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Gun Control and the Right to Bear Arms: a Foreign Perspective on the Pro-Gun Lobby

Updated on July 18, 2016
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Alun is a freethinking moderate on political and philosophical issues of general interest; some of his views can be found in his articles.

Looking down the barrel of a semi-automatic pistol - a frightening, yet all-too common sight
Looking down the barrel of a semi-automatic pistol - a frightening, yet all-too common sight | Source

Introduction

Recent atrocities in America involving mass killings by people armed with guns have re-ignited and heightened the continuing debate on gun control, individual rights, and the intent of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. Opinion polls suggest that America is deeply and passionately divided on this issue, whilst Internet posts on the subject suggest that some Americans will go to extreme lengths to counter any changes in the law. It does seem that America - in tackling this difficult problem - is facing a long, traumatic and potentially lethal battle for hearts and minds.

The Purpose Of This Page

I should make clear the primary purpose of this article. The key concern of mine (as a British citizen) is not so much gun control which is an issue purely for Americans to decide. I will give my views on this, because I think it is necessary to explain my standpoint, but I must say that the motivation behind this article is not gun control per se, but the very shocking eye-opener about aggressive human nature which I have received from several visits to gun lobby web sites, and the outspoken comments of some who write on these sites. No aspect of human nature since the Cold War - apart perhaps from the words of fundamentalist religious extremists in some parts of the world - has seemed more worrying to me than the viewpoint of a minority of Americans on this issue.

The Quotes

Throughout this page I will include quotes from some of the more radical opinions expressed on the pages I visited. An abbreviation of several quotes was necessary, but I will not change the quotes to correct for bad grammar or spelling, or of course to change the emphasis, as I feel it is necessary to present the full strength of opinion exactly as it was intended to be read in a public forum. (The quotes are in bold, and any words in brackets included within the quotes are my own added comments which are included for clarification).

My Involvement In The Issue Of Gun Control

Some time ago some information was shared with me about a pro-gun lobby forum on the Internet. I really had no previous detailed involvement or deep interest in the subject, but I thought I would visit the page anyway, purely out of curiosity.

It was the very extreme and blinkered nature of views expressed on that forum and on others I subsequently visited which compelled me to reply to some comments and to discuss the gun issue from the perspective of an outsider (I am a British citizen). It has to be said that not too many believers in gun control visit such pages and sites, so my opinions soon attracted opposition, and some of this was of such intense hostility and irrationality that I felt the need to defend my myself further.

I believe I used objective evidence, restraint and reason throughout, and yet the correspondence escalated until such time as I felt I had spent enough time standing alone against a torrent of abuse and (to my mind) really quite bizarre thinking on the subject of gun law. That's when I stopped writing there and decided to compile this web page for a hopefully more receptive and tolerant audience.

What follows are four key arguments of varying degrees of reasonableness put forward by the pro-gun lobby in the correspondence which I have read. These four key arguments will then be followed by some other points which were raised in discussion.

A semi-automatic AK-47. AK-47s have been used in mass killings in America. The fully automatic version is not legal in America, but semi-autiomatics can still be bought [1]
A semi-automatic AK-47. AK-47s have been used in mass killings in America. The fully automatic version is not legal in America, but semi-autiomatics can still be bought [1] | Source

World Firearm Statistics

Personal ownership of guns is higher in America than anywhere else in the world. There are 88 guns per 100 people in America - the next highest figure is for Yemen in the Middle East which has just 55 guns per 100 citizens. Indeed, the United States with under 5% of the world population has more than 35% of the world's civilian-owned guns [2]. See also the map which follows this section.

Coincidentally or not, Americans are on average 20 times more likely to be killed by gunshot than are citizens in the other leading developed countries of the world (most of Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan etc) in terms of the number of deaths per 100,000 people [3].

In terms of the total firearm homicides by country (regardless of population size), the USA ranks fourth in the world. South Africa has the greatest number of gun homicides [4].

1) The Gun Lobby - The Right To Use Armed Self Defence Against Criminals

In my previous state of naivety, I had assumed that the protection of the individual and their family against criminals, was the main argument in favour of the right to bear arms. That argument actually does make some sense. There are now an awful lot of guns out there, and whatever the folly of allowing such a situation to develop in the past, the fact is that if all law abiding citizens immediately gave up all their guns in the event of sweeping gun control measures, it's a safe bet that most criminals wouldn't follow suit. One could foresee a situation in which criminals armed with guns would feel quite free to carry out crime including burglary, shop theft etc without fear of encountering a citizen who is capable of defending himself. At least at the moment one could argue there is a 'balance of terror' between citizen and criminal.

However, this is a balance of terror which gives the United States by far the highest gun homicide rate in the developed world. So whilst there may well be a valid case for personal gun protection against criminals in today's society, the need to protect against criminals is certainly not an argument against the controlled and gradual removal of most arms from all people including criminals in a future society.

World Map of Civilian Gun Ownership

Countries in green have less than 5 guns per 100 people. Only one country has more than 75 guns per 100 people - the United States
Countries in green have less than 5 guns per 100 people. Only one country has more than 75 guns per 100 people - the United States
The Glock 17 and its variants is a pistol used in self-defence and the most widely used law enforcement firearm in the world [5]
The Glock 17 and its variants is a pistol used in self-defence and the most widely used law enforcement firearm in the world [5] | Source

2) The Gun Lobby - The Fear Of A 'Tyrannical' American Government

It has become clear that for many who believe in the right to bear arms, the enemy is not gun toting criminals; rather it is the Government of the United States itself. There seems to be a conviction among these people that if guns (the power of the people to defend themselves) are taken away then they will soon be subjected to tyrannical governmental oppression. The mere suggestion by Barack Obama of possible gun control has led to him being branded as a traitor, a tyrant and a dictator by many on gun lobby web pages.

Gordon from Georgia expresses this well:

  • 'I do not see the reason to give up my weapons because a tyrant, and his band of merry tyrants want to take control of our country, and turn it into a dictatorship. --- 'While I feel deep regret that peoples lives have been taken (in mass shootings) I am far more feerful of what tyrants like obuma (Obama) will do to us if we cannot defend ourselves from his ilk'.

Rodney from Michigan thinks:

  • 'They are not banning guns to lower crime, they just want to disarm the people so we can not protect ourselves from the government'.

Lynda (unknown state) worries that:

  • 'Here, we speak openly without thought to reprisal. But will we be able to next year or the next? Banning guns is the first step. Freedom of assembly next. freedom of speech right after that.'

Rebecca from Kentucky is clear what she thinks about Barack Obama:

  • 'Im not afraid to show my name and how I stand this is a free country and tell Obama and his gang we the people don't want him or his Muslim ideas go back to where you were born and it wasn't here!!!!!'

Gibson from Tennessee goes one stage further. It seems the Government aren't merely capitalising on mass shootings such as those in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado - he believes they may actually be organising them:

  • 'i personally believe this was all orchestrated by our government. the auora shooting the CT shooting. i think this is all a ploy to remove guns from citizens.. wouldnt be the first time a government has murdered its people in order to put forth laws'.

Finally, Charlotte from Texas draws parallels with other countries in the 20th century:

  • 'in our century history has shown that the shortly after taking the guns from their citizens who were then defenseless, the governments rounded them up and executed them...ethnic cleansing....nice words for bloodd bath'.

The general idea on many of these forums is that a potentially evil Government lives in fear of people power, and gun control is some kind of devious plan to remove this power from the people before clamping down on all other rights. It's an idea which seems very alien and paranoid to those of us who live in other stable democracies.

In large numbers of democratic nations including my own, the right to carry guns has long been lost, and yet there is absolutely no sense that true fundamental rights have gone, or are likely to be lost in the future. In my country, fear of an armed citizenry is NOT the reason our Government respects democratic rights. Democratic rights are respected because over centuries we have as a nation learned the inherent value of this kind of society, and no one - Government or People, Army or Police - wants to throw away that society in favour of dictatorship. It isn't going to happen here in the UK, and I don't think it's going to happen in America if and when sensible gun laws are introduced. America, like us, is a free society with a free press and independent judiciary and police force, and I am sure the great majority in authority recognise the value of maintaining such a society, come what may.

The Colt M1911 A1 .45 pistol, a popular civilian gun both for recreational purposes and as a concealed carry weapon (6)
The Colt M1911 A1 .45 pistol, a popular civilian gun both for recreational purposes and as a concealed carry weapon (6) | Source

3) The Gun Lobby - Fear Of Invasion By Foreign Nations

The most strange of these objections to gun control is the belief in the possibility of invasion by a foreign power. The following comments illustrate the thinking on this issue.

An unnamed writer suggests:

  • 'our goverment is to poor to take on anybody if they decide to TAKE guns away and we cannot borrow money to have a war. that is when another country will come in and take our country when we are defenseless'.

Robert from Florida thinks likewise:

  • 'If you disarm all the citizens, then somebody will try to invade us. Red Dawn is just a movie ,but it could happen if the government has its way'

Janell from Georgia is more specific:

  • 'How much sicker does it have to be, when obummer (Obama) has us all hating each other, taxing us to death to send our money to his Muslim allies, raising our healthcare cost out of sight, denying care to old people, weakening our defense so his Muslim terrorists have a chance to destroy our country,etc., etc.'

How can people believe this? Do they really think that in all the years of the Cold War, it was guns in private ownership which kept the Russians at bay? It was the American army and the nuclear deterrent which stopped the Soviet Union from attacking America. Do they really think that across the world malevolent nations are just waiting to invade America, and it is guns in the hands of private citizens which are deterring them? Which countries do they think are currently being deterred by American citizens carrying guns? Iran? North Korea? Cuba? Or maybe it is those neighbours who share a dangerous land border with America - Mexico for example? Canada has the longest border - are they a threat? Nobody is capable of invading America today, but if weapons are deterring them, it is not citizens' weapons; it is powerful weapons in the hands of a professional army, navy and air force.

Smith and Wesson Model 60 .38 Revolver. Similar weapons to this one are the most common guns to be confiscated by American law enforcement authorities [7]
Smith and Wesson Model 60 .38 Revolver. Similar weapons to this one are the most common guns to be confiscated by American law enforcement authorities [7] | Source

4) The Gun Lobby - Respect For The 2nd Amendment

It seems therefore that some want to keep their guns for protection against criminals, some want to keep them for protection against the Government, and some want them for protection against foreign powers. But for many, one argument embraces all of these issues, and that is the argument based on the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. It does seem to many in the gun lobby that the 'right to bear arms' is not simply a matter of safety and security - it is an matter of almost sacred reverence for the Constitution, and more specifically the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. This is seen by some as inviolable, and so any Government legislation which contravenes the 2nd Amendment, is deemed illegal in their eyes. The wording of the 2nd Amendment is as follows:

'A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'

Unfortunately, the precise intent behind the 2nd Amendment and its rather curious wording is unclear. The actions and writings of the 'Founding Fathers' only add to the uncertainty. Words such as these by Thomas Jefferson are often quoted in support of the gun lobby:

'The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government'

And yet George Washington's suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791, and Jefferson's own actions such as the confiscation of firearms on Blennerhassett Island, West Virginia in 1807, are seen by some to conflict with this trust in people power [8]. Of course, whatever their judgement at the time of the writing of the Constitution, whether they would have expected that judgement to hold true in all circumstances for all eternity is another matter. Could they possibly have envisaged the nature of modern 21st century democratic society with a national army and police force. Is there a need for well-regulated militias to protect the security of a free state today? And if there isn't, is the right to bear arms still legitimate? From my reading of the 2nd Amendment, the second part of the statement is conditional on the first part.

But what is the judicial position? Prior to 2008, the judgement of the US Supreme Court in a case in 1939 appears to have held most sway. In this case (United States v Miller) the Court had ruled that ownership of a shotgun did not have reasonable applicability to the preservation of a well regulated State Militia - in other words, the 2nd Amendment only protects the State's collective authority to form militias, not the individual citizen's right to bear arms [9]. However, in 2008 (District of Columbia v Heller) and again in 2010 (City of Chicago v McDonald) the Supreme Court gave rulings which decided the right to bear arms was an individual right of the citizen. Thus the pendulum had swung back in favour of the gun lobby's position [10]. These two recent rulings were only carried by a narrow 5:4 majority however, and all three rulings referred to very specific cases of gun ownership / control, so it is clear that interpretations of the 2nd Amendment still divide not just citizens, but also senior judges. In their minority view in the Heller case, four judges took the line which I have taken in an earlier comment in this section. Their way of expressing the apparently inextricable link between the need for state or government organised militias and the right to bear arms, was recorded thus:

'The "right to keep and bear arms" protects only a right to possess and use firearms in connection with service in a state-organized militia. Had the Framers wished to expand the meaning of the phrase "bear arms" to encompass civilian possession and use, they could have done so by the addition of phrases such as "for the defense of themselves".' [11]

The 'founding fathers' - for all the respect due to them - were only human beings, and they did live 200 years ago. Should the judgements of people who lived 200 years ago take precedence over the democratic laws of an elected government in the 21st century, if those laws are supported by the majority of the population, and if they are laws which can be amended or removed by future governments?

The Smith & Wesson Model 10 Revolver has been described in its various forms as 'the most successful handgun of all time'.
The Smith & Wesson Model 10 Revolver has been described in its various forms as 'the most successful handgun of all time'. | Source

Strange Analogies Of Weapons

Some forum writers like to ridicule suggestions for gun control by pointing out that all sorts of other objects can on occasion kill. They say 'should these also be banned?'

'Duke' from Arizona points out the dangers of bricks:

  • If I pick up a brick and hit you with it, I have 'assaulted' you with a 'weapon', thereby that brick, by definition, is an 'assault weapon'. Does that mean that in the name of public safety --- we need to outlaw those deadly 'assault bricks'?

Jonathon (unknown state) weighs in with drugs, cars and screwdrivers:

  • perscriptions and cars kill more people annually than guns. If someone got stabbed with a screw driver, would you push for registration and background checks for screwdriver purchasers?

Others use similar analogies to cell phones (used to trigger bombs), hotdogs (on which someone can choke) and aeroplanes. They fail to point out that all these other items have specific primary functions which give them a value to society (apart from maybe the hotdog?) other than to take life. Guns may be used for recreational purposes, but the primary function of most is to kill.

A Human Right? Whose Side Is God On?

Although many passionate lobbyists are keen to quote the words of 18th and 19th century politicians, some take the issue much further even than the 2nd Amendment.

Allan from Kansas says that invoking the Constitution and specifically the 2nd Amendment is not necessary:

  • 'The Right to Keep and BEAR Arms exists PRIOR to, and REGARDLESS of, The Constitution'.

And some take the argument about the sanctity of the 2nd Amendment to the ultimate conclusion. Not content with merely invoking the rights which were decreed by the mortal founding fathers, they go one better:

Willie from Kentucky says:

  • 'Owning guns is a God given right'.

John (unknown state) agrees:

  • 'In America we have always had the God given right to bear arm's, and most of us hold these freedoms very dear'.

I'm not sure which chapter or verse in the Bible indicates that God approves of guns, or how this interpretation is derived.


Comparing Countries

To be fair to the gun lobby, it is very difficult to compare circumstances in very different nations. The example of Japan's extraordinarily low gun crime figure is given opposite. It must however be pointed out that this is only partly due to strict gun control. A very high crime clear up rate helps reduce violent crime. There is also a cultural difference which makes the Japanese much more tolerant both of reduced personal privacy and of 'intrusive' police rights of search - rights which may be unacceptable in the West. Nations do have to decide on their own priorities in their own circumstances.

Switzerland is sometimes raised as an example of a country with very high personal gun ownership, and yet a very low homicide rate. There are reasons for this - in Switzerland professional military service is very limited, and the people are expected to serve in a conscript or 'militia' style army and are permitted to keep their own Government distributed weapons at home. In these respects, the Swiss model is perhaps more similar to the America of 200 years ago, and less comparable to America today, or indeed to most other democracies.

It is obvious that relationships between gun law and crime are complicated as cultural and historic factors have to be taken into account, but it also seems true that as a general rule, more gun murders can be equated with more guns freely available in society.

Strange Views On The Rest Of The World

Some gun lobbyists clearly are very mistrustful of their own Government and State, and have an extremely low opinion of the politicians they elect to govern America. And yet they seem to have an even lower opinion of other nations, believing that countries which have gun control are living without basic rights under the strong arm of political masters - masters who can do whatever they wish because the people lack the fire power to resist.

Kurt from Florida suggests that we in Britain have lost both a right to own guns and also freedom of speech:

  • 'The simple fact that we placed this provision to bear arms as the second amendment to our Constitution, right next to Freedom of Speech, both of which your country (UK) doesn't really have or has direct control over,'

I wasn't aware that in my country I couldn't speak freely, or was in any imminent danger of losing the right to do so!

Jim from Texas made a comment which makes me wonder if he's talking about the same country I live in. Only a tiny minority of people in Britain have ever possessed guns, and I've never met anyone who bemoans the fact that we don't have this kind of personal protection today. And yet according to Jim:

  • 'Now the people in the UK resent that they had to give up their guns and they are telling us AmericanS to NOT GIVE UP OUR GUNS'.

Ron from South Carolina paints another picture of the UK which I do not recognise:

  • 'I've seen the cops in England and most of them actually do carry concealed weapons every day of the week. Because they don't openly carry like the cops in the US, people have fallen for the false idea that they are unarmed'.

That is simply not true. Policemen in Britain do not routinely carry guns. Tourists may see guns, because the places they are most likely to be carried is at airports, and possibly at tourist hotspots for obvious reasons of security against terrorists.

Of course there are also views on other countries. Cheno (unknown state) takes the poor Japanese to task. Apparently in the absence of guns, they are all killing each other with swords :

  • 'japan took the guns away they use sords to kill people with now'.

Again, a quite untrue statement. Japan not only placed very stringent restrictions on private ownership of guns a long time ago. They also placed similar restrictions on the private ownership of swords. As far as gun control and gun related homicide is concerned, Japanese statistics are astonishing. Gun crime is virtually non-existent. In 2008, in America there were more than 12,000 murders involving guns, and 587 people killed by accidental gun fire. In that same year, 11 gun homicides occurred in Japan - a big increase from 2006 when just 2 people in the whole country were killed by guns! [12] One must be clear - there are other factors at work here too, associated with culture and law enforcement methods. These have been briefly mentioned in the section titled 'Comparing Countries'. Even so, the Japanese figures are remarkable.

If there is one message I can give - as a non-American - it is that most people in stable democracies throughout the world, and certainly here in Britain and in most of Europe, do not feel oppressed, enslaved, lacking in basic freedoms, or anything else because of our lack of guns. I can say what I like about our Government and I can say what I like about the Queen of England. I have rights under the law, and I do not fear that a tyrannical Government is about to take away my rights just because I lack the power to rise up in armed rebellion against them.

1973 Colt AR-15 SP1. The AR-15 is one of the most popular semi-automatic rifles, first offered to the civilian market in 1963. An AR-15 was used in the Newtown massacre, and in the Aurora Colorado Movie Theatre shooting [13][14]
1973 Colt AR-15 SP1. The AR-15 is one of the most popular semi-automatic rifles, first offered to the civilian market in 1963. An AR-15 was used in the Newtown massacre, and in the Aurora Colorado Movie Theatre shooting [13][14] | Source

Comparing the American Government and the Nazi Party of 1930s Germany

The favourite foreign target of the gun lobby posts however is not Britain or Japan, but Germany. Not Germany today, but Nazi Germany. A popular theme is a likening of gun control in America to gun control measures introduced by Adolf Hitler in 1938.

LJ from New York says:

  • 'The Powers that be just want full control and they do not care about our rights or our safety. This is all about Power over us. Look at Germany's Nazi History and then Look at America since 9/11 it is scary how close they Parallel each other!'

Bruce from Colorado, in reference to Diane Feinstein - a senator noted for advocating gun control - follows up on the Nazi theme:

  • 'This woman and others like her want to turn our country into another nazi germany, wake up people, do you want another Hitler ran country or do you want to be free?'

Keith from Wyoming thinks likewise:

  • 'Taking away our guns will lead to something like the German people got in the 1930s. With out weapons we will be like sheep!'

The truth is very different. After the Great War, very stringent gun control measures including confiscation of all firearms, were put in place in Germany, and remained so for many years, not least as a way of preventing radical extremists (either Fascists or Communists) from seizing power through force of arms [15]. Power could only be achieved through the ballot box, as indeed it eventually was by Adolf Hitler. Gun control measures were relaxed somewhat from 1928 though strict licensing remained throughout the 1930s. Subsequently Hitler brought to an end fundamental freedoms such as the right to free speech and democratic election, but this was long before any additional gun control measures were introduced in1938. When those measures were introduced they actually relaxed licensing restrictions for most Germans. It was only certain minorities - notably Jews - who had further restrictions placed upon the right to bear arms. However, there is no way in which these groups (who traditionally had rarely owned guns anyway) could have used private arms to withstand the Nazis at this stage when persecution was already far advanced under a ruthless regime.

If gun measures are introduced in America it is purely and simply to reduce the high loss of life from firearm abuse in the country. That was not the reason for gun control in Germany under the Nazis. To compare the two situations as though they are alike is offensive, not only to those who support gun control for compassionate reasons in America, but also because it trivialises the suffering of Jews and all opponents of German Nazism in the 1930s and 40s. To suggest that Obama and his government are as evil in intent as Hitler is a sick failure to recognise the true nature of evil which once existed in German politics, but which does not exist in American politics today.

Articles revealing the nature of Nazi gun laws are included in references [15][16][17].

My Views On Gun Law

I will express my views on how best to proceed, although I know some feel I have no business to do so. I speak from a different perspective, and I do believe that people in any country may well have something to contribute from their own experiences. Americans are certainly free to say what they like about my country and others because no nation, after all, is ever perfect. Anyway, for what it's worth, these are my views on the future.

I cannot believe that as a result of the 2nd Amendment, firearms in every house should be a right enshrined for all eternity. However, looking at it rationally, an immediate ban on all weapons would clearly leave citizens very vulnerable as households give up their guns whilst criminals retain and hide theirs. So I would suggest a gradual and phased elimination of certain gun types from general circulation over many years. I would also suggest background checks, the immediate licensing of all guns, and a restriction to just one or two guns per household. In conjunction with this any convicted criminal should of course have their guns confiscated, and their licenses revoked, I also believe that any criminal caught in possession of a gun whilst committing a crime - even if they do not fire the gun - should have their sentence at least doubled from what it would otherwise have been. This would be automatic. After release, any offenders should face re-imprisonment if they are once again caught in possession of any unlicensed firearms. It goes without saying that stringent border controls and very severe penalties for gun trafficking are also necessary.

Can Anyone Speak In This Debate?

When pro-gun lobbyists first heard my comments, those who thought I was American told me I should go and live in another country without guns. And those who knew I was British told me I had no right to a say. Either way, they didn't want to listen to anyone with a differing point of view. But should I have a say? I hope you will allow me to for three reasons:

1) Some will say that as a Brit, I have limited understanding of constitutional rights which protect the right to bear arms, and therefore no valid opinion. I would say that even in the USA there is dispute over the exact intentions of the founding fathers. What I do have is the experience of living in a society without guns or a written constitution, and therefore I have a valid opinion as to how life can be freely lived without weapons. I hope that is of interest.

2) Some may well say that as I have not lived in a firearm-owning society I cannot understand the deep feelings of ordinary Americans on this issue. I would say that in Britain I can speak from an objective standpoint as I have nothing to personally gain or lose.

3) Some would simply say that no foreigner has any right to 'interfere' in American internal affairs. I would say that if no foreigner is entitled to talk about American internal affairs, then on that basis, no American - as a foreigner - would have a right to make comment on the internal affairs of say, Iran or North Korea. Everyone has a right to an opinion, and in the free world, a right to express it. Whether anyone listens, is of course, equally a matter of free choice.

Glock 26
Glock 26 | Source

Intolerance Of Opinions From Other Countries

Paul from California says:

  • 'your foreign opinion is completely worthless in the discussion of MY rights and has now been noted and discarded in the garbage where all foreign opinion on this topic belong.....'

Corey from Utah doesn't care to hear foreign viewpoints either:

  • 'I love how all these retards who dont live in the u.s. have an opinion on how our country should be run. Guess what? we dont care what you think. Thats why we chose to live here and not in your country'.

Responsible Ownership

George (unknown state) describes his gun cabinet and is clearly is ready for a fight with Government officers, or for several dozen burglars - whichever comes first:

  • 'I got mine STUFFED FULL! 12 gun safe with 18 long guns + numerous sidearms. Cant get another one in no how'.

