld by the courts--inculcates in people a greater and greater determination to uphold their rights. In this way, the rights consciousness engendered by the written "right to arms" led to additional protections for rights. 

Americans connect gun ownership not just to recreation but to survival and sovereignty.

Because about half of all American households own guns, America's "home invasion" burglary rate is far lower than in countries such as Britain, Canada, Ireland, and the Netherlands, which prohibit defensive gun ownership.
About two-thirds of American states allow law-abiding adults to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun for lawful protection. Encouraged by the NRA and other gun-rights groups, many of these citizens carry their guns more frequently since September 11. They know that in case of a terrorist attack on a shopping center, school, church, or synagogue, it will be America's citizens who will be responsible for taking immediate action to save their fellow Americans. 

Why Gun Control?

Fear and Anxiety over the known, or over a perceived threat.  Fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.  Distrust can be due to a feeling of fear or caution, usually in response to an unfamiliar or potentially dangerous situation

Guns are tools that are often perceived as a threat.  They are not just a tool that can kill, but a tool that is intended to kill.  They are used by Armies, police, and criminals.  They are scary, and can be dangerous to those who are not trained in their safety.  Guns are dramatized even more via the movies & media.

A guns in the hands of another person often creates fear because the gun is perceived as "not in our control".  Or because the person is not known, and therefore not trusted.  Guns are as a potential threat, and because of their dramatization, their "threat status" is elevated above that of other "deadly" tools.

People are ruled as much by their emotions as by their logic.  Once fear or anxiety takes over, people tend to play fast & loose with logic.  The "escape and avoidance" instinct takes over, and people just want the guns to go away.

So is this fear warranted? Should we enforce some kind of gun control?  Well... Yes and no. 

In the hands of a criminal, mentally unstable person, or an untrained unsupervised minor, YES, guns are definitely a real threat.  In the hands of a trained and trusted individual with proper safety precautions, NO, guns are not generally a threat.

So who or what determines mental instability, criminal history, reasonable age, trust, and proper training levels?  Don't we need additional laws so the government can regulate that? 

The answer is yes.  We probably do need such laws.  But contrary to many gun control advocates like the Brady campaign, who would use our own fear as political leverage against us, we already have such laws - in sufficient strength and numbers to legitimize or legitimize those activities as reasonable.

Groups like the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Brady Campaign have good intentions, but their statistics are skewed to scare you into keeping them in political power.  And one can easily believe that existing laws are not enforced because they want to stay in power.

But what about other gun violence?  What about my neighbor's gun going off when he's cleaning it?  What about gun suicides?  What about domestic violence?  

Yes, those are serious issues.  But no law, no matter how well devised or enforced, will be able to predict or prevent those crimes.  And such crimes will occur whether or not a gun is used, or some other implement (knife, screwdriver, crowbar, baseball bat).  And to restrict otherwise law abiding, trusted, safe individuals just because someone might commit a crime is morally wrong.  

That would be like a teacher taking away erasers from everyone in the class because one kid threw his at another kid.  Now no-one can erase anything.  Except we aren't children who need nanny state to look over them.  We have logic and reason, and we use history and tradition as our guide.  And we keep our emotions in check.  We don't let fear control us, or those who would use fear against us to control us.

The Answer

The truth is that additional laws will not help.  We must make greater strides to enforce what we have on the books now.  And we must all, individually, take reasonable steps to protect ourselves by use of tried and true methods:   This does not always mean a gun, but does not preclude it either.  Preparedness and observation, Situational awareness, escape and avoidance, and yes, sometimes even arming ourselves.

In my next post, I'll list some things that you can do to keep yourself safe, WITHOUT guns.

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