Guns in America

*** WARNING - Controversial Topic ***

I have never been very vocal about the 2nd amendment or guns in America but the July 4th incident has really got me thinking lately. The fact that the firearms in this incident were obtained legally makes me really question our system and the state of guns in America. I myself am a long time gun owner, and with anything that has the potential to do harm I believe that significant responsibility should be a part of owning and using firearms.

When I was about 10 years old my father demonstrated the deadly potential of his shotgun by quickly dispatching a watermelon in front of me and my brothers. His point was that if we ever shot anyone or ourselves that would be our fate, his point was very clear and instilled in me and my brothers a deep respect for firearms and their deadly power.

I do believe in 2nd amendment rights but I also believe we can do much better in making sure that gun ownership is done more responsibly and in doing so we can keep the firearms out of the hands of those who would abuse them.

A few of points that I think might help in this regard:

1.) Limit purchasing and ownership of gun to 21 years and older (no exceptions).

2.) Require direct adult supervision for anyone under 21 who wants to use a gun (ie. target practice, hunting etc…) The adult supervising is fully and legally responsible with any actions taken by the youth using his weapon.

3.) Guns should be licensed like cars, requiring a class and an exam as well as registration. More hoops means less likely that the less responsible people get access to weapons legally. A yearly registration and fee should probably be imposed, maybe not as pricey as automobile registration but enough to pay for the system and people who run it. I know, more taxes, no one likes more taxes least of all me.

4.) Purchasing of ammunition should also be more regulated and require the presentation of one’s gun registration in order to complete the transaction. Violators, both buyers and sellers, should be prosecuted severely.

I have no problem with gun ownership but obviously we seem to have a problem in America. If we can’t be responsible with our guns given the current system then maybe it is time to tighten things up a bit. If we can’t govern ourselves then the government needs to step in and govern us.

In my world, there’s no reason at all for both.

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I would tend to agree, especially if you live in the city. But even then my trusty shotgun sitting in my closet provides a real deterrent if someone decided to break into my house in the middle of the night and rob me and my wife at gun point. This is the America that we live in. If I lived in Japan (which I have for two years) then there would be no reason at all to own a gun. One of these days I actually would like to move to Japan but my wife is not so keen on the idea because of the language barrier.

I’ve also lived in northern B.C. Canada, where a gun is an absolute necessity when it came to dealing with certain wildlife.

I don’t do any hunting anymore like I used to back in Canada. So I’ve divested myself of all my high caliber weapons.

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IMHO assault style weapons should be banned.

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Filandia is the leader in the number of private weapons (per one citizen) and the ease of obtaining a license for them. Population density, apart from cities, is also small. And the least use of it in crimes! So it’s rather the problem with us - humans.

By the way - I wonder what the statistics in the US look like - the number of cases where the gun in the cupboard prevented or knocked the robber down, in relation to the incidents of accidentally shooting himself with this weapon?

Never been a fan of assault weapons (ie. AK-47, Uzi or M16 [AR-15] etc…) and all their variants. In my opinion those weapons were designed with one purpose in mind and that is to kill people. If the police and military need to use them so be it but do we really need our general populace armed to fight a war? against each other?

I mean if we need to arm our general population with assault weapons then why stop there? Give them M-249 grenade launchers (I did shoot one of those in Basic Training and they do pack a nice punch), they can sling those under their AR-15s. I guess the question is where does one draw the line?

A nice hunting rifle for Elk or Moose is also a very deadly weapon but you don’t typically see many of those with 30 round clips, and a solid bolt action, even though highly accurate and deadly, is not well suited for mowing down people or throwing a lot of bullets down range like a semi-auto assault rifle is.

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I have never seen or touched a gun in my life, so to me you are from another world.

That said, I understand the spirit of the second amendment to your constitution.

There does not seem to be just a problem with the fact that many have a weapon: In Switzerland, many are armed and killings are almost non-existent.

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The US is like the Wild West compared with a lot of European countries and Japan. I was raised in a very gun savvy culture and family in a very rural environment. However my views has evolved slowly and lately I’ve come to believe that the only good gun ownership is responsible gun ownership.

More safeguards need to be put in place within our modern society, the US is no longer the Wild West or shouldn’t be. Obviously there does seem to be a problem with the American psyche, otherwise we probably would not see so many mass shootings recently.

When I was in the Utah Army National Guard (mid 90’s) the use of weapons during our time on the range or during drills was highly regulated. Much more regulated than anything you see in the public sector. If we use such strict rules for or people in the armed services (who are supposed to be experts with their weapons) why do we have such a lax attitude when it comes to the average Joe?

Yeah, our systems here in the US are really quite back a$$wards if you ask me.