However, others, feel a gun cabinet is the wrong solution.

Bernie from California prefers to have guns readily accessible:

  • 'Sorry, but a locked up gun doesn nothing to stop bad guys. Mine are all over the house'

David from Texas feels likewise. I can't help feeling he would have been more at home in the Wild West:

  • 'what good is a gun you have for protection if you cant get the drop on the other guy first?'

Abuse Of Dissenting And Alternative Views

As a person, I am quite sensitive to criticism. However, I have to say that I have been mildly amused by some of the abuse which has come my way over this issue.

Thomas from Massachusettes tells me to:

  • 'Smarten up, open your mind and shut your mouth and you might learn something...... Get informed before you spew your BS....'

Presumably Thomas thinks he has an open mind, yet doesn't need to listen to other opinions?

Cheno (unknown state) says to me in capitals:

  • 'YOU MAKE ME FREEKIN SICK YOU CAN SET THIER AND TELL ME THIER IS NO GUN VILANCE THIER OR NOBODY KILLING ANYBODY WELL YOU ARE FULL OF SHI?'

Never before have I been told I'm 'an idiot' or a 'retard' so often in such a short space of time as I have in my visits to these pro-gun forums! Never before have I been told so often that my views are irrelevent and I should shut up and go away. It seems there is no desire to listen to an alternative idea. But sometimes there seems to be a confusion of intent - one pleasant fellow told me that he 'respects my right to express my opinion', but then at the end of his comment he said I should 'p**s off!' I'm not quite sure how I could do both. Seriously, even though I had sufficient self-belief not to be hurt by such extreme attitudes, some of my friends actually felt the need to advise me of the potential danger of provoking such people. I must admit to feeling relieved that an ocean separates me from some of those who write on this subject.

AR-15 semi-automatic rifles
AR-15 semi-automatic rifles | Source

Open Declarations Of Intent To Murder

We now come to the key reason above all other reasons for the writing of this page. Without this reason, I would not have developed the interest to write anything on the subject because proposed American gun legislation does not directly affect me. But people's lives do. People can believe what they wish about the 2nd Amendment or their own Government, or about other governments, or about the freedoms or lack of freedoms enjoyed by those who live in countries without guns. But one aspect of this issue really needs to be raised. Reading the comments on gun lobby pages reveals a frightening element - the blatant claim by people who profess to be innocent and law abiding, that they are prepared to take the lives of anyone who attempts to confiscate their weapons, even - presumably - if that person is unarmed. The defence they offer is that it is legitimate to use their guns to oppose any 'unconstitutional' and therefore 'illegal' gun control law. These are just a few of the frightening comments I've seen:

Scott (unknown state) promises:

  • 'I Pledge to never disarm, and in particular, to never surrender my military pattern, semi-automatic rifles (and full capacity magazines, parts, and ammunition that go with them), regardless of what illegitimate action is taken by Congress, the President, or the courts'.

Paul from California says:

  • 'I'm keeping my guns and I will use them on anyone who tries to take them'.

Dave who is from Pennsylvania clearly sets out what he intends to do to anyone who might come for his guns:

  • 'not leting the stormtroopers in to get them gonna make a pile of dead storm troopers'.

William from Florida threatens:

  • 'If they want them ,I think we should give them (the 'gun grabbers' or authorities) our bullets first at a HIGH velocity, and repeat till they are all gone '.

Ricky from Nevada says:

  • 'If you want my guns you will have to forcibly take them, there will be blood'

Chase from Virginia foresees violence ahead:

  • 'there would be no way to "confiscate" all the AW's (assault weapons) without 1) taking away the right of freedom from search without warrant and 2) losing hundreds, possibly thousands, of cops to armed citizens. They are turning us law-abiding citizens into criminals to further their own agendas'.

James from Tennessee also reckons there's going to be a bloodbath:

  • 'If they tried to take away our guns by going door to door the war that would insue would make the first civil war look like a paintball match'.

And I think Deanna from Kansas takes the prize here, referring to her 'arsenal' and enlisting the aid of her children:

  • I'm gonna blow holes in any man/woman who dare enter my arsenal...and my kids are all sharpshooters too...'

It's easy to dismiss these comments as mere bravado, the posturings of people who when it comes to the crunch, will obey the law of the land. I hope that is the case, but most of these comments have received support, and the core posts which provoke these various comments receive approval from many thousands. All countries have their extremists, but in most democracies the extremists are not armed to the teeth with guns. If just a few dozen of these extremists react in the manner they threaten to any attempt to take their weapons, then a bloodbath will indeed result.

The gun in the hand is an iconic image which many feel is a part of American culture
The gun in the hand is an iconic image which many feel is a part of American culture | Source

A Positive Note Of Hope

I would like to add a positive note. I had hoped even on the passionately pro-gun forums that people would engage in sensible discussion. But too often, as I say I have found the level of debate uncompromising to say the least. One person I began a conversation with was Laura from Ohio. My first responses from Laura seemed typical. She took the line that as a non-US citizen my opinions were irrelevant. But at least she wasn't abusive. We argued in several posts over various issues - the distinction between 'democracy' and 'constitutional republic' and the indivisibility of rights in the Constitution among others. However after one more long defiant comment arguing against my views she surprised me by ending with the following:

  • 'I am enjoying this discussion with you. It's very obvious you are intelligent. I am listening to what you are saying & I appreciate the civility of our conversation'.

Leaving aside the 'intelligent' bit (though I liked that!), this was by far the nicest comment I had received in any of my exchanges. I reciprocated with an appreciative thank you, for which she was grateful. A few more exchanges occurred over the next few days, progressively becoming more tolerant of each other's opinion, and even finding some common ground. When it came time for me to give up these verbal skirmishes we ended with an exchange of best wishes, and acceptance that even strong disagreement can be debated in a civil manner with mutual respect.

Civility, respect and tolerance go hand in hand, and if indeed it is possible for two people with such diammetrically opposed opinions to discuss with tolerance, then perhaps there is at least a glimmer of hope for the future of America on this issue.

Hunting and sport shooting are considered  legitimate activities popular in America, but they are not the reason for gun ownership pushed by the gun lobby sites. Nor are they an argument for the stockpiling of arsenals in peoples' houses
Hunting and sport shooting are considered legitimate activities popular in America, but they are not the reason for gun ownership pushed by the gun lobby sites. Nor are they an argument for the stockpiling of arsenals in peoples' houses | Source

My Conclusions And Wishes

I repeat my comments the top of this page. I write this article for one reason only.

My target is not really the right to bear arms - even though I make clear my viewpoint on this. It is for Americans to decide on that issue.

Nor is my target those in America who hold genuine concerns for their safety in a society where so many criminals are armed, and where it is reasonable to believe that ownership of personal guns is essential for protection. There are cogent pro-gun arguments.

My purpose in writing is that minority who indulge in a grotesque distortion of reason which I believe I have seen in some who write on this subject. I write because I worry about extreme and violent opposition to the mere possibility of some gun control from those who openly express their intention to use lethal force to protect what they see as their 'inviolable' rights. I write because whatever one's views on gun law, I believe all decent people in America have to stand against such threats to the due process of law and order. Perhaps the threats are merely bravado. Perhaps, if and when the time comes, such people who utter these threats will fall into line and obey the law. But there is a minority - hopefully a tiny minority - who hold a viewpoint which is frightening for what it seems to say about their attitude to democracy and rule of law.

I like America and most aspects of the American way of life. And I am one of those who regard America as having been a force for great good in the world. But as far as gun control is concerned, I fear for America in the future. If gun control is introduced - and I believe that it must be - then it must be handled with great care and wisdom, with strength of conviction yet also with understanding. If things are handled badly and if some of the more extreme views expressed on this page are to be believed, then there is the possibility of a bloodbath. I truly hope it doesn't come to that for the sake of all the many Americans I respect, and the beautiful country they live in.

Whatever the personal views of Americans who read this, I trust and hope that this will remain a rare sight which none will ever have to face
Whatever the personal views of Americans who read this, I trust and hope that this will remain a rare sight which none will ever have to face | Source

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I have written articles on many subjects including science and history, politics and philosophy, film reviews and travel guides, as well as poems and stories. All can be accessed by clicking on my name at the top of this page

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    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image
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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 months ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; I think I have discussed assault statistics further back in the Comments section here, but the UK has broader definitions than America, so a much wider range of crimes are included in the assault stats, including those in which no physical injury is caused. As a result comparisons such as this are misleading.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 months ago from Essex, UK

      Arthur Russ; Thanks Arthur. Your impressions of walking in the city in the UK tallies with my own, and I love the videos. The 'granny' one is quite funny, but reflects that even when armed with sledgehammers, criminals don't carry with them quite the same aura of fear, that a gun evokes. As for Fox News, independent fact checkers have consistently demonstrated bias in their reporting, but too many conservatives in America seem happy to accept what they or even more ridiculous channels like Breitbart and Infowars state on issues such as this.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The statistic to which I was referring, Arthur, is on page 2:

      UK Assault victims 2.8%

      Ranked 2nd. 2 times more than United States

      US Assault victims 1.2%

      Ranked 9th.

      However, I so agree that both countries enjoy relatively safe streets despite the hype that 'blood runs in American streets', because it does not.

      Over 90% of gun deaths in the US are suicides or drug gangs and criminals killing one another, and almost all of those drug gangs are minority members, a demographic that is minimal in the UK.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 3 months ago from England

      WillStarr, I concur with Greensleeves (with reference to walking the city back streets at night). I’m a small weakling who’s never been in a fight in the whole of my life; yet I’ve always felt quite safe in Britain walking city back streets at night.

      Thanks for the link, although looking at the stats on it, all the figures indicate the USA to be the more violent than the UK; obviously you spotted something in one of the figures that I missed. Anyway, apart from not being able to trust everything you read on the Internet. I give Birmingham as a prime example of how misleading the web can be; specifically because that’s the English city Fox News specifically mentioned in their false claim as being a ‘No Go’ Zone.

      Before I took early retirement I used to frequently visit Birmingham on business (because we had one of our Offices there). On occasions when I stayed there overnight, or stayed the week I would book into one of the cheap hotels in the less well-off areas of the city. Then I’d pop out on my own during the evening, exploring the back streets for a good chip shop or café, and then onto find a nice small local pub tucked away somewhere in the back streets, well away from the hustle and bustle of the High Street. Birmingham is from my personal experiences a lively and friendly city; and perfectly safe day and night.

      Also, London was another city specifically mentioned by Fox news as having no go zones. However, it’s only two hours’ drive from where we live, and because we have friends and relatives there, we frequently visit London; plus, before I retired I use to stay in London on business.

      As with Birmingham I know London well, and when staying there I quite happy walk the streets at night, with no fear of trouble.

      To give an insight into how crime in England compares with the USA, this video says it all:-

      Granny Attacks Thieves with Handbag: https://youtu.be/ySBxMMidbEg

      Also the Fox News apology to France and Britain for their Fake News Stories: https://youtu.be/rF-mhgGWIgk

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "I would dispute your general comparison about safety, particularly when it comes to night time, city back streets..."

      A person walking the streets in the UK is more than twice as likely to be assaulted compared to the US:

      http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/U...

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 months ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; I guess Will it depends on how one defines 'crisis'. To an extent it may surprise you that I agree with you in as much as I tend to define a 'crisis' as being either a short-term situation (such as an earthquake) or a rapidly worsening situation (such as terrorist incidents in France in the past two years). I'm not sure if I have used the word 'crisis' at all in this gun-control article, but I would probably prefer to describe the 30,000 plus Americans who die every year from guns (more than 10,000 in homicides) as an unnecessary national 'tragedy'.

      I have walked on main streets and rural streets in America in the daytime without any feeling of danger, and would do so again, but as you know I would dispute your general comparison about safety, particularly when it comes to night time, city back streets, and also domestic burglaries (the subject of some of my recent correspondence here).

      I may comment on your article in due course, but only if I can find a way to do so without beginning a protracted discussion :)

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 3 months ago from England

      Thanks Credence2, I read your article with interest; it certainly does seem to be a big problem that needs highlighting.

      I agree with you, we also thought the Doomsday Preppers in the USA TV series ridiculous, which made it amusing to watch, and therefore entertaining e.g. comedy is often based on people making fools of themselves.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 3 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      There is no gun crisis in America. Our streets are as safe or safer to walk than the UK's streets. There is a suicide crisis and a minority drug gang crisis, but there is no gun crisis:

      https://hubpages.com/politics/There-is-no-Gun-Cris...

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 months ago from Essex, UK

      Credence2; Thank you Credence. I've just read that report and will comment on it later. If the report is accurate then it is indeed absurd how people can literally take the law into their own hands, on occasion almost with impunity. I had once thought that America had left the Wild West far behind, but in some peoples' minds, apparently it has not. I know that the majority in America (like yourself) are thoughtful and rational on this subject, and have heard many very perceptive discussions on American TV. But no amount of rationality will convince some.

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      Credence2 3 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hello, Greensleeves and Arthur.

      You want to know how absurd all of this can become, check out the situation that took place in Texas a few years ago.

      Second of all that prepper's program from the USA is ridiculous. People really think that they can live independent of the environment, storing water, food and maybe oxygen indefinitely in the face of a world rendered toxic, or in defense against some sort of Mad Max World? I doubt it.

      https://hubpages.com/politics/A-Progressives-View-...

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 months ago from Essex, UK

      Jack Burton; I think I understand the point you're making Jack - you prefer the 'certainty' of being able to defend yourself against an intruder rather than taking the chance that they are not armed. The fact is that it remains a level playing field - it's just that the 'stakes' are lower in the UK. In America both sides may well be armed with guns, and confrontation is more likely to result in death. In the UK, neither side will be armed with guns, and confrontation very rarely develops in that way.

      The 'certainty' - proved I believe by numerous gun stats - is that gun owners are more likely - not less - to suffer death or injury from guns (both criminal and accidental) than non-gun owners either in the USA or the UK.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 months ago from Essex, UK

      Arthur Russ; Thank you for that refreshing comment Arthur, and particularly for the observation - which should be common sense but which apparently isn't - that in a relatively gun-free society, it is simply less necessary for private law-abiding citizens to be armed, because the criminals themselves are less likely to be armed with guns. House thefts in the UK very rarely result in violence even when the burglar is surprised in the act. They are not armed with guns, so they flee rather than fight.

      The second part of your comment does reflect a difference between British society and at least the more extreme gun advocates in American society. There the primary objective among some 'patriots' in a 'Doomsday' scenario, seems to be looking after oneself, rather than American society. In the UK, even though less fervent in our patriotism, the emphasis seems to be more on society and community.

      Thanks again, Alun

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 3 months ago from The Midwest

      "they almost certainly"

      It is not a matter of the chance you are taking but the stakes you are playing for. If you wish, both personally and culturally, to depend upon the "almost" for your life and well-being of your family then go for it.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 3 months ago from England

      Great article; as a Brit, when I engage in this subject with Americans I quite naturally get the same widespread views and arguments from them as you do. The latest revelation (from a law abiding American) being her disbelief that killing an intruder in your home in Britain would be manslaughter (maximum sentence being life in prison) and not self-defence; the British Law being that you can only use ‘reasonable’ force in self-defence, and shooting someone is not reasonable force.

      Once I’d explained to her that in Britain if you disturb an intruder they almost certainly would want to make a quick exit rather than be caught, then she did understand that aspect of the Cultural differences between the UK and the USA e.g. in America an intruder would most likely shoot you because most people own guns; which seems to be a very much ‘shoot first and ask questions later mentality’.

      So, although I’m sure most Americans would disagree with me, I do feel that if American’s could get away from their gun culture there wouldn’t be such violence.

      Last year I and my wife watched a series of ‘Doomsday Preppers’ on TV e.g. where Americans stash away food and water in secret locations in the event of a national or worldwide collapse of society due to some natural or manmade disaster. What amazed us was that in every single episode, the American family featured put guns as the number one priority, to defend their limited resources from their fellow citizens.

      In contrast in the short series of British ‘Doomsday Preppers’ on TV at about the same time, the attitude of each British Doomsday Prepper featured (each week) would be to make contact with other survivors as a survival strategy on the basis of ‘strength in numbers’ e.g. to share resources, skills and chores.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 10 months ago from Essex, UK

      Atruepatriot; Oh dear; I don't really wish to keep going over the same old points that I've already covered in other posts - especially in view of the fact that most of those points are NOT truly relevant to this article which is primarily about a potentially violent response to limited controls on gun ownership, but here goes. I'll take your points in turn and answer them as briefly as possible.

      1) Yes I'm a foreigner. Do you think that denies me the right to an opinion about another country's affairs? When human lives are at stake? I trust you never express opinions about any other country - Iran? N.Korea? Russia? I would have thought that coming from a nation which prides itself on free speech, you would welcome an exchange of opinions, or is it only opinions you agree with that you welcome? A foreign point of view takes a different perspective with experience of different approaches to society and should therefore be welcomed - just as I welcome American opinions about Britain (expressed on an appropriate web page I hasten to add).

      2) A 'right that shall not be infringed' you say - as you know, interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is much disputed even by Supreme Court judges. Many would point to the linking of that right to the need to form a well-regulated militia, and many others would point out that the right to bear arms is not absolute and unrestricted. Even Antonin Scalia - not exactly noted as a liberal on these issues - pointed out in the Heller case:

      'Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.'

      3) I believe the evidence and facts that are lacking may be on your part. There is no overwhelming evidence that guns - in private ownership - keep people free. I could list dozens of countries (almost all established democracies) where the 'people' are not armed to anything like the same extent, and yet have far less fear of tyranny and dictatorship than many Americans do.

      4) Sorry you feel 'slightly less intelligent' for having read my article. Is that because you feel any opinion which differs from yours is unintelligent? Or is it because you realised how little you know? :)

      5) It is simply not true to say that laws which forbid the carrying of arms only disarm the innocent, and encourage homicides. There are plenty of countries which prove the opposite. If what you say were true, then America would have at least a comparably low homicide rate to other stable democracies, and not one which far exceeds that of most other stable democracies. Oh but wait - you're quoting someone who lived in an entirely different world 200 years ago. Incidentally Jefferson was not the originator of that quote. That honour goes to Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria.

      6) Your next point is similar in tone and also comes from 200 years ago. What applied in George Washington's day when America had an untamed frontier and a newly installed and very insecure government without an army to defend it, or a police force to ensure the rule of law, does not necessarily apply in the 21st century. In most other countries, we know that.

      You talk about my viewpoint as being 'almost intellectually insulting'. I hope I haven't escalated your level of rudeness with my reply. Thank you for your comment on this article 'truepatriot'! :)

    • profile image

      Atruepatriot 10 months ago

      I am always astonished at foreigners who want to put their opinion into the arena about an American right that SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Always also equally astonished at the complete lack of historical data proving the fact that weapons keep people free. Coming from a person from Britain is almost intellectually insulting on their lack of remembrance. A huge article full of humongous gaps in facts. I feel slightly less intelligent for having read such an article.

      Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. - Thomas Jefferson

      Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence.... From the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable.... The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place of honor with all that's good... A free people ought to be armed. - George Washington

      Stay tied to your confidence, that can only be tied with ignorance, in government.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 12 months ago from Essex, UK

      Tadd; I think that is unfair of you Tadd. There is no intention to use bad grammar as a weapon against gun rights arguments. The article is about the potential for an escalation of violence in a society in which some who have access to abundant, lethal weaponry express very extreme sentiments. That I think is made clear in the opening paragraphs and in the concluding paragraphs.

      I explained in the article exactly why I gave direct quotes. If I had altered them for grammar I would have lessened the impact, and if I had changed words or phrases I may have been accused of manipulating the quotes to suit my own agenda. By leaving them as they are, they are absolutely authentic. But plenty of the quotes above are perfectly grammatical. The selectivity practised on my part was not based on grammar - it was based on extremeness of viewpoint, intolerance and obvious inaccuracy. Nothing else.

      Of course as you say there are many people with coherent, reasoned and peaceful views on gun ownership, and some have commented below. But this article is not primarily about the pros and cons of gun control. It is about the extreme and violently expressed opposition by some to any suggestion of gun control measures being introduced. It does not matter whether people are educated - what matters is the violence and intolerance expressed, and the worry of what might happen if gun control measures are introduced. That is what dictated my choice of quotes.

    • profile image

      Tadd 12 months ago

      It seems that the purpose of this article is to shame the segment of Americans who do not have access to quality education. I have been in the same message boards you have, I know that the quotes you have posted are accurate. I also know that there are many gun bearing Americans who know how to use a keyboard and have some grammar skills. They are out there, they often have expert knowledge of firearms as well. Be nice, use quotes from them. Don't quote undereducated people just to bolster your argument.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 12 months ago from Essex, UK

      Jennifer Mugrage; Hi Jennifer. Re-Internet gun rights advocates, thanks for commenting on that. Don't worry, I know what Internet forums are like since writing on this issue and taking an interest in other political issues! In fact I even wrote a hub about standards in Internet commenting, including the point that such forums cause many people to behave abysmally online in a way they wouldn't dream of doing in real life.

      And I know the picture is never quite as bad as that portrayed in Internet forums and on TV news bulletins. When I last visited the U.S about 20 years ago, before I ever started writing or took an interest in gun law, I never saw any guns except on policemen, and never worried about it. I am aware that in normal everyday life, it isn't a constant fear. Indeed, whether or not you believe in gun rights, it does say something good about society in general that the majority of Americans and American households do not feel the need to own guns today, much less carry them. I do hope that feeling remains in the majority.

      If and when I come to America again, I promise I won't have too many qualms about personal safety! Mind you, if I'm in a private house, I may not open the door after dark, and I would avoid city backstreets at night :) Cheers again, Alun

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      Jennifer Mugrage 12 months ago

      Hey, Greensleeves, hope you don't mind if I babble on a bit more. (We ARE on Soapboxie, after all!)

      I do agree that we in the US are a society not just in decline, but possibly in disintegration. It is very frightening, whether or not you own a gun. Of course, the causes - and solutions - are way too long to take on in a comment, worthy of a Hub (or a book) unto themselves.

      It is also true that every time there is a mass shooting, it presents a strong prima facie case against gun rights. I think that may be one reason you don't have a lot of gun control advocates commenting on this Hub. They feel their case is pretty simple and straightforward, and it has been made. Gun rights advocates know they are on the defensive in the argument, they know their case is a lot more complex, so they have a lot more to say.

      I wanted to address the equally interesting question you raise in your Hub, namely, are all these Internet gun rights advocates really as frightening as their posts would lead you to believe? I.e., are they likely to come after you with those guns if they don' t like your opinion?

      I do understand why you are happy to be on that side of the pond. :-) Still, based on what I have seen, I would say No.

      I have never heard a news story where a gun rights advocate hunted down and shot a gun control advocate. Nor have a ever heard of a gun-rights mob, riot, or even demonstration taking place. Perhaps these things have happened, but I think not, because I think they would be pretty hot news and would get a lot of coverage.

      Aggressively going after their political foes, or even forming a mob, is not the M.O. of most legal gun owners. They tend to be independent types. They prefer to withdraw to their property and wish to be left alone. When the folks you quoted write about answering with bullets, I believe they have in mind some kind of apocalyptic scenario in which society is breaking down, and an armed representative of the government shows up at their property, demanding their guns (and possibly their children). That scenario actually has happened a few times, and it's tragic too ... but insulting and irrational as they may sound on line, I think you are safe from these folks.

      Also, of course, there are many legal gun owners who are reasonable people but don't have the time or interest to write about it online.

      A much more likely tragedy to happen when guns are in the mix is violence against a friend, partner, or loved one. That is a real danger.

      OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. Just thought you would like to hear the perspective of someone who lives here, on the fairly important question of whether you have endangered yourself by taking place in these discussions.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 12 months ago from Essex, UK

      Jennifer Mugrage; Thanks Jennifer for taking the time to read, and for your considered response to this. Much appreciated.

      I have come to recognise that there is a very different historical perspective in America to that of some other countries including mine, and the necessity of guns in past times was very clear. But the role of guns today - type, number, availability, open carry etc etc - is more problematic. And whilst it's true that human nature doesn't easily change even after 200 years, human society - including the establishment of a well organised police force, without a need for a 'well regulated militia' - has changed, or should have changed.

