Why I’d Ban Guns

Girl with GunWhat I’m about to write is my personal opinion, based on personal experiences. Nothing empirical about it. Every form of media is full of stories about and analysis of America’s gun culture. I’m simply adding my own small bit of reflection.

When I was 12 or so and we lived in Sacramento, my parents would take me target-shooting in a forested area some distance outside town. My dad owned both a 38-caliber and a 22-caliber handgun. We used the 22 to shoot at cans. I thought it was fun. That memory is partially based on an old snapshot of myself aiming the gun.

A more disquieting memory remains from around the same time. I was home alone late one afternoon. My parents were still at work, and I had awful monthly cramps. I called my mother, who said to drink a bit of the wine that was in the fridge to help with the pain. Inadvertently, I chugged from a bottle of whiskey instead. I managed to get drunk half out of my mind.

At various points within this episode of altered consciousness, I did some odd things. I ate some garlic. I spilled some cereal on the floor and left it there. And—I recall this as if it were yesterday—I went to my father’s nightstand, opened the drawer, and looked at his gun. I knew I’d be in trouble if I changed the position of anything. So I just looked.

As an adult, I once mentioned the idea of maybe getting a gun for protection.  My husband said absolutely not, he didn’t want one in the house, lest he use it on himself during a depressive episode. His intense black moods are very rare now, but I took his unease to heart.

A friend of ours once had us babysit his antique gun for some months after his traumatic divorce. It was a gun for which he would have had to find a particular kind of ball and powder, if he were to use it, but he didn’t want it around. Another person I know, who used to drink a lot, once waved a similar unloaded old gun at his own head in the midst of a nasty marital argument, and his action unnerved his wife to the point that she called the police and had him locked up for a psych evaluation. I had never thought of either of these men as violent.

And that’s why I believe we shouldn’t allow guns around the house. That goes especially for weapons that can massacre crowds when someone’s mental status shifts from weird to no longer capable of normal thought.

Because even I, when I was a good little girl whose brain chemistry was briefly altered, found the deadly alluring.

Copyright (c) by Susan K. Perry

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15 Responses to Why I’d Ban Guns

  1. kleinem says:

    When my wife & I moved next door to our Grandkids & bought a regular Safe & locked my 38 & 25 caliber hand guns away. I had no reason to open the safe for several years until recently, to store some important papers, & found both guns with triggers & locking actions rusted shut & useless. The wife was not unhappy about that.
    I venture that it is not easy to store hand guns safely & likely most folk don’t even try.
    Despite that, I still find myself ambivalent about owning a hand gun however, IMO, there is no good reason to own a clip storage rapid fire military style gun.

  2. Whatisthis Idonteven says:

    Some food for thought for anyone who would “ban guns”: What you’re essentially in support of is only the police and the government having guns. Everyone else is just a complaint sheep. When Insert-Hated-Political-Party is in power again, do you really feel comfortable being unable to defend yourself when they try to infringe on Right-You-Hold-Sacred? Do you find the police, by and large, to be a respectable, moral, reasonable bunch?

    It *can* happen here, all it takes is a populace unable to defend itself.

    • A Rational Woman A Rational Woman says:

      We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. A well-armed militia is not the same as my father and various neighbors having old guns in their closets and thinking they could defend themselves against tanks and missiles. I believe we have good government checks and balances that will keep any political party from doing something so terrible that I’d have to pull out a personal weapon to do something about it. Not all police officers are perfect, by any means, but I don’t believe they intend to take over the country (as they might in some far less advanced countries, the ones we read about in the newspapers every day). In places like Syria where the populace is trying desperately to use whatever weapons they can round up to overthrow a tyrannical dictator, it’s not really working. Those in power will always have bigger guns.

      We’ll probably never ban all guns anyway. Just the ones used in mass massacres by people who had no real reason to own such weapons in the first place. But I don’t expect to convince you. That’s okay. I was simply offering my own reasons for believing that a gun shouldn’t be easy to obtain and keep.

  3. Ira Talquina says:

    A civilized society can provided internal and external security to its members with an army and a regular police service. Only members of those institutions could have access to fire arms. An advanced humanist nation will not need weapons at all.Keeping fire arms, even small ones, in the hands of civilians creates a very dangerous environment at the family and the social levels. 

