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Why do you like and/or own a gun?

Living in a bubble can be comforting. There is no tension at dinner parties and no arguments on vacations. You are constantly fed “proof” that supports the way you think, which makes you feel smart and good and “right”. But when your whole world is an echo chamber it makes certain subjects absolutely incomprehensible – and I’m not being superlative, there are things that I just don’t understand and I have no one to ask because everyone in my bubble is asking the same question or regurgitating judgmental answers that aren’t necessarily progressive, nor do they feel accurate.

The day after the election, when I asked you why you voted for Trump it was out of utter curiosity because I was desperate to learn more about why one would check his box. And I learned SO much. Your responses and the dialogue that ensued really changed my view on America – it didn’t change my politics, mind you – but it made me really respect the the experiences of many of you who think differently than I do. “Oh, That’s why…”  I felt that at least mentally I could wrap my head around the whys and relate more to other Americans. Newsflash, folks: listening to different viewpoints is enlightening. Duh.

So today’s question is another one in which I’m desperate for your input:

Why do you own and/or like guns?

I’m sincerely hoping that those of you who love and appreciate guns can help those of us who don’t understand your views.

If you are curious about my stance on guns, here you go:

I’ve shot a 22 at pop cans with my family in Wyoming and it was fun. I’ve shot a machine gun at a firing range in Vietnam where my adrenaline spiked faster than those bullets (its a weird tourist thing). I realize these are not everyday gun shooting scenarios but they are all I’ve got. Despite being a less than great shot (but i’m not bad), the energy was intense, the destruction of the target was immediate, and the power in my hand was palpable. Holding a gun feels awesome.

It’s precisely that power which scares me the most. If everyone in America was mentally balanced, had strong moral compasses, and an appreciation for humanity I’d be less worried. If everyone in America had a healthy childhood, never suffered from violence, and had the mental tools to deal with conflict in a non-violent way, I wouldn’t be worried.

But that’s obviously not the reality.

When you hold a gun you feel powerful and I think it’s because you know that what you are holding in your hand can, in fact, destroy something or someone else in a second. Not that you want to, but you are very aware of the possibility. Because let’s be clear, that is the point of a gun. Guns are meant to kill, destroy, and remove life from something else. It’s not always premeditated, obviously. It might be for personal defense, sport or hunting game, but it is meant to KILL and there is is a shit ton of power in that. I mean, on a base level what is actually more “powerful” than the ability to destroy something near you?

There are a lot of people who feel powerless in life for a myriad of extremely sad reasons.  As hard as it is to remind ourselves, mass killers were once innocent babies too and for whatever reason they likely had a void of love, stability, attention or weren’t given the tools (or help) to heal, succeed or be happy. And that baby, now grown, given the chance to feel some power, or maybe to feel anything at all, might take it. If triggered they might, in fact, pull that trigger. When we call it ‘sense-less’ it often really means just that – they feel nothing. The latest shooter went to Wal-Mart to grab deoderant and then to Macdonald’s to grab a filet-o-fish after killing 17 high school kids (we don’t know what he really bought). That void of sense isn’t the result of having a normal, healthy life. It’s just not. And yet there is no multiple choice questionnaire or blood-test to find out how broken someone is or what their potential threat might be to society before they buy an AR15 or M16.

But that’s probably not you or most of us. And to be clear I don’t want to take away your guns.

But I understand and appreciate your need to feel safe – I want to feel safe, too, which is why I have a fancy home security system. To each their own. I understand that having a handgun provides you some comfort for personal defense. Just because I don’t want to own a gun doesn’t mean that I want to take away the right of responsible, highly checked and trained adults to buy a handgun for personal protection or a rifle for sport (assuming you store them in safes where no child could ever find or accidentally obtain access). The main reason I’m not campaigning to take your guns is because its clear that being totally anti-gun is futile and will further no progress. I am am personally very anti-gun, but I just want compromise with the hopes of more safety and less tragedy. I want stricter gun laws. More regulations. Less access to military style rifles that can kill so many so fast.

But man, I feel hopeless and helpless.

Policy And Change Ktzhu Copy Emily Henderson Guns Yes Or No Graphic Policy Change
Photo Credit: Katie Zhu

We all  know why politicians won’t change the laws – they are being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the NRA to essentially not regulate guns and vote pro-gun policy. I get that. Frankly, I think they are cowards, but I don’t think they are necessarily bad people. They also just do not have the same fears and vulnerabilities of normal people because they and their children or grandchildren are more protected and privileged. It’s the same reason why they don’t advocate for public schools or universal health care – it’s not like they sent their kids to public school (or would now) so they can’t relate at all and therefore they don’t see its value or necessity.

But they would have voted differently on that AR15 ban if one of those children had been at Sandy Hook or Parkland.

I know why politicians aren’t trying to ban military style weapons, but I don’t understand why normal citizens are opposed to more gun restrictions and banning the AR15 or M16. I don’t understand why people think strangers should be able to buy guns online via the gun show loophole, without an effective background check. I don’t know why someone would be opposed to strict background checks and wait times for any gun store. Or maybe you do and most of you who own a gun really do want more restrictions. I know that a lot of moms read this blog and I can’t fathom that anyone with a child thinks that this weeks shooter should have been able to easily buy that AR-15 at a local gun shop, mentally ill or not.

I know, truly, that there are two sides to every story and I NEED to hear the other side because I’m sad and feeling so helpless and hopeless.

Img 5531

So in the name of gaining knowledge, understanding and to create an important dialogue, I’d love to invite comments from those of you outside of my liberal bubble – those of you who own or like guns.  You can be anonymous and enter a fake email (people do it all the time),  I want you to be as honest as possible.

The main questions are:

-Why do you own a gun?

-As a gun owner do you think that there should be more restrictions and tighter gun laws? If not, why?

 – Do you think that AR-15s should be legal for purchase? 

Let me be clear – this is NOT a political conversation. Obviously, this is a very passionate subject and it’s easy to get angry and words might fly out of your fingers that can take the conversation in an ugly direction. But this space will remain void of trolls and bullies (aka we’ll delete anything that feels disrespectful). My general rule is that if you wouldn’t verbally say it to an eight year old, find a way to rephrase it. We have an opportunity to listen to each other and learn and we shouldn’t squander it with generic rhetoric, judgment or digression.

Because if knowledge is power then maybe learning from each other is the only way we can become more knowledgable and more powerful than the piece of dangerous metal called a GUN.

***opening graphic via

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Terra Maggiolino
3 years ago

I live in Texas. When I was growing up, the boys came to school with guns in the gun racks in their trucks! We do not own a gun in our household, because I had three sons, and I was always worried about the boy/gun connection, and didn’t want to have to worry about that. However, I and my husband were both in the military, and we know how to use/care for guns properly. (To be honest, I’d like to have a shotgun, now, for home security.) I do NOT believe that military-style weapons, such as assault rifles should be available for purchase to non-law enforcement individuals, period! We do need to change the laws regarding assault rifles. But, kids’ games, movies, cartoons, etc., are all way too violent, and when kids look at that on a daily basis, they get immune to the violence. Parents need to do their jobs as parents – teach the kids that violence is not the way to deal with things. And, we need to get back together as a country. We are all way too divided, and all the anger is trickling down to our kids. My son, who is a policeman/reserve officer… Read more »

Katie Fritsch
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I agree about the violent video games too!!! I think that they’re addicting and some have a hard time separating video games from reality. If I ever have boys – those games will NOT be allowed in my home.

Heng
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie Fritsch

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-video-games-inspire-violent-behavior/

Video games and their link to violence have long been debunked since their first major debate in the 90s. Many people rightfully criticised and ridiculed the fear mongering crusade Fox News had on violent video games.

I would agree they aren’t good for behaviour especially in large doses, but more often than not the nature of someone who develops or is born with psychopathy has neglible link to their experiences with video games(well into the multiple thousands of hours of cumulative play)

Heather
3 years ago
Reply to  Heng

This is absurd! Clearly, you’re a gamer ??‍♀️. Violence begets violence. Video games are scary and graphic and have absoltely been shown to cause violent tendancies.

Cynthia
3 years ago
Reply to  Heng

Yep. Blaming video games completely diminishes a much more complex issue. It’s a lazy, simple-minded excuse. And no, I so not play video games, and neither do my kids.

Jenn
3 years ago
Reply to  Heng

Guys, they have videos games in Canada too and this shit does NOT happen here. I can’t name ONE school that children died at from a gun.

We have strict gun laws but it doesn’t mean you can’t own one.

Vanessa
3 years ago
Reply to  Heng

This is simply not true. Violent video games were developed by the military to train soldiers prior to being deployed in order to desensitize them to the violence. It HAS been proven that these games make the player less empathetic as that was the intent. Reference the documentary Screenagers. Video games where the player has to rescue someone, or work as a team can be beneficial to the learning process but games with violence and shooting normalize that behavior and negatively effect the way the player relates to the world.

Caro
3 years ago
Reply to  Heng

While in the 1990s there was some research that did not find a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior, more recent research (and there is a ton of it since the 1990s) has shown that there is a clear association between playing violent video games and increased violent and aggressive behavior. The evidence that this leads to violent crimes is weaker, but it’s pretty well accepted that violent video games do increase aggressive behavior, even if that doesn’t lead to crime.

If you want to know more, here is a report of a recent major study (2015) by the American Psychological Association.

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/violent-video-games.aspx

Maureen
3 years ago
Reply to  Heng

I respectfully disagree and offer this in support of my position:

http://abc7ny.com/video-game-rage-dad-allegedly-shook-baby-daughter-before-her-death/3127404/

Natalee
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie Fritsch

I am concerned about the impacts of screen time because there simply hasn’t been long term longitudinal studies on the effects. I totally respect a mom’s decision to limit video games or exposure to violence. But I do want to caution that there HAVE been many long term peer reviewed studies that have shown that even first person shooting style violent video games do not impact teens/adults negatively. My husband’s therapist actually said that for men in modern society, violent video games can be a really healthy way to let off steam in modern society. I do wonder though if these sickos get their ideas from the games…but I just don’t know. We don’t have the data yet. I wish there weren’t enough shootings to ever merit a study sample. Sigh. Frankly, my kids are really drawn to the war type video games, and though I would prefer they be doing other things like basket weaving, I have given up the battle and have used the games to start a lot of really good conversations about good/evil, history, the horrors of wars, “collateral damage”, the value of all human life, and probably most important, the difference between reality and glamorized… Read more »

Sarah
3 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

Just to add, remember that those kinds of video games and movies are available to kids all over the world, yet mass shootings rarely happen outside of America.

Molly
3 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

The violent video games are for adults. That’s what the M rating is for. Not sure why people aren’t taking responsibility for exposing their kids to this violence in the first place. An M rating literally means they can’t buy it for themselves.

Stacey Jensen
3 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

Hi Emily, I live in Queensland, Australia where I’m sure you’re aware has very strict gun regulations. My husband owns a .22 rifle (I don’t know what its called technically but its not at all automatic, you have to manually do something with the gun after each and every bullet fired before you can fire the next) which is only used for some fun target practice, though he did used to go hunting & grew up on a farm. I’ve used the rifle to shoot targets & it is fun. Do I think hand guns/semi-automatics/fully auto-matics should remain/be legal? Hell no!!!! I find the notion that these assault rifles are able to be bought over there absolutely absurd!!! I cannot even fathom it!! We need rifles here for farming use/feral animal control etc, but there is NO need for a person who isn’t working in law enforcement to have an automatic weapon. As my husband says, if these shooters were not using automatic weapons, the death toll would be so so much less, as people would have more time to react, as everything is slowed down. There would be no shower of bullets mowing down victims. I once met a… Read more »

Jaime
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie Fritsch

Girls play video games, too.

Eve
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I won’t comment separately as I too am in the LA liberal bubble and I identify as a liberal-but I wanted to say that your post was so well written and I feel will spark a informative and clean conversation here that us in the bubble can def learn from. I do want to say that i agree with the video games and if I was a Mom I would prob be pretty conservative as all that goes too. I mean back in my day video games just weren’t violent-I mean was Pac Man violent? 🙂 Even the space ship games were they shot other ships was still pretty tame stuff. It was just FUN. To me shooting other people with machine guns just isn’t fun. In real life like you I tried shooting some guns-I felt the exact same way you did/described about my experience. I too don’t want to take the guns away from sane, trained, careful gun owners who know how to store them properly (safe from any children), etc. I just want stricter laws and for them to actually be enforced. BUT why the hell would anyone NEED an automatic weapon in their daily life?!!!! That… Read more »

Hilary
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Emily, as the mom of a boy, who is concerned about violent video games (and screen time in general), I highly suggest the book “Boys Adrift”. It has had such a huge impact on my parenting of my son. I don’t want my son to be one of those boys who moves home after college with no direction and no plan to grow up. That book has given me tools to prevent it.

Jill
3 years ago
Reply to  Hilary

Thank you, Hillary, for the book recommendation. It is in my Amazon cart now. I have a 12 yr old and he loves video games and its worrisome.

JessMB
3 years ago

Terra, thank you, your husband and son for your service. I grew up an “army brat” my father did have a gun but along with that gun EXTENSIVE gun training. I think it’s ridiculous for people who have not been through extensive background checks and training to be able to have a gun. Our kids are young (same age as Emily’s) we try to focus on just what you said, getting along!
I do have to admit though, I let my husband keep a pellet gun, our house is in Arizona, we back up to the desert and occasionally want to scare an animal off because of the small kids and our dog…but I don’t think that counts as a gun. However I think we could scare off a burglar with it!