      Some of what you say I'd very much agree with and some bits I wouldn't - I think you can guess which bits :) - but mentioning the police does raise one big worry which has really arisen since I wrote this article. 'Black Lives Matter', shootings BY police, shootings OF police, attacks on minorities such as the Orlando gay nightclub, and most of all Islamist terrorism, have all been in the news recently possibly fueled by increasing polarisation in society. Of course there's two ways of looking at that. Some would argue that such tensions only increase the need for personal armed protection. But others would fear that in an escalating climate of fear and possible prejudice, a society replete with guns faces a possible risk of violence in the future on a scale unimagined. Events only this week in France have tragically shown what carnage can be caused with just a speeding truck. What would a handful of terrorists (Islamic or anyone else with a grudge) armed with easily available semi-automatics have done?

      There are no easy answers and no quick solutions, but I fear for an escalation of major atrocities involving guns, if not an escalation of conventional gun crime. As for rational discussion, Jennifer, I've had a few issues on this hub, but of course nothing like you'd find on some of the lobby forums - and for that I'm grateful! :)

    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 12 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      Great article. I don't have time to read all the comments, so pardon me if I repeat any points that have already been made.

      I do believe in the right to bear arms, but obviously I don't endorse all the nonsensical arguments and insults that were thrown at you.

      Some people apparently haven't gotten the memo that, when arguing on the Internet, the first person to compare his opponent[s] to Hitler, loses.

      You obviously are very well-read on history, so I probably won't convince you with any historical arguments. But please do keep in mind the American historical perspective.

      We had a revolution, which was preceded by the mother country keeping a standing army in our towns. They were better organized and better armed than we were. Hence, fear of the government and the deep-seated belief that when a government suddenly wants to take away its citizens' weapons, this is because a power move is planned.

      Both before and after the revolution, we were in an environment where a gun was a basic tool needed for survival. Read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls ... Laura's family would have starved many times if Pa had not had his gun.

      This is no longer true in modern times, of course, but there is the little problem of the Constitution. When written, it was intended to outline basic, unchanging principles for civil society, which were based on what were taken to be unchanging truths about human nature. If you start saying, "That was written 200 years ago, they couldn't have foreseen ... that is irrelevant to ..." ... alarm bells start going off. I gather you already discussed this at some length with Laura from Ohio. Sure, it is possible to have a nice, democratic society with no right to bear arms in a country that never had a revolution, a constitution, or a right to bear arms enshrined in that constitution. But the presence of these things does make a big difference.

      About having an "arsenal." I myself don't own a gun and don't know how to shoot. But I do know enough to understand that there is NOTHING more dangerous than owning a gun and NOT being trained in how to use it. People who own guns legally, practice - at firing ranges, during hunting season. It is a skill, a craft and a hobby. So, though they don't need to have enough to supply a small army, it's not unreasonable for them to have several different guns. Like other hobbyists, one thing gun owners enjoy is being knowledgeable and proficient with a variety of makes & models.

      Finally, I don't share your belief that even a gradual approach would ever enable us to confiscate guns from criminals.

      Best to you, Greensleeves. Hope that, with this Hub, you are finding the rational discussion you sought - and mostly failed to find - on those other Internet pages.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 15 months ago from Essex, UK

      stereomike83; Thanks very much for that, stereomike. There's possibly no political issue which so defines America as gun control with its associated themes of historic constitutional rights, state v federal authority, personal safety etc. It is, as you say, an issue which totally perplexes most in the UK, as gun rights just don't matter to anyone here except maybe for a few hobbyists or farm owners. Although we all criticise our UK government, be it Labour or Conservative, we must feel thankful that as a society we seem generally free of this fear of gun-carrying criminals or governmental oppression.

      I think I've heard all the arguments now, and I feel all the gun lobby arguments can be answered. A total immediate ban would not be on the cards - probably no one proposes that, with so many guns in the hands of criminals, but the argument that guns in society should not be gradually reduced, in tandem with other safeguards being put in place, seems beyond comprehension to me.

      It is a sensitive issue - this hub has received far more comments than any of my other articles. But at least on HubPages the debate tends to be more civilised than one sees on the gun lobby forums I visited for the purposes of this article! :) Thanks again for your contribution. Alun

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      stereomike83 15 months ago from UK

      This was a fascinating, well researched read. As a fellow Brit I have often been perplexed by the strong views that gun control has in the states. Whilst I appreciate that many hold the constitution dear, the extreme views that you see replicated in some of the comments here perplex me but I have never dared weigh in with an opinion of fear of not being informed enough to defend my point of view. You have therefore taken a great leap to write this.

      I remember seeing a comment after one (of the many) mass shootings claim that in the UK that we are just as at risk of mass stabbings or poisonings but I have to admit I don't live in fear of this eventuality on a daily basis. It is a real shame that events like Dunblane that live so strong in our memory here are an all too common occurrence across the Atlantic. I also do struggle with the argument that you need the guns to defend yourself against intruders and the government. Surely the ease of gaining a gun means the chances of your home intruder being armed are much higher as a result? And with the government, it is strange to me that it feels that on the whole Americans are much more politically involved yet at the same time many live in fear of their elected leaders (although with some of those currently running for president, perhaps that fear is well founded!!)

      I do agree with your point that if rules were ever implemented they would have to be gradual to prevent anarchy but as an outsider looking in, I can't see how the country can continue in this vein. That said, perhaps had I grown up in a country where gun ownership is so commonplace, maybe I would feel differently.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 20 months ago from Essex, UK

      Ja Tu; Thanks. I'm guessing you didn't read the section 'Strange Analogies Of Weapons', which gives the answer? Cars are a necessary part of what makes our society work, and the primary function of a car is not to kill. The primary function of a gun (apart maybe from the sporting fraternity) is to kill. And it's debatable whether privately owned guns should be a necessity in society.

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      Ja Tu 20 months ago

      Greensleeves Hubs, since automobile kill many, many times more people a year than guns do I'm curious why you decided to write your piece on guns and not automobile confiscation?

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      MelindaJGH 21 months ago

      Gang control should complement gun control. Good point!

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      Greensleeves Hubs 21 months ago from Essex, UK

      MelindaJGH; Thanks. I agree absolutely. The way Switzerland administers and permits ownership of firearms is very different to the USA, and cannot be held as comparable when it comes to gun related homicides.

      But even in Switzerland, much vaunted for its low overall level of gun crime, the rate of all deaths by guns is relatively high - 7th among more than 30 European countries in one listing (mainly suicides and accidental shootings) - and there's no evidence that that rate would be translated into a similar rate of non-firearms related deaths, if there was increased gun control there. Cheers, Alun

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      MelindaJGH 21 months ago

      Simply, as with Switzerland, it makes sense for those serving honorably as police or in a national militia to house arms, as needed, but for the masses to own guns invites violence.

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      H C Palting 23 months ago from East Coast

      Things are much different here in the US and there are very large numbers of law abiding and sane people here who will never give up their right to bear arms. Count me among them. In addition, when I was a young girl my father shot an armed intruder, stopping him in his tracks. I'm HIGHLY thankful for guns and respect your view as well. I just hope that you never find yourself staring down the barrel without equal protection.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 24 months ago from Essex, UK

      Express10; Thanks. You'll appreciate Express10, that I would find it difficult to agree with that comment. I don't believe anybody overlooks the obvious fact that criminals don't abide by laws. But a range of gun laws can and have made it much more difficult for criminals to access guns in other countries.

      Nor, I suspect, are across the board bans being suggested by anybody (though perhaps that does depend on your definition of 'across the board'.)

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      H C Palting 24 months ago from East Coast

      It is sad that criminals do not abide by laws. This fact is often overlooked or flat out ignored. More saddening (and also maddening) is the fact that the knee jerk reaction is always across the board bans and gun control measures for law ABIDING and sane citizens.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 24 months ago from Essex, UK

      Sorry Will, the second link I gave to the London Evening Standard seems to fail. Presumably the URL has changed. It reported favourable crime and public safety statistics in London. But the Washington Post link is viable.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 24 months ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; Interesting links you've found, though of course some judgements are relative. What seems like a major gun haul to UK commenters, may be less than one gun enthusiast can stockpile in their own home in America.

      It is easy to be selective in finding web pages to suit an argument, and at least one statistic in those links I'm sure is wrong (38 firearms murders in one year in London? - that sounds more like the total for the whole of the UK). Nevertheless, here are a couple of alternative links:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/after-...

      http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/murder-rate-h...

      But as far as radicals / terrorists are concerned, since 2000 there has been one major atrocity - the transport bombings of 2005. Apart from that there have been two murders, neither of which was carried out with a gun. We are, of course, not complacent. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism means that there will probably be further attacks, and they may well involve guns. But if so, I think the limited availability of guns here will make it far easier for British security forces to prevent it becoming an epidemic.

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      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      BTW, Alun, 55% of last year's UK gun murders were committed by blacks, and their victims were also black. It's interesting to note that the US has an almost identical statistic, with just over half of all gun murders involving black on black.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-100130/Jus...

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      WillStarr 24 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Terrorist attacks are likely - I'm just glad that extremists in our country find it as difficult as everyone else to get hold of guns."

      Except that guns are readily available in the UK. That's always the problem with 'gun control'. It applies only to honest citizens:

      http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/aug/30/ukcrime1

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      Greensleeves Hubs 24 months ago from Essex, UK

      Jack Burton; Jack, I see now where I went wrong. I should have accepted your first one-liner without comment, to save myself having to respond to your subsequent essays :)

      Picking up on one or two points in your most recent comment, you refer to the very hypothetical risks of a breakdown of Government in America, and seemingly prefer in that circumstance the option of power in the hands of armed civilians to power in the hands of the military. I think you contradict yourself. In one paragraph you reject my claim that anarchy would result from armed civilian power as being ‘nonsense’. However, immediately before that you give an example you seemingly approve of, of someone who has the only working generator in the block, after a major earthquake :

      ‘I am much more concerned about protecting it from those who would rather take it by force than to have planned for their own considerations. What the other millions of armed citizens do is up to them.’

      If that doesn’t sound like a recipe for anarchy, I don’t know what does.

      And when you suggest that in America, new drivers are taught something different to what happens in other nations - ie: to keep an eye on the other drivers and properly interpret their actions - well I think actually all driving schools probably regard that as a good idea. Of course no one would describe such wariness as ‘fear and paranoia‘, but I see it as a false analogy to liken a natural watchfulness for danger in every day situations to a desire for people to be armed and on guard against a breakdown of government. That’s like comparing a molehill to a mountain.

      Before that comment you gave a link to a national UK newspaper article about a pub singer being arrested for racism after complaints about performing the song ‘Kung Fu Fighting’. You cite this as an example of gross restrictions on free speech in the UK. I actually seriously suspect that there was much more to this than meets the eye, because of course that would be a ridiculous reason for arrest. Indeed the very fact that such an arrest received national coverage is indicative of how unusual and silly it would be. Perhaps if the UK press had more gun crime to report on, they wouldn’t have space for such a story?

      In your comment previous to that, and being as brief as possible, some of your arguments (athletes trying to run fast and students trying to attain high grades) are total non-sequiturs. Those examples are about personal achievement goals which impact on no one else. They are not freedom issues or social issues which impact on everyone else.

      The arguments you make counter to mine about the freedoms to do what you want in the privacy of your own home, only serve to emphasise the validity of my point - that when it comes to individual freedom, there is always a line to be drawn. As I said, it’s just a question of where the line should be drawn. For many activities it is right that the line drawn should be concerned with what is done in private as opposed to what is done in public, because what is done in private has no bearing on the world outside. With guns it is rather different. Proliferation of guns - in the home or outside - unfortunately does lead in America to consequences for the rest of society.

      You also point out that you ‘have complete freedom to say or write anything we choose’. Of course no one can physically stop you saying or writing something, but knowledge of the legal position may deter you. Actual legality or criminality of an individual can only be determined after the act in a court of law - as in ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Unfortunately by that stage the damage has been done.

      Finally in that comment, you say it is illegal for a convicted criminal to own a gun. That may well be right, but we would both agree that is hardly sufficient to stop gun crime. I guess you would not wish to go further, by introducing additional measures. I think you should.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 24 months ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; Oh Will, I hope one day we can find something on the issue of gun control which we can agree on :)

      As far as Iran is concerned, I don't think many experts - politicians, military strategists, Middle East specialists - seriously think that Iran will pose any direct nuclear threat to countries like the UK or America, even if they do one day acquire nuclear weapons. As for home-bred radicals, yes, there are too many of those in the UK, and it's asinine that we've allowed that position to develop. Terrorist attacks are likely - I'm just glad that extremists in our country find it as difficult as everyone else to get hold of guns.

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      Jack Burton 24 months ago from The Midwest

      “Established, stable democracies like those in Western Europe and North America?”

      Here in America we have the phrase, “moving the goalposts.” You just became guilty of that.

      “ It just doesn’t happen Jack in such democracies except in the most extreme of circumstances.”

      Thank God you’re here to absolutely, positively, 100 % guarantee tha those “circumstances” will never, ever come true anytime between now and eternity.

      “ in those circumstances, I’d rather rely on the military taking short term control to stabilize the situation. “

      Yes, because a society where only the authorities have firearms is such a blessed, peaceful society. I normally don’t recommend fiction as a means of education but have you ever read Larry Niven’s “Lucifer's Hammer” book?

      “Do you really think that a multitude of militias of ordinary citizens - some official state militias and some unofficial rag-tag self-styled local armies, plus individuals unconnected to any group, each with their own conflicting ideals and ambitions, without discipline, proper training or a central authority - is a better solution?”

      When I have the only working gas electric generator in my block after the Seattle Fault slips into the Pacific and destroys the West Coast I am much more concerned about protecting it from those who would rather take it by force than to have planned for their own considerations. What the other millions of armed citizens do is up to them.

      http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/earthquak...

      “ You’re talking about something far worse than martial law, something worse than civil war - what you’d have is total lawless anarchy, with everyone armed to the teeth and fighting for their own personal goals.”

      That’s nonsense but you have a good future ahead of yourself writing Mad Max sequels.

      “I do feel sad that so many in America seem to live in fear, not just of criminals armed with guns, but of their own government and presumably their military and their police forces becoming tyrannical.”

      And I much prefer the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin.

      The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

      “ We in most other established democracies are nor armed to protect ourselves against our government, and yet we’ve never felt that vulnerable to persecution or infringement of the liberties we do cherish. Maybe you think that we’re wrong, but at least generations live out our lives without that level of fear and paranoia.”

      Here in America we do something slightly different from much of the other countries in the way we teach driving skills. We are taught and practice what is called “defensive driving”, which means that we keep an eye on the other drivers and it is our responsibility to properly interpret their actions to best avoid an accident with them. By the end of the first year of driving it becomes second nature and no one even thinks much about it. I have never, ever, not once, heard anyone describe that way of driving as “fear and paranoia.” Just prudent expectations and a knowledge that a moments warning is often more than sufficient to avoid problems. Yet, when that very same understanding is applied to politics and the way we are governed we have people such as green totally miss the concept and have a grave misunderstanding of the role of a free citizen as opposed to being a subject of the state.

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      Jack Burton 24 months ago from The Midwest

      BTW, here is a fine example of "freedom" found in England...

      "Pub singer arrested for racism after Chinese passers-by hear him perform Kung Fu Fighting"

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1380971/Si...

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      Jack Burton 24 months ago from The Midwest

      “Your earlier comment essentially suggesting that freedom is indivisible and cannot be compromised, is fine as an idealistic comment, but I think it is not entirely realistic.”

      When an athlete wants to run a 4 minute mile they don’t set their goal at practice to run a 4 minute 30 second mile. When a student wants to earn a superior grade on a test they don’t study as if a mediocre grade is sufficient. When someone wants the freest society possible they don’t set their eyes on a society where “freedom” is confused with “government permission.”

      “You say ‘Freedom is freedom. It is not to be balanced against the evils that people do’. But if we are to live as a society of people under a common law, then there do have to be compromises.”

      Yes… my freedom stops at the point of your nose… and no, you cannot hit my fist with your nose and then claim that I somehow am not playing fair.

      “All freedoms have limitations Jack. You must accept that.”

      Ever hear of the concept of prior restraint? No… I didn’t think you did.

      “You are free to drive a car - but only after you have proved you’re competent to do so. Otherwise you’re denied the freedom.”

      Seeing as to how you are not from the States I’ll cut you some slack on this one but no, if you are on your own property you do not need to prove anything to anyone, have a license, or have the motor vehicle registered to drive it. It’s only if you take it into the public arena that you have to abide by government rules concerning a vehicle. Hmmmm… that is JUST the same way it is in most states with firearms.

      “You are free to walk the streets, but you’re not free to do so naked, nor free to walk through someone else’s private property. “

      But you ARE free to walk thru your own home as nekkid as you want, with as many people as you want, and stay that way for as long as you want. And of course you can walk thru anyone’s private property nekkid with their permission. Hmmmm… that is JUST the same way it is with firearms.

      “You have freedom of speech, but no freedom to disclose matters of national security.”

      Ever hear of the 1971 Supreme Court ruling on the Pentagon Papers? Might want to look it up. The one thing that you don’t quite grasp the concept of is that, yes, we have complete freedom to say or write anything we choose. There are no prior restraint muzzles or taping our fingers together to prevent it. If it is determined in a court of law AFTER THE FACT that we then broke the law by what we said or wrote we can be appropriately punished.

      “ There is always a line which has to be drawn to protect society’s interests against the ‘freedoms’ of the individual.”

      And what are you going to do about it when your government decides to draw that line far, far to close for you to agree with?

      “ In America you have a freedom to own guns. As I indicated in the article, I wouldn’t suggest taking away that freedom in its entirety any time soon (too many guns currently exist in the hands of criminals for that to be sensible), but I would suggest there’s a line which can be drawn. Maybe you would too - if so, I guess we just differ in where we would draw that line.”

      It is illegal for convicted criminals to own a gun, or even to be in the same room as one. It is illegal for those adjudicated mentally ill in the same way. Any other “line drawing:” you want to do changes a “right” into a “permission.” “Can I have some more, please” is not a phrase associated with our rights and our government.

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Since many governments have become tyrannies in the recent past, is it not more reasonable to err on the side of caution than to take a position of blind trust in the same human nature that failed us in the past? That is not 'paranoia'. That's just common sense.

      BTW, with Iran now set to develop nuclear weapons and buying the delivery systems, are you really safe? If your major cities are destroyed, who do you think will defend you if you are attacked by radicals? You have forgotten your history and the fact that the US hastily armed your Home Guard when an invasion by the Nazis appeared to be imminent.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Jack Burton and WillStarr; You ask Jack, what are my options for action if the government I live under decides to take away the freedoms I feel strongly about. And you say you can name a dozen countries where that's happened. Really? Established, stable democracies like those in Western Europe and North America? Places where the great majority of the population, as well as all major parties and also the armed forces recognise the virtue of stable government and peaceful exchange of power? It just doesn’t happen Jack in such democracies except in the most extreme of circumstances.

      Perhaps it might happen if some disaster on a truly cataclysmic scale were to lay waste to our societies, but even in those circumstances, I’d rather rely on the military taking short term control to stabilize the situation. Do you really think that a multitude of militias of ordinary citizens - some official state militias and some unofficial rag-tag self-styled local armies, plus individuals unconnected to any group, each with their own conflicting ideals and ambitions, without discipline, proper training or a central authority - is a better solution? You’re talking about something far worse than martial law, something worse than civil war - what you’d have is total lawless anarchy, with everyone armed to the teeth and fighting for their own personal goals.

      I do feel sad that so many in America seem to live in fear, not just of criminals armed with guns, but of their own government and presumably their military and their police forces becoming tyrannical. We in most other established democracies are nor armed to protect ourselves against our government, and yet we’ve never felt that vulnerable to persecution or infringement of the liberties we do cherish. Maybe you think that we’re wrong, but at least generations live out our lives without that level of fear and paranoia.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Jack Burton; Your earlier comment essentially suggesting that freedom is indivisible and cannot be compromised, is fine as an idealistic comment, but I think it is not entirely realistic. You say ‘Freedom is freedom. It is not to be balanced against the evils that people do’. But if we are to live as a society of people under a common law, then there do have to be compromises.

      All freedoms have limitations Jack. You must accept that. You are free to drive a car - but only after you have proved you’re competent to do so. Otherwise you’re denied the freedom. You are free to walk the streets, but you’re not free to do so naked, nor free to walk through someone else’s private property. You have freedom of speech, but no freedom to disclose matters of national security. There is always a line which has to be drawn to protect society’s interests against the ‘freedoms’ of the individual. In America you have a freedom to own guns. As I indicated in the article, I wouldn’t suggest taking away that freedom in its entirety any time soon (too many guns currently exist in the hands of criminals for that to be sensible), but I would suggest there’s a line which can be drawn. Maybe you would too - if so, I guess we just differ in where we would draw that line.

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”

      - Benjamin Franklin

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      Jack Burton 2 years ago from The Midwest

      " I have a very passionate, strong belief in freedom and would defend to the death the crucial freedoms of democratic government, equal legal rights and free speech"

      Let's ask a very real and pertinent question. What, specifically and with detail, are your options for action if the government you live under decides for their own reason to take away or deny you those "freedoms" that you feel so strongly about?

      And don't claim that it can't/won't happen. I can name you a dozen countries just in the 20th century whose citizens never expected they'd be living under a tyranny yet found that was the case as the years went by.

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      Jack Burton 2 years ago from The Midwest

      Reminds me of my favorite Bible verse in the Book of Genesis, when Able asks his brother, Cain, "Crikey, mate, where did you get that Glock?"

      Let me quote from myself...

      Freedom is freedom. It is not to be balanced against the evils that people do either purposefully or willfully. There is no tipping point, no level of unacceptable behavior by those who choose to live outside society's rules that counterbalance the concept of freedom. Once we begin to quantify freedom and parcel it out in part based upon some kind of social formula where the most fearful, the social deviants, the least apt among us have controlling interest in what we are allowed to do or not do then it is far from freedom and becomes instead merely privilege.

      As Charles C. Cooke states it, "Does a preference for human liberty in an imperfect world yield unfortunate, even tragic outcomes from time to time? Indeed so. Should we give that preference up in consequence? Absolutely not."

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      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Jack Burton; Thanks Jack. Given the subject matter of some of your hubs, I guess that 'put down' was about the gentlest I could expect from you:)

      I would say my concept of freedom is not weak. Just different to yours. I have a very passionate, strong belief in freedom and would defend to the death the crucial freedoms of democratic government, equal legal rights and free speech, as would most people in free nations. But I think very few in almost any established democracy other than America would want to see a return to the days of common gun ownership. The freedom to own guns seems to most of us in the world and many in America to be very minor when set against the freedom to live in a society without fear of lethal weapons. Alun

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      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      chezchazz; Thank you for that recommendation about 'Smoke and Mirrors.

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      Jack Burton 2 years ago from The Midwest

      Alun has a very weak concept of freedom.

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      Chazz 2 years ago from New York

      Thanks for sharing your views. You might be interested in the book "Smoke and Mirrors: The hidden context of violence in schools and society" for a look at this and related issues. Although published in 2000, it has become even more timely.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      KawikaChann; Thanks Kawi. I know what you mean! I've come to appreciate the strength of feeling on this issue. Although I like to debate against present gun law on practical grounds, I guess what turns gun ownership from being merely a matter of cold statistical debate into a source of great passion for some, is the sense of it as being a fundamental personal right enshrined in the constitution, and essential in order to defend freedom. In Britain, we just don't get that. Nobody worries about the threat of guns because virtually nobody has them, and nobody feels under threat from the government either. It's strange isn't it how two nations - so very similar in many areas of political thinking - have come to be so very different on that issue?

      But I do agree very much with your last point. Thankfully, the great majority of people in either country, whatever their political views, are basically decent, and in a crisis would stand together with others - even those of diametrically opposed views. It's always a pleasure to hear from you Kawi!

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      KawikaChann 2 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      Lol. Alun, now that's a fire starter!! I live a mile or two from a mall where there was a mass shooting - very terrible, very disturbing, and very frustrating. I can only credit God that my wife and daughter were not there, they had left the mall only a couple of hours before the shooting started.

      The incident has had 'some' impact on my personal reasoning to conceal-carry, but it is not the whole reason behind it. Guns take lives, and it can just as well preserve them just the same.

      Guns have a very profound effect on people - no matter the side you're on. I have met, or encountered most of the behavior types that have voiced off in your comments, and your report. From the cowboys (God love 'em) to the gun-control hyper activists. I love 'em all, it puts the checks and balances in play and forces everyone to pick a side in the end. It's just one of the things that makes this nation great.

      We might not agree with each other, but most of the folks I know will help you out of a jam no matter what you stand for. Peace. Kawi.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      markjayharris; Many thanks Mark. I know from your article that we disagree on many issues re-gun control, but thanks for your comment and considerate approach, and your acceptance of my right as a foreigner to express a point of view on what may be considered a strictly American policy choice.