  4. Nigel Andrews says:

    I live in the UK, where we have quite strict rules about gun ownership, which were further tightened after the tragedy in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996. The firearms related death rate in the US is 10.2 per 100,000 people, in the UK it is 0.25, or in other words it is forty times higher in the USA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate On the face of it this seems a rational argument for similar control in the USA. I understand that it is hard to contemplate giving up something that makes you feel safer, but our experience is that this is a dangerous illusion: the best protection for you and your loved ones is to ban guns that are designed solely for use against people, except for use by trained professionals such as the police* and armed forces.*In the UK only our specifically trained armed response teams use guns, the fact that our regular police force does not carry guns, and does not want to, is something that most of us are quite proud of. In September last year two unarmed female police officers were shot and killed whilst carrying out their duties in Manchester: the nation was shocked, they were the second and third officers to be killed by firearms that year in the UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/sep/18/woman-police-officer-killed-manchester I leave it to others to find out the firearms death rate for police officers in the USA…

  5. A Rational Woman A Rational Woman says:

    My parents trusted me (too much), just like so many other parents do with their own kids. I’m not saying no one can have a gun, but they certainly need to be locked up and way out of the way. Which they often aren’t, as we know by reading of so many tragedies in the newspapers.

  6. Karl Black says:

    Calling yourself “Rational” does not make it so.By your ‘reasoning’ you would also call for a ban on all cars if you one day had happened to be in a depressed or drunken state of mind and thought about hurting yourself, or someone else, with your car.  This would apply equally to knives if that was the item which had sparked your drunken interest at the time.
    Crime is a complex issue, and too many people think a simplistic answer will solve a majority of it overnight – thus the calls for gun control and drug control, neither of which will ever work.Regarding the UK: your murder rates were lower when, in 1900, you had no gun laws at all.  Your current crime rates are at least 5 to 9 times higher than ours here in the US (due to methods of calculation and classification of some crimes).  Particularly disturbing is the fact that rape is 2.25 times the rate of the US, mostly because women aren’t allowed to protect themselves in your country.  The assault rate is slightly worse.  The UK is routinely labeled as the most violent, crime ridden country in Europe.  One of your own papers, the Sun, recently reported that your crime statistics do not include violent crimes against anyone under 16 years of age either, amounting to about 133,000 more crimes per year. Solve your own problems.Many folks try to compare countries on simplistic levels like this but it is not that easy.  Japan has no history of the people owning firearms.  Their murder rates are very low but their suicide rates are very high.  They have a mono-culture secluded on an island with no history of internal strife due to conflicting issues with any type of minority class.  Their history is one of service to each other and to the government so they tend to internalize strife and kill themselves instead of each other.  Switzerland, on the other hand, requires every home to have a weapon as part of being included in the military but their murder rate is also extremely low.  They have shooting competitions frequently and carry their rifles openly every where they go.  Even in the US kids in the 1950’s carried their rifles to school when they were part of the shooting teams in high schools and no one panicked and no one ever shot up a school.The US has always had a problem with violence and especially with murder.  The white people who flooded this country were, first and foremost, greedy and that culture of greed continues.  They came here to take land, stealing it from the Native Americans and murdering most of them in the process.  They brought slaves from Africa (and some from elsewhere) to do their work for them and murdered them at will for poor work or for wanting their freedom.  Today we still suffer from some of the worst income inequality in the world because the greed of the few seems insatiable.  It should be no surprise that the highest rates of murder are among the poorest in our nation, those who were oppressed with murder and who learned that murder is a solution.  It also continues to be a problem because the only source of income for many poor is in the drug trade which is also entirely illegal – so what’s another crime on top of it all?We have also been unfairly painted by others as being far more violent as well.  So-called ‘journalists’ reporting on the western US often simply lied about how violent the “Wild West” was in order to sell stories and papers back east.  The truth is that the murder rates in the old west were far lower than the murder rates in the east.  Then came Hollywood and the whole series of lies was repeated in the movies.  Unfortunately people do get much of their ‘education’ from the movies as that is what they remember most.  If only they had actually studied history instead.Our education system is in terrible shape because of lack of proper funding and attacks on science by the religious and by corporations, both denying proper science education.  We have far too many pupils per teacher.  The least educated people in any society are always more prone to violence, and this is easily seen in the murder rates of industrialized versus third world countries.  Another area of issues surrounding mass shootings is our mental health care system which has systematically been disassembled over the last 40 years.  Reagan started it by defunding mental health care facilities in California in the 1970’s as governor, to ‘save taxpayer money’, and then did more of the same as president to the rest of the country.  