Melanie
3 years ago

In October I found this comment on EHDs comment section and there is nothing to add:

“I think we have unintentionally culture of violence in our country. Art reflects what a society values and our music, television shows, movies and video games are filled with murder, mass murder, rape and incest. I don’t believe this reflects our society’s true values but I can see how a profoundly mental ill individual would come to believe any of these violent acts are normal because these images surround them. “

Jill
3 years ago
Reply to  Melanie

All true, but once again other countries like Australia and the U.K. with strict gun control have all of the same influences yet MUCH lower gun deaths. 3.6 deaths per 100.000 in the US. The next closest is 0.5 in Canada. Clearly access to guns makes a difference.

Carlene
3 years ago
Reply to  Jill

Yes, I’m Australian so I can vouch that our kids are subject to all the same issues – video games, screen time etc. The difference is that in Australia, not only do most people have absolutely no interest in owning a gun (the thought wouldn’t event cross our minds), but if we did then govt regulations make it very difficult achieve. Every time another American gun shooting make news, it’s harder and harder to accept that such a simply solved issue can be so difficult to achieve and the fact that the blockade is money is infuriating.

Larissa
3 years ago
Reply to  Carlene

Another Aussie here. We definitely have the same worries about violence and screen time that there are in the US. The concept of owning a gun is strange and very foreign to most of us here.

I have one friend who owns a gun (for sporting purposes) and the amount of background checking etc that had to happen before he had permission to purchase one was extensive. There are also very strict regulations on the storage of weapons. This makes me rest easy, knowing that it is hard to legally purchase a weapon.

Yes, if you really want to, you can get a gun through illegal means, but I think the numbers prove that our strict gun laws make a real difference.

Check out John Oliver’s piece on gun control from a few years back for a brilliant, witty look at gun control in Australian versus US (http://www.comedycentral.com.au/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart/videos/john-oliver-on-gun-control-in-the-us-vs-australia).

Kate
3 years ago
Reply to  Carlene

Canadian here (French-Canadian actually so, sorry for any spelling mistakes). I feel we think the same way. The though of someone owning a gun (or many guns for that matter) is just so… unusual? Almost weird. I mean, I know people who hunts but they do not have automatic weapons and they really need to go through an intensive background check. Maybe not as severe as in Australia especialy since the end of the Gun Registry (thanks Harper) but still a lot more thorough than in the U.S. for what I’ve heard. We simply don’t have that…. culture? When someone says they own a gun, we automatically become suspicious like: why? for what? do you have kids? do they have access to the gun? do you take care of it? etc. I remember when I was young, I was babysitting and the dad had many guns for hunting. They were in a secure cabinet with an electronic pad and a physical lock, in a closed office but still, I always felt unsafe when I was passing by that room. This is a feeling that many of my friends and family share as well but I guess this is exacly the… Read more »

Maria
3 years ago
Reply to  Melanie

There is ample evidence that people with mental health issues are no more likely to be involved in violent acts than those without diagnosed mental health issues. If you are interested in reading more, this is a good link: https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/violence-and-mental-health-unpacking-a-complex-issue/.

It is dangerous to stigmatize an already at risk community by blaming mass shootings on them. Please reconsider voicing such views.

CiCi
3 years ago

I think that while most people can play violent video games in a healthy way, some people can’t. Just like some people can binge drink on a Friday night out with friends and not having a drinking problem, while alcoholics cannot even have one sip. Some people can watch “intense” pornography as a release, while in others it may encourage them to act out those behaviors. It’s very subjective.

Outside of video games, I think superhero movies are a huge issue in our society (especially because of how popular they are right now). Have you ever thought to look at the collateral damage the “hero” causes in pursuit of the bad guy? Sure he saved “the city,” but what about the 18 apartment buildings that got destroyed in the process – how many people were in those buildings? These movies glorify the pursuit of righteousness above all else, so I think people are conditioned to believe the end justifies the means. And, if you’re an alcoholic, sexual deviant or violence lover, your “end” may be worth the means to you and that’s dangerous.

Lisa
3 years ago

Not a gun owner. I will say however that from my readings on Twitter, and discussions there, it seems as though many gun owners feel their guns to be a symbol, almost, of them being able to stay safe in a world where the government and other people are probably out to dominate/rob/harm them. So gun regulation becomes a kind of proxy for a very deeply seated emotional belief about the world.

Lisa
3 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

And to add, Emily, your description of how it felt to hold a gun really resonated. I bet it is about that feeling of power, and its opposite, that your power is at risk every day.

Jess
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Em, some might say…”How are you planning on protecting all of your survival gear if someone else has a gun and want to survive also?”

Kara
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

You know whats crazy….I don’t think at the heart of this issue, most pro gun people are against stricter gun laws and banning assault weapons from getting in the hands of civilians. But I do think some have a fear that if the government starts to ban weapons in any form it’s going to snowball and eventually they’ll be illegal all together. It seems crazy to think that but I think people think if you give them an inch they take a yard. So those people with those views take a hard stance. Unrealistic as it may be I know people who fear that. Then there are also the extremist who think the government is so corrupt and believe there is a possibility they’ll turn on us. They have no trust in the government and want to have assault weapons to protect themselves against their own government (if they had to form a militia of some sort). That seems pretty far fetched to me but I think these are 2 real stances out there. I personally believe people have a right to bear arms but there definitely needs to be stricter gun laws and bans on assault weapons for sure.

C L O
3 years ago
Reply to  Kara

My husband is of the opinion that if we allow the government to restrict gun purchases then it will escalate to the government controlling us more (for example being able to decide if we can or cannot have a surgery, or we can or cannot have access to education if the gov decides theyre trying to keep people in specific classes). With that said he is a champion for very secure and strict gun laws… limiting access to purchase for people who are emotionally at risk for irresponsible behavior with guns, longer wait times for purchase, etc. I have to also say… I’m a wife of a gun owner who wouldn’t pick up a gun if my life depended on it. I’ve been avoiding taking a gun safety class because the idea of having a powerful weapon in my hand doesn’t make me feel okay. Ive had nightmares of a burglary and me shooting myself instead of using the gun for self-defense. Plus there is no way I would have the ability to take down a person with a gun breaking into my house. I hate that we have guns…. so my husband and I have been trying to have… Read more »

Karen Heath
3 years ago
Reply to  Kara

The message that you are talking about – if they take one gun they’ll eventually take them all- was initiated by the NRA and cultivated to the extent that people really fear that it is a real threat. It’s pretty irrational because during the years that assault rifles we’re outlawed there were still plenty of guns available. No one tried to take away all the guns. Most of the members of the NRA aren’t even this paranoid, but the mass message prevails.

Kathryn
3 years ago
Reply to  Karen Heath

I would add that it was perpetuated by the libertarian movement (Koch brothers, Heritage Foundation) in the 1970s as part of a systematic effort to undermine American democracy. This was in response to the upheaval during the 1960s. The objective is to privatize all facets of U.S. government (schools, roads, health care), remove all taxation, and militarize the country (give supreme authority to the military over the people). Many of the members of this elite movement took their views from the fascist movements of the earlier 20th century. They are ultimately corporatists who believe that corporations should have free reign versus the American people. As a side note, many of the pro-gun owners whom I have spoken with in my family who are anti-government are still pro-Social Security and Medicaid. Everyone in my grandparents generation understood the role of government as beneficial (before government intervened people were simply left to die). They had no protection from workplace accidents or any assistance if they fell ill. The fact that we have entire generations who do not understand why we fought the American Revolution and established the Republic to begin with, or why government historically has been beneficial to humanity, demonstrates the… Read more »

Kandice
3 years ago
Reply to  Kara

I’ve heard this argument many times – if we allow government to enact stricter gun laws, then it could snowball – and I just don’t understand that mentality. Passing any laws in this country is difficult (look at the constant deadlock in congress) , so how could said regulations snowball?

Claire
3 years ago
Reply to  Kara

This is EXACTLY gun owning friends and family believe. That if the government makes any changes at all to tighten gun laws that guns will be banned outright. So they will do everything in their power to keep that from happening.

Julie
3 years ago
Reply to  Kara

Hi Kara. I’m not a big fan of guns, even though I’m a veteran. But my husband, also a veteran, has strong opinions about the government stripping us of our rights, so he has his concealed carry permit and owns a pistol. I wanted to comment on your first statement. We have many friends who feel this way. A not-perfect example is Obamacare. It started out that we could keep our doctors and our premiums wouldn’t go up. By the time the government pushed this through, we had lost more and more. We couldn’t have the same doctors, our premiums have tripled, and our coverage is poorer. Not to mention, we will be penalized if we fail to participate. These types of instances cause regular people to not trust politicians. You give an inch and they take a mile. Anyway, have a good evening. 🙂

James Voos
3 years ago
Reply to  Julie

I have never owned a gun, but considered getting a .22 for ground squirrel control on my rural property. Going thru the process was interesting. Where I live it was nearly impossible to buy .22 LR shells because I was told that the Obama administration was buying up a huge amount of the inventory. It was months before I could buy a single box of shells. Supply was extremely limited. So, government can very easily restrict the rights of gun owners, even without laws to change ownership. It was very enlightening to me to see how easily this happened. Kind of changed my “California” view of gun rights to actually being concerned about the 2nd amendment being at risk indirectly..

Kim Miller
3 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

My husband and I own guns. Many women I know are purchasing guns and obtaining conceal carry permits. It’s not a fashion accessory or something we take lightly. We are doing this so we may protect ourselves and others if necessary. There is an inherit difference when you see so many fleeing during a crisis and a few that actually confront the danger in order to save lives. As far as us fearing the government taking away our civil rights, we are not concerned about that. They failed to track their own guns which resulted in the death of American citizens. They are neglecting to act on VERY credible information being given to them that would have prevented this senseless violence time after time again. Would you rather trust you or your loved ones life to a law abiding, caring, unselfish citizen trained in the event of an attack, or would you rather at that exact moment trust our government to do their jobs?

Emily
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim Miller

Hi Kim,

Do you have any concern with taking down a shooter in a public space with your own weapon? I own a gun and have thought about getting a concealed carry permit, but at the end of the day I’m not sure I would trust my shot (& I’m a good shot!) in a crowd of people. What if you missed and shot an innocent person? Has that thought ever bothered you? Interested in knowing your answer! I’m the only one of my girlfriends who handles guns so I’m curious.

Katie
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim Miller

Imagine a scenario with an active shooter in a school and well-intentioned people with guns, possibly well trained, but also maybe not, shooting back. Now first responders enter that environment. How are they to know who is dangerous and who is not? How can we guarantee those people with guns won’t miss and hit a kid as well? From my point of view, more guns isn’t the answer and you may disagree. But maybe we can agree to a liscensing system that can give us some peace of mind. Nothing is going to be perfect, but not losing more children has to be worth trying something.

Emily
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie

Katie,

I agree, I don’t think more guns is the answer and I definitely do not think we should be bringing more guns into schools. Apart from the completely daunting atmosphere that would provide kids, I would be worried that bringing in guns around kids would have the same effect as it did with providing heavier armor for our police officers. I know that’s a whole other very sensitive topic, but it seems that more emphasis has been put into ending situations rather than deescalating them (as opposed to how law enforcement is trained in many other countries). It makes me nervous to see how that could play out in schools.

I was more so asking about just being in general public places. Like I said, I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable shooting in a public space, but I am curious if others do.

T
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim Miller

Everyone thought the Las Vegas shooter was a caring, normal, law abiding citizen too – until he did what he did.
The fact that everyone is defending gun ownership by stating you’d rather have a gun to protect yourself from someone else with a gun, is totally missing the point. As are those who believe it’s a right to own one. Or that they can do a better job taking down a shooter than those in law enforcement.
Generations who grow up with guns can only imagine life, and these situations, with guns IN it. When you can realise that life can, and does, exist elsewhere without them, only then you will be able to legislate and stop these killings.
Wishing you all luck. Your kids deserve more.

Stacey jensen
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim Miller

What the hell is a conceal carry permit?! I take it that it allows you to carry a gun in public?
What?!
I live in Australia & to me, that sounds insane!!! I would not feel safe in America knowing people next to me could be carrying a gun. I know it sounds crazy to alot of Americans to restrict/tighten gun laws, but trust me, our gun laws work. I honestly for the life of me cannot understand the current American laws regarding guns. I just can’t get my head around it.

Stacey jensen
3 years ago
Reply to  Stacey jensen

And to add to my comment, a conceal carry permit just sounds to me like placing a problem ontop of another problem. Crazy!

Rebecca P
3 years ago
Reply to  Stacey jensen

Hi Stacey,

My BIL has a conceal carry, which I didn’t even know until Sunday! He can carry in public, almost anywhere. We were at a nice restaurant in Nashville eating brunch, and I asked him if he had it with him right then and he said yes. I have no idea where he puts it because I couldn’t see it and it wasn’t obvious to me at all that he had a gun. He’s also in the military and has been trained to use a gun.

Kelly Berry
3 years ago
Reply to  Stacey jensen

Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Las Angelos do not allow permits to carry concealed guns and have very strict gun laws so they should be the safest citiies in our country right?
Mexico does not allow guns at all. How are they doing?

Lindsay
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Berry

The point here is that semi-automatic weapons are unsafe for the general public to have, it doesn’t have to do with concealed carry guns so you have a moot point. Additionally, Mexico’s government is ridiculously corrupt so that point really doesn’t hold any water either.

Deb
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Berry

Thank you for pointing out that fact! Chicago has historically had more shootings than any other city in the US, and it has imposed some of the strictest gun regulations in the nation. The problem with banning guns is that criminals have no qualms breaking the law and will then be the only people who are armed. The problem in America isn’t guns, the problem is that our families are broken, respect for others Is gone, children aren’t being taught the difference between right and wrong, morality is no longer taught- in the name of the separation between church and state, In the absence of God there is no punishment for bad deeds if you don’t get caught. We don’t acknowledge our neighbors and there is no community, no sense of a collective well being or a network of people to support us when we fall, just individualism.