      Incidentally the page you provided a link to seems not to exist now, though the error code at that URL does provide a further link to a new or revised page by you. Cheers, Alun

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      Mark Jay Harris 2 years ago from Smithfield, Utah

      A well thought-out and reasoned article. I can see by my placement in this posting that I'm coming to the party late. I believe you already commented on my article that discusses many similar ideas, albeit from an American point of view.

      I can appreciate your concern. I haven't thought about our gun control laws and their impact (or the concern they might cause) to those from other countries. I appreciate you point of view.

      From my article you could also see how my particular view, where the government is concerned with gun control, has less to do with safety and much more to do with controlling individuals. (http://markjayharris.hubpages.com/hub/Gun-Control-...

      Thanks for your article

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      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      A guest user Charles Norton just posted a comment here which I had to delete as it included an active advertising link to a gun store, Savannah River Armory. However, I'm happy to post the rest of the comment. Charles said:

      'I think guns, though possibly dangerous, are very needed. The mass killings of people by gunmen are terrible, but it was not the gun that killed them, it was the person. If a law was set to get rid of guns, the criminals wouldn't abide by the law anyway. The best way to win a gun fight is with a gun. I think it is important for those who have guns to know how to properly use them and store them in a safe way.'

      As you'd expect Charles, I do disagree. In brief I would answer:

      1) Regarding mass killings, guns do kill people, in the sense that mass killings are far less 'practical' with other weapons. Without guns - even with disturbed serial killers - there would be far fewer mass killings.

      2) The idea that criminals wouldn't get rid of their guns (voluntarily) is fair except that in other nations with strict gun laws there are far fewer crimes involving guns. They have less access to them and less reason to carry them.

      3)'The best way to win a gun fight is with a gun'. I would argue that it is better to avoid having a gun fight by not having any guns.

      I would of course agree with the final point about the need for safe storage and proper training, though recent cases such as the 9 year old girl who killed an instructor who was presumably qualified, show that domestic possession of guns is never likely to be totally safe.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      River; Hmmm...maybe you should read a few dictionary definitions before you criticise. My use of the term 'democracy' is in line with the word's common usage by all, including politicians and lexicographers - it is a generalised term for systems of government in which the people are freely involved in the election of an accountable government. Most people will understand that. Only semanticists and those with a political agenda do not.

      This is an article about gun control, so the 'core premise' of the article is not democracy. If possible could comments be kept to the subject of gun control attitudes? Which other facts do you think are questionable?

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      River 3 years ago

      Hmmm...maybe you should stick with travel and color, rather than writing about politics. Your opinion is valid, as all opinions are, but your facts are questionable. Example: your core premise is that we are living in democracies and democracy is on the rise. However, technically, there is no such thing as a true democracy on this earth, and there never has been. Fact. Sorry.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      Jodah; Many thanks John. As you say, the attitude of the more extreme pro-gunners in America - such as those who believe in 'open-carry' and those who think they need guns to protect against tyrannical government - seems incomprehensible to those of us who live in democracies without guns. I was aware of gun control introduced in Australia since that mass shooting, though not knowledgeable of all the details. Your last comment about 'not liking the Government yet not feeling in fear of them' is one with which I can identify fully. Too many in the gun lobby in America don't seem to understand the idea that a populace can be unarmed and yet still feel safe and free.

      I've become very interested in this subject in recent years and statements issued by some in the gun lobby, are real eye-openers and quite scary. Fortunately there are plenty of rational Americans campaigning for gun control, but it seems that no matter how many incidents of homicide or accidental shootings occur, rationality still faces an uphill struggle.

      Your comment is like a breath of fresh air which I am grateful to receive John. And thanks for the vote up. Appreciated. Alun

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow Greensleeves this is the first of your hubs I have read and boy did I choose a doozy. I did write a more detailed comment but it wasn't saved, so let me just say I agree with you totally. You presented the case for gun control in an intelligent and well explained manner, and your hub clearly displays the distorted thinking and psyche behind the gun lobby and it's members that you and I from different countries find it almost impossible to understand or change. Here in Australia gun control was introduced after a mass shooting in Port Arthur Tasmania in the early 90s..all automatic and semi-automatic fire arms were banned and people given an amnesty period to surrender their guns. Background checks were done and licences issued for the use of other firearms if their was a genuine reason to require them. We have had no mass shootings since. There are still some crime related shootings but they are isolated incidents with never more than one or two people shot. The majority of Australians feel safe and are glad we don't need to carry guns. I don't like our current Government but I am not in fear of them or feel the need to be armed to protect myself from their tyranny. This should be a Hub of the Day...voted up.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; And yet Greece has a tiny 6% of babies born out of wedlock while Iceland has 64% born out of wedlock. And which has the higher homicide rate? Greece has five times the homicide rate of Iceland. Being born out of wedlock clearly doesn't necessarily lead to more crime. I'm not suggesting that either of these countries are comparable to America, and I'm certainly not saying that these stats should be used to advocate births out of wedlock - I'm merely pointing out that plucking stats out of the air does not tell the whole picture. Instead it gives a misleading picture. But that is the way in which proponents of a particular cause try to justify their position, because it is always possible to find some factor which sets one country apart from others and then to use that as evidence for, or an excuse for, their cause.

      I'll accept that you are not racist Will, but we are treading on dangerous ground here, because it does seem that blame for crime is being apportioned according to racial distinctions. In any case, we are also straying too far from the central theme of this article which is the extreme and violent hostility of some in America to reasonable and moderate suggestions for limited gun control, so I think it's time to end this particular thread.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "...are you saying that as a race, blacks are more violent than whites?"

      I'm saying that statistically, they commit crimes at far higher rates than any other race. In the US, that's due to blacks having nearly 75% out of wedlock births and growing up without a loving father in the home. Most US prisoners of all races grew up without benefit of a father, including my own nephew.

      The massive increase in black out of wedlock rates can be laid right at the feet of the US liberals who passed laws giving far more welfare to unwed mothers.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; I don't intend to keep this line of argument going, for the reasons expressed in my previous two comments. But what you have just said needs clarification. Rather than merely condemning deprived communities of any race (which all nations have) or minority communities of any race (which all nations have) for violence, are you saying that as a race, blacks are more violent than whites?

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Where the race was known in the US, whites (includes Hispanics) committed 45% of homicides. Blacks, who make up just over 12% of the population, committed 52% of the homicides.

      Blacks in the UK make up just 2% of the population, so demographically, the US has over 6 times as many blacks.

      The UK has just 2% black, but they make up over 14% of your prison population, so of course it's relevant.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      Will; So far you have contributed one sixth of the comments here, largely concerned with an argument for greater female safety from gun ownership, and the case that US homicide rates are largely down to Hispanics and blacks. Most of all you seem to want to make a USA v UK 'non-gun violence' comparison, as though a comparison of that kind excuses the high homicide rate in the U.S. In the future I think I will probably write a hub detailing all the most frequently argued points made in favour of guns including all these points. If so you could discuss all those points in reply to that hub.

      But this hub is actually about the very extreme arguments of some gun enthusiasts and the murderous lengths to which some claim to be prepared to go to defy any legislation. That is what shocked me more than the merits of gun ownership itself, and that is why I wrote this hub. I would prefer to keep the comments section here as much as possible devoted to the main theme of the article in future, and whether those extreme opinions are justified.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; I repeat, we seem to be going round in circles. You say comparing US/UK violence statistics is invalid unless its adjusted for demographics, which you then do. Yet you ignore the other adjustments required for comparison which have been mentioned by both ‘junkseller’ and myself. There are - as they say - lies, damned lies and statistics, and the only statistics which can easily be compared are those relating to the absolute and clear cut crime of homicide. And the stats on homicide are unarguable.

      Re-demographics, all countries have different cultural make-ups; we in Britain have an increasingly large Moslem population, a significant black and Asian population, and a large recent influx of Eastern Europeans. Are you saying there is something inherently violent about blacks and Hispanics in America? That sounds a bit racist. If on the other hand you are saying that homicide and violence in America is caused by inner city deprivation which just happens to afflict these groups more, well lots of developed nations have inner city deprived areas without the homicide rate of America.

      We have already established that violence is rare in both the UK and USA and in neither country is there much risk of being attacked in the street unless one frequents certain inner city localities, so I think perhaps we have done to death the violence stats comparisons?

      But for anyone who wants them, here are a few more stats about America:

      *More than 100 children are killed intentionally by gun fire every year.

      *More than 500 children die each year as a result of all incidents involving firearms including accidental discharge.

      *The equal playing field that women now enjoy means that many more women as well as men are victims of homicide, particularly domestic homicide in America - and guns increase the likelihood of domestic violence resulting in death by 12 times.

      *Gun related deaths in general are highest in states which have a higher percentage of households owning firearms.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Comparing US violence statistics to other countries is invalid unless it's adjusted for demographics. We have a large black and Hispanic population that countries like the UK simply do not have, and those two minorities alone account for nearly 70% of all crime in the US.

      The UK has over twice the assault rate as the US, and if we factor out minority assault violence in the US and just compare white assault violence rates, the UK would be far more violent than the US.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; Sadly we do seem to be going round in circles repeating the same arguments, as you imply in your comment. Certainly what we do as a society to reduce violence may not reduce crime, but it can reduce the death toll from crimes. That has been proven in countries which have strict gun control.

      As for the continually repeated point about women, yes that's true. It does equalise men and women to an extent. It also escalates the risk to all. The fact remains that more women are killed in America by guns than are killed by all other violent methods in most other democratic nations. Indeed studies have indicated more - not less - deaths of women from firearms (including homicide deaths) in households that contain guns in the USA than in households that do not.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "You're judging those conclusions based upon your perspective."

      My perspective is reality. As long as man has been on the Earth, there have always been plenty of those who rob, rape, and kill. I don't think any amount of 'what can we do as a society to reduce violence' will have the slightest effect on the criminal mind bent on committing crime.

      So again:

      If we have a natural right to life (and I think we can agree that we all do), then it logically follows that we also have the right to defend that life (we are not expected by anyone to simply surrender and accept death when we are assaulted).

      And if we have the right to defend that life, then it again logically follows that we also must have the right to the means of defending that life, and the one means of defense that makes us equal to anyone is the firearm. For instance, a woman is no match for a man...unless she is armed with a firearm. Then she's the equal to any man.

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      junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan

      Willstarr, your premise (right to life, right to defend oneself) is beginning from a specific starting point. Your starting point is essentially individualistic: one victim, one criminal alone on an island. From that starting point, your conclusion is logical.

      However, it isn't the only starting point. It is just as easy to start from a broader view: what can we do as a group, what can we do as a society to reduce violence. That's a very different starting point and will likely have a very different conclusion. You're judging those conclusions based upon your perspective. To you, all you see is a victim being disarmed. To properly judge someone else's conclusion you have to evaluate it from their starting premise.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Willstarr, you can believe all you want that the intent of gun control is some sort of attack on rights and liberties. There is no basis in reality for your belief. It is a pure myth, and you can't very well have a useful conversation on the issue if you continue to believe something about your opponent that just isn't true.

      Then use the constitutional amendment process provided and repeal the Second Amendment. Either do it the right way or not at all.

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      junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan

      Willstarr and Mklow1, I couldn't have said it any better than Greensleeves, but would like to add that it is called "reasonable" because it is in fact reasonable. An assault weapons ban has broad and wide support. Passing or trying to pass legislation which matches the will of the citizenry is by definition reasonable.

      Willstarr, you can believe all you want that the intent of gun control is some sort of attack on rights and liberties. There is no basis in reality for your belief. It is a pure myth, and you can't very well have a useful conversation on the issue if you continue to believe something about your opponent that just isn't true.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      If we have a natural right to life (and I think we can agree that we all do), then it logically follows that we also have the right to defend that life (we are not expected by anyone to simply surrender and accept death when we are assaulted).

      And if we have the right to defend that life, then it again logically follows that we also must have the right to the means of defending that life, and the one means of defense that makes us equal to anyone is the firearm. For instance, a woman is no match for a man...unless she is armed with a firearm. Then she's the equal to any man.

      If our politicians want to disarm the people for any reason, then let them do it the right way by repealing the Second Amendment, because incrementally disarming the people is indeed 'sneaky'.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStar (and also Mklow1); For once I can (almost) agree with your basic suggestion Will, though not with the inference you and Mklow1 draw.

      Politics is the art of the possible and the practical. There is no value in going after goals which are unattainable - that applies in all nations where politicians depend on the support of the public, and it's right that it should.

      No doubt some - though not the majority - who support an assault weapons ban, would also like ultimately to see a gun-free society. But they know that can't be achieved in the foreseeable future, so if you believe in the premise (I know you don't) that all gun types kill more people than they save, then it makes sense to try to remove any kinds that you can with the consent of society. You may not be able to remove them all today, but every change has to start somewhere.

      There's nothing sinister or sneaky or undemocratic about this. In fact you should feel pleased. So many pro-gun lobbyists seem to think that the Obama administration is riding roughshod over their rights and behaving in a 'tyrannical fashion'. But this proves the opposite. Obama knows he could not pass sweeping gun control measures even if he wished to, because at present that would not be accepted by enough of the people. Any politician who proposes very limited gun control is behaving like a democratic politician who knows he has to carry a majority of the people with him. He is not behaving like a tyrant.

      And, yes in answer to the question you pose: if the population accepts that an 'assault weapon' ban is reasonable, then a later handgun ban COULD also be reasonable - if the population accepts it as such. That's how democracy works.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      junkseller said: "Why go after them? Two reasons I think. One is they are go-afterable,"

      "So basically an assault weapons ban is like a Trojan Horse. It just gets them into the door until eventually citizens become desensitized to the thought of gun control completely. It is just a foot-in-the-door so to speak. Interesting."

      You nailed it. All rights are lost incrementally...one little bite at a time. That's the purpose of euphemistically calling it 'reasonable regulations'. If the population accepts that an 'assault weapon' ban is reasonable, then couldn't a later handgun ban also be 'reasonable'?

      But that won't fly in America just yet, because we are still Americans and we still cherish our rights and independence. Maybe after our schools indoctrinate the next generation or two.

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      Mklow1 3 years ago

      junkseller said: "Why go after them? Two reasons I think. One is they are go-afterable,"

      So basically an assault weapons ban is like a Trojan Horse. It just gets them into the door until eventually citizens become desensitized to the thought of gun control completely. It is just a foot-in-the-door so to speak. Interesting.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Around 30,000 Americans die each year from firearms. Of those, about 17,000, or nearly 60% are suicides. Of the remaining, about 12,000 are homicides. Nearly 70% of the homicides are inner city gang killings.

      I have never seen any sort of 'gun control' that would have the slightest effect on suicides or homicides since only the law abiding obey such laws. One person claimed that registration would stop crime, but didn't explain how that would work.

      If you are not suicidal, not a criminal, not a cop, don't live in a ghetto, and don't associate with criminals, your chances of being shot in America are near zero.

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      junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan

      Mklow1, I totally said that wrong. Willstarr specifically made mention of knives killing more people than "assault rifles". I meant to be agreeing. Yes, they also kill more than all rifles as you mention (or at least for rifles identified).

      Why go after them? Two reasons I think. One is they are go-afterable, since they have less apparent practicality (people don't need to have them) and two, despite their lower body count, their bodycounts have been extraordinarily impactful. I don' know if I'm right, or that I would agree with going after them for those reasons, but that would be my assessment.

      I am not a particular proponent of the assault weapon ban so a better answer would have to come from someone else.

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      Mklow1 3 years ago

      junkseller said:"WillStarr, Yes more people are killed by assault rifles than knives"

      Wrong. As a matter of fact, knives kill twice as many people as rifles (all rifles, not just assault rifles), shotguns, and a criteria listed as other types. So if the purpose of gun control is to save lives, then why ban assault rifles, which is involved in a fraction of a percent of murders and not go after the big killer; handguns? Even if they ban assault rifles, there would be almost no drop in the murder rate, so why do it?

      http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/12/how-p...

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; Registering guns will not stop crime. It will help reduce gun crime. As already stated, statistics about crime in our two nations are suspect, but of course if one stays away from inner cities and gangs at night, then there is little risk in the streets of either country. For the record I have never been assaulted, and I don't know anybody who has. I hope you haven't either.

      But what's more, I have absolutely no fear of meeting a mugger or a burglar armed with a gun. In that respect, our societies seem quite different.

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      junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan

      WillStarr, Yes more people are killed by assault rifles than knives (or fists and feet, for that matter), but as Greensleeves noted those are very different things. We can't ban knives. We can ban assault rifles. It doesn't have to be the biggest killer to be concerned about it. Although, I'm not sure anyone was talking only about assault weapons. Guns, in totality, kill far more than knives do, and the topic is gun control, and for that there are thousands of different policy options.

      As for politicians and crisis talk, I actually agree with you, but it is hardly an issue only of liberal politicians and gun control. Look at the rhetoric that comes from the right about debt and entitlements, or Muslim, commie Obama trying to kill Christianity, etc. Pointing that out isn't to make this a right vs left battle, it is simply to suggest that such rhetoric is fairly ubiquitous in our country at the moment and that really is our fault. We shouldn't elect drama queens (or pay attention to them on the news) and when they pull such routines we shouldn't give them any notice, but we do, all the time. I roll my eyes sometimes, too, at some of this stuff that goes on regarding gun control, but that doesn't mean I can't ignore that stuff and engage it reasonably and rationally.

      And you're still way off about your claim of motivation. The mythos of gun grandeur is a self-delusion of gun-owners. The left is not afraid of your guns or have any interest in disarming Americans for political reasons. It is just a silly notion. Actually it is the exact same sort of 'crisis' talk you seem to be against (Obama is coming for your guns so he can enslave us). Ridiculous.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Believing that registering guns will stop crime is like believing that registering cars has stopped drunk driving.

      Gun control advocates claim there's a crisis, but when 99.99% of America's guns will never be used in a crime, and 99.99+% of Americans will never be shot, there is no gun crisis in America. In fact, we are far safer walking down American streets that you are in the UK, where you are over twice as likely to be assaulted.

      Most gun deaths are suicides, and of the rest, most are inner city gangs killing one another. That's a problem, but it is not a crisis.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; It seems you did not take in what I wrote, even though you copied it. I clearly made a distinction between sport and hunting on the one hand, and other gun ownership which has one function only. There is nothing inaccurate in that statement. And if they are used for hunting or sport, what's the problem with registration and background checks?

      We're back to misleading statistics again. There are estimated to be 300 million guns in America, and about 30,000 gun related deaths. By your percentage figure, only 6000 guns are involved in these 30,000 deaths. Really? Either way, you miss the point. It is not the percentage of guns which matters. In a previous comment 'csa' says he has over 40 guns (why???) - presumably 0% of those have been used in crime. What matters is that in a society with free access to guns, gun availability to all - criminals today and future criminals - is increased. Whether it is 0.002% of guns or 90% of guns, the fact remains they are responsible for 30,000 deaths, and more than 10,000 homicides.

      My arguments are not specious Will. Try again.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "WillStarr; Well here we are again my old sparring partner. The distinction between guns and knives is that with the exception of sport and hunting, guns have one function - to kill.

      Then perhaps you can explain why 99.998% of the guns owned by Americans never kill anyone? They are used most often for the sport of target shooting.

      It's a specious argument. Try again.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; Well here we are again my old sparring partner. The distinction between guns and knives is that with the exception of sport and hunting, guns have one function - to kill. Knives have many practical functions, and when it does come to killing, they are not nearly so efficient. Having said that, knives should indeed not be carried on the streets - just as guns should not.

      I cannot speak on the American government's social policies, and certainly there may be work required in that area to reduce the inclination of youth to get involved in crime. What is your solution to that problem? All social issues are immensely complicated and difficult to solve, and they should be considered alongside - not instead of - the sensible desire to control guns (a desire, not because the government is frightened of guns, but because every ordinary citizen should be frightened of guns).

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      Mklow1; I'm not sure anyone is suggesting immediate illegality of all guns are they? That may be a utopian idea which almost exists in some nations - free nations. In most others there is very restricted ownership of licensed guns. America is, I think, almost unique among free and stable democracies in its approach to gun ownership and clearly it would be impractical to make all guns illegal in the foreseeable future. The moderate suggestion is for some categories to be illegal, for others to require registering, and for background checks on owners. That is the moderate approach, which almost everyone interested in gun control suggests.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Willstarr, so how many people dying from guns and/or being victims of crimes involving guns does it take for it matter enough to be interested in policy solutions?"

      Over four times as many people in the US are murdered using knives as by using so-called 'assault rifles', but there's no call for knife control because politicians are not afraid of knives.

      "Don't call it a crisis if you don't want to, but are you really going to stand by saying there is no issue at all?"

      I never said it was not an issue. I said it was not a crisis. Politicians claim it's a crisis so that they can pass laws disarming Americans.

      The fact that politicians do nothing about the fatherless youth who are the ones committing the gun crimes tells us that it's actually political.

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      Mklow1 3 years ago

      So junkseller, the reason for gun control is to save lives? Do you believe then that we should make all guns illegal?

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      junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan

      Willstarr, so how many people dying from guns and/or being victims of crimes involving guns does it take for it matter enough to be interested in policy solutions?

      Don't call it a crisis if you don't want to, but are you really going to stand by saying there is no issue at all?

      The notion that this is political really makes little sense. It is the right, not the left, who buys into the narrative of the armed citizen being the defender against tyranny. I don't think many politicians on the left believe the ARMED citizen is more of a danger than the unarmed citizen. In fact, I'd say, the left in general believes, rightfully so, that peaceful protest has far more power than a bunch of angry citizens with guns.

      The spirit of gun control is about reducing gun violence and gun deaths.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "I would like to ask all the people that post here; In its core, what is the purpose of Gun Control?"

      Since there's actually no gun crisis in America (99.97% of Americans will not be killed by a firearm), the purpose in disarming Americans is political in nature. Angry, but unarmed people are no real danger to politicians.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      Mklwo1; Thanks for your visit and comment. I guess the question you ask is indeed at the heart of the debate, though I suspect people on opposing sides will have different ideas on the purpose of gun control, and on whether control achieves the intended purpose.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      junk seller; I totally agree. There are indeed big differences between Britain and America in the way in which statistics are recorded, and a far greater range of crimes in the UK are described as ‘violent’, including many in which no physical injury occurs. As one leading criminologist James Alan Fox says:

      ‘Once you get away from clearly defined terms like homicides, all kinds of problems come in. You have to take comparisons not just with a grain of salt but with the entire shaker.’

      Another point is that in many studies homicides are listed separately to violent, non-lethal crime. They are often omitted from statistical surveys concerned with violent crime. As a greater number of violent crimes in America result in death (because of guns) than in the UK, this factor also clouds any comparisons between the two nations.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      csa; Thanks csa for your thoughts. Your statistics are interesting, though can be debated. Some of the issues you raise are addressed by ‘junkseller’, and I’ll mention them in a reply to his comment.

      The truth is that both the UK and America have too much violent crime. However, levels of violent crime have in recent decades decreased in both nations despite widely differing gun policies. So can we at least agree that neither possession nor absence of guns seems to be significant in reducing the level of violent crime? The only question is whether possession or absence has an effect on levels of violent death.

      As far as your second point is concerned, one of the problems in the US is that criminals can easily transport guns into cities regardless of the local laws. So city gun laws may not be so effective. The solution however is surely is not for every innocent citizen in those cities to be armed more, but rather for it to be made more difficult for everyone including criminals to obtain and carry guns nationwide? Cities all have their own widely differing circumstances and incidences of crime (and that includes in the UK where gun laws are uniform across the nation). Perhaps State homicide figures are a more reliable guide? According to one set of figures, 7 of the 10 states with the strongest gun laws are also 7 of the 10 states with the lowest gun death rates. http://smartgunlaws.org/2013-state-scorecard-why-g...

      As far as the statement ‘bad people will always find a way to do evil acts’ is concerned, that is true, but those evil acts are much less likely to lead to death in the absence of guns. The total murder rate in countries with strong gun laws tends to be much lower, because crimes involving knives and other weapons are much less likely to lead to death.

      Finally none of these stats including your reference to a hammer killing removes one other glaring problem with guns. In the USA at least 500 and maybe more than 1000 deaths occur every year as a result of accidents involving guns, including 100s of children. The number of accidental hammer deaths is somewhat lower.

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      Mklow1 3 years ago

      Very thorough Hub. I would like to ask all the people that post here; In its core, what is the purpose of Gun Control?

