Atheists are a small minority in the U.S.  Advocates of gun control might be a minority in America as well. In light of the recent shootings in Aurora I am curious as to how atheists in this network view the lack of gun restrictions.  There are probably divergent views.

I have trouble believing that both presidential candidates are steering away from any call for reform after the horrific mass shooting. In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes.  It was even more shocking to hear on a news show that a family had to raise money to pay for the immense hospital bills for one of the victims while they were already crippled with medical bills from the mothers fight with breast cancer.

As a Canadian I came to stand with my U.S brothers for the reason rally and freedom from religion.  I would be willing to come down to the capitol and march for two other important causes.  Gun control and universal health care.

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Well that's really no surprise, the number one life skill sold in the Catholic Church (and old religious Humanists) is meekness and obedience, whereas for Protestant Churches, the number one life skill sold is how to get rich and create your own Church.

For atheists it would be likely go something like this: Secular Humanists would vote the Catholic way and libertarians and Marxist and anarchists and environmentalists would be all over the place, according to their degree of anthropomorphism, and of course there would be numerous non-followers of that pattern according to if they were raised in environments pertaining to either religion.

Since Secular Humanists have nearly taken over the atheist movement, I suspect you'd get a majority of atheists who'd answer: How dare we even consider taking another person's life? Humans are precious.

We could also start a betting pool... I'd place my bet on 72% of atheists being for absolute gun control. ;p

That religious info and comparison was tongue in cheek TNT - glad you could find a deeper joke in it. At least I hope you aren't being serious.  If most Secular Humanists happen support gun control I wouldn't characterize them as meek and obedient. 

Your 72% figure surprised me.  That makes you in the minority. And here I thought I was in the minority in this particular topic where I originally said "In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes."

I don't remember a torrent of replies agreeing with that point.

I wonder if there could be a poll done within Atheist Nexus. 

It would be interesting. 

I once conducted a "fun" poll on another atheist forum.

Go to  It's free and real easy to use.

Think out the options and question style, think it out well, really well, cuz the way you ask your question will affect the answer percentages. In my opinion, having the "answer" is not a sufficient poll strategy... you want to know also what are the voters' philosophical affiliations, in order to get an interesting study that can lead to further informed conversations.

Then add a discussion here pertaining to solely that poll. I let mine run for a few months, in order to try and get a better sampling. And people will discuss the poll itself... keeping this discussion on the content.

Good luck

TNT, polls of voters' philosophical affiliations are not enough.

Their political activism levels will tell us if politicians will pay attention.

Of course, there is never too much information in a poll!

It will require a separate poll.

Russell, these stats interest me.

Where would these people reside, or cluster, on a scale ranging from naivete to paranoia? Or on a scale ranging from idealism to cynicism?

The liberal folk I know would reside on the naive or idealistic sides of these lines' midpoints; the conservative folk on the paranoid or cynical sides of the midpoints.

An article I wrote for a user magazine a couple of years ago shows my not so heroic association with dealing with the possibility of guns in the schoolroom.

A jolt of pure fear

I hesitate to add yet another element to the discussion, but . . .
I’ve noticed one justification for people embracing guns is the fear that a tyrant will come and take their guns. Others, who have no guns, do not share that fear.
so . . .this little essay:
When one is trying to quit smoking, most people agree that it is a good plan to remove cigarettes from your presence . . . get them out of your home. This is because of the effect of the visual stimulus . . . the simple presence of a pack of cigarettes.
It has been my observation over many years, that the simple presence of a gun changes the dynamics and affects the nature of any social encounter.
I am in no way insinuating that people who own a firearm for personal protection, own it because they are paranoid.
What I am saying, rather, is that the continuing presence of weaponry can make you paranoid, or, to put it more politely, the possession of a firearm can, and does, profoundly affect your interaction with the rest of the world. The very presence of a firearm affects how you view and deal with social experiences, and your perceptions of the world.
I am of the notion that much of the passionate gun advocacy is more a product of the actual possession of weaponry and not necessarily any fear or paranoia about one’s immediate safety, or commitment to the Second Amendment.
Finally, a study that confirms some of my observation:
The actual experiment itself:

Interesting study Asa Watcher.  Regardless of the validity of the pro or con stance in this discussion I can attest to the way people I meet with here in Canada react to the gun debate.  We basically shake our heads and say the pro gun anti control stuff we hear coming from the South sounds insane.  That may be because a lot of us don't own weapons. Maybe the people down their owning a lot of weaponry shake their heads at us North of the border and wonder about a hopelessly naive country.

That ties in with a book I listened to from   "You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself"   by David McRaney.  There are some powerful studies where people are first primed and then come out with passionate logical reasons for why they take a particular primed stance.  It turns out we can be subtly moved in a particular direction by outside factors - much like your reference to the study on gun ownership affecting attitudes.

I liked the book so much I wrote a review on the audible website (all members can do this)

This is what I said:

It doesn't hurt to be humbled occasionally. As we listen to those confident so called experts who confirm our political biases during an election cycle, knowing the information from this book could help us take a step backwards and reevaluate.

I recommended this to my daughter and we had a great discussion about how people can be manipulated and how difficult it is to really have an open mind on some of the topics we supposedly have solved and take for granted.

I may not ultimately have budged from some of my biases, but my conceit about being right has taken a blow and that is a good thing.

Russell... your "we in Canada" is a bit of a misrepresentation. "We" have just scrapped the gun registry and "we" do not have anywhere near the gun manufacturing industry that exists in the USA.

I am a Canadian who's lived in half our prov/territories, teaches in both our languages, who's never owned a gun, but I totally agree with the intent of the 2nd amendment, that the citizenry be sufficiently armed to protect against a despotic government.

You consistently present this discussion as two sided when it isn't. I don't even feel any "urges" to change legislation... cuz frankly, the "problem" is way overstated.

TNT I stand by my "we" in Canada.  I don't run into many people with your viewpoint in Ontario.  I also have relatives out in Western Canada in media who don't run into many people with your perspective.

Unfortunately there is a Conservative government in place that got in by a split of the Liberal and NDP vote and the gun registry got scrapped.

You can look in the west to the article I posted about the American lawman who felt threatened and wanted to pack a gun while visiting. I don't remember a lot of people clamoring for his right to carry a weapon. 

Along with my Liberal friends I have a lot of Conservative friends who openly voice their dismay at a country allowing easy access to assault weapons.

But that still is anecdotal. 

Just watch our news programs and read our newspapers and tell me about all the outlets defending the right of people to carry assault weapons.  Also let me know any major media outlet in Canada that promotes the idea that our government may need to be overthrown by an armed citizenry.

You are not going to find much.




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