I’ve been wanting to inquire about the fascination many in our country have with firearms. There seem to be four major categories of people who enjoy the use of guns:
- 1. The majority of people with guns say they want them for sport hunting of wild animals that require a permit and that need to be culled from their populations to prevent overcrowding in our shrinking rural areas. Okay, I hope this is true. I have no idea, however, why anyone might need an automatic assault weapon to kill Bambi’s daddy or Daffy Duck’s pals.
- The second category is that of target practice. People who shoot firearms of all sorts do so for the sheer pleasure of hitting a target and improving their aim (hopefully the target is merely a bullseye without the outline of a human body….though violent video games seem to be trumping target practice most days). Lots of people are required to keep up their target practice, such as members of the military and police forces. Others simply find it fun to improve those skills, including those into archery.
- The third category I observe is comprised of people who carry or own guns for self-defense. Now we are getting into a weird area as far as I’m concerned. Weapons for self-defense may be necessary in the minds of some, but I would think that the user needs regular target practice and self-defense training to prevent him from being overtaken by his attacker. The issue of gun accessibility to children is another serious matter. The police have a tough enough job without having to deal with such matters.
- The previous categories, in my mind, are made up of citizens who generally seem to abide by the laws governing licensing and registration of firearms (Is this wishful thinking on my part? Comments?) Then there’s the last category I observe. This is made up of people who live on the edge. They are on the fringe of society, such as so-called survivalists and members of extremist groups and terrorists, or those suffering from mental breakdowns, psychosis, or delusional thinking. Many of these collect weapons the way the rest of us collect dust bunnies. One, three, twelve, twenty weapons do not seem to be enough for them. Ammunition in the thousands seems to be the norm. We’re dealing with dangerous minds with dangerous ideas.
What do you think our general fascination with guns is all about, especially for men? (Some estimates are that 300,000,000 guns are held by citizens of this, one per person in the current population.) What is the internal mechanism in your opinion that makes people feel more powerful just because they own a firearm? How many of you have saved a life outside of war because you were able to use a gun and had one handy? Just wondering…
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great questions and an unusually personal inquiry into the gun debate.
I think your post is essentially an urban dwellers response. I lived in Va for over a decade and knew lot’s of gun owners and users, including women. Ifirst use a rifle on my employers skeet shooting range and found it exhilarating and fun.
Several co-workers put on a Thanksgiving lunch each year on Tuesday before the holiday consisting of deer/turkey/pheasant and other game they had hunted.
One friend is a blacksmith and he makes guns as objects of mechanical / engineering beauty as well as replica works for Colonial Williamsburg.
In short,I have a different experience with guns and see no problem owning or using them.
AK47s and semi automatics are in need of further regulation as their purpose is to kill people.
I happen to agree with you. Sport and recreation with firearms is not a bad thing at all. Responsible use and handling of same is key. Assault rifles and automatics, however, are another issue.