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      junkseller 3 years ago from Michigan

      csa, if you are in law enforcement than you know that comparing crime statistics is difficult if not impossible. The claims that Britain has a higher crime rate than the US do not account for the differences in reporting crime. For violent crimes, Britain counts all crimes against persons, which includes simple assaults and any sexual offenses, while the US only counts (for those categories) aggravated assaults and forcible rapes. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements...

      A deeper analysis would also have to include reporting information (how likely people are to report, or not report, a crime). It could vary widely between nations, and even within regions.

      If you look only at homicide rates, the US is at 4.7 and the UK at 1.2, but even with that 'simple' statistic I am not sure they are comparing apples to apples.

      It is interesting the cities you mention (and don't mention). I live near Detroit. I'm unaware of any particularly restrictive gun regulations there or in the state. I don't know about Memphis, but Tennessee isn't known for gun regulations either. Does Memphis have some specific regulations? As for New York, their crime rates are actually pretty good. Chicago with restrictive gun regulations isn't doing so well. California has restrictive gun regulations. Oakland is doing poorly. San Jose and San Diego are doing well.

      And then cities you just left out: St. Louis (now top 5 in many crime statistics), New Orleans, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Miami, Kansas City, Indianapolis...

      Texas doesn't have strict gun regulations, yet Dallas and Houston both have higher crime rates in almost every category than does New York. Clearly there is no simple pattern here.

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      csa 3 years ago

      Per capita, the UK has a much, much higher rate of violent crime thand the US. Yes, we do have more gun crime, but you are much more likely to be harmed in the old country rather than the United States. How is getting beat or stabbed to death morally superior to getting shot? In the US, there is a direct correlation between violent crime and gun control. The more gun control laws, the more violence. The most gun restrictive cities in America are Detroit, Chicago, NY and DC, but they have some of the highest gun related crime rates. If you eliminate the cities of Detroit, Memphis (also highly restricted) and Chicago, the US would be statistically one of the safest countries in the world. Even with 80,000,000 guns. The true weapon is the criminal mind. Bad people will always find a way to do evil acts. No law will change that. Here is an example. I've been involed in law enforcement for a while now. Last year we arrested a gentlemen for a home-made gun. After he served his time, he beat a man to death with a hammer. It's the criminal, not the tool that's the problem. I personally own over 40 guns of various types and not a single one has killed a fellow human being. 99.9995% of legal gun owners in the US will ever commit a gun related crime.

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      Walt Kienia 3 years ago from Hartford, Connecticut

      "It does great credit to the commenter who has the grace to set aside their own opposing beliefs on the subject, in assessing the article."

      We'll said.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

      CalebSparks; It's always nice to receive accolades or support from someone who agrees with your point of view. But it is perhaps even more rewarding to receive a generous comment from someone who disagrees with many of the opinions expressed in an article, yet respects the intentions and thought behind the article.

      It does great credit to the commenter who has the grace to set aside their own opposing beliefs on the subject, in assessing the article.

      Whatever your personal views on gun control which I suspect are well-considered, I very much appreciate your words and support. Alun

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      CalebSparks 3 years ago

      This hub is a very interesting read, Greensleeves. Though I must disagree with many of your premises and conclusions, I nevertheless found this hub well-constructed and mentally stimulating. I plan to read more of your writings. Thanks.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      jlboogades; Thank you. I think you've pretty much hit the nail on the head there. There is a difference between accepting or tolerating a person's right to a point of view, and approving of it. On most controversial issues there are pros and cons to each side and individuals should accept the right of anyone to hold opposing views whilst not necessarily approving of those views. Society itself must form judgements which respect certain basic rights such as the right to free thought and speech and the right to have a say in the governance of the nation, though even on such basic issues, debate remains (should freedom of speech include freedom to verbally abuse or racially insult? Should having a say in government involve having a direct say in every issue, or does it mean delegating responsibility to your elected officials or their appointed experts?) Whether the right to self defence through the ownership of guns is a basic right and how the extent of that right should be interpreted remains controversial in America, but different opinions across the broad spectrum should be tolerated. Whether they should all be approved of as socially responsible remains an issue for many.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Greensleeves:

      I apologize for taking so long to reply myself; my account seems to be malfunctioning somewhat: I could not access this notification on my computer for some reason. In any event, I am sorry for the delayed response.

      One thing stood out to me in your last response. It is something that I have been mulling over for about 12 years. Tolerance.

      I am sure that others could very likely disagree and/ or have different understandings of the concept; but to me it seems that this idea is comprised of two main and, most importantly different, components: Acceptance and Approval.

      The tolerance of this post-modern world seems to have made synonymous these concepts. In this tradition, in order to be tolerant I must both accept the person and approve of their thoughts, beliefs, and actions (as long as they don't grossly infringe upon the lives and security of others).

      It is my understanding from a modern perspective, contradictory to postmodern relativism, that one can rationally hold to the view of tolerance which separates the acceptance of the person from their respective beliefs or actions.

      From this theoretical-objectivist viewpoint I personally hold the view that homosexuality (to pick a controversial example) is an unnatural and imperfect (definition of Biblical "sin") practice. Not being a fundamentalist I would never dare to inforce this view upon others however, as so many do. The reason I cannot justify those means is seen in the Biblical contrast of approval from that of acceptance.

      Christ accepted people of every walk of life as imperfect sinners. What he did not do, which many liberals today confuse as a result of their relativistic slant, is approve of their imperfect behavior. Instead he urged them to repent from an accepting but disapproving vantage point.

      It is this realization which has motivated my attempt to better understand the way that our world, today, works. And so my conclusion thus far is that many religious conservatives in our era have erred on the side of self-deified disapproval, having forgotten the acceptance which their God exemplified. And liberals have equated, to a degree, the concepts of acceptance and approval (in order to be tolerant one must accept and approve).

      In short, (imagine the spectrum:

      Acceptance............Approval). "The left" has leaned to the proverbial left, ignoring the need for objective moral discernment (approval); "the right" likewise has erroneously decided that its personally understood rendition of moral authority is divinely aspired (if they approve it is 'right').

      Translated into the current subject matter: the right has decided that gun control is immoral and unapproved and therefore simply wrong; the left has reasoned that we must accept and approve any additional legislation, because to refuse would be "intolerant".

      I believe this to be a false dilemma. If society can teach itself to be both accepting of personages of all walks of life, backgrounds, beliefs, and so on, while reserving the right to disapprove of what they see as incorrect or immoral positions, then we as a people can both conserve the right and progress as a world society. But that's just one moderates lofty pipe dream. As always, thanks for the inspiring conversation Greensleeves. I believe that we are exhibiting the possibilities of this dream in a small way, thank you for that opportunity.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      jlboogades; My thanks and apologies for not being able to reply sooner. (My vacation took precedence!) I would comment in agreement with you on two elements of what you say.

      Certainly many, including myself, become very wary of any discussion in which God is brought into the equation. Enlisting 'God' as an argument for one's point of view, takes the argument away from being one for mere human debate. When all manner of rights become regarded as 'God-given, sacred and inalienable', then any contrary point of view can be immediately dismissed if it is deemed to run counter to ‘the word of God’.

      (Of course one conservative's 'God-given right' may not be the same as another - I doubt very much that such conservatives in America would hold much respect for some of the 'God-given rights' which extremist Islamist conservatives might marshall in defence of their activities to promote Islam, or to punish those who they feel domestically or internationally are acting against the word of Allah).

      Which brings me to the second point in which you describe the two extremes of political argument. As you'd expect I can entirely agree that ‘conservatives’ of the kind you describe have a philosophy in support of their views as 'absolute truth' which makes reasoned debate impossible. But equally the opposing ‘liberal’ approach, which too often raises its head in televised debates in Britain, can be extreme and rather dangerous - the suggestion as you put it that 'no one can tell another person that their understanding of truth is incorrect'. We in the UK regard our society as a 'tolerant' society; in practice that too often means that all points of view, however unpleasant, have an equal right to be heard and accepted as valid. It's often expressed by liberals in debates about international affairs through the argument that we have no right to criticise another country’s government for its actions or views, because our own system is flawed. In other words we should put our own house in order before we criticise another. Such people (on both sides of the pond) would rather demonise the British Prime Minister or the American President than true dictators and tyrants who indulge in genuine atrocities in some nations of the world.

      All societies or ‘institutions of mankind’ are indeed flawed and imperfect including our Western democracies and governments, and - as you dare to suggest - the American Constitution. It should be possible for these to be reformed and amended. However, I think we in the west - liberal, conservative or social democrat - should be sufficiently proud of our free societies and governments answerable to the people, to be able to stand up and defend these systems as being undisputedly better than the alternatives (communist one party states, fascist dictatorships, absolute monarchies, theocracies) which have been tried throughout the world and throughout history and been found wanting. Our systems in Western Europe, America and increasingly elsewhere in the world, and the proclamations, charters and indeed constitutions on which they are based, should be respected and admired, without going so far - as you say - as regarding them as being infallible and inviolable.

      Jlboogades, whilst there are conservatives who reason as you do, perhaps there is hope for constructive debate on the issues which divide legitimate concerns on both right and left of politics. Sadly too many see issues in black and white terms and fail to appreciate the need to compromise in a society in which we all have to live.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Green sleeves,

      As always your comments are thought provoking. Semantics indeed; how one defines the "rights of the people" will inevitably be the source of their presuppositions concerning these and all sociopolitical matters. The conservative tradition has been, as you are likely aware, that rights are transliterated from the words and truths of Almighty God, and for this reason are sacred and inalienable.

      I admittedly do not know exactly where I stand on that; I am what those in the Church call a backslider and a doubter at times. All that I do know is that those conservatives who hold to the absolute application of this view are unwaveringly objectivistic when it comes to the interpretation of "God given inalienable rights".

      Most of the modern world is inundated with the current post-modern relativistic philosophy which dictates that no one can tell another person that their understanding of truth is incorrect. In this philosophical school, our reality is dependent directly upon our perceptions and perspective. Contrarily, the absolutism, on which staunch conservatism is situated, dictates that it matters not what one perceives or believes: the truth of God, mankind, his rights, and His and our eternal existence are absolutely defined and determined by the will of God ultimately and definitively.

      My point is, if this absolute truth is true, all of our attempts to interpret and understand our world and our place in it are merely vanity and a proverbial "chasing of the wind" (Ecclesiastes-Bible). And so to better understand the conservative opponent on this and many other issues, one must realize that to them the truth of humans rights have been transferred from the very Word of God to the Constitution of the United States. Most reasonable proponents would agree that there is a limitation to the sanctity of the constitution as it was not directly inspired by God. However, many if not most would defend without hesitation that the essence of human rights within that document as God-given and unlimitable.

      I am not of this camp. I am a neoconservate who holds to the limitation of mankinds ability to achieve perfection in what I view as a more philosophically consistent practice. If mankind cannot be perfect as the Bible dictates, and I think is only rational given the anthropological record, then institutions of mankind (e.g. Government, ergo the Constitution) are also flawed and imperfect.

      Somewhere along the way conservatism adopted the classical liberal concept of aspired utopian bliss and forbid the warnings if their predecessors against the vanity of depending upon the institutions of man, except in those instances which benefit them.

      And so today, the modern/

      religious conservative will boycott the government implementing increases in welfare subsidies but will cheer increases in social security and/ or overseas occupations. They demonize gay marriage but fight tooth and nail, as you know, to limit the control of gun ownership.

      This oxymoronic rendition of conservatism is nothing more than a selfishly motivated hodgepodge of philosophies that serve the greater interests of those in positions of power (those with money and resources) within the ascribing

      party in America: Republicans.

      With that I will take this opportunity to send a message on behalf of all those conservatives and moderates who hold to a more philosophically consistent model of our sociopolitical heritage: FOX NEWS, KOCH BROTHERS, YOUR HOLDING OUR POLITICAL AFFILIATION HOSTAGE; WE WANT *OUR* CONSERVATISM BACK!!!

      And with that I apologize to green sleeves for the lengthy nature of this comment and I digress.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      jlboogades;

      Justin; My thanks for your comment which is intelligent, reasonable and polite. I can accept from your information that in America there is a legal distinction between a ‘right’ and a ‘privilege’, which is possibly different to the way these terms are used in the UK (or in everyday usage in America?) Thanks for your explanation. It‘s just a question of semantics really as it seems the legal definition in America doesn‘t match the dictionary definition.

      The dictionary definition of privilege which I have used is that of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as ‘a right granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage or favor - such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or office‘ The Oxford Dictionary describes privilege as ‘a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group - something regarded as a special honour.’ Such definitions seem to reflect common usage.

      By such conventional (not legalistic) usage of the word, driving a car or getting married would not be considered a privilege because these are things everyone is entitled to do unless there are specific reasons why they should not (eg: incompetence to drive safely). They are not ‘special honours or benefits limited to a particular group or individual.‘ The same, I feel applies to gun ownership in a country where this is considered a right. If background checks/licenses were introduced then this may be deemed a privilege legally, but would not make gun ownership a privilege under the non-legalistic definition of the word, because everyone would still be free to own a gun unless there are specific reasons why they should not.

      Of course the word ‘right’ is even more of a linguistic and legal minefield - human rights, legal rights, ‘God-given’ rights, moral rights. I would argue that almost the only fundamental human rights are the rights to free speech, the right to participate in the election of the Government, and the right to equality under the Law - most other ‘rights’ are very dependent on economic conditions, social considerations etc. Even the ’right to life’ is not sacrosanct in any society - certainly not for those who believe in capital punishment or the need on occasion to go to war and take life. I guess legal rights as distinct from human rights are usually fairly clear cut, though of course when different institutions - Federal Government, State Government, Supreme Court, the Constitution - all have roles in the interpretation or creation of law, then even this can become controversial.

      Re-marriage - I take your point. I would say I have no problem at all with people living together out of marriage, but a legal license of marriage is both a ‘symbol’ of faith that a couple intend to stay together for life, and also a safeguard for both parties in relation to financial security etc. Whether there’s a better way of proceeding, I don’t know. In my country there have been long running controversies over such matters as same sex relationships and whether or not they should have the same legal status as a marriage. Sign of the times, I guess, but that’s a whole different issue!

      Great discussing with you Justin. Best wishes. Alun.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Greensleeves,

      While I have to admit that you have some valid points on the non-draconian nature of the legislation being suggested, I have to also note the connotation with which you differentiate rights from privileges. Driving a vehicle, working a high-security level job, and yes, getting married are all privileges in U.S. culture.

      They are privileges because they can be taken away: the former two by the government and the last, marriage, by the attorney of an individual's spouse (in this case not the ability but the immediate institution). It may sound a bit conspiratorial but I have long wondered on the need and purpose of government sanctioned marriage. What does the government have to do with the union between my wife and I?

      The only answer I could muster was control. If individuals have to seek a license to get married they can be held liable for the institution which is ultimately facilitated by the government. Now, to be clear, I do not think that there is some grand, evil plot behind this motive; the government simply seeks, as it should, to maintain some kind of order in society and marriage is an ingenious institution to help meet that goal.

      In return we, in the U.S., get some tax breaks to motivate us to participate. Some states even have "common-law marriage" laws in place that dictates that if two people (of the opposite sex in most cases) have shared the same primary residence for X number of years then they are married under the law.

      I know I have taken a rabbit trail, but I have done so for a reason. If the line between "inalienable rights" and those privileges dictated by the merit of the good-standing of a license are blurred, at some point it becomes unclear what in fact we in America have the God-given right to pursue and achieve without fear of politically motivated removal.

      As I think I have made clear heretofore, I am not saying that guns ought not to be regulated or check to protect innocents. I am however instigating critical thought on the issues surrounding this very controversial issue in America. I wish you all well. Good talks.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Credence 2;

      It is still the case that policemen in the UK only tend to be armed with guns when on high security operations - terrorist alerts, raids where criminals are known to be armed, airport security etc. The ordinary policemen in the street or in their cars are not armed with guns.

      Regarding 'civility' it is certainly true that there seems less polarisation of views in the UK on many issues - perhaps generally more respect and tolerance of opposing views and the needs of society rather than the individual. I do worry a bit about increasing lack of respect for traditional social conventions and seemingly an increase in violent gang crime in inner cities, but society as a whole remains less 'angry' than appears to be the case in the U.S. We seem to lack some of the irrational and verbally violent shouting matches which occur in America.

      Speaking of gang crime, a persistent argument raised by pro-gun lobbyists is that criminals will still find ways to arm themselves with guns even under gun control legislation. The evidence really isn’t there to support that view. Britain isn't a Utopia, and some gun crime unsurprisingly still continues, but the overwhelming majority of criminals no longer have guns - even gangs tend to use knives rather than guns - I know which I would rather be confronted with! As for criminals like burglars, I can't remember the last time I heard of an incident involving a burglar armed with a gun. Correspondingly there is less need for either the police or the ordinary citizen to defend themselves with guns.

      My thanks for your contribution Credence.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Willstarr;

      Your distinction between ‘rights’ and ‘privileges’ in the terms as you describe them, is not one that most people would recognise. Even if one regards it as a ‘right’ to bear arms in the 21st century (much disputed as an interpretation of the 2nd Amendment) the need for background checks or for a license does not turn that right into a privilege bestowed by the authorities - it merely recognises it as a right which carries very serious responsibilities. It is the duty of both the individual and (more importantly in this context) the authorities to ensure that that ‘right’ is not abused and other citizens do not suffer as a result. The best way for the authorities to ensure that is through background checks and licenses.

      We have marriage licenses and driving licenses and yet no one regards getting married or driving a car as a ‘privilege’ bestowed by the authorities. Driving a car is a legal right, but it is a right which carries responsibilities if we are to live in a civilised society. Quite correctly the authorities control who can drive a potentially ‘lethal weapon’ on the public highway. For a start, you have to take a driving test. There are also background checks done on anyone applying for a job which involves high levels of security, money, vulnerable people etc. Such checks and licenses are not draconian measures to remove peoples’ rights - they are responsible actions to maintain society and keep other people safe. Why should gun ownership be any different?

      Your comments that criminals would not get their guns licensed is a much repeated argument and is obviously true, but the inference from that - that criminals will still have as many guns in their possession in the future - is not true. Each gun confiscated upon arrest will be one less gun in society, and background checks or licences will reduce the flow of guns as more owners behave more responsibly. That is what has happened in other developed countries and it is what would happen in America with proper controls.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Will Starr,

      I think your last response is well put. The issue that never seems to achieve consensus is that of whom exactly would be effected by restrictive gun legislation. I consider myself somewhere in the middle on this issue, but I have to note that the "right" places extreme emphasis on its importance and the "left" just seems to gloss over it, if not completely ignoring it all together.

      The fact is that many "criminals", such as those we have seen in the headlines in the last several years in the States, are not the stereotypical street thugs 'scoring' guns on the black market. While attention needs to be paid to this issue it also needs to be put into perspective, I think. Sadly, like any and all controversial issues, the polarizing effects of cronyism and partisanship have stifled any hopes of finding a solution; at least for the time being.

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      Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks Alun, I have asked often why other developed Democratic societies have avoided these kinds of issues and the excuses from the right continue to flow like a runaway spigot. Canada to the north does not seem to have this problem, sharing much of our frontier history. In an excerpt from my most recent article on the topic "Why neither Obama or I want to take your gun", I speak of a civility lacking in our current culture:

      "As a young man, I paid a visit to London, England during the late 1970’s with great anticipation and full of curiosity and questions. When I was at a bank exchanging dollars for pound (sterling), I started a conversation with a ‘bobbie’ (police officer). I was curious as to why he was armed only with a baton rather than the standard firearm worn by his American counterpart. He told me that in their society to assault a law enforcement officer was ‘below the belt’ and that even the criminal element played within certain rules of behavior. I guess the best word that I can find to describe this is ‘civility’. There were some things that people just did not do and an entire society and culture were based on this commonly held understanding. However, 1978 was long ago, and things could have changed. But that moment was profound and explained the real difference between homicide rates in the U.S and those of Britain and to a large extent Western Europe".

      Alun, is that a reasonable explanation in your opinion as one who resides on the other side of the pond?

      The above mentioned article, speaks of the idea of limiting magazine capacity if for nothing else but to allow those attacked to either escape or attack the assailent while he reloads. Talking about any kind of reasonable firearm control and even discussing the 2nd amendment is much like touching God's eyeball for the rightwinger. I wish that they were as adamant about all the other amendments to the Constitution.

      Well, Alun, I afraid that the sentiment of the need to protect against what the conservatives call a "decadent left" is a strong motivation. Politicians who speak of 2nd Amendment remedies to the ideological debate that has the country at the crossroads are not just throwing words around in my opinion. If our democracy is to be based on the six-shooters, then the foundation is indeed on a slippery slope

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Particularly I cannot even begin to understand why some are so hostile to the idea of background checks, licenses, and limitations on the types of guns which are available to the public."

      Allow me to explain:

      1) The background checks being proposed would require universal registration and a direct violation of every gun owner's privacy rights. Since criminals would never comply anyway, it is directed at law abiding gun owners.

      2) Rights become privileges the moment citizens submit to licencing, so of course that is rejected by gun owners. In any case, since criminals would never get a license, it serves no purpose other than the further harassing of law-abiding gun owners.

      3) The limitations on types of weapons are set in Miller vs The United States, and those that are covered are those commonly held by the people, which would include those that the liberals would like to ban.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Credence2; Many thanks for visiting this page and for your point of view.

      Reading some of the articles, comments and corresspondence on this issue (particularly on other sites) there does seem to be an element of 'paranoia and obsession about modest and common sense controls' as you put it.

      Particularly I cannot even begin to understand why some are so hostile to the idea of background checks, licenses, and limitations on the types of guns which are available to the public. None of these measures would prevent a law abiding citizen from owning a gun, and yet even these measures are opposed by many.

      I hope that those who talk of insurrection and defending themselves against the Government are in a very tiny minority. I feel they do not appreciate the difference between a civilised democratic system of government (which America has, whether Democrat or Republican) and a genuine dictatorship which really does trample on peoples' fundamental human rights. Alun.

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      Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Most interesting article, Greensleeves, but, it should be obvious that the American political right has been paranoid and obsessive about modest and common sense controls over access to firearms by our citizens.

      The second amendment, no more than the first amendment is not absolute.

      I have had trouble in my conversations with the right as to what and how much military ordinance do they feel they have the right to obtain under the 2nd Amendment. Fully automatic submachine guns are prohibited, or very difficult to obtain and if you do obtain one the authorities know who you are. This was done back in the thirties as a response to Capone and the roving gansters of the period.

      Many of us on the left, as I have expressed to much dismay in many of my articles, fear the the right wants to arm as a precursor to an insurrection outside of the democratic process. Their traditional bases of support are less influential and that they would 'take' what they otherwise could not earn through popular sovereignty via the ballot.

      Interesting to get a perspective from outside the fray, thanks

      Credence2

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      junkseller; my thanks for your visit and generous comment about this hub, and particularly your appreciation of a foreign viewpoint. As a Brit I am detached from the history and culture which has brought about the present gun controversy, but I hope that by looking at this situation from the outside, I can view the issues and passions involved with an objective perspective. It's a subject which has come to interest me more and more in recent months.

      And thanks for the vote in jlboogades' poll - nice to know that at least for a while I will top the poll with one vote :-)

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      junkseller 4 years ago from Michigan

      Greensleeves,

      Exceptionally good hub. Personally, I tend to welcome foreign viewpoints. Sometimes it seems like they are the only ones who come to the discussion without their guns cocked and loaded and bloodshot eyes.

      You did such a thorough job, I really don't have much to add, just wanted to express my appreciation. I'd also like to thank jlboogades, for showing how easy it is to have a polite debate even from an opposing viewpoint. I voted for you on his hub and you now have unanimous 100 percent victory. Ha!

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Thank you very much. Yeah, the comment was the rough draft. I appreciate your response and the expediency of your reaction.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      jlboogades; Hi there. As requested I have removed your incomplete comment. HubPages are quite strict on issues of 'duplication' so I guess their mechanism for checking these things found too many sentences in the comment were the same as in your hub. They will review decisions like that if you raise it with them, but I don't know if they'd have allowed both the comment and your hub to both remain published. Anyway, I've taken out the comment. I look forward to reading your hub as soon as I can. Best wishes. Alun.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Well, I kind of feel like I'm stalking this Hub at this point, but I just read the comments between yourself, Connie120, and WillStarr. It seems that you understand much of what I talk about in my Hub on this subject: it really boils down to philosophical viewpoints that are taught and ingrained via sociocultural reciprocation.