Deb- NC
3 years ago

Emily I can’t even go to this conversation yet in any kind of a civilized manner so will refrain from voicing my thoughts. But I truly want to commend you for being willing to bring it up on your blog which a lot of bloggers would not do – no shame on them – because it’s a risk to a part of your business/brand. Your questions are valid and your approach sounds truly open minded so I hope you get calm rational information in response. I’ve always lived in a similar bubble to yours but have lived in western NC now for 3 years and this is something I struggle with almost daily now. Thanks for sticking your neck out.

Anon
3 years ago
Reply to  Deb- NC

Hi, Deb. Am curious about the details. The western NC I know is full of raccoon hunters. Is there a problem with assault guns and/or public shootings?

Em
3 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Hi Anon,
great question…although perhaps sarcastic. But in short…YES. Born and raised in western NC and experienced a school shooting while in 6th grade at Burns Middle School. You should check it out. I think when we ask questions like yours (whether drenched in sarcasm or not) we will find no place is immune to this issue.

Natalie
3 years ago

We have two handguns, which spend 99% of their time locked in their cases. Occasionally we take them to a shooting range. We also have no children in the house and have no illusions that we would be able to protect ourselves from intruders with these guns (just logistically getting them out of cases, loading them, etc, much less actually being of clear enough mind to go for the gun in that situation). Both of us absolutely believe that there should be more gun control laws: serious background checks, waiting periods, mandatory training, smart technologies… And there is absolutely no reason for assault rifles to be in the hands of anyone who isn’t military (and even that is a can of worms but another debate). I don’t even think the police should have assault weapons because they tend to misuse them.

Thank you for starting this discussion because there are a range of gun owners and I think most of us are more sensible than the NRA would like. Most of us aren’t clinging to deadly metal while shouting about the Second Amendment.

Catherine
3 years ago

I own a 20 gauge semi-automatic shotgun because it was gifted to me by my father. I use it to go duck hunting with my husband a few times a year and also to shoot sporting clays (like skeet) at the shooting range occasionally. My husband is an avid duck hunter and has probably 12 guns of various types, including an AR-15. My brother probably has 30 guns, as does my father, who mostly collects World War 2 rifles. For reference, my husband and I are 30 years old, my brother 35, and my father 70. My father is the type of person on the complete opposite end of the political spectrum that you struggle to understand during these times. He refers to democratic politicians as “gun grabbers” and is a proud NRA member. I think he is so set in and comfortable with these beliefs he has held his entire life that he has no interest in challenging them. When all you listen to is Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and other people who agree with you, why would you challenge your beliefs? It’s easier, it’s comfortable. He is 70 and set in his ways. He likes his guns… Read more »

Dina
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

Catherine thank you for this really thought out response. I live in Boston in a bubble (I assume) not dissimilar from Emily’s so I want to learn whatever I can from this discussion. I want to understand – are you saying that these kind of mass shooting tragedies are just something we have to accept? Like this is just how it is, as sad as it may be?

Rachel
3 years ago
Reply to  Dina

That last line stood out to me too, but I read it a different way… If there are already 270 million guns in America (I didn’t fact check this but it sounds about right), then even if all new gun sales were immediately banned and you could not buy a gun from a store, there are still TONS of guns for sale and easily accessible. I’ve seen guns on craigslist! That’s something I really never thought about before – is it too late? Is this just how it is in America? I don’t necessarily think so, but restricting the sale of new guns is not going to stop the flow or access to guns if someone really wants them. People talk about mental health resources as another factor in preventing mass shootings, and maybe that’s another important part of it. I don’t know. It all feels too big to combat.

Stacey jensen
3 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

You have to start somewhere though…

Heidi
3 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

Hi Rachel…An Aussie here – When the Federal Goernment here did the gun law “amnesty”, they allowed people to hand in guns (that were then destroyed, quite publicly). Yes, there will always be guns available to be bought illegally, as there still are here in Australia, BUT people who had one and didn’t need it or didn’t use it, turned it in and were relieved about the fact hey didn’t have to constantly think about having one. It’s a different mindset here in Australia. I guess it’s more about not feeling afraid of society/in society. Maybe that’s why Trump won the election there, because he preyed on the people fear?!

Chandler
3 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

It’s not too big to combat, it’s just too big to see immediate results, which is why most people shrug it off as impossible. Remember that 150 years ago you could legally purchase another human being in this country. Opinions change. Laws change. It won’t happen overnight but we can definitely make a dent that future generations can keep chipping away at until eventually the idea of owning a handgun seems surreal.

Catherine
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I enjoy this sensible reasonable discussion because I think the reason we are in this situation is because our politics have become SO partisan and no one in power is willing to consider the other side or compromise. And it’s because of the way people vote. When lawmakers compromise they don’t get reelected. So who can blame them? It disgusts me. I agree that we need more people like me speaking out because I truly do understand both sides. It beyond frustrates me when people refuse to educate themselves about an opposing viewpoint. If it’s any consolation, I do think people in younger generations, at least the ones I interact with (and I live in Texas), are generally more reasonable than our parents. And I think most of my friends share my views on this topic. This gives me hope that things might change in the future. You are correct that gang violence/domestic violence aren’t random acts and I didn’t mean to compare them to mass shootings. I just think it’s interesting that handguns do cause significantly more deaths than assault rifles yet there really isn’t a lot of noise about banning handguns. Maybe because assault rifles make the average… Read more »

Maryanne
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

As an Australian I am really interested to know what is the disadvantage of a buy back scheme like we had in Australia? I don’t feel like my rights have been compromised at all but my safety and the safety of my family is much more protected under this scheme. Admittedly I would never consider owning a gun, but my brother in law is a farmer and has a licensed gun that he uses to cull kangaroos on his property and hunt as a hobby. He is content, the gun is stored safely and periodically checked by the police.
There are illegal guns in Australia obviously but any legislation that reduces children accidentally stumbling across them or people making unfortunate spur of the moment decisions (whether they may are a depressed person or a distressed angry adolescent)
must be a good thing. Every country’s laws are a compromise between individual rights and the community good (I don’t get to drive on the wrong side of the road even though I might like to). I hope the USA can find a compromise that is more effective at protecting innocent children.

ChristinaInAustralia
3 years ago
Reply to  Maryanne

And here are some good stats on those Australian policies: no massacre here since the 1996 tightening of laws: https://theconversation.com/factcheck-qanda-did-government-gun-buybacks-reduce-the-number-of-gun-deaths-in-australia-85836 AND: “In the two decades following the gun reforms, there was a reduction in the annual rate of gun deaths – from 2.9 per 100,000 in 1996 to 0.9 per 100,000 in 2016.”

Jill
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

No one needs an AR15 – legally or illegally. I’m curious – you said your husband has one but you arent really sure why. Can you explain why you haven’t asked? Do you have children? I really am just trying to wrap my brain around my spouse having an assault weapon in our home and never asking why.

Rae
3 years ago
Reply to  Jill

She said that she doesn’t have children.

Catherine
3 years ago
Reply to  Jill

When I said “I don’t know why he has an AR-15” that wasn’t really accurate… I do know why… my dad and my brother gave him the parts as Christmas gifts and he thought it was fun to build it over time. No, we don’t have kids, but I grew up in a house with 30+ guns and was educated about them and they were stored in a locked safe. If I did have kids I would still feel comfortable having guns in my house because my husband and I are responsible people who plan to educate our kids about gun safety, teach them how to properly use a gun, and keep them locked up and inaccessible. Your response suggests that you don’t know much about guns, which is largely the problem with this whole debate. It’s kind of like old white men imposing ridiculous abortion restrictions without understanding how the female body works. And yes, you’re correct – no one needs an AR-15. No one NEEDS a gun, period. But all guns have a practical use. My husband uses his AR-15 for hog hunting. He can also use it for home defense if necessary. And bear in mind that… Read more »

Dina
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

Thank you for your response! I am learning so much here. I think I probably am what you’d consider a bleeding heart liberal 🙂 but even I am not for banning all guns. I just feel like though I may not like them, who am I to tell someone they can’t have a rifle for hunting or a shotgun to protect their family? To me I have the same right to do that as I do to tell someone who they can and can’t marry, ie. NONE. But as a country and community I think we have to make some compromises and like most have said, a civilian doesn’t need an assault rifle or a high capacity magazine for sport or protection. Of course I don’t think that banning them will stop mass shootings. But like you said if it could prevent even 1 OR hell reduce the death toll the next time one happens, I think we have to try something.

Amber
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

I think you’d be surprised at how many “bleeding heart liberal types screaming abt gun control and the NRA” are in favor of reasonable gun control measures (not just melting all the guns), and don’t think it will solve everything tomorrow, but think we should at least TRY! It works in other countries, so If it can save lives, can’t we at least try? The other thing about the NRA is, they lobbied (and won, passing the Dickey amendment) to stop the CDC from even researching the public safety effects and potential research-baseds olutions to gun violence. Bc of them and $$$ lining pockets, we can’t even research, and we can’t even try, that’s what’s so frustrating. Also, I think I’m a respectful dialogue such as this, we should stop painting broad swaths of people with terms like “bleeding heart liberals”… and comments like one below that said “all the liberals think…” Em and other non-gun owning folks didn’t come in here calling everyone who is pro gun “republican gun nuts”…

Catherine
3 years ago
Reply to  Amber

I’m sorry, Amber, I didn’t mean to offend or paint all people on the left side of the aisle the same (and I would consider myself left-of-center). I was referring to a few people in my network who are constantly posting inflammatory anti-gun sentiments and think the solution is to ban guns, period. And I think it’s fair to accuse some people of being republican gun nuts…. my parents, for example! 🙂 It’s the extreme people on both sides whose voices tend to be the ones heard and that’s why we can’t get anywhere with this issue – because they don’t respect alternative viewpoints.

Also, the NRA does not carry as much weight as you might think. It’s voters like my parents and other people who are very very pro-second amendment and refuse to vote for anyone who is not. You might find this to be an interesting read: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/16/nra-money-isnt-why-gun-control-efforts-are-failing-commentary.html

Linda
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Do not mean to nitpick, but regarding point 2, just wanted to mention that mass shootings are terrorism. Unfortunately, our country has drawn lines that separate the two that are fundamentally racist

Alicia
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Domestic violence and guns are a huge issue. There are things we can do to lessen the risk to women. Here in PA we’re trying to get a bill passed that would put some measures in place. For example if I file a restraining order against someone he has 90 days (I believe) to turn in his guns! 90 days! We’re trying to shorten that to 48 hours.

Rebecca P
3 years ago
Reply to  Alicia

I just wanted to clarify your comment because Utah has the same law. Filing a restraining order doesn’t mean that the person is required to turn over their guns. It’s getting the restraining order to become permanent (this process takes about a month to go through court) that the guns have to be turned over. My sister filed a restraining order against her ex-fiance, which ultimately did not become permanent in court. The judge sided with the ex-fiance, not my sister, so the guns (including an assault weapon) are still in the possession of the ex-fiance.

anna
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

i wish i could like this post! so many good points and so well put in my opinion.

Megan
3 years ago
Reply to  anna

i agree i wish there were a like option. i like that this conversation is happening! good job everyone.

FLMom
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

So if you’re for banning ALL guns emily are you also for banning all (or any) abortions? Killing is killing right? What makes 1 killing worse than another? And furthermore what makes one right more “ok” to take away than another? If you want to take 1, then all should be equally as good/available to be removed.
You cannot legislate morals or a compass. This country needs help in many ways. I’m all for tougher laws and actual enforcement of them…for everyone that kills.

Spanish
3 years ago
Reply to  FLMom

Flmom, I just can believe you compare these 2 topics, I think is really unsympathetic. With 250 million orphans in this planet, do we have any need to make girls (or women) that are sure they are not able to give a good future to their children, force them to have a child? For what? Seriously? Why would you do that to a child? Comparing this topic to mass shooting in schools is just… And using it to defend the possession of arms… It’s not right, to say the least

Vanessa’s
3 years ago
Reply to  FLMom

Don’t think this really fair to compare mass shootings to abortion. But to follow your line of arguement, 35 states require that women receive counseling before receiving an abortion. 26 states require a mandatory waiting period usually 24 hours but some states up to 72 hours after counseling. Of those 26 states only two of them require a waiting period to purchase a gun. Only 11 states total require a waiting period to purchase a gun. Maybe if the shooters received counseling and has waiting/cooling off periods before their gun purchase some of these men could be stopped and/or helped.

Jessica
3 years ago
Reply to  FLMom

Thank you for saying that. It always amazes me how liberals only care about children being killed when it’s done by a gun and not an abortion. It’s very hypocritical. As a gun owner myself, I don’t believe in banning the AR15 bc it is not going to reduce gun violence. There are still shotguns and handguns for crazy people intent on killing. And being opposed to stricter gun laws, I feel it’s a slippery slope to a gun registry and an all out gun ban. The bigger question to me is why in the past decade or two have young males started mass shootings? Are we over prescribing our children? Is social media to blame? Video games? Or a combination of all? The issue goes much deeper than taking guns away. Oh and by the way, I’m a mother of 2 young children in ny. I live in the bubble too but I just don’t agree with any of it. It’s frustrating to think differently and be judged or yelled at bc you see the world differently.

Jill
3 years ago
Reply to  FLMom

You do realize that one in four pregnancies result in spontaneous miscarriage before 20 weeks, no? As someone who has had a miscarriage (but not an abortion), I think it’s absolutely silly to vilify women for terminating an unwanted pregnancy that in 20% of cases might have terminated itself. This Is not the same as killing a person.

