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Gun Culture in America

With the recent shootings at Virginia Tech, gun control is once again a topic of conversation. This huge political issue divides our society. On the one hand, gun control advocates cite all of the incidents (like the recent one) that have occurred, and blame it on our lack of laws. On the other, you have numerous more vocal 2nd Amendment advocates who cite that it is our freedom of owning guns that keeps the government in check and keeps foreign invaders off of our soil.

Pennsylvania has proposed legislation on gun ownership that will require owners to register all of their guns annually and pay a $10 fee per gun. The law also provides for fingerprinting and background checks, and makes the final determination up to the State Police as to who can own guns. The contents of this bill can be read here.

Pennsylvania’s solution goes too far, and amounts to yet another tax on citizens of this state. Some locations ban certain types of guns, such as handguns, yet handgun deaths still occur. Personally, I believe that it is not the gun that does the killing but the person. In nearly every instance of ‘mass shootings’, the shooter(s) are mentally unbalanced, using mind altering substances, or the shooting occurs during a moment of uncontrolled rage.

Outright gun bans are not the answer to this growing problem. Hunting is a passion for a large number of US citizens. In the last published report from the US Fish and Wildlife agency, hunters averaged eighteen days hunting and spent over $20.5 billion on their sport. What do OmniNerds think? How do we protect the 2nd Amendment, while protecting citizens too?

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Realistic Aims by guyvia

Despite your stance on whether or not guns should be legal, I think it is important to agree on our aim – lowering gun violence.

After that, the discussion on gun control can begin. Regardless of the law, I think people who want guns will get them. Plenty of minors in my high school had handguns, none of which are legal. When I refer to this, I am not speaking of ones that their ‘father owned’ and they ‘used when hunting or at the range’. I mean they bought them illegally and would carry them (not in the school, but it probably could have been done).

Also, a good point I heard on the radio today was that the largest mass murder in American History was accomplished with box cutters. In all reality, psychopaths are going to be violent. I promise you that the reason America has more school violence is because the American media goes so overboard with every tragedy plaguing the country, and it allows a psychopath to accomplish his goal. Had he known going in that the end game would be a death in obscurity, I don’t know if his massacre would have proven the point he intended. Anyway, I digress.

I think looking at gun culture is a mistake, and we should our time looking at how we define and identify those with a persuasion towards this kind of violence (now that the news is reporting that no one found Cho’s involvement to be surprising). I think working hard to identify and help treat those who pose a threat will be much more effective.

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Before he says it ... by VnutZ

Just to get this part out of the way now … "Everyone should just have nano-robots implanted in their heads to control them."

The actual text was something more like this comment.

In Texas, where the concealed carry permit is rapidly becoming ubiquitous, problems like this are less likely to occur. Of course, you can’t carry on school grounds, but it certainly narrows down the target areas that a psycho can go rampaging in. The bottom line is that there are far more murders in DC than there are in Dallas, and DC only recently had their gun-control policy dashed by the courts. The more non-felons that can legally carry their guns on the street, the less likely a criminal is to actually attack a target. Criminals, like terrorists and insurgents, like to hit soft targets. If there’s a 10% that any one person you might try to rob/murder/rape is carrying a sidearm, the average cowardly criminal is going to think more than twice. (10% is based on a 20 million population of Texas and more than 240,000 CHLs issued.)

On a completely unrelated note, they can take my guns out of my cold dead hands.

No, the Pennsylvania bill does not go nearly far enough. It is a brave small step in the right direction, and much better than doing nothing, but this is a national problem and it requires strong federal legislation and enforcement.
The object should be more profound than to reduce gun violence. It should be a statement to our society that this fascination for firearms has gone on long enough. We need to show our law enforcement officers (and our students) that we are trying to do our best to protect them while they risk their lives to protect us. Perhaps it will turn out only to be a futile gesture, because guns will always be around and in the wrong hands, but we have to do the best we can and at least make it illegal to own a firearm of any kind without a legitimate excuse for holding that particular kind of weapon. There should be no reason accepted that includes the possibility of ever aiming them at people. There should also be no acceptable reasons for owning a hand gun or a military weapon of any kind.

I am deeply ashamed of my love for guns and for shooting timid creatures who are only trying to survive in the wild. I can make up plenty of justifications for keeping my guns: from of the Constitution; self defence; sport; etc. but they are all so feeble that I can’t believe them, and I am amazed that anyone can take them seriously.

I want my government to demand that I surrender all my guns. I don’t need them, and the idea that I might need to defend myself by killing another human being is totally repugnant, and a reflection on our society. Self defence is not accepted as a reason for gun carrying in civilised parts of the world, unless one is a security professional.

Yes, some citizens without guns will die because they cannot defend themselves against an armed offender, but I suggest that there will be fewer of these than of the innocent citizens who are being killed under our present stupid gun laws. Beware of NRA statistics about other countries with saner gun laws than us – they have a record of distorting the truth. No other country wants to copy our gun laws.

Those who want to restrict gun ownership with better laws are presently only a small overall MAJORITY but they are opposed by powerful interests who have managed to convince our legislators that they can harm them if they listen to this majority view. They can do this, but this is a democracy and we must urge these politicians to have the courage to stand up for us.
I don’t care if a big minority believe this won’t work! We should do it anyway because it is the right thing for sane people to do.

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Risk Mitigation by mintleaf

In nearly every instance of ‘mass shootings’, the shooter(s) are mentally unbalanced, using mind altering substances, or the shooting occurs during a moment of uncontrolled rage.

I’m not American, merely an Australian nerd. We don’t have the same culture regarding guns; so I apologise if this post is presumptive. Sadly, Australia has had some significant mass-slayings of its own.

I think removing guns is good risk mitigation as people identified by ldsudduth are unlikely to be able to source a highly effective weapon during their period of mental unbalance. The removal of high-powered weapons from the general community is not meant to disarm criminals, but make it harder for mentally unbalanced people to acquire highly effective weapons.

The only thing I have nightmares about is someone coming into my home while I am sleeping and hurting my family. That said, I don’t have a gun. I weigh the odds of my greatest fear happening with the odds of one of my kids finding my gun and hurting themselves or someone. However, this calculation is mine to make, and no knee-jerk reacting jackass is going to decide for me that nobody should have handguns. If ever such a ban occurred, I would buy at least one pistol before the ban took place.

My parents live on a wooded 5-acre lot in a semi-rural part of Virginia. People have attempted to break into their home at least once. My mom, a former Massachusetts liberal, loves having a pistol in her bedside drawer. My dad travels frequently, and any time she hears a strange noise and can’t sleep, she gets the revolver out, loads it, and sits at the top of the steps with it in her hand. I pity the fool that tries to break into that house.

I fully support private ownership of handguns. If you can guarantee me that banning them would keep my mom safe, I will support a ban. but that will require posting a police officer 24/7 in her home.

America is a country of individual freedoms—and individual responsibilites. You may not like all of them. I certainly hate it when folks exercise their freedom to drive slow in the left lane, talk loudly on cellphones, smoke outside, and double-park, but I tolerate it. Ditto for all the stupid and obnoxious First Amendment expressions that I can’t stand.

Most Americans view one’s personal safety and security as one’s own responsibility. We rely on the military and police for the big stuff, but what are the odds there will be a policeman nearby when you’re getting robbed at gunpoint or knifepoint?

The gun control argument is a good microcosm of the liberal-conservative debate, because it’s all about individual responsibility, what one believes is government’s role, and how patronizing a view one takes of the individual’s ability to take care of himself.

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