      As far as your new found concern about the polarization of views in the U.S., it has always been this way. Enhanced information technology and the recent world economic travesties have just amplified these polarized voices. We have always been a 'teeter-totter' nation with a slightly 'right-of-center' sociopolitical orientation. I believe that this is what makes this nation such a great innovator: our diversity. But with every advantage there is a cost...

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Alright, I am learning allot from this interaction. Apparently there is too much of the content that I originally posted on your comments page in my Hub. I wanted to express that my inspiration for the Hub was this Hub. So, I was wondering if you would be as so kind as to remove my incomplete comment that I originally posted here. I have since commented with a link to my Hub, as you well know. I would greatly appreciate this courtesy and any further interaction in the future. Thank you.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Ok, I finally completed the hub. It took much longer than I had anticipated. Here is the URL: https://hubpages.com/politics/Guns-Rights-Beliefs-...

      It may not be posted for another day or two however. Thanks for entertaining my opposition. I hope that it is received as it was intended, with all due respect and grace, for thought provoking conversation sake.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Apologies, I am new to this forum and did not realize that the posts appeared and then disappeared until the hub author reviewed them. I would not have posted so many times had I have known that. Thanks for being understanding.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      jlboogades; Thanks again for the contribution. All your comments are now public.

      And I'm glad they are - although of course it's nice for me to receive comments totally favourable to my point of view re-guns, in some ways it's at least equally reassuring to receive rational comments from those who come from the 'conservative' camp. Without rationality on both sides there can be no hope of understanding, compromise or progress.

      Your views on the culture or subculture which may lead to extremism of views or extremism of expression, is illuminating, and I'm sure has great merit. Equally the perception of the nature of the divide between the 'conservatives' and the 'left' (terms which we in Britain may not necessarily use in this context) sounds very plausible. The study by USA Today in which many Americans aligned themselves according to their traditional Republican or Democratic allegiences irrespective of the actual policies attributed to those parties, does bear similarities to Britain. In a much milder manner in Britain, there is still a residue of the old class structure whereby a minority will align themselves with the Conservative Party or the Labour Party because they feel it is 'where they belong' and they profess that they will never vote any other way as long as they live, almost irrespective of the policies promoted by the right or the left.

      I appreciate the following evaluation of the fundamental difference between two powerful philosophical ideals in America:

      'the motivation and orientation of conservative Americans’ beliefs are derived, in part, from the ideology that individualism is more prized a philosophical position than socialism (collectivism)'.

      After this you began to look at some of the points made in my hub, and I can certainly understand how the different perspective which you present from the 'conservative' point of view may have developed without necessarily agreeing that the perspective is valid when all the evidence is considered. Nonetheless your contribution to this debate is enlightening on the nature of the divide which exists in America and the philosophy behind it, and I will certainly read your hub in due course. I suspect it will be interesting reading.

      Best wishes on your membership of HubPages. Whether your hubs prove popular remain to be seen, but I suspect they will certainly be well-reasoned and intelligent. Alun.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      jlboogades; RE - COMMENTS

      Many thanks for your contributions. I should first make a couple of points clear Justin as I believe you are new to HubPages, so may not understand some of the facilities. The writer of a hub can elect to immediately allow comments to be published or can reserve the right to review comments first. On all my other hubs, comments are immediately allowed. Uniquely on this hub I decided to allow myself the privilege of approving comments before they are made public. This was the reason your comments seemed to disappear from view (because I hadn't had the chance to review and approve them).

      I should explain my reason for wishing to 'approve' comments before they are made public is not to censor, but to avoid abusive comments and to avoid comments which meander too far from the central issue, and to maintain some order over the debate and to try to keep it constructive. (Gun control is a subject that sometimes - as you'll appreciate from reading this hub - attracts some comments which are not helpful or pleasant). To date in fact, only one writer has had any comments deleted, but even most of his have been approved. I had no problem in approving your comments.

      It seems though, you may have been right about the length of the comment. Your first comment was indeed cut off mid-sentence. I'm not sure why - I think I've seen longer comments on some other hubs, but yours was incomplete.

      Anyway, rest assured Justin, I had no problem with your post(s) - it's simply that approval was required before they were published. You can check out the options re-comment settings either on each individual hub or on the 'My Account' page. I will make a brief comment on the substance of your views shortly. Alun.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Ok... I have been trying to post a reply and it keeps going away. I have been working on a reply to this hub and it has turned into a hub in and of itself. Please check it out, it is entitled Guns, Rights, Beliefs, Philosophies, and People. Many times, as human beings we just want to combat others with our opinions without considering where they come from. I have begun that thought process in this hub and I hope that you will check it out. If this comment will stay on the page.

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      Justin Boogades 4 years ago from Lynchburg, VA

      Tell you what, I have put much thought into responding to this hub. I have tried to post it in the comment box and it must be too long. I have decided to post it as a hub instead. Please take the time to hear my reply to this very important debate. It involves a neoconservative view of the core of the issue and those like it in America. It is entitled Guns, Rights, Beliefs, Philosophies, and People. Thanks. I should have it up in the next few hours.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; The Constitution, as has been said many times before is notoriously open to different interpretations and has been interpreted very differently by different parties on this issue. The intentions which lay behind the precise phraseology of the Constitution have also been open to very different interpretations. Even Supreme Court judges and historians of the subject differ in their interpretations. Even the 27 words of the 2nd Amendment are much discussed and disputed as to the intent which lies behind them. When it comes to precise details rather than generalisations therefore, Americans who say they are loyal to the Constitution are in truth loyal only to their own interpretation of the Constitution.

      If gun control measures indeed breach the constitution, you might have a point. But do they? Does the Constitution lay down rules as to how many arms the people can own? Does the Constitution lay down rules as to the type of arms a person may own? Does the Constitution lay down rules on whether guns should be registered or licensed or not? If it does not, then limited gun controls do not breach the Constitution. It may possibly be necessary to use the amendment process to introduce a total gun ban, but it is not necessary to ‘change the Constitution’ to bring in gun control measures, and therefore it's not necessary to use the amendment process.

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      Connie120 4 years ago

      I'm sorry that your views of America have been shaken. As long as this remains a free country, you don't have to worry about insurrection. Despite the big talk, it would take a lot for anyone to go that far. Look for exmple at Obamacare. 70% of Americans opposed it, but the governemnt shoved it down our throats anyway. Yet no one revolted.

      I did want to make one more comment. Your idea that gun control can eventually reduce crime, by gradually taking the amount of guns out of society, is plausible, in a perfect world. But it would be very unlikely to have an effect in America, except to leave the good people defenseless, because our governemnt is a major player in gun trafficking. I think first of all that existing laws have to be enforced to their full extent, before they add any new laws. But of course that would mean that many government officials would need to be prosecuted as well.

      Thank you for a very interesting discussion. I hope we can find some common ground on other issues at least.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      " It seems no stable long established democracy raises talk of insurrection quite so much as the U.S.A."

      There's a good reason for that...we have a Constitution, and a means of changing that Constitution called 'the amendment process'.

      However, the left (and it 's always the left) wants to bypass that process in order to ban firearms because they know it will never be passed by the voters.

      That is the lawlessness that could very well spark an insurrection among Americans loyal to the Constitution.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Connie; As you say, these are two different viewpoints which cannot be reconciled. I won't argue the points with you because likewise, I don't see too much value in the circumstances. I'll only express my own pessimism.

      My own personal views about America have been shaken by the strength of feeling on this issue. I had always tended to think of America as very similar, culturally and politically, to Britain and indeed all other free democracies in Europe and the world, a stable and right-minded nation. Unlike some in the U.K, I've always been quite content with the idea of America (as the most powerful nation) taking the epithet 'leader of the free world'. I now find myself beginning to wonder if we can rely on America - not because of government actions, but because of extreme polarisation of views within the nation. As you know many across the pond find the gun lobby stance almost incomprehensible on all matters except self-defence against criminals. So of course do many in America in the anti-gun movement. But arguing about which side is right almost seems pointless.

      I've just been watching 'Star Trek' on T.V and the surrealness of the situation reminds me of the 'alternative universe' scenario in which two philosophies, superficially so similar, are so radically different on certain issues - two philosophies in the different nations of Britain and America, and two philosophies within the single nation of America. It seems no stable long established democracy raises talk of insurrection quite so much as the U.S.A.

      I hope it never comes to that. Alun.

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      Connie120 4 years ago

      I think we have two different viewpoints that really cannot be reconciled. I don't consider people standing up to tyranny, even as individuals, as leading to anarchy, since it would be the government that was the instigator. (It's not like they are planning to march on Washington and take over the government. they are only plannign to resist tyranny if it ever comes.) Perhaps you are right about modern democracies having very little chance of turning into tyrannies, but it is hard to have that viewpoint here. Like you said, "they still have to have the support of the people every 4 years." That is the problem, because there is an increasingly large majority of people in this country (mostly coming from Third World countries where they don't even know what freedom is), who are urging more and more totalitarian government control. So that the more we give in without standing up for what we believe, the easier and easier it becomes to head toward total dictatorship. I hope your belief is right, that this government will never become a dictatorship, but isn't it better to be prepared? The American people have given up a lot of liberty, and this country is already well on the way to being a "nanny state." It is very disheartening, and totally against the "American Dream," when the harder we work the more they tax us to pay for millions of people on welfare who sit on their duffs and do nothing. At least some people still show some spirit, and I think it is a good sign that they are at least prepared to make a stand at some point.

      I think that we have a different set of values than you do; probably you don't think guns are important enough to defend at the cost of bloodshed. Unfortunately neither of us can change the other's mind on that point, and who is to determine which one of us is right? But the motto "Stand for something or fall for anything," is very true, and a good attitude for everyone to have.

      I think emotions would not be so strong in this country if the gun control crowd were as civil as you are. Everyone has different opinions, different values, and viewpoints. There is no reason that we can't have a polite discussion based on facts. The trouble is that most of the gun ban people are trying to force their opinions on everyone. Gun control in this country isn't even about guns, it's about control, and that is why some gun owners at least are prepared to fight to the death. All the current gun control proposals only hurt law-abiding citizens, not criminals. There are a lot of good reasons why people own semi-automatics, which aren't even taken into consideration.

      I'm sorry to take up so much of your time. I promise I won't extend this into a long argument.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Connie; many thanks for your comment, and of course I am very grateful to you for the opening comment about the overall tone and presentation of my article.

      I have come to appreciate that this is an emotive issue for reasons not always associated with modern crime but sometimes to do with the historical backdrop. I would argue that the past is past and shouldn't have quite so much bearing on the present. Guns in the hands of individuals may well have played a part in setting America free and certainly were necessary in a new and pioneering nation, but the world of democracy is a very different place today. We in Britain of course had our own fair share of violence in the past including wars between England and Scotland, cruel, absolute monarchs and a civil war which ended with the King having his head chopped off!! But this was all a long time ago and democracy is an inherently stable system which I feel virtually precludes the possibility of government becoming truly tyrannical, given that they still have to attract the support of the people every four years. I cannot think of any long established and affluent democracy which has so drastically changed in that way. But I would say even if it was felt the Government was behaving tyrannically, the anarchy of individuals - not States - taking the law into their own hands with their own guns, each person having a different perspective on how the country should be run, is not really a preferable alternative.

      Re-threatening and abusive comments - I guess it's the nature of things that those who take the time to write on such subjects tend to be those who feel most passionately and tend to express their views most strongly. I haven't seen extreme views on the one 'anti-gun' lobby that I've visited as most seem only to be looking for control - not an outright ban - which to me seems moderate, but I am sure there are some on the anti-gun lobbies who will indulge in abuse against those of a different opinion.

      On a happier note, I see you are new to HubPages Connie, so welcome on board - I hope we find more things to agree on than disagree in any future correspondence on our hubs!! Alun.

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      Connie120 4 years ago

      This is a very well-written article! It is civil and unbiased, and researched, something that is very rare to find from the gun control crowd these days. While I don’t agree with your viewpoint, I am impressed that you did not resort to name-calling and hate-mongering, but presented your case in a polite well thought out manner.

      I would like to make a few comments. First of all, the thing that most shocks you about the feelings of some gun owners, is actually the sentiments that have made America a free country, and hopefully will keep her one. The willingness to stand up and fight against tyranny has been a hallmark of all true American patriots since the country began. It may be hard to imagine the US government ever becoming a dictatorship, since you are blessed with a government that respects the rights of its citizens even without a Bill of Rights or Constitution to keep it in check. (I don’t know much about the British government, but I gather that this is correct from your article?) But if (or when) the US government resorts to confiscation of private property, especially something so ingrained in the American culture as guns, then it definitely will be a tyranny, and every true patriot should stand up and fight. Otherwise, the American people will just be helpless sheep, and there will be nothing to keep the government from running roughshod over all the rights of the citizens, especially if they are the minority.

      I certainly don’t condone the rudeness of some of the comments you have received, especially since I’m sure you presented your arguments in the same civil tone you have used to write this hub. However, it is easy to understand that they would be upset, with the current attacks on their freedom. And if you read some of the threatening, rude, insulting comments on liberal comment boards, such as Huffington Post, you’ll have a better understanding of why many gun owners are distrustful of the current government, who were voted in by these liberals. It also doesn’t take much stretch of the imagination to envision a government become tyrannical, when the DHS is stocking up on millions of rounds of hollow-point ammo, thousands of bullet-proof checkpoint booths, and thousands of tanks. Not to mention drones and concentration camps!

      I’m sorry this is so long.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Paraglider; thanks very much. I just had a glance at your page and will comment in due course. I can agree about the rhetoric - 5 or 6 phrases keep cropping up (even more so on the lobby sites) as if those phrases constitute a valid argument. I must admit I find my views strengthening, rather than weakening, under the weight of critical views which so often seem to lack reasoned judgement.

      Mind you, your last sentence perturbs me somewhat - 500 comments!? I've got a life to lead away from HubPages! Maybe I'll find a nice secluded hut and live like a hermit without a computer for a few months till it all dies down :-)

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Walt Kienia; Hi; you say ‘it’s late in the game’ to contribute, but it’s never too late to hear some rational common sense, and your comment certainly has a refreshing analytical objectivity about it Walt. You’re right that perhaps the main point of the article (extreme views) and the amount of coverage of my own gun control views provide a dual focus of attention which may not be ideal, and if so, that’s a failing of mine, but there were two reasons for that approach:

      1) After the strong reaction on the lobby sites I felt it necessary to make clear my own (very moderate in my opinion) approach to gradual gun control in order to hopefully placate pro-gun readers and avoid the same kind of clichéd destructive arguments here - a not entirely successful aim, but it has perhaps moderated some of the pro-gun comments received here.

      2) The factual issue of the pros and cons of gun control are a little simpler to discuss than the psychological background to passionate views which - as you indicate - may be steeped in American history, culture and lifestyle. Certainly as a Brit I don’t feel so competent to discuss in detail how the strength of pro-gun opinion has developed and remains within American culture, in much the same way as most of us (in both Britain and America) feel we cannot adequately comprehend the strength of opinion of fundamentalist terrorists.

      I very much appreciate your concentration however on the main point of the article - a point which some correspondents have ignored possibly because they find expressions of violent opposition to gun control harder to justify than the argument in favour of gun ownership. Hopefully you're right that such strong views seem more apparent these days simply because of the ease with which they can be expressed to the world via the Internet.

      The point you make about challenges to the right to bear arms or vice versa is entirely valid - any decision for or against gun control should not create quite such emotion as it does, because any decision should be capable of being overturned at a future date - that after all is one of the bases of democracy. Some however, believe as a result of their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that current rights are utterly inviolable by Government, and are therefore not open to discussion.

      I very much appreciate your warm comments about the structure of the hub Walt, but I can also return the compliment as yours stands out as an enlightened and calmly thoughtful response on the issue of gun control and the passion which surrounds it in your own country. Thanks. Alun.

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      Dave McClure 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      This is an excellent piece. Well done. I have been on the receiving end of exactly the same arguments from the pro-gun camp as those you present here. I agree too that there is something particularly sickening about the "cold dead fingers" rhetoric, especially in the mouths of those who describe themselves as honest law abiding citizens who are, nevertheless, by their own admission, willing to kill law enforcement personnel rather than give up their toys.

      I expect this hub to run and run. My own on this topic, from 7 months ago, is approaching 500 comments. Clearly a touch point!

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      Walt Kienia 4 years ago from Hartford, Connecticut

      I know it's late in the game on this Hub but felt I compelled to comment nonetheless.

      As you state in a side capsule, your motivations for this article was the shocking and extreme views you've seen and experienced on pro-gun sites, blogs, etc.

      So that, rather than a pro or anti gun rant, is the focus of my comment.

      What I found interesting is that you found it necessary to give your views on the topic of gun control, more so than you did focusing on your motivation - why are people such banana heads.

      Perhaps a little experiment? Pavlov's dog approach to gun control debate? Bait them and watch them prove your point (a point that is well accepted as fact and needs no proof).

      Why does this debate stir that kind of cowboy ego and bunker mentality? I think it is because at the core of this debate is the 2nd Amendment that until recently has never been seriously challenged before the Supreme Court. And, by its structure and language, the Amendment leaves much room for subjective debate and delving into the mindset of those who wrote it and added it to the Constitution.

      Naturally then, we've been accustomed to subjectively protecting our right to bear arms, and that argument has thus far been victorious due to the lack of a successful challenge...and to the victors go the spoils (ego and all). Of course, any successful challenge to the right would also be based on subjectivity and therefore prone to being overturned at some other point.

      Then there is the nature of man, and to the point of this article, the American man. Many of us have very large and undeserved egos. Machine guns, 8 ft. (sorry about the lack of metric conversion) tall trucks, and cars that go 165 mph (again, the lack of conversion thing) are some of the by-products of that culture. And, no matter how logical you make your point against these things, they will defend to the death their right to be illogical, in very emotional terms; we tend to suppose our emotion and ego stand for logic.

      And then along came the internet. Now these on the extreme coasts do not have to go down to the Boar and Beer tavern to commiserate with like minded people. No longer do they have to spend the cost of a stamp to send a letter to the editor of the local rag and hope it is published for Joe down the street to see and read.

      The internet has put it "in your face" but it is not a new phenomena. After the killing of JFK in 1963 there were the extremists on both sides of this debate getting their brand of logic into the papers, and I'm sure Joe's Barbecue Pit and Honey's Natural Cafe had guests working up an appetite over their own stance on this issue. Tragedies bring out the best and worst of people.

      And the gun issue does not have a monopoly on this sort of natural spit-in-your-general-direction debate. Abortion, taxes, politics, religion, sex, all can bring debate to a stirring climax.

      The resolution of this climax is that, well, we are still here and the government has not yet sent helmeted goons into our bunkers, and for the most part, we carry on as usual. Which speaks to your fears about our little national experiment over here.

      Despite all of that, I liked your Hub very much. This is probably the best structured Hub I've seen yet and I was impressed; I felt it had a magazine style that was very well done.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      I assume the 2000 mentioned were illegal immigrants convicted of criminal offences - presumably minor or non-violent? Such people released from prison may well need some sort of family or official support to keep them from re-offending, but clearly they cannot be kept in prison for ever. Without hearing the reasoning from those who felt it was justified, I don’t know whether it was ‘insane’ as you suggest, or reasonable. I can’t really comment further on that.

      The rest of the points are similar to those made previously. They are not an argument against restrictions on gun ownership such as the type of guns owned, number of guns owned, or licensing of guns owned. They are in fact an argument in favour of gun control to make it more difficult for released criminals to obtain firearms, and for laws and sentences which discourage criminals from using guns. I’ve said throughout my article that I would not advocate an immediate ban on all guns in private ownership - is anyone suggesting that? Is the Government ‘trying to deny citizens the right to own guns‘? I think it is just trying to introduce sensible gun control measures. I advocate reduction and control in conjunction with other measures against criminals who carry guns. That seems sensible to me.

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Alun, a most recent development in my country happened just this week. Our government chose to release approximately 2000 criminals from our prisons supposedly to save money. Every one of these released criminals was scheduled for future deportation, and according to our government they are low risk. Now we have 2000 convicted criminals wandering our streets with no money and no job. They also didn't notify law enforcement they were releasing these prisoner into the communities. Borders on insanity don't you think?

      Because everyone needs to eat at least once in awhile, can you see a problem with this action?

      I live in a rural area only 32 miles from one of these prisons. Response time for law enforcement to my house ranges from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

      Bottom line on this is I am thankful I still have guns at my house and know how to use them.

      It is odd that the same government who allowed this to happen is also trying to deny citizens the right to own guns. Makes absolutely no sense to me.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Thank you Christopher for that. I very much appreciate your kind words and your encouragement. Cheers. Alun.

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      Christopher Davis 4 years ago from New Port Richey, Florida

      Brilliant hub! Great read! Keep it up!

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      snakeslane; big thanks and gratitude for your comment here! It is the case that those who feel most passionately about a subject are most likely to comment, and so I guess it's not too surprising that very strong views often get expressed on a subject which seems to inspire more emotion than any other. It's not been as bad on HubPages of course as on the pro-gun lobbies, but it's still a shock to see the strength of feeling of some.

      In Britain, there isn't even an issue over 'the right to bear arms'. Nobody wants guns or sees the need for them. When tougher restrictions were introduced, the only people who had any reservations at all seemed to be a few farmers, or members of hobby shooting clubs, but even they accepted the needs for strict licencing and strict limitations in gun types. It's odd how people in countries with so much in common (language, democracy and free speech, free enterprise, affluence, world view etc) can be so radically different on this particular issue. Of course there's a wide range of opinions in America, and I have found a popular pro-gun control Internet lobby which (for me) makes much more reassuring reading than the other sites I visited!)

      I will check out the page you mention. Maybe I can offer the writer some sympathy :-) Alun

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      snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

      " Never before have I been told I'm 'an idiot' or a 'retard' so often in such a short space of time as I have in my visits to these pro-gun forums! Never before have I been told so often that my views are irrelevent and I should shut up and go away. It seems there is no desire to listen to an alternative idea". Wow Alun, good investigative journalism. You are brave to enter into the fray. Paraglider (on Hub Pages) got swamped with comments on his page on this topic. Did you see his hub? I just scanned most of this, it's so difficult to grasp. Regards, snakeslane

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Suzie! Truly a pleasure to welcome a friendly face here!! It has been a bit shocking to me how uncompromising some views have seemed to be even on a neutral writing site - whilst on the pro-gun lobby sites, the nature of opinions expressed have made me feel that some aspects of American culture are more alien to European values than I would ever have believed before.

      On the bright side, you mention the number of 'lengthy' comments - at least those opinions have made this my most commented upon hub (if not the best liked by all) and perhaps on the way to becoming one of my most successful, so I guess I should thank them for that! :-)

      You mention the Republic of Ireland. I think the figure for Ireland is very low, but I guess that many of the lowest gun ownership countries (in green) are Third World countries, where even if guns are legal, they cannot be afforded or acquired, or perhaps they are just not recorded or registered leading to artificially low figures.

      It does seem gun control will remain a controversial issue for the foreseeable future. Alun.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Old Poolman; On the one hand it's encouraging for me to hear in your previous post that gun owners and home owners in America cannot abuse their rights under the law without being challenged or punished if it is believed they used undue force to defend themselves or their property.

      Equally however, it was interesting to hear of the two examples of burglars claiming damages - Nice to see American courts can be prone to the same absurdities of common sense as British courts sometimes are!! We can agree that there is no way these two criminals should have won their court cases - it is utterly daft that a home owner should be successfully sued in the two instances you describe.

      Certainly also I can agree there should not be hard and fast mandatory punishments meted out in cases of home owners who tackle burglars and inflict injury. Every situation is indeed unique, and must be judged on its own merits with a common sense attitude.

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      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Alun my friend,

      Well what a hub I decided to read. Having not read your work( humble apologies) in awhile this was an awesome piece you put together. I don't think i have read a hub that has received so many lengthy comments of various points of view. All makes for interesting reading. Coming from Rep of Ireland where firearms are illegal it is interesting to see it does not rate as the smallest area on the map of firearms.

      Well researched and written Alun, you are to be commended tackling this subject which is bound to generate different views. Congrats vu, interesting useful.

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      WillStarr - Have you given any thought to whom might have voted against this amendment to our State Constitution?

      Criminals and Lawyers is all I can think of.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      In Castle Doctrine states, a homeowner can assume that an intruder is a threat and can use deadly force.

      In the past, a homeowner had to prove that it was justified. Under the Castle Doctrine, the burden of proof shifts to the state, where it belongs. If the state feels deadly force was not justified, they must prove it.