Sasha
3 years ago
Reply to  FLMom

FLMOM, I am a biologist and know something about development- a fetus is not a baby, it has a potential to become a baby after 9 months in the womb. It is estimated that up to 50% of embryos will miscarry. This is called natural selection. Do you think that every single acorn will become an oak and mourn the ones that do not? And later terminations, when the fetus is in 2nd trimester are typically done for fatal fetal anomalies to prevent suffering of the fetus and the mother. I speak both as a scientist and as someone who has had three pregnancy losses at different stages of pregnancy.

The fat that you are equating killing 17 year olds in high schools and pregnancy terminations suggests that it is you who lack a moral compass, FLMOM.

Meg
3 years ago
Reply to  FLMom

Hi FLMOM,

I just want to say that while I am pro-choice, I very much understand your view point that abortion is killing a person and that you should fight for the lives of those cells.

However, comparing the killing of children in a school where they are supposed to be learning, where they are supposed to feel safe and will have a healthy future independent of another person’s body, and the removal of cells from a human body are not in anyway the same.

Thank you for your point, but I want you to consider that abortion is not relevant to a pro-/anti-gun debate.

Sarah
3 years ago
Reply to  FLMom

Terminating your own pregnancy is IN NO WAY the same as killing someone else’s child. Please do not equivocate the two

Amie
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I’m finding the thread really fascinating. Not sure if you want my opinion as an Australian…. but the buyback scheme worked a treat here. Generally speaking most of my fellow Aussies felt certain that Sandyhook was going to be your nations turning point like the Port Arthur Massacre was for us.

Catherine I’ve found your insights so valid and balanced – you absolutely are the kind of person that needs to be more vocal.
Just a note on the black market – obviously there will always be people who will go to extraordinary means to obtain illegal items. But what you will find (it happened here) is that the cost of obtaining a gun on the black market is extremely high – you’re talking an excess of $10-60k for a single weapon and ammunition. So it’s pretty unlikely that someone who is mentally unstable will be in a position to find a seller, organise a buy and have some serious cash to drop on the items. I think you’ll find a pretty big reduction in mass shootings.

Niki
3 years ago
Reply to  Amie

I do not own a gun. I’m married to a Kiwi/New Zealander living in the US currently (San Diego for reference). I’ve lived in NZ and Australia and was living in Aus when Sandy Hook happened. I think a buyback could work here, but we’re working with different conditions than Australians and we’d have to go about it differently. I believe two things need to happen (which were not issues Australia had prior to enforcing the buyback): politicians need to get out of the NRAs pockets and support their constituents rather than the lobbyists (I don’t know how you do that), but just as importantly and something we can all contribute to is changing the dialogue from bipartisan gun control to making a conscious decision that the lives of all innocent victims of gun violence (or mass shootings if we should start there) are more valuable than an individuals right to obtain a gun (or AR if we should start there). From an outsiders perspective that is the rationale of many Australians… the safety of their children, the safety of all Australians far outweighs the individual feeling entitled to owning guns. I think our media is doing us a disservice… Read more »

Heidi
3 years ago
Reply to  Amie

Amie, I don’t think we have the fear factor here on Aussie, that they do in the USA. I think that base, core fear of what MIGHT happen reinforces the fear need to have a gun. I feel so blessed to live here in Australia, even though I was bron in the USA.

Tori
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Yes! This is so important.

1) Comparing gun access to drug access is like comparing apples to oranges. Here’s why. College kids especially, do it as a hobby, and when they can’t obtain drugs they just find another hobby. Guns on the other hand, I would say a majority of gun owners (although this isn’t true for everyone) don’t really mind if they have to obtain their arms illegally. Not the ones who REALLY value their guns at least. So reduce access… They’ll still find a way to get their guns, even the really scary ones, it’ll just be on the black market.

2) It is so so so so important to recognize that separating “terrorism” and “mass shootings” is systematically racist. We associate terrorism with foreigners. Mass shootings are committed by mostly white men. So we separate them, but they are the same thing!! It’s ALL terrorism!!!

Carrie
3 years ago
Reply to  Tori

Regarding point one- if we make legal access harder and more than likely more expensive as a result, gun supply will eventually go down. Manufacturers won’t be making guns that they can only sell legally so over time, they’ll be fewer in any market place. Simple economics, prices will go up and demand will go down. Honestly, it would be a long term process but eventually we’ll have fewer guns in this country and I’ll take it!

Angela
3 years ago
Reply to  Tori

I disagree on your first point based on the people I know who own guns. My father, brother-in-law, and many members of my best friend’s family own guns for hunting, sport, and personal safety. They value their guns and right to own them. However, they are law-abiding citizens who obtained them legally and would not have done so if they had to go to the black market and involve in shady dealings to do so. I would argue that the majority of gun owners would not go that route.

Brie
3 years ago
Reply to  Tori

I noted to my husband last night that in my memory it seemed that most mass shootings occurred at the hand of men. I suggested that perhaps we needed a ban on men.
He has yet to reply…..

Kristin
3 years ago
Reply to  Tori

Tori, I think it’s important to correct a misconception that “majority of gun owners don’t care if they obtain their guns legally.” At present, this is absolutely untrue (whether that is because firearms are easy to obtain, I can’t say). What type of person do you think of when you think of most gun owners? If you think of a constantly gun wielding, thieving, midnight inner city mugger (which DO exist and you very well may live in an area where this happens regularly), then I can understand your bias. If you think of an antique gun collector, game hunter, law enforcement officer, or ex-military, it is almost certainly untrue that these people en masse would not prefer to purchase their gun(s) legally. On your second point re: terrorism vs mass murder. I can see where it may seem a silly or even divisive thing not to classify mass murder as terrorism (as it is terroristic), it is an important distinction to collect information for country level statistics internationally (NOT just USA), to create international comparisons and formulate strategies to counteract this behavior. It is not a classification made to be arbitrarily racist.

RCG
3 years ago
Reply to  Tori

Guns=Potentially Lethal
Drugs=Potentially Lethal
Looks like they are analogous to me.

Katie
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

If you haven’t already seen it, you must watch John Oliver’s segment on gun control: http://www.comedycentral.com.au/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart/videos/john-oliver-on-gun-control-in-the-us-vs-australia#gun-control-whoopdedoo

As an Australian, it just makes no sense to me whatsoever that your country would put the rights of gun owners above the lives of your children (or anyone’s lives for that matter). I hope your politicians will finally do the right thing xx

Heidi
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie

YES!

Shelley
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie

Thank you for reminding me of this video series. Damn, I love John Oliver!

Michelle
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

I really appreciate this post. I agree that those who are mentally stable really struggle to understand why they would need to give up their assault weapons. In my opinion wouldn’t we want to have the “good guys” in possession of the guns most effective at killing? That way we have a match against those who are mentally unstable and in possession of an assault rifle. That’s why I wonder if we should arm teachers, or at least have more armed guards on public school campuses. Of course, thorough assessment of mental stability would need to be done, but it would put the power back with those who are responsible enough to handle it.

Aileen
3 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

So you not only think every teacher should be armed, but that every teacher should be armed with an assault rifle? So that we could blast away at a mentally ill student? That seems more reasonable than barring the mentally unstable from purchasing or keeping weapons?
I teach college students, and I have had so many students over the years write research papers on what kind of gun control could work in the US. And it’s actually not a hard question to answer. There is a lot of research out there that doesn’t get anywhere close to Australian levels of removing guns from private ownership that would easily reduce the number of gun deaths in this country. The problem is the fearmongering by those who insist that any action is the start of the “slippery slope” and insist that no action, not even very minor action, can be taken.

Karen
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

Catherine, everything you said is so measured, respectful, and thoughtful! I feel the exact same way – except about it being too late. I don’t think that we can afford to think that way. I read your other response, that if even one of these tragedies is prevented, then further gun control is worth it – and that is truly the crux of the issue. I think, as someone who is pro RESPONSIBLE gun ownership, or even if I was against it entirely (which I’m not, but could be, if I thought it would stop these tragedies), that there is a feeling of hopelessness about how to further this cause in an effective way. We can’t take back what’s already happened – what would even work to slow down the scary people who don’t care what rules or regulations are put in place? I believe that SOMETHING must be done. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see what did work, that ONE tragedy that was prevented because of stricter regulations. All we have are examples of what’s working in other places. And unfortunately, none of those places are the USA – with the size and diversity, and complexity, that makes us… Read more »

Spanish
3 years ago
Reply to  Karen

Hi Karen, I am glad you think so high of your country, but every country is unique actually. I have no doubt that USA is amazing still mass shooting only happen there… Maybe you are doing something wrong, and you guessed right, it’s that you have guns.

Nicole V
3 years ago
Reply to  Spanish

Mass shootings don’t “only happen here” neither do mass killings that don’t involve guns for that matter.

AJ
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

I just can’t believe that (intelliegent) people like your father-in-law wouldn’t be willing to give up some of their ownership rights in order to save the lives of children. That just feels like a level of selfishness I will never understand.

Catherine
3 years ago
Reply to  AJ

AJ, I understand where you’re coming from, but unfortunately it’s not that simple. If it was, I think we could solve the problem today and not have any more of these tragedies! From what I’ve seen, pro-gun people usually see the issue from this perspective: – They believe that gun control is a slippery slope and will eventually snowball into a governmental buyback program like you see in Australia. The slippery slope argument might sound irrational, but my father honestly believes this is a possibility. If it happened in Australia (and Hillary Clinton and other politicians have praised the Australian system), why couldn’t it happen here? Some people have asked “ok, what is so wrong with the Australian system?” Pro-gun people find this system disastrous. All of a sudden, many types of commonly owned guns were illegal – long guns, mostly semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, pump-action shotguns, and military type semi-automatic rifles. My husband and I would have to sell all of the guns we own, minus a revolver, to the government or we would be breaking the law. – Pro-gun people don’t think that giving up some gun ownership rights will make a difference. They think that the bad… Read more »

Anonymous
3 years ago

I own guns because I unfortunately live in one of the most violent cities in the US. We are constantly having to watch our backs. I have 2 tiny babies & feel I need to protect myself & the babes at all times. Do I like living like this? Absolutely not. But at this time, I have no plans to move to a safer city because my entire support system is here.

Jennifer
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Thank you for your post. I am so sorry you have to live in fear. Support systems are so important. Totally understand wanting to protect your family.

Abby.
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I have an honest question about how keeping a gun in a house, especially a home with children, makes you feel safer. Safe gun storage would mean keeping the unloaded gun locked away separately from the ammunition in a place that is inaccessible to children. So if the worst case scenario happened and your home was broken into, it would mean retrieving and unlocking 2 storage containers, then loading the gun. All while keeping a cool enough head to do so efficiently and maintain control of the firearm so that it’s not used against you. To me, this doesn’t seem like an effective means of maintaining one’s home security. On the other hand, if these safe storage steps are not taken, then kids are able to access guns. When unfamiliar with them (or even when familiar) they do not understand the ramifications of handling one. So then you see headlines about accidental shootings. And I mean this in an honest way. My brother and father keep guns in their homes and have never been able to articulate why it makes them safer. Also, it’s so sad that people feel unsafe in their homes. So I’m sorry you are struggling with… Read more »

Vanessa’s
3 years ago
Reply to  Abby.

I wonder about this too! When I hear people keep a gun in their home to protect their family I review the senario into head as to how they would get and open the two separate safes in time, after being surprised by an intruder to actually make a difference.

Gun-hater who fell in love with a man with guns
3 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa’s

Vanessa, Some people keep the rifles locked away but wear their handgun in a holster under their clothes for immediate access (concealed carry). It’s actually very common in some areas.

Judy
3 years ago
Reply to  Abby.

I’ve noticed a few other comments saying that a safely stored gun wouldn’t allow you time to protect yourself. Our gun safe will open only with my or my husband’s fingerprint. Clip in but chamber empty. In a matter of seconds we would be able to defend ourselves and our gun is stored safely. Coincidentally, there is a story in today’s local news of a senior couple being beaten in their home by an intruder. The wife was able to get their handgun and they did use it to defend themselves. The intruder survived his gunshot wounds and was later arrested. Just for the record though, we also strongly agree that there need to be stricter gun laws and an outright ban on retailers selling these automatic rifles, etc. it’s appalling that we have yet to take action.

Heather
3 years ago
Reply to  Abby.

As far as keeping your family safe, cases like this do happen: http://abcnews.go.com/US/okla-woman-shoots-kills-intruder911-operators-shoot/story?id=15285605 Yes, these situations are incredibly rare, but much of our country lives in small town, rural areas where neighbors and police can’t respond quickly. And while many people feel that legislation is worth the chance of protecting school children, they feel gun ownership is worth the chance of protecting themselves. I don’t own guns, have never fired a gun, but I was raised in Montana. I know lots of people (including family) who own guns for recreation and personal protection (including on ranches where wild animals are a real danger). None of these people, including myself, is opposed to eliminating high capacity guns that can kill hundreds in a matter of seconds from the market. However, there seems to be a huge disconnect between this and proposed laws. To my knowledge, the proposed legislation thus far has included gaping loop holes that would make them essentially worthless in actually taking these guns (and only these guns) off the market– as someone mentioned in another comment about how they defined assault rifles. And there is a real fear of sloppy legislation being broadly applied in unintended ways (making… Read more »

A
3 years ago
Reply to  Heather

I’m sorry, perhaps I’ve misunderstood your comment, but why should homicides that are gang related be removed from the statistics? Surely with more restricted access to guns across the board, those would go down as well? And isn’t that a good thing? That people, regardless of their background or level of affluence, would benefit from fewer gun deaths?

