I know we're all different thinkers, but I'm just curious if there is a consensus view among atheists regarding firearms?

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Knowledge of maintenance and handling of firearms and other highly lethal weapons is primordial. It is quite possible that all these "self defenders" brandishing firearms at robbers do not have 'what it takes' to really kill another human being, and their weapon weaving makes them a target INSTEAD of killer. As you say, knowledge of WHAT to do is most important, which to me makes a darn good case for stronger regulations regarding ownership, to prevent incompetents from ownership.

 

On the other hand, a part of me thinks the ideal system of self defence, of self and nation, is the way France used to have it, where every person did military duty, received minimal weaponry training. In  a context where "every citizen should be ready to defend the country against enemies" I could see it also being recommended that every single human being have a firearm and have regular training/maintenance inspections, as we do with motor vehicles. Motor vehicles, because of their high lethality, require that all motorists must have standardised training. I could see this as a corollary of the right to bear arms...

I concur with your statement regarding having "what it takes" to kill another human being.  Certain people do not have the ability.  Some think they do, and they don't.  Some have no idea what they are capable of until they are pressured into a situation.  Perhaps if we (as a people) spent more time getting to know ourselves on a regular basis instead of worshipping the fairy in the clouds more people would know for sure which they are.  There is nothing wrong with being either way, but to not know yourself in such a manner is a crime against you and everyone around you.

Completely agree. And I'll even admit I'm partially guilty, as do we ever really know for sure? I've always had the intimate knowledge that I do have "what it takes". But it's not knowledge, it's an impression. I have had a couple of opportunities for self defence in my life, and I did react with I think the proper amount of returned violence, but I have not handled a gun since age 14, that's 30 years ago! But I've walked streets of South Africa and South America alone, have usually been successful at "avoidance" without compromising my various geographic explorations, and have successfully come out alive and unraped. I did pull a knife on one person, in Canada. They were sufficiently impressed by the tone of my voice that I had "what it takes" that they immediately ceased. But do I? (human perception is so very faulty)

 

My government offers a free gun handling course, I think I should take it.

Indeed - it seems that the one person it is most difficult to be truly honest with is yourself.

Well like I stated in my very first reply, this is one of very few topics on which my mind has no clarity of what is the best governmental policy. My take is that it is too large a topic and needs to be divided up into a couple of sub-categories for issues of training/maintenance/licensing/calibre/distribution/inventory, etc. In Canadian politics, gun registration is a relatively hot topic. We register everything else that's lethal in life, it's the basis of our society. Now the oddest thing is that switchblades are illegal here, go figure...
My only problem with mandatory drivers training is that it forces those who don't want to drive to learn.

"...yet you cannot force someone to receive education... At least not efficiently."

 

Tell that to your local school board :P

You can not force "all" areas of education, but you can't drive without a driver's licence, in most places, driver's licences involve a learning process. I don't see why weapons should be excluded from such a rational process.
They're not forced per se, however I still feel the requirement is way too low. I also feel that if you can get a license to legally carry firearms then you should be able to get one for illegal knives.

What are the laws regarding firearms in Canada? Or is this the domain of the provinces? In that case what are the laws regarding the use and possession of weapons in BC?

 

Can you legally shoot a home invader or someone who threatens you with violence? I am totally not clear on the laws regarding self-defense/defense-of-others

 

Ok! Seriously now, what they should teach in school, in addition to reading and arithmetic is: democracy, driving, permaculture, cooking, law, and taxes. They say ignorance is no defense, but honestly in the real world it is -  but the law is harsh this way, you can be breaking the law and not even know it - the law is too fracking complex and often absurd - they don't even enforce a lot of it. The legal system is no Justice system, but a murky gray pool of precedents decided by judges appointed by officials distant from the people. 

Diver's Ed was mandatory in my High School.  I wouldn't have taken it otherwise since I have no interest in driving.

Use of deadly force varies by country, state, and situation.  In my state, I have no duty to retreat if I am somewhere I am legally allowed to be and I am in fear of my life or the life of others.  I am not allowed to use deadly force for simple assault, but as soon as a weapon is involved, so long as I'm in fear of my life or for the life of others, precedent shows that I'm allowed to use deadly force.  The weapon also only needs to be one that could cause great bodily harm or death.  For example if I'm attacked with a knife, bat, tire iron, whip, crossbow, etcetera, I would be able to use a firearm to protect my life. 

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