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Alun - My state wrote a amendment to our state constitution for the last election. It passed by a huge majority of voters.

      That amendment stated that a criminal who is injured during the commission of a crime can no longer sue the homeowner in civil court.

      Two examples:

      A burgler attempting to break into a home fell through a skylight onto a knife that had been left on the kitchen counter. He sued the homeowner for improper storage of a sharp object and won his suit.

      Another burgler broke a window to enter a home, and was bitten by the owner dog when he stuck his leg through the opening. He also sued and won his case in civil court.

      Yet neither of these two criminals would have fallen under the law where it was OK to shoot and kill or injure them. They were unarmed burglers.

      Now, is a 200 pound unarmed criminal a threat to say an older couple or a single woman when he breaks into their home while they are sleeping? Because of the difference in size and/or age, he is still definetly a threat. At what point would either the older couple or the single woman pull the trigger if they had a gun? I suspect that would depend on how frightened or panicked the victims were. Every situation is unique, and there is no simple answer to when lethal force is justified.

      Perhaps with their new effort at Gun Control, which will not work, our Government can provide several thousand page instruction manuals on when it is OK to shoot a criminal, or when someone should just remain a victim of a crime and hope for the best.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Old Poolman; thanks for that clarification. I think it's pretty much the same legal position in my country, though it's probably harder to justify shooting in Britain because burglars are so very rarely armed with guns.

      There have been a few cases in the past where home owners who have held legitimate gun licences have been jailed for shooting burglars, but there has also been a concern that home owners must be allowed to use 'reasonable force' to defend themselves. Of course what is 'reasonable' depends upon the circumstances.

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      In the USA, it is illegal to shoot someone who is attempting to steal your property. This action may only be used to protect your own life, or the lives of those around you.

      Even if law enforcement agrees with the shooter that there was an immediate threat to his own life, he or she is still liable for damages in civil courts. Pulling that trigger will cost the shooter a minimum of $10,000 for his own defense even if the shooting was justified.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      It depends I think on the burglar and the circumstances. If the burglar is armed and threatening, (which I'm guessing is the case with Express10's incident) then self-defence justifies extreme force including shooting.

      But if the burglar is clearly unarmed and not about to shoot anyone, then the crime of burglary in itself certainly doesn't justify killing the criminal. The case of Oscar Pistorius (even if one accepts his version of events) is a current example of the way guns may be grossly misused.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      I guess burglary deserves death. Makes the Islamic way of cutting off hands seem civilized.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Expresso10; Thanks for your comment. I can agree with the suggestion that law abiding, responsible owners may be perfectly safe with guns. The trouble surely is that without stringent restrictions and checks, there is no telling just who is going to be both law abiding and (equally important) responsible, in the way they keep their guns safe and use them safely.

      I do also believe that it should be possible for a well organised nation like America to gradually reduce access to guns by criminals, as many other nations have managed to do, though I do fully accept that until such reduction is acheived, it would be worrying for many to be left totally unarmed in a country where so many criminals have guns. Thanks for your contribution. Alun.

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      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      I agree with Old Poolman. My father's guns never hurt anyone until he had to pull the trigger on a burglar and this was done in self defense saving himself and his three little girls. I am pro gun for the simple fact that I know that I would want one if one were to ever be pulled on me. Further, police may take a very long time to respond in certain areas where all sorts of harm, trauma, and death can take place for those who are unarmed. Those who are not law abiding will always have guns to inflict harm on others. I fully believe as a law abiding American that I have every right to lawfully arm myself.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      NOTICE ABOUT COMMENTS

      When I wrote this hub, I was not expecting so many long and involved comments. It's a new experience for me! I feel I’m giving a fair hearing to everyone (and will continue to do so). But given that almost all comments until recently have come from pro-gunners, I’ve felt obliged to respond to all in order to defend my views. The considerable time required to respond properly to passionate opinions is preventing me from writing on other subjects which I wish to do. Also, the subject of comments seems to deviate at times into areas which aren’t relevant to the central issue.

      I have asked one hubber to temporarily stop commenting as he has already provided more than 15 comments and counter comments. I‘ve happily approved these, but we seem now to be recycling the same arguments and indeed moving even further apart in our views - not closer - and it's getting a little unpleasant. Given this request of mine to him, it would be wrong of me to allow any further attacks on his viewpoint if he cannot defend himself on this page. But by all means please continue to comment (both pro and anti) on my hub as it’s really interesting to read different viewpoints. I really don’t want to delete any comments because it smacks of censorship, but I don’t know how else at the moment to keep the communications manageable. (I intend soon to put the main points into a forum debate on this site where everyone can say as much as they like as often as they like). Apologies and thanks for your consideration. Alun.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Johnu1; my thanks and appreciation of your comments, which of course I very largely agree with. It is good to hear from an American with a view from the other side of the gun issue. I hope you or others of similar opinion feel able to contribute further in this debate.

      You would not be aware of the situation which WillStarr mentions below, but a further note on that will follow above.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      johnu1,

      Greensleeves Hubs is now deleting my comments, so I won't bother writing a response. Sorry.

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      johnu1 4 years ago

      Willstarr adds this:

      "In fact, Brits suffer from an absolute phobia of firearms, and cannot understand the American men who are not afraid of them. We also have a few men with the same phobia. Perhaps we should send them to you."

      I'm not quite sure where this ought to be headed but perhaps a discussion with the sons, daughters and grandchildren of people who survived the bombings in World War II in London might suppress any notion that the Brits are cowardly. They stuck it out for quite some time, waiting for the Americans to have the backbone to stand up to Hitler. And it took Pearl Harbor (on the other side of the globe) to make that happen.

      So, whatever "in fact" you have to offer there, please continue. I'd be intrigued. To the best of my recollection, the Brits not only survived the Nazis, but were pretty darned instrumental in maintaining a free society all these years later. How'd they do that, the cowards?

      As an American, I find this sort of blanket attack on a culture to be in very poor taste. It also suggests ignorance in the face of all the facts that no gun ban has ever been proposed or would ever pass the first round of a legal challenge.

      Arming yourself against a tyranny is as childish as it sounds. Who you gonna shoot? You pretend these federal agents are going to come to your door, walk in, take your guns and send you off to a detention center. I don't think it works like that. What they do, if they want your guns, is to send a warrant (issued by a judge, with good evidence one is required.)

      If you shoot back, they do what they did to Dorner. Maybe you'll escape to fend off another Army battalion. It's hard to say what the odds are, Rambo.

      And if you are so arrogant as to think that the rest of the world ought to stay out of our business, I might remind you of where most of our Navy is located -- and it ain't off Norfolk, Va.

      And while you're at it, explain how those naztee Nazis weren't able to conquer the well-armed Swiss. Oh, I know ... the Swiss traded in their army knives and got guns!

    • profile image

      johnu1 4 years ago

      I've read enough point/counterpoint on this topic that it reminds me of the wash/rinse/repeat ... so, let me iterate my thoughts on this.

      1. Gun control or any form of suggestion thereof, is totally pointless. Even if you dismiss the 'only criminals will have them' baloney, there is simply zero need to ban guns, control guns or ammunition, shooting ranges. People who don't know how to use a gun will commit gun crimes, kill or maim themselves or others ... it just can't work. Face it, admit it, and get over it.

      2. Stop worshiping the Second Amendment by skipping over the rest of the document. "Domestic tranquility" is in the Preamble. "Well-regulated" is not just an adjective.

      3. That brings me to the point of all this. The reason to coil up in the corner and defend, by-god-or-else, the right to own guns is appalling. The government is not going to launch a civil war against itself or its people. Hell, we have a $1.3 trillion military. What tells you what about that? This is the gun lobby's problem. This is America's problem. The hate and bitterness, paranoia and racist-fueled fear that these "militias" seem to think entitles them to terrorize and frighten the public with their bogus arrogant "hunker down and fight" mentality.

      4. So where does that leave us? We have identified the problems.

      -- The school massacre scenario is almost impossible to prevent. Sadly, that is a fact.

      -- The idiot who shoots himself in the leg while "cleaning" his gun or the drunk who leaves the .380 on the table and lets his kid fire one into the ceiling (or worse) ... THOSE people need to be prohibited from ever owning a gun.

      -- Street gangs. We need to work on this problem. This is where the killings occur. Screw the terminology. What does it matter? Gangs are the problem. This is a social problem, not a gun lobby problem. State laws can work wonders here.

      -- The unregulated militias and renegade cops or PTSD soldiers are the worst of the bunch because of their ability to inflict more damage efficiently. This is what the gun lobby needs to fix.

      In short, the gun lobby can fix what it can fix. As a society, we can fix what we can fix. Adding gun laws is not the answer and the reason is simple: None of the scenarios I describe are affected by new laws.

      Above all, we need to have lawmakers and people of social weight stop pretending this is all someone else's problem. Stop posturing. Congressmen won't say it's about rebellion. They can't. They will talk about hunting. Patriot militias will blame the "libtards" and say it's about preservation.

      It's about sanity. Wipe out the line in the sand.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; Well at least you've finally come clean on the extent of your feelings. I'm not going to argue any more over this - it is rather pointless.

      You've made it clear you believe that it is tyrannical for a Government to want to introduce some measure of gun control. You also make clear you would support any violent resistence to such gun control. You also clearly take exception to my commenting on American issues. You don't respect my views, and I'm afraid I can't really respect what I see as extreme and undemocratic views on your part.

      I've allowed your post, but sadly, unlike with some who have commented here in favour of guns, there is no way forward in our personal discussion. So let's end it here shall we?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I understand you far better than you think. I have dealt with this issue for quite some time, and I long ago realized that Americans and Brits are polar opposites on this topic. While Americans enjoy the shooting sports and like the feel of a well made firearm, the average British man is scared to death of guns. In fact, Brits suffer from an absolute phobia of firearms, and cannot understand the American men who are not afraid of them. We also have a few men with the same phobia. Perhaps we should send them to you.

      I fully support the right of the people to keep and bear those arms that are commonly held by the people. I don't believe an honest citizen who owns fifteen firearms is any more dangerous than an honest citizen who owns one firearm or even none at all. Your abhorrence of a man who owns a collection of guns is your phobia, not mine.

      And yes, if my government decides that it can no longer trust its honest citizens to keep and bear arms, then it has become a tyranny, and it is not only our right, but our duty to take up arms against that tyranny. That is the primary purpose of the Second Amendment, and no, I don't expect a Brit to understand that concept either. You meekly allowed your government to disarm you, something American men would never do. There would be another civil war.

      I reject all your notions on how your American cousins ought to conduct their business, and I suggest you tend to your own business and stay out of ours.

      The Supreme Court agrees with me that the Second Amendment prohibits what the tyrannical left proposes to do. There will be no banning of firearms or the right to keep and bear.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      My thanks Old Poolman; As you say, we'll have to just agree to differ on most of these issues (including the long held theory about the Japanese being deterred by armed citizens from invading America).

      Even if we cannot agree about gun control, we can agree at least that there are other measures necessary to reduce homicide rates including a more effective way of identifying potentially disturbed people and shielding society from them, as well as more efficiently dealing with crime including gangs and drug dealers.

      Best wishes. Alun.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Will; In all your comments on this article are you actually ever going to make a comment on the real concern of the article, rather than my very moderate suggestions on gun control? Namely what do you think of the extreme reactions of some people in the gun lobby? Do you believe that it’s a good thing to have a home stacked full of guns? Do you believe gun control is all part of a Government plot to suppress and tyrannise the people? Do you believe in the right to kill any law officer who may one day come to confiscate your weapons? Or can you at least agree with me that these people are extreme and misguided?

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; you are either misinterpreting or distorting my words. I do check all of the information I present. According to one source (a pro-gun site), a survey indicated almost 75% of guns used by criminals come from family or friends, are bought legitimately by people who then sell them on or trade them to criminals, are bought at gun shows, flea markets etc, or are acquired through theft. In other words the majority are not smuggled in to the country - they come originally from legitimate sources. Even the crooked dealers you mention are frequently legally licenced, whilst selling a proportion of their guns through shady deals. Another survey indicates 80% of crime guns come from family and friends, gun shows and dealers and straw purchases - in the case of straw buyers, even if the intent of the buyer is illegal, the intent of the original seller may not be.

      Your other point is also wrong if as I presume, you are suggesting that the overwhelming majority support a total absence of gun control? Supporting the 2nd Amendment does not equate with supporting no controls whatsoever on guns.

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Alun - Thanks for the response.

      I often wonder if any of this same type conversation took place when "spears" and "bows and arrows" arrived on the scene. Both of these weapons accounted for far more deaths than had previously been possible with bare hands and clubs.

      I still view guns as nothing more than a tool. A lethal tool, but still just a tool. Without a person behind it, and gun is really nothing but an object.

      I have no idea how the laws are written or they deal with mentally disturbed people in your country, but here in the USA they don't deal with them. After every one of our most recent violent crimes where guns were involved, someone steps forward citing facts that they were very afraid of this individual. In some cases, it has been parents who were unable to get anything done about their own childs mental instability, and they were in fear for their own lives. I would guess if guns were totally eliminated, the mentally deranged people would find another means of carrying out their slaughter of innocent victims.

      My main point is that our Politicians can write thousands of new laws and it will make very little difference. Just like illegal drugs, those who want them and have the money will have guns.

      The world is changing, our own government is trying to weaken our military. We have other countries who would love to see the US disappear in a puff of smoke. Our own Police can't do much of anything until a crime has been committed. I just don't feel now is a good time to disarm honest and law abiding citizens of this country.

      It was actually knowlege of the private gun ownership in this country that stopped the Japanese from invading our soil. I can find the facts on this if you need them.

      The best we will ever do is agree to disagree on this matter.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "The great majority of guns used in crime today are legally bought or stolen from innocent gun owners."

      Untrue. Most criminals get their guns illegally, from crooked dealers, street dealers, and straw buyers. Very few are legally bought or stolen from owners.

      BTW, the overwhelming majority of Americans support the Second Amendment and our right to be armed, so you are also wrong in that score.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Old Poolman; Thanks for your views. I still wait for some who believe in gun control to visit and comment - all the opinion polls suggest that America is fairly evenly divided on this issue!

      Your opening argument is effectively the old mantra that ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people‘. Of course this is true, but it is equally true that guns make the job very much easier. Most mentally unstable people will not make bombs. But if they have easy access to a gun then they will use it. If you destroyed all your guns tomorrow, as you say it would have no effect on the murder rate, but if everyone destroyed their guns or (more reasonably and sensibly) had the majority slowly removed from circulation over many years, then gun crime would fall. This has happened in many other countries. I know that the follow up response in the gun lobby would be that criminals would still get guns in huge numbers on the black market, but again, I can only point to other countries, where this is really not the case. The great majority of guns used in crime today are legally bought or stolen from innocent gun owners. Many criminals would not acquire them from other sources in the event of a ban. But of course I do accept in the article that it is not simply about removing guns, but rather about a package of measures to reduce the availability of guns from elsewhere.

      I am sure Mike that my figures quoted for the U.S are correct. They come from many sources. You will note in the article that the figures refer to ‘leading developed countries’ (affluent countries and countries with stable democracies). There are certainly countries with higher murder rates in Africa and Latin America and a few in the Americas with higher gun related murders, but none are truly comparable to the U.S.A, with the advantages which you have; America is a rich, stable, free democracy with massive resources to bring to bear on problems of this kind. For such a nation the gun murder figures are extraordinarily high.

      The reason for my interest, which has only really developed in recent months is as I tried to make clear in the article. It is not so much about gun control on which I feel my views are moderate - the reason for the interest was primarily the attitude of so many in the gun lobby who seem paranoid about military takeovers and tyrannical Governmental control of their lives. Many seem to have a love affair with their guns and like to build up a veritable arsenal of lethal weapons, and seem prepared to use them to kill law officials who may one day be empowered to confiscate them. I merely point out that all this seems bizarrely violent to those in the rest of the developed world who manage to get along fine without guns, without any great fear of being attacked, and without feeling that we are suppressed or enslaved by our Governments. Americans have so much in common with Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and similar affluent democracies, but on this one issue America seems to have nothing at all in common with its closest allies in the world.

      Re-your last points, like so many you seem to want to turn this into some kind of war of scoring points between Brits and Americans. It isn’t. There’s plenty of areas in which I think American society may be better than British society. But the freedom to hoard guns just isn’t one of them. I was at pains to point out I am not attacking America, merely the beliefs of a small minority of Americans on this one issue. Sadly Mike, some of your compatriots do seem to regard the right to bear arms as something to cherish more than freedom of speech or democratic values, and some seem to cherish that right so much they’ll protect it - literally - with a gun. Thanks for reading. Alun.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Well said, Old Poolman!

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      The componet of this equation I see missing in most gun control advocate articles regards the person using the gun.

      Never have I read about a gun that woke up angry in the morning and decided to kill some people that day. The point being that a gun is a inanimate object with no brain or reasoning power at all.

      If I decided to take my welding torch and destroy my gun collection today, would it have any affect whatsoever on tomorrows murder rate? No, it would not because I am reasonably sane and have no intention of murdering anyone.

      Rarely is it discussed that the mentally unstable person using the gun is the real problem. The gun he used was just a tool in the hands of a demented individual. This same individual could make a bomb and do as much or more damage.

      I believe the numbers you cited regarding the US having the highest murder rate in the world is incorrect. I can provide a link to some hard numbers if you need. The highest murder rate actually falls to countries with some very strict gun control laws.

      Written laws are a joke to anyone with a criminal mind. Write all the laws you want and it changes nothing for them. Look at the laws on the books for illegal drugs, they have been less than effective.

      Completely outlaw guns and all that would happen is the street price on illegal guns would go up in value. Just as illegal drugs cost more than legal drugs.

      It does strike me as odd that someone living in the UK would take such an interest in gun laws in the US. A Google search on crime in the UK provides many links to persons being killed and injured by someone using a gun in your country. Unarmed Police Officers are killed in your country by criminals with guns.

      You are obviously anti-gun, perhaps because that is always the way it has been in your country since you were born. I would suggest you do some research on crimes in your own country before you start finding fault with my country. Your own country is not the most peaceful place on earth devoid of criminals and crime.

      You are an excellent writer but you will never sell your anti-gun views to most of us in the USA. If it weren't for guns, we might even still be under British rule.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      I find that when you can predict someone's political views on the basis of their username or avatar, you can be sure their argument will depend on something other than logic.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Cagsil; if I may paraphrase your comment and return it - 'how can I make it so you can understand it?' If a gun is a 'product' as you correctly say it is, then it can be controlled. Supply of guns can be controlled, and types of guns can be controlled. It has happened in many other countries, and there is no reason why it cannot happen in America. (I am not suggesting it would be easy or quick, but it can be done if there is the will to do it). Gun laws do not 'only restrict rights' as you say. Properly administered, they save lives. Your comment that 'gun laws have absolutely no effect on gun violence' is demonstrably false. All evidence shows that it is false, when valid comparisons are made across nations or across time.

      You conclude by saying 'keep the Federal and State governments out of the life of society, as much as possible'. To an extent I can agree with that, but guns are inextricably linked to crime in America and it is part of Federal and State responsibilities to deal with crime and particularly with homicide. I can certainly accept that it is not easy for the Federal Government to pass effective legislation, but that is down to conflicting authorities of national and state government, conflicting authority of written constitution and elected government, and the almost religious fervour with which many approach this subject - a fervour which seems to preclude sensible debate or compromise. There has to be a sizeable element of respect for any Government's right to govern, and if that doesn't exist, then there is no democracy and no hope for the future of anything except anarchy.

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      Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

      Okay, maybe I can make it so you can understand it. A Gun is a product. It is sold commercial and privately. It is sold Internationally too. The Gun is the singular most powerful weapon a person can buy to protect their ENTIRE life, such as family, property and self. Gun Laws only restrict rights and have absolutely NO affect or effect on Gun violence. Gun Laws do NOT equate Gun Control. Only the gullible people, the completely willful ignorant and uninformed, equate Gun Laws to actual Gun Control.

      You want Gun Control. Get informed about them. Educate people about the power and ability of them, and let THEM decide on whether it is a fit for them for purchase and protection. Keep the Federal and State governments OUT of the life of society, as much as possible.

      http://cagsil.hubpages.com/hub/Gun-Control-The-Cen...

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      lone77star; As I think you might expect I have to disagree with much of what you say. There seems to be some exaggeration of the facts in your post, to put it mildly.

      To take just one example. As far as HR347 is concerned, this bill hardly makes it a felony to protest against the Government. It only restricts (as I understand it) the right to enter or remain in high security areas without legal authority to do so. It is a security measure to protect public figures, which seems necessary in troubled times. You could possibly argue that it is a measure which could be abused, but it is in itself hardly the end of the right to protest against the Government as you suggest.

      You also go into a discussion about economic policy, but I fail to see the relevence of this to the subject of gun control within America, despite your view that a 'one-world government' (whatever that is) 'needs America out of the way', and to do this 'they need to disarm Americans'.

      As for 'scientific evidence that proves 9/11 was an inside job' - this is not true. There is no scientific evidence which proves such a thing, and every bit of evidence put forward for such a view is either anecdotal, spurious, or has much more rational counter explanations. I might in the future publish a hub myself on that subject pointing out the inaccuracies of the conspiracy case.

      lone77star, I guess you are putting forward the idea that the Government is indeed tyrannical and needs to be protected against by arming the citizens. I have to say I don't see it, and the exaggerations contained in such arguments as you present them only demonstrate the flimsiness of the case. Although you have put forward here your belief in widespread conspiracies, I think in the absence of any genuine proof, it is stretching the debate on gun control rather too far, particularly to talk about events which took place under an entirely different Government more than 10 years ago. (I know you argue your conspiracy case for 9/11 on your own pages and that is probably the place for people to discuss your theories on the subject).

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      Rod Martin Jr 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      A tough subject.

      If they outlaw guns, then only outlaws and the government (same thing?) will have guns.

      I don't much like guns, myself, but I support America's 2nd Amendment wholeheartedly.

      Already, America has lost its ideals. Already, we've lost habeas corpus and posse comitatus. It's now a felony to protest what the government is doing (HR 347). And the military can incarcerate any American for no reason, without access to an attorney, a trial or a phone call. President Obama has his Kill List which includes Americans on it -- no trial, only murder by presidential decree.

      The government has not yet run amok, sort of. It did lie about WMDs, attack a country and then did not apologize and withdraw when the lie was discovered. That's not very civilized. The president did break the law when he had America attack Libya without Congressional approval. He did break his campaign promise and circumvent Congress when he created over 900 signing statements (more than all other presidents combined!).

      And the government is spending money like they're drunken pirates who stole someone's credit card. Before Bush, the national debt was climbing steadily. With Bush, it accelerated markedly. With Obama, it skyrocketed. If you made 30,000 Euros a year and spent a million Euros on your credit card every year, you'd soon lose the ability to use that credit card. Not so with America. The very private central bank is insanely making money available when ever Congress needs to borrow it. Pure insanity.

      What does this have to do with gun control? Plenty.

      The one-world government needs America out of the way to make their dreams come true. Chipping slowly away at American liberties will make the American problem go away, but they need to disarm Americans before the dollar Debt Bubble bursts.

      Two years ago, I still believed the Bush conspiracy theory on 9/11.

      But then I saw some of the scientific evidence that proves 9/11 was an inside job. When the Mayor of New York gets away with felony obstruction of justice by destroying evidence at the largest crime scene in American history, you know something is rotten in America. When the military officers responsible for the failures on 9/11 all get promotions instead of courts martial, you know that there are bad guys in high places.

      http://www.AE911Truth.org -- for lots of scientific evidence from the experts (who are not working for the government) proving 9/11 was an inside job.

      Asymmetric damage never leads to symmetrical collapse, except in cartoons and on 9/11.

      Perfect free fall never happens in a building collapse unless there was controlled demolition, contrary to the lies of the 9/11 Commission and NIST report on 9/11. If you believe America's 9/11 reports, then you should never go in a skyscraper ever again. An office fire could collapse the entire building (not!).

      If I still lived in America, I'd be buying myself some guns. Things are bound to get pretty nasty when the dollar goes pop.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; In your post below you say 'they are not "my' facts. They are Nationmaster statistics'.

      When did I suggest they were facts you conjured up out of thin air? I accept they are statistics - I've seen them myself. I merely point out that statistics can be used and manipulated and do not reveal the whole truth - which is so in this case as I've explained. I don't recall saying that the 'streets' as in 'everyday activities' are dangerous in America - it was you who compared violence on the streets suggesting that our streets in the UK are much more dangerous than yours in the U.S. Finally, it does seem that you want to speak for all Americans. Granted, I'm not in a position to speak for all Americans, but given that about half the people in most polls believe in some measure of gun control, are you in a position to do so?