Katie Fritsch
3 years ago

Emily, I love this idea! The idea of seeing how everyone feels about an issue… Here are some of my thoughts/experiences with guns. Growing up, my father was in law enforcement. He worked his way up from a state trooper to eventually becoming a Texas Ranger. Because he was a peace officer, we always had guns in our home. From a very early age, I knew the rules. We were NEVER allowed to touch a gun without my dads permission. We knew where they were kept, we knew why we had them, we knew my dad always had a gun in his boot or on his hip. And we always felt protected by him. My sisters and I respect firearms. We hold them with a sort of reverence I think. We know the power that a gun possesses and we know their purposes. When I was little, there was a serial killer that devasted our community by taking a little girls life. You can look up the story – Tommy Lynn Sells was the evil man. It was terrifying, but we knew that in the middle of the night, if someone decided to come into OUR home, we would be… Read more »

Katie Fritsch
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie Fritsch

I guess I didn’t answer the question about the AR’s in my post. I have mixed emotions. My husband has one. He hardly ever uses it. He’s taken it to the ranch with friends and they’ve shot it for fun, but this weapon kind of scares me. I will talk to him about it and share his thoughts with you! Because, honestly, I don’t know what to think about it.

patricia blaettler
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

To appease those who own them now, grandfather them in. But forbid all sales of AR15s henceforth.
That is known as compromise.

Katie Fritsch
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie Fritsch

Okay – here is a response from my husband who owns an AR-15 from a previous discussion that he sent me. “I agree that when the constitution was written the single shot musket is what they had in mind, but as you mentioned earlier times have changed. With assault rifles having been so readily available for so long now it doesn’t seem logical that a law to ban them will make them disappear. With that being said, they are already in the hands of people who do not pay much attention to the law and so restricting law abiding citizens from getting them only puts us at a disadvantage. I would hate to have to defend my wife and daughter in my home with a single shot musket or even a shotgun with 4 rounds if the intruder had an assault rifle with 30 rounds in his hands. Furthermore, some of the guns that everyone is mentioning that they grew up with and don’t mind people having is a .22. We all hunted rabbits with them and had a great time doing it. A lot of .22’s also can carry up to 20 rounds with extended clips that can carry… Read more »

Natalee
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie Fritsch

Emily, you say to Katie “Ask your husband if he would be willing to give up his AR15 in the name of a movement towards less mass shootings?” …but do you really think that would help? (real question, not a snarky question). There are so many ways, legal and illegal to turn regular guns into semi automatic weapons. (and for the record it scares me). I am open minded to any gun control measure that would ACTUALLY help ensure that criminals and sick people don’t have such easy access to weapons of mass destruction, but I think gun control proponents also have to consider that “banning AR15s” might not actually contribute to fewer mass shootings. It may just be a band aid on a gushing wound. Would banning certain weapons from law abiding citizens decrease shootings from people who intend to break the law? After all, we do have strictly enforced murder laws. How’s that working out? I also have been very curious where a leftist, gun control proponent’s mind goes when they hear about a terrorist taking out civilians with an automobile. Though I am desperate to reduce these school shooting in every way imaginable, I do also acknowledge,… Read more »

Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

Thanks Natalee for your contributions to this dialogue. I used to live in Australia, where guns are legal for those that go through the proper checks, but the checks make it much more of a hassle to obtain, and for the most part only hunters now own them. This was not the case 50 years ago. Australia was very much like America and seemingly everyone owned a gun. Then in 1996 a mass shooting occurred in Tasmania. The people were outraged, the govt responded (led by a conservative prime minister), they made it illegal to buy, own, sell all automatic guns (and the systems to make reg guns shoot more/faster), created better background checks, waiting periods and mandatory training. And they’ve never had a mass shooting since. Yes, Australia is an island. Yes, it’s much easier to control what illegal items go in and come out of that country. Yes, it would be much easier to get illegal guns in through Mexico. But most guns don’t come from Mexico… they go TO Mexico! (Side note: Mexico had its bloodiest six months in recent time from June-Dec 2017 with 27k deaths related to drug trade. The vast majority of guns came… Read more »

AJ
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim

Canada isn’t an island. Gun control laws save lives, period.

Amber
3 years ago
Reply to  Natalee

To your first point abt finding a solution that works but not knowing if banning AR-15s is the right fix: as a first step, we should repeal the Dickey Amendment, an NRA-backed amendment that blocks funding to CDC research abt gun safety. Allowing the CDC to do their jobs is how we’ll come up with a solution that isn’t just a bandaid. For example, CDC research abt car safet/accidents lead to seatbelts in cars being mandatory, and eventually lead to seatbelt laws…. the rate of car accident deaths went down (you can learn more on the cdc site). To your 2nd point about “leftists” (can we stop bucketing people into partisan groups… that might help us see each other as more similar than different) and terrorists running over people with cars: of course bad peoples will find a way, and sometimes it’s plowing a crowd with car, or using a knife, or a bomb, but more often than not, with much more frequency in the US, it’s guns. The mass murders at schools and movie theaters and concerts are carried out with such efficiency bc of guns. If we start seeing an influx of intentional mass-car-murders NEARLY DAILY (bc that’s… Read more »

Elizabeth
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie Fritsch

Hi Katie! Thanks for your thoughts – so well written and they are helping me to understand as well. I grew up in CA but now live in Michigan – we’re now on the border of both a v liberal and v conservative area so the issue is coming up more. I was curious about your husbands comment re: Chicago and wanted to pass that on – I know it’s been an oft-quoted point but really doesn’t hold water because (1) the laws in Chicago were relaxed in 2013 and it was only in 2015 when the biggest recent % increase happened – and (2) Chicago is really close to Wisconsin and Indiana which both have very weak gun laws. Here’s the article: https://www.npr.org/2017/10/05/555580598/fact-check-is-chicago-proof-that-gun-laws-don-t-work. Also – thank you to everyone for motivating me to talk to my Congressman – he’s super conservative and I feel like it’s a waste of time bringing this issue up to him but I am reenergized to reach out. Anything we can do to decrease the frequency and severity of gun violence is a good thing. And THANK YOU to Emily for starting this dialogue.

EJK
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Thank you for this re Chicago. As a Chicagoan, these constantly cited reference points that are totally wrong are so frustrating. For the record, I’m a fairly left-leaner on most issues, but my husband (a former cop) owns several guns (including formerly an AR-15 before we moved to Chicago) and has his concealed carry permit. He often drives through some unsafe neighborhoods and is a real estate agent who has to meet people he may not know at strangers houses in all kinds of neighborhoods. I’m glad he has a gun on him at those times. However, he is an expert marksman who is properly trained and I have full confidence that he could actually defend himself with that weapon without injuring himself or innocent bystanders or empowering the attacker (as so often happens with guns when people don’t really know how to use them). I believe this level of skill and training and extensive background checks should be required in order to obtain a concealed carry permit or to obtain a semi-automatic rifle of any kind (AR-15s just look scary – their firing action and lethality is the same as so many other semi-automatic rifles that would not commonly… Read more »

kim
3 years ago

I truly believe the VAST majority of Americans believe in common sense gun control. Whenever i read outlandish comments on social media I have to wonder if these are written by bots intended to make us feel more divided than we actually are.

Thank you for not hiding from this topic. It’s so scary. I just registered my sweet baby boy for MIDDLE SCHOOL. As I walked through the large and intimidating ‘new-to-us” campus, I cannot tell you the thoughts that ran through my mind. 🙁

Kelly
3 years ago

I am very liberal and have the same questions. Brene Brown has a great piece on her stance as someone who grew up around guns and believes in the right to gun ownership, yet supports gun control. She makes the point that we have this overly simplified idea that anyone who supports gun rights must support the NRA and be against gun control, which is a false narrative we create (and one I know I have bought into). You can read it here:

https://brenebrown.com/blog/2017/11/08/gun-reform-speaking-truth-bullshit-practicing-civility-affecting-change/

Deb - NC
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Excellent piece, Kelly – thanks for linking.

Caroline
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

Thanks for linking to this–I was going to try to find it to post here, as I also found it to be a helpful article for reframing how we think about this topic. I personally have no guns and advocate for much stricter gun control, but I also know that we have to learn to listen to each other, from our opposite sides, and this article helps with that.

Amber
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

In a similar vain to the oversimplified idea that “pro-gun means anti gun control,” there’s an assumption that anyone who is for gun control wants to take away/melt all the guns, which is just as harmful and untrue of an assumption. I tried to open a dialogue with a pro-gun, pro-nra family member about how all my “anti-gun” liberal friends in my liberal Seattle bubble don’t actually want to take away all the guns, and my very respectful comments basically started a family war.

K
3 years ago

Will be checking back for comments. Thanks for taking the time to think about this subject and approach it in a calm, intelligent way. You’re brave!

Jess
3 years ago

I am a gun owner (and gun hater) and a HUGE supporter of gun control. I grew up in Alabama in a house where there where guns. My mother was a law enforcement officer. Everyone I knew (but my family) hunted. I now live in RI and we do have a gun in the house, only because we live in a rural area with farm animals. However, that gun is in a locked case, in a locked room, separated from ammo. We have no children to worry about, but ANYTIME friends with a child will be coming over, I always reach out to them before hand and let them know that we own a gun and how it is kept. It should be their right to not have their child in a house with a gun if they do choose. No one needs to own a high powered gun and no one should own a gun that has the capacity to kill hundreds of people in mere moments (which is what automatic weapons with large capacity clips enable). In fact, it is the only thing those guns are meant to do. And yes, there are definitely issues involving mental health… Read more »

Whitney
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

As a mother of two I commend you for your openness. My oldest is about to be 4 and I am dreading having to talk to all of his friends parents regarding if they have guns and where they are kept as well as the bullets.

Cara
3 years ago
Reply to  Whitney

We don’t own guns, I have family members who do, I don’t know why but it had never even occurred to me that I should talk to my kids about what they should do if they come across a gun at someone else’s home. We will be doing that immediately. We love in Texas so the likelihood of their friends parents having guns is high.

Jess
3 years ago
Reply to  Cara

In my opinion, no responsible gun owner should be offended by a parent who asks these questions. Guns aren’t toys – they were literally invented to kill. As a parent, your job is to keep your children safe; of COURSE you should know about guns. Just my humble opinion, but I’d be worried about the houses with guns where someone gets bent out of shape when asked. When you feel confident that your gun is truly secured in a way that keeps others from harm, it isn’t a question that bothers you. And kudos to all of you parents for treading through this new reality with so much bravery. You’ve 100% got the hardest job out there.

Erika
3 years ago
Reply to  Whitney

Whitney- I have a while before my baby is four, but the conversation about guns with her future friend’s parents is something that’s on my mind. Is this a normal part of “school-friend etiquette” now? Like, “Oh, Sarah invited you over…let me call her mom and see if they have any guns…”

Me: “Hi Sarah’s mom, I’m sure you’re super nice, do you own guns? Is the ammo out of reach?” This is super foreign territory for me.

Jess- THANK YOU for telling parents about this. I really appreciate it.

Vanessa’s
3 years ago
Reply to  Erika

I have elementary school aged boys and when they have a play date at a new house asking if there is a firearm kept in the home is now part of my standard exchange. For example, yes, my son would love to come over. He still sits in a booster seat so let me know if you need a spare one for the drive home. He doesn’t have any allergies and do you keep a gun in your home?

Angela
3 years ago
Reply to  Erika

My children are 9 & 11 and I’ve asked many times. I also ask about working smoke detectors before sleepovers.

Jess
3 years ago
Reply to  Erika

I couldn’t live with myself if something happened because there was a gun in my house. And I’m not naive enough to believe it could never happen to me, so we take every step possible to create a safe environment.

May
3 years ago
Reply to  Whitney

Whitney, your comment really opened my eyes to all the ways that guns have an impact on life as a mama in the US – this particular one had never occurred to me but of course you’d have to have these type of conversations with other families so regularly. Must be so hard but good on you. I live in Australia, we have enough fears for our children here, and obviously I can’t properly understand what the climate is like in the US, the background and entitlement that people have towards owning guns. It just seems to me that you could argue all day that these guns are designed to protect, to make people feel safe, that most people who own them are rational but the reality is that these guns, repeatedly, are being used to kill in mass shootings, with children – children who deserve our protection – so often the victims. How can you argue for something that keeps you feeling safe when the cost is so many children’s lives, their actual safety? If so many parents, and so many kids, are feeling this fear every day – a totally warranted fear – over something that can be… Read more »

Amy
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

Jess, I don’t know why your comment made me cry, but thank you for being so responsible and considerate.

Sasha
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

There was a case here recently in Michigan where a woman who ran a home daycare of all things, had guns, and of course a toddler shot another toddler. I Was so livid when I saw this on the news. It has not occurred to me before this, but apparently you need to ask the people who watch young children FOR A LIVING if they have guns in their homes.

Kate
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

I have been thinking about this as well! My son is 6 and asking other people about this seems like an easy thing I can do for his safety. I was appreciative of Glennon Doyle’s post on this (she is an encourager if using her words if you need them!) https://instagram.com/p/BeUGAg5FHcV/

And thanks for posting about this. I’m with you in ideology and am finding it very educational to read about women gun owners and their perspective. I live in Indiana and am appalled at our lax gun laws but am finding it hard to vote my conscience because our congresspeople often run unopposed ? I also work in a high school so this issue is very much on my mind all time. Peace to you!

Vanessa’s
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Yes! You just text them and ask! And when new friends come over to our house I volunteer the info that we don’t own a gun and all our pharmaceuticals are stored properly away from the children’s reach.

Nicole
3 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa’s

My daughter is 2.5, so we’re also at the “young enough she’s never at someone we don’t know REALLY well’s house”, but I screenshot a momsdemandaction insta post a few weeks ago to save that was a text convo between two moms as their kids are preparing for a sleepover: “Just FYI…Michael has a dairy allergy. Not life threatening, but we avoid all dairy. I always have to ask, if you have guns in the home, are they secured?” I thought it was a great way to keep what could be a bit of an awkward conversation very non-accusatory. I HATE that this is the world our children are growing up in. I hope they are the ones who finally decide to make some change and realize “we don’t have to live like this.”