Many of these shooters would likely have been getting better mental health care otherwise which may have prevented these shootings.Actually, the largest mass murder at a US school did not happen with guns either.  In 1927 a man killed 38 elementary students, 6 adults, and wounded 58 others by blowing up half of the school with a bomb.  There was another large explosive charge set under the other half of the school but it did not go off.  Every time an incident like this happens there are dozens of laws broken. Making guns illegal would not affect the actions of an insane person wishing to do such a thing anyway.  The tens of millions of us gun owners should not have to give up our rights because of a very few nut cases.  Do you feel you should give up your right to free speech because the KKK spews hate speech?The paranoia about an inanimate object is truly strange.  Guns, knives, baseball bats, and fists are all used to murder people by other people.  None of these things kill on their own.  It takes a mind with a propensity to violence to commit crime, any crime, and the UK is actually very high on that list of violent societies.As in any country, the crime rates are always highest in the bigger cities.  More people concentrated into an area always results in more stress, conflict, and opportunities for crime.  This brings up an interesting fact as well.  New York and London have populations of approximately 8 million and 7 million respectively, with comparative standards of living covering the entire range of incomes.  Yet London’s crime rate is 7 times that of New York.  In both cities guns are illegal.  The murder rate in New York is far higher, with and without guns, but the total crime rate in London is far higher.  London has not experienced the slavery and race issues that have made our society so quick to murder, and the vast majority of murder is perpetuated by gangs upon each other over the drug trade.  Poor, uneducated, oppressed sections of societies always commit far more crime simply as a way of life.The biggest factor in proving the silliness of gun control laws is simply looking at the results of gun law changes on the affected areas.  Comparing countries is difficult when cultural influences are so varied, but when the culture has not changed but a gun control law has, we have something to study.In 1966 Florida decided to do something about it’s horrendous rape problem.  The Orlando police decided to teach a small group of women how to use firearms to protect themselves.  They expected a couple hundred women to show up but 3000 women applied for the gun training and permits.  In one year the rape rate dropped 88%.  In 1982 Kennesaw, GA passed a law requiring every home owner to keep a gun in the house for self defense, and the sheriff made no secret of the fact that they would not enforce this law.  Home burglaries dropped 89% the following year.No other factors changed in these places except for the gun laws allowing people to protect themselves.  This same scenario has been played out in every state that has passed concealed carry permits, starting with Florida in 1984In the US burglars break into homes only 13% of the time when the home is occupied.  A survey of burglars found that they feared getting shot by the homeowner as the biggest reason not to enter a home.  In the UK where burglars have little to fear they break into occupied homes about 50% of the time.The states allowing concealed carry permits have all seen reductions in violent crime.  Gun control groups rank states by how strict their gun laws are.  Invariably the states with the strictest laws are given failing grades yet these states regularly have lower murder rates than states with strict laws.  The correlation is often upset by the fact that major cities, within states allowing gun permits, ban guns yet they have far higher murder rates than most other areas.This issue must be discussed and decided based on scientific merits, and criminologists study this issue scientifically.  What they have found in every study, over many decades, is that US citizens defend themselves with guns about 2.5 million times per year – and this is the average of several studies.  Not one study ever demonstrated that gun control reduced violent crime.Regarding the event that has brought this issue to an ugly head yet again, another school shooting, there are a few facts to consider here as well.  Public officials, in a desperate attempt to appear useful, have openly bragged about making schools ‘gun free zones’ and have posted signs stating so as well.  This has made schools prime targets because no one can fight back.  The people who do these things are insane but they are not stupid.  They attack people at malls, theaters, restaurants, and schools because they know they can do the most damage without being stopped readily.  They never strike at a gun show for an obvious reason even though a place with so many guns should be the most dangerous according to the gun control crowd.This one is important so pay attention: Even with the school shootings twice as many children (on average) die in school playing football every year, yet no one is calling for an end to football.  Also, in a few cases of school shootings, a teacher was able to retrieve a gun from his vehicle and stop a school shooter in progress.  I’ll bet you never heard about that because the major media stations refused to report it.  They simply said someone ‘detained’ the shooter until police arrived, refusing to say that it was done at gunpoint.One last point.  Your reference to the meaning of the Second Amendment is severely flawed and has been pointed out many times by scholars and regular folks alike.  We, the People, are the Militia and the phrase “the right of the people” is used in several of the amendments with a very clear meaning.  Back in the day ‘well regulated’ did not mean burdened with laws, it meant being capable.  Many other written statements of the founding fathers demonstrate very clearly that the people would not be capable unless they could own their own arms and know how to use them in order to protect themselves and their country.Being rational means using your faculties to make a decision based on facts and information, not based on conjecture and a single drunken incident.