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I would also be interested in real statistics about the actual crime deterrent value of private firearms. How many armed robberies of the kind you describe do actually happen yearly? My guess is that it is an extremely rare type of crime. I understand that apart from the widely publicized mass shootings, firearms pose a real, statistically significant problem - they really do kill a lot of people, thousands every year, more than wars.

I am not versed in the American Constitution but I have read that the 2nd amendment is actually not about gun ownership at all but about the right of citizens to form militias to defend their homeland.

Here in Finland hunting is a common hobby for people living in the countryside, so we have one of the largest per capita gun ownership figures in Europe. Ownership is in principle strictly regulated, you need a permit and guns are registered. To get a permit you have to prove that you need the gun (usually you have to belong to a hunting or shooting club) and that you are, in principle, sane. Guns must be stored in a certified fire-and burglarproof metal cupboard. Still, some killings, accidents and suicides happen yearly with legal firearms. Finnish defense is based on conscription, so most male and some female citizens have had some training in the use of guns.

Even though I probably would still, after almost 50 years, manage to take apart and reassemble an AK-47 with my eyes blinded, I am against private gun ownership.

As @Anssi says - the Constitution’s 2nd amendment says…
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.
The right to keep and bear arms etc comes from the implied duty of the State’s citizens to form an organized Militia… and thereafter have and use those arms.
It does not give an immediate right to everyone to keep/bear arms per se, in all circumstances - which is sadly overlooked by much legislation etc…
The Constitution does not clarify what a ‘person’ is, and therefore omits who might have these ‘rights’, and what gender, age, [race!], their mental state, their relevant past history etc etc…

It’s a mess…
Surely some young 21 year old nitwit who, by what the press have shown us, seems to have low self-esteem and dubious mental capabilities, should never have been allowed to own any firearm AT ALL ???

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Armed carjacking in the larger cities is a major issue.

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In Switzerland, every man of recruiting age, after military training, gets assault weapons and all equipment for home, but without ammunition. This one is at the mobilization points in case of “W” hour

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@TIG

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.

The wording and punctuation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution does not lend itself to straightforward interpretation.

Each state in the U.S. maintains its own State Constitution, and I consider the wording of Virginia’s Constitution of 1776 to be more indicative of the founders’ original intent:

“That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

Virginia’s wording is essentially silent on an individual’s right to own firearms.

If the U.S. had adopted Virginia’s version of ‘the right to bear arms’ in 1789 we might be a less troubled nation than we are now. Americans see the part about “the right of the people to bear arms” and ignore the “well regulated militia” part.

I have guns, and my wife and I regularly shot at the range.
I’m a liberal gun owner.
We lived in the hood, (I say lived, as Kay has passed away, but I still live there).
Prior to our ownership of our building, it had been broken into. As it doesn’t appear to be a residence, we were a bit worried about a late-night intrusion. So we both became acquainted with guns. I don’t carry a gun, open or concealed. But don’t kick my door in at night, or you’re in for a surprise.

I was raised around guns by a step father who grew up in Oklahoma, where it’s second nature. In junior high school, I did NRA target shooting and had my own rifle for it, a .22 single shot, bolt action, target model. The weird thing looking back now was the range was in the basement of my elementary school. It was fun, but having such fun shouldn’t cost people their lives. Richard Feynman, who got the Nobel Prize in Physics as one of the most brilliant theoreticians ever, famously said something like the only thing that matters is experiment. He’s saying, all the theory in the world isn’t worth a darn if it doesn’t help deal with real world experimental results. No matter what is said in theory about guns, right now the experimental results we’re living with aren’t right.

Too easy a topic to go on at length with, but I’m not easily pigeon holed in one camp or the other on this.

I’m not saying my exact answers or ideas will solve the problems we are currently facing but it seems to me that the current system is not working and it is only getting worse. Is this the new normal in America?

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From where I sit in the UK, not only is it more like the Wild West but the mindset still seems to be that of the Wild West.

Is there not a chicken and egg relationship between gun ownership and atrocities? You feel endangered because all and sundry ownership makes you endangered. Literally an arms race.

Here in the UK (and don’t laugh US people), we even wonder how far we should go in arming our police. Within my living memory, most of them used to have nothing more than a truncheon (speak softly and carry a big stick).

Here is a (possibly inflammatory) question from a bigoted non-resident (brace yourselves!): if the states south of the Mason-Dixon line were another country, would the north still have the second amendment in force?

Ah ! That’s the reason why I came back alive from Switzerland every time.

I really like the United Kingdom, especially for the civility that reigns there. But I was surprised by the great violence retained.
There is incredible social violence, and I have seen reports of attacks that were particularly violent.