Olivia
3 years ago

My husband and I are almost 30 and we do have a gun and two young boys. We felt we just needed one to keep in our home for our safety. I’ve only shot it once, and once was enough for me, it’s a frightening feeling. In my opinion there should be stricter laws and I hope there will be someday. I didn’t even want to take my son to school on Thursday, I was afraid and honestly I am still.

Rachael
3 years ago

I just can’t understand why an AR 15 should ever be sold to a civilian. I grew up shooting guns at my grandfathers house in the mountains and my step dad was a hunter and kept his guns in a locked safe. But I have 3 small children and would never ever want a gun in my home. The accidents that happen with them are almost as haunting as the mass shootings. I’m also not opposed to people in their right mind being allowed to own a gun for protection but I don’t know where those lines should be drawn. I can’t help but wonder what happened to that boy in his life that made him do that. Hurt people, hurt people. We are failing as a nation in so many ways and I believe many of those ways start in our own homes. “If you want to save the world, go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

Brie
3 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

Thank you for being the first person to acknowledge this young man’s brokenness. My heart is broken for him as well as for everyone who lost a child or loved one on Wednesday. We’ve given up on civility in so much of this country, and it looks like we are giving up on caring for those who are marginalized by mental health issues- unless it’s politically expedient or a horrific incident has occurred. The below article is not recent to the Valentine’s shooting, but its message resonated with me, because I don’t think we’ll ever get significant movement on gun control in this country. So what can I- just me- do about this? This article convicted me. And every one of us can do what the author suggests. https://mystudentapt.com/2015/10/06/theres-a-way-to-stop-mass-shootings-and-you-wont-like-it/ Finally, my son is now a fine adult man, but he suffered from severe depression in middle school. Eventually we learned he had been systematically bullied by a trio of boys at the expensive, private Christian school he attended. For 2 years! We worked with him for another year to help him develop “strategies” to combat the bullying (because, in retrospect, we were IDIOTS) before we finally moved him to another… Read more »

RCG
3 years ago
Reply to  Brie

Great post, thank-you. Glad your son is doing well!

Taya
3 years ago

I do own a gun and when I say I, I mean my husband went and bought it. But I do not think AR-15’s should be available to the general public. We have a small hand gun we keep in our bedroom dresser ( we don’t have kids) we keep it for strictly safety reasons, my husband gave me a short lesson at a gun range and I’ve shot it one time ( scared me) but just so I would know how to use it if the worst case was to happen. We don’t tell people we have it nor is it something we see as a pride thing or something to brag about it is strictly there for if someone were to ever break in our home to cause us harm!

Rebecca P
3 years ago
Reply to  Taya

I’m in a similar situation. My husband has a pistol that his father gave him (I guess that means that I own it too). I’ve never shot it, and I don’t know how to use it. We also have a rifle and a Civil War gun for reenactments. Those guns are about the same size as me (I’m 5 ft even), so I would never be able to use them because they’re so heavy. I have no interest in owning a gun or even shooting one, but my husband feels safer with a gun in the house.

Emily
3 years ago

Thank you for doing these kinds of posts. I think as a society, we’ve forgotten how to just talk to each other. A platform like this, without labels or politics—just a conversation is where we need to begin! My husband and I own a handgun which we keep in a safe that is hidden and only accessible by fingerprint. I never had guns growing up but my husband travels for work a lot and I was always nervous staying home alone. That’s why we have it, and I do think that everyone should have the option to protect their homes with a gun (if they choose to). As for automatic weapons, I don’t understand the need to own one. They aren’t necessary for home protection. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they won’t be told what they can or can’t own because of other people’s mental health issues. This is a bit troubling to me, and something I don’t quite understand. If it’s not necessary for protection, are you really not willing to give up a hobby in an attempt to create a safer environment? I 100% believe that is primarily a mental health issue but mental health… Read more »

Lexie
3 years ago

Love this post and the dialogue it will inspire – just wish you would have added one more question. If you ARE a gun owner/NRA member and believe in more restrictions, are you advocating for them by contacting congress? Why or why not?

Anna
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Riiighht, so doesn’t the fact that CA has the strictest gun laws in the nation make you think “Hmmm, maybe gun restriction isn’t the heart of the problem”.

(Note, genuine question, not meant to be sarcastic or rude)

Donald
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Last night, Saturday, in Maryland, a candidate running fora state delegate seat held a gun bingo fundraiser where he gave away several guns including an AR15. The event was sold out and those lucky enough to attend got to get drunk at Dave and Busters and try to win the same type of assault rifle that just killed 17 people. Bring the kids!

Brooke
3 years ago

I personally don’t love guns but we do own some. My husband likes guns. He thinks they are cool and likes to use them to shoot targets and occasionally goes hunting. I was against us owning any and having them in my home until we had a scary incident in the middle of the night. We thought someone was trying to break in ( it ended up being some friends playing a not very funny prank) BUT the feeling of hopelessness to defend ourselves against someone who might be breaking in to harm us was so scary. The only thing we had to defend ourselves was basically a lamp. After that night I gave my husband the ok to buy a hand gun. I think it is important to keep guns legal to buy because if you make them illegal the bad guys will still have a way to get them. The same way they can still get drugs illegally but then the good guys will be left without guns and without anything to protect themselves. That being said I think there is no reason for the public to have access to any semi automatic guns or anything that these… Read more »

anna
3 years ago
Reply to  Brooke

do your friends know they scared you so bad you decided to buy a gun? hopefully your friends won’t be pulling that prank again now that you can protect yourselves. this reminds me of the story where a man killed his daughter’s boyfriend because he was sneaking around the house in the middle of the night… that’s so heartbreaking.

Kelly
3 years ago
Reply to  Brooke

Thank you for this thoughtful response. I’m curious; if you’d owned the gun when your friends had pulled the prank, it seems likely that you would have drawn the gun and pointed it at them. Does that scare you? That you could have accidentally shot someone who is an ally?

Katie
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Very anti-gun here, but something I just thought about reading this last comment is that not everyone owns their home or has the ability to install something like a security system if they rent, so perhaps a gun is, quite literally, a more portable security solution? I certainly have lived in many situations where a landlord wouldn’t install a system and I definitely wasn’t going to make the investment myself. I do get a discount on my home owner’s insurance because I have a security system, which is nice. I live in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood that has some amount of property crime, (stuff getting stolen off of porches or backyards, etc), and something I always wonder about in the “gun as intruder security” argument is…at what point would you feel comfortable using the gun? When someone’s in your backyard snooping around? When someone is actively breaking into your house but not inside? When someone’s in your bedroom? When someone has a gun pointed at you? I’m honestly REALLY curious about this answer and think about it a lot. And like, would I be okay with potentially killing another human who is stealing my succulents or bike? I personally would… Read more »

M
3 years ago
Reply to  Katie

I live in Florida, and am the parent of a teenager preparing to go to college. If you don’t live here, you may not be aware of how very disturbing our gun laws are. Stand Your Ground, the current debates and possible legislation to allow guns on college campuses, etc. If you are the parent of a teenager, you should be painfully familiar with the potential horrible decision making that goes on even in the minds of otherwise intelligent, well-educated, conscientious teens and young adults. Their brains just don’t work that way yet. Add in stress, lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, and alcohol or drug abuse etc., and voila, all the mistakes you look back on and wonder how you survived high school and college. Add an unsecured weapon, perhaps by a parent that thinks “my kid would never do that” and bad things happen. And I really have to scratch my head at adults who can’t comprehend or be bothered with complying with some type of stricter legislation over the current laws we have because it would hamper their enjoyment of a hobby practiced for purposes of entertainment. Guns are a tool for hunting, sport (I have really enjoyed… Read more »

anon
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Having an alarm system that calls the police immediately – this is reliant on the belief that the police can come help you immediately. My in-laws are staunch pro-gun, pro-NRA people who live in a very rural place and own a ranch. They have an alarm system on their house, but first responders are a very long drive away. My father in law also regularly has to shoot and kill fox/skunks etc who are on his property to kill his chickens. He also has fear of wolves attacking his cows. Police and alarm systems are not going to help him here, and defending his livestock is defending his ability to feed his family and his income. This mentally that it is up to him and the tools he has to defend himself and his property is of course going to leak into his entire belief system about gun control and safety. I bring this up because we have people who have no experience with guns beyond watching violent tv shows or movies or terrorizing news stories and are deeply afraid of them. We also have people in this country that have been around guns their whole life and they are… Read more »

Fiona
3 years ago
Reply to  anon

I live rurally in Australia, and lots of farmers here have guns for the very reason US farmers have guns. Our buy back system did not eradicate guns. Guns are not banned, as the NRA seems to want to suggest. But everyone who owns a gun has to go to a course and pass a test to ensure that they know how to use a gun safely. Their license is then obtained after a police check, and you must also state why you need a gun and where you intend to shoot it. If you intend to shoot pest animals at a farm you need to demonstrate you own a farm, and keep the gun in a locked specific firearm cabinet, which is checked by police. If you shoot at a range, then the gun is kept at the range. This means there are pretty much no guns loose in the system apart from those stolen. So if there is a mentally unstable person, its pretty hard for them to get their hands on a gun. And if they want to attack you, I’d rather face off with someone carrying a knife, than a gun. Yes, we do have gun… Read more »

Emily
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Emily, this is a really interesting point. My husband and I own a handgun but do not have a security system. We just bought our first house so I honestly haven’t even thought of the question you just asked until now. I was thinking though, if I knew someone had broken in, and I didn’t have a gun, I think I would be panicked. I’m sure that the loud sounds would be a deterrent for most, but what if someone was really there to harm you? Also, I’ve read that emergency response times have averaged 20 minutes in places. I’m sure that number varies, and in some cases (maybe more rural areas), the response time could take even longer. If criminals are aware of this, do you think they would be deterred from sounds, or do you think they would finish the job they came to do? I saw a post from someone in another country mention how the US is such a fear based society—and we really are! That one comment really made me wonder how much of this “hype” to protect ourselves is in our heads. I still think I’d rather keep our handgun but this is definitely… Read more »

Cynthia
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

A dog is also a good option. They can be trained to bark and be menacing toward strangers but be gentle with a family. (Like an alarm, it’s a deterrent.) I was robbed in the middle of the night with my husband gone and two babies in my bed. The intruder literally broke the front door down through the deadbolt. He was wearing gloves and camouflage clothing and demanded to know where my purse was. He went through all my bedroom drawers while I was on the phone with 911. When the cops arrived, they took his description and had the K-9 unit tracking him. This was in an affluent CA neighborhood (Bay area) and this is what the cop told me: “Buy a gun and use it. If the person is off your property when he goes down, drag him back on before you call us.” No lie. We got a trained Rottweiler instead and always felt safe. One day I ran out for an errand and left my unscreened windows open as per usual. I came home to find the UPS man cornered in my yard. Our protector had jumped out a window and kept the intruder motionless… Read more »

Elise
3 years ago
Reply to  Cynthia

Cynthia-with-Rottweiler, I love your story (and your position on guns). When we bought our house we got a security system, then a year or so later got two 40-lb dogs. One day while we were at the movies our back door blew open (old house with old door), setting off the alarm system. The cops left us a note stating that they tried to investigate but they didn’t enter our fenced yard due to the “3 large dogs.”

The fact that my 2 medium-sized dogs made enough of a racket and seemed vicious enough that the cops didn’t want to mess with them gave me all the peace of mind I needed. We cancelled the alarm system shortly thereafter. Supposedly, just the presence of a dog or dogs is enough to deter most burglars.

Sare
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

We talk a lot about the theory of using guns for home protection. Could some people share how they themselves have successfully used a gun for protection against an intruder? What happened? How was the gun stored safely (away from children) but easily accessable in an emergency? What kind of gun did you have, and did the power of the gun help you in the situation? I do ask only for personal stories as I imagine that these kind of heroism stories can be quickly stretched after going trough a few people. I also welcome ‘unsuccessful’ examples, but that’s not really the aim of the question. The need for daily personal physical protection is so foreign to me that some actual examples would open my eyes. Writing all this makes me realize how lucky I am… Also, I can identify with many of the comments in this post. For those who own guns who don’t feel comfortable to speak up, could you maybe just leave a quick note if we’ve simply widened our echo chamber to include some liberal gun owners? Or if these are broadly felt beliefs? Asking because many of the comments here seem to be in contradiction… Read more »

Hannah
3 years ago
Reply to  Sare

Use of a gun in a home invasion for personal protection is exceedingly rare, and according to a wealth of data, gun ownership makes inhabitants less safe. From one study: “For every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9715182

Ali
3 years ago
Reply to  Brooke

Hi Brooke, I just wanted to let you know that your one comment really stood out to me. “I think it is important to keep guns legal to buy because if you make them illegal the bad guys will still have a way to get them. The same way they can still get drugs illegally but then the good guys will be left without guns and without anything to protect themselves. ” I live in Australia and when they made all guns illegal back in the 90’s, this was my exact fear. Even though guns didn’t permeate our culture like they have in the US, I still didn’t like the idea that nasty people would have guns and good people wouldn’t. Now that our government took the bold step so long ago, I can attest that there wasn’t anything to worry about. We still have bikies and other ‘baddies’ that I know have guns, but on the whole they usually turn them upon each other rather than other people. This can be backed up by statistics that show we haven’t had a mass shooting since the guns were banned. I know people are really fearful of what could happen if… Read more »

AJ
3 years ago
Reply to  Brooke

And if you had owned a gun at that point, you may have accidentally shot one of your friends out of fear.

Mandy
3 years ago

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=597265837285077&id=2060411990907103
Not sure if this link will work, but hopefully. My husband said its a good speech. He also feels like gun control will only make that the good guys can’t get guns, the bad guys will find a way to get them not matter what laws are made.

