Atheist Reasoning on Gun Control in the U.S

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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    Russell Pangborn

    Of the many letters printed in the Saturday Star alongside mine, I liked this one

    A recent study from the American Journal of Public Health revealed that gun-related homicides increased proportionately to gun ownership. In other words, if gun ownership increases by 1 per cent, then gun-related murders increase proportionately.

    Three out of every 100,000 American will die from gunshots each year when, according to a very reliable source, 0.2 per every 100,000 citizens of 22 other industrialized nations will suffer a similar fate.

    Then, why is it that gun-related murders are 15 times higher in the U.S. than any other large wealthy nation? The reason is the sheer number of guns. There are roughly 89 guns per every 100 U.S. citizens, and that number – driven by the fear of terror and crime – continues to grow.

    For the record, Canada has 31 guns per 100 citizens, France has 31 guns per 100 citizens while Britain has six guns for every 100 citizens.

    Americans are buying weapons more ever than before. Arming for self-protection. A myth!

    Studies tend to reveal people who carry a weapon for self-protection are more likely to increase violence than reduce it; the weapon is also more likely to be used against the victims than by them.

    A U.S. study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that guns kept in the home were 22 per cent more likely to kill a family member or an acquaintance than they were to kill an intruder. A 1988 study of gun fatalities in King County, Wash. between 1978 to 1983, found that for every time a gun was used in a self-protection homicide, 37 lives were lost in gun suicides, 4.6 in gun homicides, and 1.3 via unintentional gun deaths – 43 deaths for every self-defense homicide.

    A second study by the same author, released in 1993, revealed that keeping a firearm in the home increased the risk of homicide almost threefold.

    A recent survey of studies by David Hemenway of the Injury Control Research Centre at Harvard University found that “the evidence does not indicate that having a gun reduces the risk of being a victim of a crime or that having a gun reduces the risk of injury during the commission of a crime.” Overall, Hemenway’s survey concludes that “the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit.”

    There are nearly 300 million privately owned firearms in the U.S., of which approximately 100 million are handguns. Since 1980, some 44 states have passed some form of law that allows gun owners to carry concealed weapons for personal protection.

    In an average year, about 100,000 Americans are killed or injured with guns. One number that jumps out is from the FBI’s 2008 data that reveals that only 245 alleged criminals were killed by armed civilians, far fewer than were killed by police. This squares with an FBI report that, in 1992, handguns were used only 262 times by law-abiding citizens to kill criminals justifiably.

    Arming for self-protection? Reckless and irresponsible! A myth!

    Emile Therien, Public Health & Safety Advocate, Ottawa

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      Russell Pangborn

      On the question of citizens arming themselves ultimately for a lot of us it comes down to where you are born. If your culture has been pro gun, if there is an enshrined text you can rightly or wrongly point to that says the citizens have the right to bear arms in one country and not in another - maybe that dictates how you come down on this debate emotionally before the evidence based arguments. I plead guilty to that.

      Atheists like to use a popular argument I just believe in one less god than you which includes the logic that you may be a christian but imagine you were born in a Muslim country. You would have been a Muslim. Doesn't that make you wonder!   I've tried that on a christian friend in an email discussion and it had no impact - they did not wonder. I think the same applies here. Personally I get a negative emotional reaction to open carry, selling a gun at a gun show with no background check and why anyone should be able to have a weapon with overkill capacity. i am okay with hunting with a tame weapon - no need for an Uzi to hunt deer.

      I don't think the entire U.S. is in favor or open carry and some of the more extreme gun positions. I think that that type of extreme logic is regional. I looked at some pew U.S. research data and in 1993 57% of the people were in favor of gun control and in 2015 50% were in favor. That is a lot of people. But I can't figure why that number went down with the horrific gun crimes that have occurred. Are people thinking we need to buy guns to defend ourselves. I think I heard guns sales are way up during the Obama administration. If that is the case here is some Canadian satire

      Americans need more guns  If you promised to not read my posts you won't get upset by this humor. And if you do - hey you promised not to read any more of my posts.

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        Donald L. Engel

        Russ,  Sorry to hear abut the school shooting in northern Canada today.