Lots has been written about guns recently. What’s left to say? I find several things missing from almost all discussions of guns. Let’s look at the stuff we don’t talk about much.
Guns Attract Criminals
If you own a gun, the chances you will be the subject of a break-in go up dramatically. Criminals want guns, and somehow they figure out which folks have them. Maybe they get the information from dishonest sporting goods store employees, firing ranges, who knows. But they do get the leads. And they will try to target houses that have guns.
You Won’t Be There
The popular lore in gun circles is if someone breaks in, it’s your chance to blast ’em. The thing they don’t recognize is that criminals frequently “case” the place before breaking in and obviously they try pretty hard to break in when you’re not home. You likely will not be there to blast ’em. Oddly enough, more than half of break-ins occur during work hours when you’re not home because of your job.
Good Guys With Guns
Every so often a video goes around showing a “good guy with a gun” foiling a crime. Frequently the pro-gun folks are very excited and supportive, but often all I see is an untrained person firing wildly in a crowded building. I’m amazed we haven’t had more folks hurt by stray gunfire from untrained gun carriers. Think we’ve got problems with your police knowing when to use deadly force? Want to trust that guy who’s missing some teeth, lives in the trailer park, has had no training, and is hyped up on adrenaline? I don’t.
Speaking of the Police
They’ve got a tough job to do. They face the worst society has to offer every day of their lives. I read a lot of complaints about how our police force is too “militarized.” Look at the populace they have to police. The U.S. is #1 in gun ownership; our police face the most armed populace on the planet. Of course they want to protect themselves and they’re human so they might be a bit jumpy. At least they’ve had training and I respect the very difficult, dangerous job they have to do.
Rising Up Against the Government
The gun folks like to cite the 2nd amendment and have paranoid fears about needing to fight the government. That amendment was written at a far different time. The government did not have bombs, nuclear arms, tanks, fighter jets, drones, you name it. A private citizen with a musket that could fire about a round per minute was on equal footing. It is not rational to think that you, a private citizen, can own enough firepower to stand on equal footing with the government (while incidentally watching a huge amount of your tax money going to a “strong defense.”) And then there’s that pesky issue of the police force we discussed above.
Regulation versus Restriction
Gun folks see restriction all around them, when non-gun folks merely want to regulate. Asking for the same level of regulation for guns that we have for cars is not restricting ownership, it’s merely required training, testing, licensing, and insurance. There’s a difference. The only restriction comes when paying the insurance bill means you own one less weapon. Regulation and restriction are very different concepts.
Criminals Will Always Get Guns
A popular argument is that bad guys will always get guns. They probably will. But if the street price of that AK-15 is $35k on the black market instead $1k at Walmart, , economic factors are going to limit the prevalence of those guns.
Guns Cause Death
There are lots of statistics that show homes which have guns have higher incidences of people in those homes killing themselves or each other. Those guns rarely kill criminals but they more frequently kill or injure spouses, children, even the gun owners themselves.
Valid Reasons to Own a Gun
I’ve made it through my entire life thus far without needing a gun. That said, guns are cool, the movies and video games make ’em look pretty fun, and I toyed with buying a gun at one point. But when I took a gun safety class, the instructor was fantasizing about plugging a burglar and I decided that wasn’t a crowd I wanted to fraternize with. So probably owning a gun because “they’re cool” is about as honest a reason as I can come up with to own a gun. And again there’s that whole aspect about inviting the vampire in…