    • Double Helical says:

      Mr. Black,
      You made some very good points and I don’t disagree.  I might only add that the Founders found it necessary to add the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights in order to protect the other 9 amendments.  Good book for all concerned is “The Second Amendment Primer.”  Also, for those who wish to know, the Supreme Court specifically ruled in 2008 that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is indeed an individual right.  Those that don’t agree with it can repeal it just like any other provision in the Constitution: a 2/3 majority vote amendment. 

  7. Karl Black says:

    All of my paragraphs were deleted upon posting. Sorry about any reading difficulties.

  8. Elder Norm says:

    Just a thought.  We KILL 500,000 children,women, and men in this country every 10 years with automobiles.   Cars do not kill people, people do…….. Have we really done much with laws to keep people safer???I speak for myself (and possibly many normal gun owners) when I say that while I do not mind reasonable gun control and checks before guying guns, and even registering guns….. I seriously worry about people who have decided that since they do not like guns…. then its their job to be sure I cannot have one.  Many times these people can afford armed guards to protect themselves… I cannot.  Can you?Every police officer I have ever asked, “Can you protect me from the bad guys?” has answered,  “NO!”.  We can come take a report after you are killed in your home,  killed by a disturbed person, etc, but there is NOTHING we can do to protect you.  After all that above,  maybe we need to consider the problem from a different approach.  The NRA has proposed several times having a solid personal check when buying guns,  requiring  passing a gun safety course, and even making more requirements to have safe control of guns / ammo / etc in the home.   But we don’t want to do that.  We just want the problem to go away.   Making guns illegal sounds great.  The problem is if guns are illegal…… then only criminals will have guns.  Any you will be a sitting duck for anyone who wants to criminally violate you.   Just a thought. 

  9. Jack Pedigo says:

    Why don’t people connect our very high murder rate and
    incarceration rate (the highest among first world nations) with the
    availability of the tools to commit violence? Every other civilized nation on
    earth has gotten the message why haven’t we? The reason: one organization, the
    NRA, has gotten to a position of so much power, legislators have become afraid
    of them and average citizens swallow their illogical rhetoric created by establishing a virtual monopoly on the media. Two facts:
    several board members of the NRA are officials of the gun industry; the NRA has
    been able to get legislators to ban the CDC and NIH from doing any research on
    gun violence. The NRA is also trying to stop the UN from passing rules
    regulating international gun trafficking. This is clear evidence of the NRA’s
    desire to promote profits for the gun industry and disregard any impact on
    society. Like the evangelical religions and the tobacco industry it is about
    individual and industry rights over the well being of a society (remember
    socialism is a dirty word for conservatives). No one has the right to harm
    others but this argument is never used when talking about individual freedoms.

    We have signs on our property stating no guns are allowed
    and no members of the NRA are welcome on our land. Neighbors have lauded us for
    this and because we understand real change is started by individuals we encourage
    others to take similar action. Only through individual action were such groups
    as the Brights, FFRF, the Secular Student Alliance and the Humanists groups
    started. Religions had/have gotten too powerful and the recognition of this has
    sown the seeds of a powerful backlash. A similar recognition  needs to be gotten against the gun industry.

