Both sides of the debate tend to use false causality while ignoring other social, demographic and economic factors. This is not helpful when trying to formulate policies that might actually have a chance of reducing gun violence and violence in general. Obvious factors, particularly in large cities, are poverty, social marginalisation, inadequate social services, substandard housing, lousy education, gangs and drug influence. While the vast majority of people in those situations do not become criminal it is an ideal breeding ground for criminality and violent behavior.
Other factors, on the individual level, might include fetal alcohol syndrome which is more common among poorly educated mothers than the general population. One of the less obvious affects of FAS is lack of empathy which results in psycho-pathological behaviors. Dysfunctional families and absent authority figures leave individuals without understandable limits to behavior.
We spend $50,000+/ year to maintain a prisoner; if a portion of that money was redirected toward prevention and amelioration of some of the aforementioned conditions, IMO, it would be money better spent with a reduced prison population as a bonus (except for the private prison industry)
Personally, I'm against all firearms except for use the military. I think that non-lethal weapons like pepper spray or (probably) tasers should be allowed for non-military use, but more lethal weapons are just too dangerous. Registration is practically useless, since most guns used in crime are stolen, and I'd also like to point out (like another poster here) that the guns used in drug wars are usually smuggled from places with lax gun control laws, which is why you'd have to ban them consistently. That's why gun laws fail - not because they're inherently ineffective, but because they're ineffective if someone can drive to the next county and get them there, instead.
As others have touched on, the American Constitution was written at a time when they were worried about establishing another British monarchy and wanted a failsafe; at the time a militia could effectively overthrow the federal government. Not so today - to be blunt, anyone who thinks that their little handguns or hunting rifles are going to do squat against nukes and F-16s is delusional. The only way you could overthrow the federal government is through some sort of mass upheaval, and if you have 20% of the population willing to do something, peaceful protest is just as effective (if not more so - achieving a military victory is basically impossible, and violence would likely weaken political methods).
Banning things does create a black market, but mostly only when those things can be realistically smuggled past borders or made at home. Prohibition didn't work not because banning something never works, but because everybody could just make their own spirits at home, and the same is true for the modern War On Drugs, or for prostitution, etc. - but the same isn't true of guns. You can't just smelt one in your basement without anyone knowing, so the analogy fails when you try to compare the two.
To those people that would say that I'm infringing on their rights, or anti-freedom or anti-democracy or whatever because I'm pretty categorically anti-gun, I'd just say that I don't respect purely symbolic rights, especially when there are real harms involved. You're not going to overthrow the government with your hunting rifle, and statistically you're more likely to shoot yourself in the face than defend against an intruder (an intruder that's much less dangerous if unarmed). Whenever somebody puts some ideal above actual human health or benefit, that's ideology, and that ideology can be for anything, even "freedom".
And no, I frankly don't think that people have a constitutional right to shoot at cute forest creatures just for the fun of it. Go buy a freaking video game, people.
I would have agreed with you pre-2000, when it was made clear that law enforcement and military can be as dangerous as they are protective. I personally don't want to trust the government to protect me from violence. Especially if that protection comes from a paramilitary organization without any accountability.
I don't own a gun, but any intruders in my home will be introduced to the samurai sword I bought while I lived in Japan.
Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. 15 minutes to be exact when a friend of a roommate set off our alarm on accident. We also lived within walking distance to the police station.
Those that would give up liberty for safety deserve neither. The supreme court has also consistently ruled that the police are not duty bound to protect anyone. They don't protect and serve anyone but themselves and the legal system.
I respect your opinion, but I have to disagree. I live in the mountains of TN. People actually do still hunt for food here. Also, there are bears and lots of them. I hate the killing of animals just as much as the next person. I don't eat meat, and I don't appreciate killing for sport, but there are actually mountain people here, who survive on farming and hunting. I'm not prone to exaggeration either. There are people here who are land poor! They own hundreds of acres, but don't have a pot to piss in or a nickel to their name, and will never sell their property because it has been in their family for generations. For those of us who live near a WalMart or have a job, this seems insane, but there are actually people who still live like this in the United States. I think it's wrong to pass judgment on the whole of America when there are actually people who still have a real world use for a gun, even if you think they shouldn't.
There are people who shoot for sport as well, and I am one of them. I trap shoot, and enjoy it. I was on my high school team and was quite good. Yeah a gun is dangerous but so is a race car or a motorcycle, or gasoline, even alcohol. I mean if you apply the principal you state above, with the "harms involved" thing, you would have to apply that same thinking to alcohol and so many other things.
It's a slippery slope for sure and there is just no good answer to this problem. I'm just no fan of being told what I can and cannot do, because of someone else's view of morality. I've dealt with it my whole life, because I am an atheist living in the bible belt.
John D, I did not introduce killing animals into this discussion. The original writer and about 5 others said that it is OK to kill animals with guns. I have every right to point this inconsistancy out. Don't you guys read what you write?
Guns are not just dandy as long as they are only used on defenseless animals. Most of you think it's wrong to shoot innocent humans. I add that it is wrong to kill innocent animals, too.
I cut and pasted your statements here:
I was around shotguns and rifles used for hunting all my life and during college hunting supplemented my diet I support the right to maintain firearms for that purpose.
but aside from hunting purposes i oppose lethal ammunition
I'm with you.
Hunting, home defense, and shooting at designated areas is all fine
." To me, exercising your second amendment rights means three things: Hunting, home defense, and honing skills.
Thanks Susan. Don't waste any time reading about hunting policies and their terrible results for the hunted. Gov. hunting rules are designed to maintain large herds for hunters pleasure, and to wipe out other predators who are seen as competition. Just keep parroting that old saw. Those who kill are more humane than those who don't. Hunters hate to kill animals, they just do their charitable duty for wild creatures, who are burdened by being alive.`