K
3 years ago

It seems to me that if someone wants to harm others, he/she will find a way. If one gun becomes unavailable, they’ll just use something else. We have a deeper issue here than gun control, a heart issue. We have turned away from a God who is love, acceptance, moral, good, and respecting of human life. Without Him comes depression, sadness, lack of respect for human life, anger, etc. As a society, we need to raise a generation that returns to parenting with these values. So many of the shooters have dealt with horrible childhoods. I can’t stress enough the value of good parenting combined with the love of God.

Jess
3 years ago
Reply to  K

This is true. We recently lived in London and there people are getting stabbed as they don’t have as easy access to guns. The most recently terror attacks involved machetes b/c that is what they could get. If you want to cause harm, you will use what you can find.

Anna
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

Yes, if someone wants to harm someone they will find a way, but I would rather come up against a knife than a gun. Imagine if those terrorists with machetes had had easy access to assault rifles – the death toll could have been considerably higher. And organised groups of terrorists are, in my opinion, a completely different thing to the unhinged individual who can buy a gun and shoot his school ‘friends’ (term used loosely) for whatever reason he/she thinks justified. I am 100% against guns. And yes, I’m British.

Kasia
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

Sure, people that want to cause harm will cause harm. But that harm will be significantly less than that inflicted with a weapon like the AR-15. Making laws to make it more difficult to purchase guns like these would make it at least a LITTLE bit harder for those that do want to cause harm. If we could make it even a tiny bit harder for them why wouldn’t we? Another idea that I’ve heard over the years is making it similar to something like DRIVING, for which you need a license, take a test, renew that license, etc. Are gun owners opposed to this?? I recently read (an older) piece about the history of the NRA and how it started: “The NRA, which started as a group to help people improve their marksmanship in 1871, became more heavily politicized in the late 1970s, when newer NRA members decided to focus more on halting gun control legislation instead of recreational hunting and safety training.” https://www.npr.org/2011/01/27/133247508/the-history-and-growing-influence-of-the-nra Obviously, the organization has changed greatly over the years and I know when these debates come up we always lump all NRA members into one category but that’s obviously not the case. What do more… Read more »

Katie
3 years ago
Reply to  Kasia

But these celebrities/rich people you speak of, these politicians who want to ban guns from the average person, guess what’s protecting them? Guns! Sure, they’re not carrying them personally, but they have bodyguards, secret service agents who do. They’re protected and their kids are protected, but WE don’t need that for us or our kids.

Kate
3 years ago
Reply to  Kasia

Yes I think this all the time about your spending question! When our politicians can be bought we are really in a heap of trouble. I think overturning Citizens United was disastrous. Here’s a link to the top congresspeople and their NRA money:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/04/opinion/thoughts-prayers-nra-funding-senators.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur

AJ
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

Yeah, but you can’t stab 20 people in 2 minutes.

Anne
3 years ago
Reply to  K

But the difference is SO obvious – with a knife or machete you will most probably be able to harm only one person at a time, or a few people in an attack (and it might be possible, even for unarmed bystanders, to intervene)!!

Anna
3 years ago
Reply to  K

Our family is religious and I am personally totally on board with society making moves more toward traditional religious values, but I really don’t think that is 1( realistic at this point or 2) at the heart of the problem. Loads of “godless” countries don’t have the kinds of problems with mass shootings that America does. It feels too fatalistic to just say bad people will find a way. I do think that’s true to a point, but if there are things we could be doing to decrease the likelihood of these things happening even a little bit, shouldn’t we be doing every single one of them, like, immediately!?

Anna
3 years ago
Reply to  K

Hi K, I do believe in a society that values love, acceptance, moral, good, and respecting of human life, and think many societal ills stem from humans who aren’t being showered in these things. However, lack of God does not cause depression, sadness, lack of respect for human life, anger, etc. Some of the most wonderful humans I know are do not believe in God. Some of the most wonderful people I know believe in an entirely different God than the one you pray to. It is fully possible to raise a generation with fantastic values, without God. Equating non-religious people with immoral acts is very closed minded and ignorant.

Lia
3 years ago
Reply to  Anna

Thank you, Anna, so well said.

Tracy
3 years ago
Reply to  K

You can dig a foundation for a house with a spoon, but it’s a lot quicker and easier to use an excavator.

You could kill 100 people with a knife, but it’s a lot quicker and easier to use a gun.

A tool is a tool and of course it takes a person to use it – but some tools are just better than others, and guns are the best killers out there – efficient, easy and accessible.

Jenny
3 years ago

I’m anti gun, but I can understand people’s rights to owning one. I would just think that in this decade we could make it harder to but them then it is to buy Sudafed! This was a wonderful way to open up dialogue bc all I keep asking is “who are the people that think automatic weapons should be on the market” I truly don’t think there can be anyone who could think they should be, which brings me to my next thought. Why the heck can’t we reform that – start there it seems so simple.

WalmartOne
3 years ago

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Jess
3 years ago

I’ll be brave and answer as a household with guns including an AR15. We own these for protection, but hope and pray they never have to be used. They are weapons that need to be treated with respect. I grew up in a household with guns for this purpose and was taught to use them properly at a range. I can clearly remember this time a police helicopter was circling our house looking in the woods surrounding it for a suspect and my father getting out his gun and sitting on the back porch. He is the most mellow man I know, but felt genuine fear for his family. Did he want to use it? No, of course not. Did he hope the sight of him and his gun would ensure this criminal didn’t try to break into our house and create a hostage situation? Absolutely. I believe the sight of gun can be a big enough deterrent and you don’t actually need to use it. However, if you do get out a gun in a situation where you feel an extreme threat for your life, you do have to be prepared to use it. It’s not a toy. If… Read more »

anna
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

very well said. another “like” for me! defending yourself with a gun doesn’t mean you have to kill the person attacking you.

Catherine
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

The only difference between you and me is that your husband isn’t a hunter. Everything you said resonates with me. My husband also built an AR-15 from parts for fun, we shoot sporting clays for fun, I don’t feel “powerful” holding a gun but its rather the challenge of aiming at and hitting a moving target that I find enjoyable. I look at it the same way as, say, going to the driving range to hit golf balls.

I couldn’t agree more with your second paragraph. AR-15s are just a “black rifle.” They’re scary looking. People use them for hunting, too (hogs, for instance). My shotgun is also “semi-automatic.” Even if it was a pump, I could still kill someone with it. I am all for increased regulations, increasing the difficulty of buying a gun, etc. I just think people can’t expect for these types of tragedies to stop if we do those things. There will always be a black market and the crazy person will always be able to get their hands on one. But I do believe it is worthwhile to do everything we can to make it more difficult for crazy, dangerous people to obtain these weapons.

Sloane
3 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

I agree with this post too. Tons of our friends do not own guns and I am genuinely curious what they (or those of you without guns) would do in a life threatening situation in your home? Hopefully we all will never have that problem but I want to be able to defend myself and my kids and my husband wants to be able to defend all of us should we ever be in a life threatening situation at home. Calling the police isn’t enough.

cheswick
3 years ago
Reply to  Sloane

I keep reading how afraid people are of intruders coming to their home. I live in East L.A. where there are gangs and frequent violent crimes (usually gang on gang). I don’t own a gun. I don’t know anyone who has had intruders come to their home with guns. How often do people find criminals coming to their house loaded with AR-15s? This isn’t the wild west. Everyone pro-gun seems to have this idea that their lives are going to turn in to a Wild West style shootout with the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in an arms race on their front lawn. The only time I hear about people attacking people with AR-15s is when a teenage boy decides to shoot up his high school. I’m sorry, but this rationale is just completely distorted by right wing radio and fear mongering. This level of paranoia is really disturbing.

Nicole
3 years ago
Reply to  cheswick

I completely agree with this post. Thank you for sharing. It has always been my opinion that I would rather risk my own well-being that live with the consequences that could potentially arise from owning a firearm. The number of unintentional gun related deaths is staggering. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels. I couldn’t live with myself If an accident occurred because of my own negligence. Just a personal opinion.

Amy
3 years ago
Reply to  cheswick

Yes, Cheswick!! I also live in LA, different area, and we hear helicopters circling all the time looking for criminals, we have people break into cars on our street frequently, home invasion burglaries happen in the neighborhood sometimes. But I’ve never heard of anyone bursting through someone’s door with a gun. I’ve never heard of a home owner successfully defending him or herself with a gun. This is not reality. If it happens, it’s far less frequent than mass shooting where many people die in such a short amount of time.

Traci
3 years ago
Reply to  cheswick

Couldn’t have said it better myself.
It *seems* that most urbanites, where crime itself is higher, DON’T own the guns, but the folks in the rural areas are super concerned with violent home invasions, and I just don’t personally get it.

Liz
3 years ago
Reply to  cheswick

Thank for this comment, I completely agree.

Stacey
3 years ago
Reply to  cheswick

Because you haven’t heard of it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t have to be an AR15 to kill you (that the intruder has). In a super safe suburb a man broke in my bedroom in the middle of the night. So now you’ve heard of it – it happens.

Kelley
3 years ago
Reply to  cheswick

Came here to say exactly THIS, so thank you.
I don’t it either. Black market “criminals” aren’t committing these mass shootings. It’s nearly always white men with no criminal record who obtained them legally.

Katie
3 years ago
Reply to  cheswick

I wouldn’t consider it paranoia. I don’t know many people whose houses have burned down at night; yet everybody has fire alarms. It’s a precaution, it’s a safety measure. It’s like carrying pepper spray when you’re a woman running alone on a semi-deserted road. Something could happen, and you need to be aware of that. Saying “it will never happen to me” just isn’t smart. Do you think the people who it DID happen to expected it?
You don’t want or even expect it to happen; however, you’re prepared if it does. You don’t want to wait until it happens and then wish you could somehow protect yourself. Also, there are more than enough stories on the news of home invasions to make them a natural thing to fear.

cheswick
3 years ago
Reply to  cheswick

Katie – yes, of course people need to be able to defend themselves to some extent and of course things happen. But what is the tradeoff in having our children gunned down in cold blood in their schools?

Your analogy of a fire detector is really lame. “I wouldn’t consider it paranoia. I don’t know many people whose houses have burned down at night; yet everybody has fire alarms. It’s a precaution, it’s a safety measure. ”

A fire alarm has no downside – it doesn’t cause fires! Is letting everyone buy automatic weapons really a safety measure? Is it really making us safer? Yes, there are home invasions. You don’t need a semi-automatic weapon and unlimited ammo to fight off a home invader. How many home invasions are stopped by the owner winning a gunfight? There must be statistics and I’d love to know.

When children have the ‘natural fear’ of going to school – something is very very wrong.

Madison
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess

Well said

Katie
3 years ago
Reply to  Madison

I wanted to reply to Traci re: urbanites vs rural. Part of the difference is self-reliance or time to help. When you live 15 minutes or more from your nearest neighbor, if something happens you need to be able to care for yourself. Or protect yourself. I’m not a gun fan. But we do have a rural cabin and at nights when I’m here alone I *do* think about how long it would take the police to get to me or how long it would take me to find someone who could help. I see the appeal.

Courtney N
3 years ago
Reply to  Madison

For all of the commenters who say that they keep a gun or guns in their home for protection or the feeling of protection, where do you keep your gun(s). For example, if the gun(s) are kept in a locked safe how would you be able to access them quickly enough to protect yourself from an intruder? And if you keep your guns accessible does that mean that you do not have children in the home or that you believe even young children can be trusted to learn gun safety? I am genuinely trying to understand how guns actually provide a homeowner with protection in the event of a nightmare scenario, ie a burglar, criminal, rapist or murder slipping into your home in the middle of the night while your family is sleeping. Is it just the feeling of protection that you get from having a gun or do you actually imagine that you (or one of your family members) would be able to disable an intruder with a gun?

Katie
3 years ago
Reply to  Courtney N

Our household is all adults/young adults who have grown up shooting, handling, and respecting guns from a young age. All guns are kept unloaded, out of reach of small children, but within easy reach of us, with ammo nearby. We all know which gun to grab, and where the ammo is. I have no doubt that if someone were to break into our house with the intent to do harm, that he would be met with at least one armed person. And yes, if it came down to shooting the bad guy to protect our loved ones, I have no doubt that we would do what had to be done. Of course, once the guy heard our German Shepherd, he’d be an idiot to come any farther. So yes, you pray it never happens that you have to take a life to save your loved ones, but home invasions happen A LOT. You have the comfort of knowing that you won’t be at the mercy of any monster who breaks in to do harm. You will be able to protect yourself. Also, it would take the cops at least 20 minutes to get to our house. I think people who… Read more »

Liz
3 years ago
Reply to  Madison

My best friend had a man come into her house through her unlocked door two minutes after she had left and held up her husband and infant son at gun point. It was still light outside and it was in a good neighborhood and a good part of town, Indiana for reference. The need to defend yourself is real, regardless of where you live. She now has a conceal carry and carries a gun with her.