    • Double Helical says:

      Mr. Pedigo,
      Your are taking a big risk by advertising outside your home that there are no guns within.  That is tantamount to telling a would-be home invader: “Defenseless Humans inside!”  Much as we all wish it were not so, there are plenty of psychopaths out there (approximately 4% of the population, according to Martha Stout).  These people have no empathic ability and do not have any ability to form emotional bonds with other humans.  They are born that way, and they cannot be cured.  Thankfully, only a small fraction of them are willing to risk incarceration or death at the hands of the police or a citizen.  But, the fact remains that, as much as we might wish it were so, not all humans are rational beings.   Some are actually incapable of rational behavior as we know it, and can kill or maim without a qualm.  If one of these people decides to threaten me or my loved ones, I do not want to cower in the closet and hope for the best.  I will take steps to defend myself and my family.  If you are a Bright, then I know that you know that prayer won’t work.  And if a bad guy kills you or a loved one, there is no heavenly reward waiting.  And we don’t live in a perfect society.  And, much as we would wish it were so, banning guns will only make violent crime increase.  Think it through.  Now, I’m not saying that you should run out and buy a gun.  If you don’t want one, that’s OK.  But don’t advertise the fact that no guns are allowed on your property.  That is foolish in the extreme.  One more thing:  The statements that you made about the NRA are either misleading or outright disingenuous.  I have seen these same statements made by rabid anti-gun activists.  I have seen them quote statistics that they have made up out of whole cloth.  Do your own research.  In every state that has passed “shall-issue” concealed carry permits, crime has gone down.  Let me refer you also to the post by Mr. Black above, since he’s made some good points.  Finally, we have a right to bear arms.  It’s the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  The Supreme Court has ruled that it is an individual right.  If you hate the thought of private citizens being able to defend themselves and their loved ones, then have your Senator put forward a bill to amend the Constitution.  That’s all you need to do.

    • All good teams start with building a solid defence, last year was awful so im pleased to see they way Paul Lambert is heading, agree with the posts above about our weak link AND creativity, major overhaul required on limited funds if you look at what deals have been done so far. I still want a Marquee signing and would be happy with that being Carroll. I keep hearing Scott Sinclair as a possible signing as well, im ok with this.Good times ahead if they all come off! UTV.

  10. Ray Gonda says:

    Karl Blacks discussion is very interesting and his assertions convincing and it is the best piece of writing by pro-gun advocates to date.

    However, it does leave several puzzles in my mind. Why do most mayors and police associations support gun controls? There must be some reason. Also Jack Pedigo’s statements weigh heavily in this debate and are convincing, if they are true.

    Mr. Black, I have a problem with you comparing cars and knives with guns. They each are clearly manufactured and used by human beings for very different reasons. Autos have become a necessity in this society and knives likewise worldwide. Guns have no such demanding requirement such that we should each own one or more (incidentally, I own a dozen and use them for hunting). Guns are made to kill, autos and most knives are not, nor are axes, ball bats, bricks and stones. Ban autos and our economy comes to a stop! Ban all knives and what do we use necessity to cut things with – science fiction ray guns or light swords? Thus I can only take you initial argument as a non-argument carrying no weight – even though I see it bandied about by the pro-gun crowd. It’s a non-starter. If that is your strongest argument, then it is but an unconvincing whimper.

    Ban guns and nothing happens except that, given time, even the criminals will be also be denied access to them – so the argument that only criminals will have guns doesn’t wash except during the transition time to near zero guns. [Obviously, I have no wish to ban guns but I would counsel you to stick to good logic if you want to be convincing].

    And to those who think a constitutional amendment is the only path to gun control, that doesn’t wash either. The Supreme court decision left the door open to reasonable controls – short of outright gun bans.

  11. Rajendra Shankar Choudhary says:

    Gun is used for killing of Humans.Actually gun is required for protection from wild
    animals & human already kill the animals in huge quantity.So that animals appears on
    discovery screen only. Ban on gun is very correct opinian.
    Thank you.

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