Janel
3 years ago

I’m a gun owner by marriage, meaning my husband owns guns and therefore so do I. I have shot a few of his (including an AR-15) but have never bought one and have no desire to use one. He grew up hunting and that’s the main reason we own them. We do not fear for our lives as a result of a break in and really do not foresee any reason to ever use a gun on another person. If my husband did find himself needing to use one in self defense he would aim to harm – not kill. Also, from the time they are born, we push gun safety to our children. They will learn to respect guns and the power they possess. To a certain extent on regulations, yes. What scares me the most is private gun sales. We are not required to do any sort of background checking in our state, or even ask the age of the person buying from us should we decide to sell. I’m not sure what the answer is to this, personally I don’t see any reason why anyone who wants a gun should not have to obtain a permit, which… Read more »

Maegan
3 years ago

My husband owns one gun, it has never left it’s case in the two years we have been married. It stays hidden and quite frankly nobody would know that we own it unless we chose to divulge that information. Once we have children it will be locked in a gun safe at all times, and when our children are old enough they will take a gun safety course and understand the dangers of guns, and furthermore how they can be handled safely. As a gun owner, YES I stand for tighter gun laws. Any individual who wishes to purchase a gun should be recorded, have a background check, and absolutely must take a gun safety course and proof of a safe place to store the gun. I also do not think we should have access to semi automatic or automatic weapons, and I think there should be restrictions on how many guns can be kept in a household. In any case of a total ban, it isn’t hard to see the ineffectiveness. I truly believe careful regulation is the answer. My house was burglarized on two separate occasions growing up. Mind you, I lived in a safe and relatively middle… Read more »

Christa
3 years ago

I think guns are dangerous and need to be heavily regulated like a car. We should require a license and training to get one. If a person has a mental health disability, he would not be able to own one. Licenses must be renewed annually.

The idea that citizens should have guns to protect themselves from our government is not realistic. This isn’t 1875. If our government turns against our citizens, a gun is not going to save anyone.

Adrienne
3 years ago

We live in Michigan, which is a big hunting state. Growing up we personally used it for hunting animals (mainly deer) to eat but my Dad was very conscious of safety and of course made me take ‘hunters safety’ courses. I am still hyper aware of the safety factor and triple check to make sure the gun is not loaded and the safety is on. Today my husband and I still have a few guns, I think he has a 22 and a shot gun. The 22 is for killing small animals that are a nuisance-either getting into our house or barn (we live in the country). And is bigger gun is for hunting, which he hasn’t done in a long time but it is put away safely from our children. I do think there should be tighter gun laws, and agree with Terra, I see no reason that anybody should be able to get automatic weapons or assault rifle type guns unless they serve in a public service that requires it but I don’t have a solution to how to do it. But many conservatives argue (or so i am told) that we need to be able to protect… Read more »

Melissa
3 years ago

I live in London where NO ONE HAS A GUN, so no one has the need to protect themselves from guns! Not even police have guns :/ just tasers. So we don’t even need protection from Police.
We haven’t had a mass shooting in my entire life time (I’m 25) and the word gun doesn’t even cross my mind EVER. Unfortunately there is a lot of propaganda in the media which supports guns, the NRA has definetely bought a lot of the media and is feeding you this story so civilians are also supportive. I think Americans should try and change their perspective on what a country without guns could be. As this will keep happening when you allow anyone, law of civilian to own guns.

tracy
3 years ago
Reply to  Melissa

I understand your train of thought, but the UK has had it’s own mass murders involving guns in the last 25 years…Cumbria and Dunblane come to mind. Removing guns from a society does not prevent the mentally ill and/or angry people from obtaining firearms to do their deeds. The UK is a perfect example…unfortunately.

AR-15’s are not high-powered, automatic weapons. If you ban them, sick people can commit the same damage with a .40 cal semi-automatic hand gun and a bag of loaded magazines. Will the government need to ban handguns, too? Then other hunting rifles? Where will it stop?
How do you remove all of the weapons currently in existence?
Law abiding citizens may turn in their weapons, but will criminals turn in theirs?
How will you protect yourself if an armed burglar breaks into your house…if you think law enforcement can respond to your alarm system in time to save you, you might be disappointed.

Cece
3 years ago
Reply to  tracy

Hi Tracy.

You are completely correct in saying that there have been mass murders involving guns in the UK in my/our lifetime.

2,710 children have been killed by shootings in the US since 2014. Nearly 58000 people in total. In contrast, last year in the UK 26 people were killed by guns. That’s the highest since 1990, but for the sake of argument let’s assume the same number of people were killed in every year since 2014 – that’s around 105 deaths, as opposed to 58000.

So I strongly disagree with you. The UK is a perfect example that it is far, far more difficult for mentally ill people to commit mass murder if they don’t have easy access to high powered weapons. It’s not impossible, and it never will be, but I think the statistics tell their own story.

Claire
3 years ago
Reply to  tracy

Tracy, you mentioned Dunblane, which is to date the only school shooting in UK history. After Dunblane, the parents of the victims launched a campaign to ban the ownership of handguns, which was eventually successful. Handguns were banned. There has never been a school shooting since.

Rebecca
3 years ago
Reply to  Melissa

Melissa,
People in London do have guns- just illegally and just really bad people you dont want having guns.
London has CRAZY amounts of terrorist attacks. I’d much rather die from a gunshot wound than a machete to the neck! I’d also like to protect myself against terrorist if the US ever became like the year you all had in 2017.

sarah
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Exactly. After Columbine we looked at what happened and we told the kids they had to be better than we were, nicer than we were. They needed to be inclusive and and end bullying. So schools focused on anti bullying and yet it still keeps happening. So we added buzzers and security measures at the front of schools and yet it still keeps happening. We trained teachers and students how to turn out lights and hide under desks and in closets and still it keeps happening. We tell the kids and teachers that they need to report anything they see that is troubling — whether it something a kid posts on social media or something they see — and yet it still keeps happening. We have put such a huge burden on our children and our educators to make schools safer and yet we as a nation won’t even fund the CDC to study gun violence and haven’t for the last 20 years. And we won’t make it easier for people that need help to be able to afford it. It is a complex issue and yet the response to looking at what MIGHT help is a flat NO. The… Read more »

Kristin
3 years ago
Reply to  sarah

This is such a well written paragraph, Sarah! I would “like” it 1 million times if I could. You are exactly right. I have three kids in elementary school and I worry about their safety every day. I see a similar mindset in the thought process behind teaching women how to not be raped. Take self defense classes! Wear modest clothing! Be hyper aware of your surrounding at all times! All of the onus for not being attacked as you go about your daily life is on you, as the woman, to try to prevent it. Fucking ridiculous! It is my reality as a woman and it absolutely sucks. Is society actively teaching men to not rape women? No. Now I fear it is our children’s reality at school. I am waiting for the tide to turn on the school shootings–it seems to me that the natural progression for conservatives who absolutely cannot blame guns for these situations, and refuse to have any new gun control, will be to start blaming the schools. They weren’t safe enough! They knew this could happen! They aren’t protecting our students! If you can’t tell, I am just sickened and disheartened and utterly pessimistic… Read more »

Heidi
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

THAT comment is exactly what does my head in about this whole issue. I’m brought to tears by the mass shootings that happen in the USA and it just does not make any sense. It doesn’t happen anywhere else, but nowhere else has the “right to bears arms” mentality either.
Thank you so much for this post Emily. When I saw it listed, I was like, “Yes! The one about voting was so informative and brave”.

A Hamill
3 years ago
Reply to  Rebecca

I’m an American living in London at the moment. I’ve lived here for over 10 years, and very much enjoy the peace of mind that comes with the fact there are such tight gun restrictions in this country. I very much disagree that we have a CRAZY amount of terrorist attacks. Fewer people died this year in a terrorist attack than in 9/11. If you want the hard numbers, between 2000 and 2017 126 people were killed in a terrorist attack. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX OVER A SEVENTEEN YEAR PERIOD. I’m sick of the US media and people who know little of the actual facts using rhetoric to support their agendas. If you want to know more, here’s a useful link. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/many-people-killed-terrorist-attacks-uk/ My family keeps asking if we’re ever moving home, and my honest answer is never. Not as long as gun laws stay the way they are. I would rather my girls go to school without having to think about gun drills or worry about being shot down by a fellow student. As for knife crime, yes it happens here. But it’s far harder to commit a mass killing when you have to walk up to each and… Read more »

Kelly Berry
3 years ago
Reply to  Melissa

Uh, the United States is five times larger than the entire United Kingdom. How do compare your numbers?
Most of the violence is in gun free areas.
Don’t forget, our 2nd Amendment came about because of the Revolution and the abusive King!

Louise
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Berry

58000 / 105 = 552
Kelly, you say America’s population is 5 times the size of Britain’s but it has 552 times the number of deaths by mass shootings according to the numbers given above. That’s over 110 US deaths for every ONE in the UK when you account for the population difference. I’m not from either country so have no bias in favour of either

Natalie
3 years ago

I live in the Deep South. My family are not gun owners, we don’t hunt, etc. but we are waaaaay in the minority in terms of our lack of gun worshipping. But, here’s what people are saying here in defense of their military style assault rifles. Maybe it will at least help you understand why, even if you don’t agree: the second amendment was written so that if, god forbid, the citizens of the United States ever had to fight back against our own government, we would be able to. If you think people want AR15s to protect against a “bad guy” you’ll never understand. ITs bigger than that. It’s, what if trump goes nuts and we have to fight against his military- your engagement going to hope and pray someone has some kind of weapon to fight back. It sounds far fetched and crazy, I know, but that is the reason the amendment was written, and that’s why even the most common sense gun laws are being fought against. Even if you don’t agree, maybe that’s a perspective you hadn’t previously consider, and maybe it will help you to understand a different view point.

Brittany
3 years ago
Reply to  Natalie

This is interesting and I have considered this to be the basis for the amendment in the first place. Sounds far fetched but revolution happens.

Aileen
3 years ago
Reply to  Natalie

It sounds far-fetched and crazy because there is no way to fight back against our military with any level of weaponry one can buy. Our military is overwhelmingly more fearsome than any other nation’s military in the world! The idea that we can fight back against our own government with guns is completely absurd. We would have to rely, as every other nation’s citizens do, on the outrage of the free world to stop such actions. I’d also just add, the idea that our soldiers would, en masse, turn on our citizens also strains credulity.

Shana
3 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Re the fear of government: I think a lot of people relate to The Government as though we’re in a science fiction movie — like it’s a surreal superpower that is showing every sign of turning towards darkness. It’s so easy to forget that the government is just a group of politicians, who are just a group of people trying to make a their own way through the world — flawed, for sure, but struggling in their own echo chambers. It’s so much easier to vilify what we don’t understand.

Estelle
3 years ago

As a citizen from a country far far away (New Zealand) I am fascinated to read these responses. It is inconceivable to me that it is possible to buy even a handgun on the internet. I really can’t understand why anyone would want to live in a society where you have guns in your house so reading these comments is truly fascinating. Often Australia is brought up as an example of the positive effects of gun control to which the US could follow. But honestly to me it seems like the collective psyche of the US is so different to the rest of the developed world that maybe some form of gun control is too little too late anyway.

Estelle
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle

One quick question maybe someone can answer. Is it common for people to shoot intruders? Do guns in the house routinely prove useful? ( I guess we are taught here to never interrupt an intruder but we also don’t live in a fear based culture).

Natasha
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle

That was exactly my question!

Ellen
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle

I’m not sure if it’s common, but it’s not unexpected. In the U.S. it’s called the castle doctrine, which says that you have a right to defend your “castle” in the event of an intruder. If you feel that your life is legitimately threatened, you have the right to defend yourself by any means necessary.

Jess
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle

This is a good question. We are a hunting family. Myself, my husband and two of our five kids have hunting licences and hunt every year. Our main meat is venison, we eat hardly any other meat. (Our other kids are too young). We have a larger rifle for deer, and a shotgun for birds. We also have handguns, and a smaller 12 gauge shotgun which is easier for smaller sized people and women to shoot. I don’t know how often guns are used to stop intruders, mostly because it doesn’t seem like the chance of an intruder is very high. However, as someone who has used and been around guns my entire life, I will honestly answer that if someone broke into my house with clear intent to harm, I would not hesitate to shoot them if my family was at risk. They do make me feel safer. That being said, we are very responsible with our guns, locked up and separate from the ammunition and constantly talk to our kids about guns and how to properly use them.

Suzy
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle

Reply from someone from the US (lived in Wisconsin and Florida): No one I know (even within my extended circle of acquaintances) has ever had an intruder

Amy
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle
EK
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle

Yes, if you sign up
For alerts can you be made aware of dozens of media reported cases a day of people defending themselves with guns. That’s the media reports, so they’re typically local news stories from American cities large enough to have a local news outlet and who have gotten a local law enforcement report. Additionally, the times weapons are brandished or racked to scare away intruders or would be attackers are not included in self defense with a weapon statistics in the US. Also, in the UK and other nations where guns are essentially banned, petty crimes/muggings and break ins are more common because thieves know they won’t encounter anyone with the ability to defend themselves

Sara
3 years ago
Reply to  EK

I’d be intrigued to see your statistics that show petty crimes are more common in the UK because of a lack of guns? All statistics I can find point to the opposite?

Brie
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle

I don’t know about shooting intruders, because the laws about this differ from state to state. But I read this statistic on Thursday from the US Justice Department: on average there are 200 instances of legal defensive gun use (LDGU) in America EVERY DAY. Most of these do not involve a shot being fired, they involve a gun being used in a legal manner to defend someone against a physical threat of some kind. I was shocked at this number. Then I read another study from Fla that said the estimate was very low, because those are the instances that actually get reported to law enforcement.
Wow.

Sarah
3 years ago
Reply to  Estelle

As a Canadian living in Toronto, I am also fascinated by the idea of needing a gun to defend your personal safety. This is not a mentality that anyone in my ‘bubble’ has. No one I know is worried about an intruder coming to harm to them and their family, yet alone fathoming to defend themselves with a gun. (Fellow Canadians…. if you think differently, please speak up!)

I’m genuinely interested in WHY people are so worried? Other than the fact that the civilians around you also have such easy access the guns 🙂 What’s causing this culture of fear and how can you change it?

Donald
3 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

What most Americans terrified of intruders in their houses won’t ever say out loud is that the boogeyman they fear so much, invading their homes at night and doing unspeakable things to their belongings and causing harm to their families, is a brown skinned person.

Katie
3 years ago