      Could I ask for a brief break? Or just a few less comments? I have to answer the points you make because they need answering, but I like to be sure of the evidence I quote, and it does take a lot of time to check that evidence. Even if it's just a week or two to let me concentrate on other things including other hubs. My thanks. Alun.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      ib radmasters; Sorry it’s true I haven’t read your hub yet - I’ve actually had to devote too much time to refuting the claims made by you and others on here, quite apart from writing my own hubs on other subjects ! Give us a break for a few days and I’ll try to find the time, I promise. But gun control CAN affect gangs. There are gangs in countries with gun control which don’t use guns. They use knives (not great but better). I’m not suggesting it’s easy or quick to get rid of guns in a gang culture, but it can be done and it certainly isn’t an ‘either/or’ situation. I believe gun control AND gang control should be the aim.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; You give a link below to an example of a case in which a woman proved the value of gun ownership when she was attacked in her own home. Perhaps. Although it thankfully all turned out well for this lady, were her actions necessarily wise?

      Reading the article, the lady was confronted by three masked men with at least one gun. At one stage the men took out duct tape. With masks and duct tape, it may be they did not intend to kill this woman, rather to bind and gag and escape without the victim being able to identify them. We cannot know for sure. However, she decided to go for her gun. Luckily her dogs distracted the men with barks. Luckily, she got in one shot first. Luckily two of the men ran rather than firing back or attacking her. Luckily the third man who did attack and grabbed the gun out of her hand, did not then use it on her.

      Clearly this woman was brave, she faced a violent ordeal, and I have no problem with her intentions to deal with three men who deserved everything they got. But even though it turned out well for her, was this really a good advert for the value of drawing a gun on three masked and armed intruders?

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      They are not "my' facts. They are Nationmaster statistics.

      In any case, the notion that it is not safe on American streets because we have a right to keep and bear arms is simply false. America's streets are just as safe or safer than your own, assuming that we too stay out of dangerous places.

      Again, Americans believe that we all have a natural right to life, a natural right to defend that life, and a natural right to the means to defend that right, and our Founding Fathers enshrined that in the Second Amendment.

      We are not about to give up our rights, no matter who thinks we should. That would include non-Americans.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Willstarr; you say in a recent post ‘The fact is, we are far safer on American streets than in the ‘unarmed’ UK and Australia, where we are over twice as likely to be assaulted‘.

      I think we have already covered this point. Even if we accept your figure of twice the number of assaults, the vast majority of violent crimes both in the UK and Australia and in America occur in isolated inner city areas and in gang cultures. Avoid these areas and the risks are tiny. Twice a tiny figure is still a tiny figure. But that's a quibble. Here are some other more important points:

      1) Statistics of the kind you describe are not clear 'facts' because of the many factors involved including comparisons between the ways crimes are recorded and categorised. I’ve been at pains to point that out, even when relating international statistics which seem to favour gun control.

      2) You want to pick and choose when to use stats to your advantage. For example the high gun murder rate in America is due, in your opinion, not to the high levels of gun ownership, but due to black and Hispanic minorities. And yet in your opinion the ‘low assault’ figures in America are very much due to high levels of gun ownership. So you think lots of murders AREN'T due to gun ownership, but less assaults ARE due to gun ownership?

      3) According to an OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ) study, assaults in America result in death 5 times more frequently than the average of 24 other countries in the survey (nations which I think included the UK and Australia). Therefore, even if there are twice as many assaults in these countries as you claim, the number of deaths resulting from assault is still far higher in America.

      3) However, most assault statistics including the ones relating to Scotland which you used in an earlier post, do not even include murder! In that case, the whole premise is flawed. It is hardly surprising if American assault statistics are indeed lower, if all assaults which result in murder are excluded!

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      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Greensleeves

      You never did read my hub, because if you had you would have seen that gun control is useless. It is the equivalent of abortion versus pro life, as it never has agreement.

      Gun control doesn't affect gangs and their members, and gun control doesn't directly protect our children. The gangs do directly affect our children because they sell illegal drugs to kids, use children for prostitution, and human trafficking.

      The gun control diverts the necessary resources needed to deal with the gangs and their members.

      On another note, in California there is a list of twenty thousand people that are known to be mentally unstable to be gun owners, but the government doesn't have the funds to follow up and retrieve their guns.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Equality? How exactly do you defend yourself with a gun pointed at you? Want to try pulling your own gun? Guns give the attacker the advantage, not the other way round."

      http://www.click2houston.com/news/Home-invasion-su...

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Equality? How exactly do you defend yourself with a gun pointed at you? Want to try pulling your own gun? Guns give the attacker the advantage, not the other way round.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Americans believe that we all have a natural right to life, a natural right to defend that life, and a natural right to the means to defend that right. At one time, most of our English speaking cousins believed the same thing. Sadly, most now depend on the false security of government.

      In the past, use of weapons required great skill, or great strength, or both, but the invention and perfection of the firearm made everyone equal. A small woman, properly armed and trained, is the equal of a 250 pound man.

      With that in mind, why on Earth would we forfeit that superb right for a false sense of security? The fact is, we are far safer on American streets than in the ‘unarmed’ UK and Australia, where we are over twice as likely to be assaulted.

      No thank you.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Thomas; many thanks. I'd like first to emphasise that I've had some pleasant and constructive exchanges with reasonable pro-gun writers here, but having said that, yours is the first comment which actually implies support for significant gun control. It's nice to feel I'm not alone! The only pity is that you're English because I know a few will see that as further evidence of us Brits interfering in American affairs! Oh well. Hopefully some pro gun control Americans will comment here sometime too.

      As you indicate, regarding different countries and their gun policies, Switzerland is a rather special case as indeed are all countries which appear to throw up strange results either in support of or against the pro-gun argument. But I can agree with you that there seems to be an overall correlation between a higher rate of gun ownership and a higher rate of murders.

      Re- the quotes, I did have concerns, and checked it was acceptable to publish these quotes, but decided to include only first names and states, because even though the quotes are in the public domain I felt it would be unfair to identify anyone too specifically when they don't have an easy opportunity to reply.

      Thanks for the mention of your hub. I'll certainly take a look Thomas to see the points you make. Cheers. Alun.

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      Thomas Swan 4 years ago from New Zealand

      A very thorough and largely impartial hub. I appreciate your efforts to quote the people you've spoken too, although I wonder if putting their names and states is advisable. On the topic of Switzerland, the overall level of crime is very low, so they're going to have a low murder rate regardless of the effect of guns. However, a larger percentage of those crimes are murders, which shows the effect of guns. It seems that guns cause crimes to escalate into murders. However, guns have very little effect on the overall crime rate, just look at Finland who have lots of guns with lots of crime. As you've said though, international comparisons have many factors that are impossible to calculate, but some correlations can be made. My hub "Arguments for Gun Control" sets out the stats and arguments as you have done so well here.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; you are wrong yet again. In your comment you did not say that you were talking about hubs written, merely that half of those wanting America disarmed are not American. And you made clear the connection between 'disarming' and 'controlling' - so less of the wrong comments about misquoting please.

      As far as I am concerned, I do not want America disarmed in the foreseeable future. I believe American citizens should have strong gun control measures. There is a difference. Also if you think it is being 'nosy' to express genuine concern about loss of life in another country, well sorry. You sound like the more extreme members of the gun lobby who really don't want to listen to any point of view from a different perspective.

      I was at pains several times in the article to make clear my reason and justification for writing. I also was at pains to point out that nobody needs to listen if they don't wish to. You are free not to listen to the views of any nosy neighbours or any American who expresses humanitarian concern about your country if you wish.

      Clearly you have a habit of misrepresenting my views.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You have a habit of misquoting me. This is what I said:

      "About half of those wanting America disarmed are not even Americans. It's like having a nosy neighbor telling you how to run your house."

      I stand by that. Half the Hubs being written here opposing arms in America are written by non-Americans, AKA: nosy neighbors

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; I'm not sure where else we can go in our discussions because we're clearly not going to find common ground are we? I think I am however, beginning to understand where you are coming from when you say that the war on gun control 'has nothing to do with reducing crime. It's all about controlling other people'. That's a line which some of those I've quoted above take in more extreme terms. I think you are imbuing the other side in the debate with the same priorities which you have. Just because many in the pro-gun lobby are principally concerned with what they perceive as retaining personal freedoms, it does not follow that the priority on the other side is to reduce personal freedoms. The priority on the other side I believe is to reduce unnecessary deaths through gun use. You may disagree with the method employed (gun control) but I don't think it's necessary to disparage the motivation.

      I'm not sure where you get the idea that half of those who believe in 'controlling other people in the U.S' are overseas. Does that include me? But even if the basic suggestion is that so many millions of people overseas believe in gun control for whatever reason, then maybe you could consider that such a widely held point of view may have some merit?

      Finally you use the term, the 'left'. I can't speak for how you categorise the left, but the gun laws introduced in Britain and Australia were brought in under Conservative governments. And I am certainly not left wing, believing as I do in personal freedoms (apart from unlicenced multiple-gun ownership), capitalism, and in general terms, American policy overseas.

      By the way, in all these posts (8 so far) you haven't yet addressed the theme of the article, which is the potentially violent reaction to proposed gun law. Are you surprised by the quotes and do you agree with such reactions or not?

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      wilderness; Many thanks for your comments.

      You mention research, and there is a lot of research out there. The difficulty lies in unravelling cause and effect in crime statistics. Unfortunately, in the words of the old phrase, ‘there are lies. damn lies and statistics’, and statistics relating countries and causes of problems are notoriously complex and open to many different interpretations (which is one of the reasons why statistics only comprised a very small part of my article). To take the examples you give, the evidence I have seen suggests that non-gun homicide rates do not rise in the absence of guns.

      1) In the case of Canada, homicides have remained fairly steady in the past decade after a period of steady decline since the 1970s. But between 1977 (when significant gun registration was introduced) and 2003, gun homicide declined to a half of its previous total, whilst non-gun homicide did NOT increase - it declined by a factor of about a quarter. It should of course also be pointed out that guns of all kinds are not banned in Canada. They are registered. More than 600,000 legal guns exist and one fifth of households possess a firearm. About 100,000 guns are reported missing or stolen, and one third of gun crime is committed using stolen legal guns. Therefore it does not follow that effective removal of guns cannot reduce total homicide levels, though you could make a case that gun control is not working effectively in Canada.

      2) In the case of Australia, I'm not sure which evidence you have looked at. According to the Washington Post the most authoritative study is by Leigh & Neill. Problems in the research methodology of some other statistical surveys have been pointed out, not least because the low overall homicide figures for Australia make it difficult to assess statistically significant findings and separate them from the ‘noise’ of all other factors involved in rises and falls in homicide. (Indeed, apparently even if a zero homicide figure had been recorded in a particular year, this would not have registered as a statistically significant drop in some of these studies!) Gun control was introduced following a 35 fatality massacre in 1996. Prior to this there had been 13 mass shootings in 17 years. None occured in the decade following gun control. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that gun control only removed semi-automatics and shotguns, in conjunction with a 'buy-back scheme which brought one fifth of all guns out of circulation. Needless to say this would not have included most of those in criminal hands, and this explains your point as to why there wasn't an immediate very dramatic drop in homicides. Since the law was introduced however, statistics demonstrate a fall in gun homicides AND a lesser fall, but still a big fall, in non-gun homicides. Now to be fair there was some decline in these figures, throughout the 90s even before gun control, but it certainly isn’t true to say that there has been an increase in non-firearm homicides at the expense of firearm homicides.

      3) In the case of Britain, again a gun law was introduced after a massacre in 1996. In Britain after rising consistently through the 2nd half of the 20th century, homicide rates for ALL weapons have fallen consistently since the early 21st century. (A peak in 2002 was not due to firearms but rather due to the capture of a serial killer family doctor who was responsible for nearly 200 murders). The fall in murders has many causes but the control on arms is undoubtedly one factor.

      So I have to say that although we are on difficult ground quoting and comparing statistics, there IS actually strong evidence suggesting that effective gun control does reduce gun homicide without leading to a corresponding increase in other homicides.

      I should also say that irrespective of homicide rates, between 500 and 900 accidental gun deaths occur annually in the U.S. These are not deaths which would be caused by any other weapon in the absence of guns.

      I can of course agree with you about effort being directed towards all other aspects of the issue and I include some generalised ideas on enforcement and punishment within the article, but these measures, I believe, can go together with gun control. Neither will be totally effective without the other. Thanks for your contribution wilderness. Alun.

      (P.S if anyone wants the source of these statistics let me know, and I will include links to any of the points raised).

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wilderness,

      The left has an ongoing war on guns, and it has nothing to do with reducing crime. It's all about controlling other people, even if they are not in your country! About half of those wanting America disarmed are not even Americans.

      It's like having a nosy neighbor telling you how to run your house.

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      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      A well thought out and reasonable hub.

      As a gun owning American I have a little different take on the subject, one that apparently few ever consider. I am a huge believer in personal freedoms and bleed a little every time someone decides to limit the freedoms of others for little or no reason, and at the root owning a gun is a freedom.

      Society, however, must limit freedoms in order to survive - the question is how much? In reference to gun control, will limiting guns save lives?

      To that end I did considerable research with very surprising results. Although your comments consistently mention "gun deaths" it is pretty much a no brainer that removing guns from society will decrease the number of gun deaths. What is surprising is that there is absolutely no relationship, no correlation, between the number of guns and the number of homicides. Take the guns away and gun deaths fall, but the homicide rate does not. Killers simply use other tools if they can't have a gun.

      An example of this is Canada; while the US has more guns and more homicides in general, Canada has a much higher rate of murders by beatings and knifings. No guns - use fists, bats and knives instead.

      When Australia put in their own strict gun controls in 1996 and hundreds of thousands of guns were turned in during the next year, the homicide held steady for 8 years before it began to fall. If removing guns results in a decreasing murder rate it should have been apparent in just a year or two, not 8 years later.

      The proper question to ask, then, is does limiting gun ownership limit murders, and the answer is no. It has very little effect on the murder rate. Even the suicide rate changes very little in countries that have limited gun ownership. Even the question of limiting "assault weapons" - automatic firing guns - is nonsense as there has been just one killing in the US in 80 years with a legally owned assault rifle.

      Given the we can expect to see no change in the rate of killing the question becomes "Why limit gun ownership at all?" and the only possible answer is because it feels good. It placates those that hate or fear guns but that is the only result that we can expect to see, and the body count will still climb with or without guns.

      Our time and efforts, then, needs to be directed towards the root of the problem not the tool currently being used. That the US has a violence problem is irrefutable, so lets figure out why and attack that instead of taking freedoms that some people enjoy and use. Freedom is precious; without a very good reason it should never be abridged and there is no reason to limit gun ownership.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Victoria (or Trena); Hi! Thanks for your comment, which I found very interesting for two of the points you raise, which are not so commonly aired.

      1) As far the right to pass laws on gun control is concerned, I believe you feel this should be within the remit of individual States? I can understand this, but I wonder how practical is such an arrangement, given that guns - particularly handguns - are relatively small objects which can easily be transported across fairly open borders? Could a State with strict controls prevent guns from liberal States from crossing the border? (I genuinely do not know what formalities or checks are undertaken at inter-state borders, but I guess they are not Customs-style checks with X-ray machines etc?)

      2) The point about semi-automatics is one I have not heard before. I can certainly understand that there's no point in having a gun if you can't fire it. On the other hand, perhaps it shouldn't be too easy in a situation of great trauma to pull a trigger? If a person is not thinking straight or the hand is shaking, then is there not a risk of an unnecessary shot being fired in a moment of panic or of the shot going astray? (maybe not a problem in a one-on-one situation, but if others could be caught in the crossfire?)

      However, I can see your points, and I will check out your page. Thanks for your considered views. On that note, I see you are new to Hubpages, so I genuinely wish you well in your writing here (and hope we don't find too many issues to disagree on!) Alun.

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      Victoria VanBibber 4 years ago from Indiana

      Hi Greensleeves! I started to write a comment and then I decided to write a new hub. Please check it out if you have time. In a nutshell, I agree with many things you say about the 4 reasons you stated. Many people are being irrational as they try to convince others that they should have guns. A major point not discussed is, it is really not the US Governments place to make nationwide gun control laws.

      Oh, and I totally disagree that there is no reason to have a semi-automatic weapon. I have one. I looked at nearly 30 different handguns before I chose the Bersa Thunder 380 CC. I am confident that I will not be struggling to fire it no matter how shaky or scared I am in the event I ever have to use it. It fits my hand comfortably, I don't have to pull the hammer, and when I miss I can shoot again without doing anything. I don't understand what the big deal is.

      When you have small hands and have a larger caliber gun, it is hard to pull back the hammer so this gun is easier for me to handle. The only difference between my handgun and a revolver is - my gun has a clip so the bullets can always be separate from the gun but readily available, I have 1 extra bullet, and I do not have to pull the hammer back when I shoot.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      ib radmasters; do you really think the great freedoms enjoyed today in other countries are comparable to the lack of freedoms which America rebelled against? The world has moved on since the 18th century, and all of us in democracies have freedoms undreamed of even in America at the time of the revolution.

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      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Greensleeves

      If we were content to have the freedoms found in other countries, the US wouldn't have broken from England.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Busillis22; first I must say that even though we disagree on gun control, it is a pleasure to read your generous comments. So far on this page, all comments received have been broadly hostile to my opinion on gun control, and no others have seemed at all perturbed by the more extreme statements of the gun lobby. So it’s nice to receive a pleasant comment even if it still opposes me!

      I hope that you can appreciate that my views are not entirely anti-gun, in terms of an immediate ban on all weapons, but rather supportive of a controlled reduction in the wide range and large numbers of weapons so easily available today to potential criminals as well as law-abiding civilians. In turn I can appreciate the genuine concerns of Americans who feel a sense of security through gun ownership. I can also understand the point you make about the real roots of the problem - no doubt, with or without gun control, there are other issues such as gang culture and drug culture which need to be addressed.

      Busillis22; It is especially difficult for most people to have the good grace to write a generous appreciation of the intent which lays behind an article when they disagree with many of the conclusions contained within the article, so my respect for you for being able to do this is considerable. Alun.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; I cannot comment on particular domestic U.S policies (other than gun control) which you feel are indicative of tyranny. You would know more about those than I do. But as long as policies do not attack basic freedoms recognised in all democracies (principally freedom of speech, right to fair justice and a right to elect and reject the Government), then I do not see tyranny - I merely see Government policies with which some strongly disagree.

      There is clearly a different mind set in America to that which exists in all broadly similar cultures (Europe, Australia, Canada etc). Certainly in my country, many may vehemently dislike our Government, yet almost no one regards the destruction of democracy as imminent.

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      busillis22 4 years ago

      This is one of the most thoughtful and clearly sincere pieces I have read on the subject, anywhere. Thank you for all the careful time and attention you paid to this. I am a conservative American who, despite your great thoughts, still tends to be 'pro-gun' (more so I'm anti gun-control. I don't like guns, but I don't think gun control is necessarily the best idea) - though I certainly think some of the arguments on 'my side' are very flawed. And I'm against gun control largely because I don't think it will get to the real roots of the problems leading to gun violence in America.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The why are those who push a big, tyrannical government the same ones who are actively trying to disarm the opposition, and with no real justification?

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      It seems Will that your view of democracy is more cynical than mine. We are living in an age of long established, stable democracies in Western Europe, America, and elsewhere. Gradually the number of democracies is still increasing and no long term stable demcracy like America or Britain has yet fallen.

      But be that as it may, the route to power through guns in independent, unregulated hands, seems to me to be the route of anarchy. Political power in America doesn't (and hopefully never will) come through the barrel of a gun - it comes through voting in free general elections. If the value of that system is respected, then it will not fail, because the system - if not an individual government - will always have majority support.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "As I made clear, it is the frightening attitude of those who are so paranoid of their own government and who are so willing to threaten with murder anyone who comes to take away their guns. It seems that disturbs you less than my moderate approach to gun control, and frankly I find that a little bit disturbing."

      The gene pool for tyrants is alive and well, as always, and like Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini, they wait only for the opportunity. Only a fool thinks tyranny is no longer possible. All it would take is another depression, from which that loathsome trio arose.

      "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"

      - Mao

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; Of course this article concerns guns, so that is what I have been concentrating on. If I was writing a hub about assaults, however minor, then I would concentrate on that. That is a different subject. But regarding those murder statistics, the difference in population may be 5 times higher. The difference in homicides is 669 times higher in the U.S.

      But on the contrary to what you say, the average citizen is not more likely to be involved in assault in the UK, because just as in America, the majority of crime is conducted in inner city areas by gangs against each other. In both countries I suspect it is wise to avoid such areas, and if we do, then the chances of being assaulted anywhere anytime is very low in Britain too. Having said that, given the choice, I'd rather be assaulted or burgled by someone without a gun than somebody with a gun. Wouldn't you?

      Finally, although I expressed the view that there should be 'a gradual and phased elimination of certain gun types from general circulation over many years' (my exact words), you have again missed the main point of this hub. As I made clear, it is the frightening attitude of those who are so paranoid of their own government and who are so willing to threaten with murder anyone who comes to take away their guns. You haven't even mentioned that aspect of the hub. It seems a little bit disturbing that that seems to worry you less than my moderate approach to gun control.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "That seems a more telling statistic to me than the ones you give."

      It is if you are interested only in attacking US guns (the theme in this Hub) and have no interest in your own crime and violence.

      As I said, we have a large minority population that you don't have that commits most of the gun crime, and we are also a nation with 5 times your population, so of course our numbers are higher.

      My point was, you are over twice as likely to be assaulted in the UK as in the US, so it is your streets that are the more dangerous to walk.

      Most US gun crime is criminal on criminal, so if you are not a criminal, don't associate with criminals, stay out of the inner cities, don't use illicit drugs, and are not a brave police officer, your chances of getting shot in the US are near zero.

      BTW, with your complete ban, why do you have any gun crime at all?

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; I'm sorry you felt the need to introduce a note of unpleasantness. There was nothing smug in what I said. I sensed you were trying to bring our discussion to an end and I tried to end it with a fairly light rebuff to your comment about having 'the better deal'. That was all.

      But to follow up on the link which you chose to give, the statistic for firearm homicides for the UK in that particular year was 14 and for the USA it was 9,369. That seems a more telling statistic to me than the ones you give.

      If you think I was being smug then you obviously haven't actually read my article which clearly expresses both concern and sadness at the high gun death rate in America and the violent and ominous threats of some Americans who cherish their guns. That makes me fear for great loss of life in the future in a country whose people I like. My very last sentence makes that clear. It was the whole point of the essay, which you don't seem to understand.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      We don't walk in fear either, as long as we stay out of inner cities.

      In fact, people in the UK are more than twice as likely to be assaulted as in the US, and you are also 25% more likely to be a crime victim in the UK, so maybe you should look to your own house first before smugly scolding the US:

      http://www.nationmaster.com/compare/United-Kingdom...

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Will; you have the right for everyone to arm themselves to the teeth out of fear of gun-toting criminals or potentially evil governments, and I have the right to feel perfectly safe and free in my own house and to walk the streets without guns.

      I guess you and I can both feel we have the better deal, so I guess we can both be happy! Alun.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      You have the right to your opinions, and we have the right to keep and bear arms. I think we have the better deal.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; And common sense includes semi-automatics? Where does common sense draw the line? To protect against criminals you can make do with less than this. To protect against tyrannical Government (as some seem to think is necessary), then maybe semi-automatics are the very least powerful weapons required.

      As far as blacks and Hispanics are concerned, is there is something inherently violent about such ethnic minorities? As you well know Will, if you narrow the criteria sufficiently then it becomes impossible to make any comparison. You want to compare nations with similar minority black and Hispanic populations, but if we are going to do that, then you also have to restrict consideration to nations with the same stable politics and economic advantages as America, which of course the great majority of Latin American countries do not have. There are nations with both black and Hispanic populations - for example Belize and some Caribbean nations - which either lack gang warfare or lack such high murder rates - but of course no two nations are exactly comparable in the way you would wish.

      The impossibility of finding nations which are exactly the same in all relevant respects apart from gun crime would effectively make all gun crime statistics invalid. I suspect that is how the gun lobby would like it to be, so no one is able to point to America's uniquely high homicide rate for a developed nation.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Cagsil; you say 'guns prevent master/slave relationship'. I'm not sure what definition of 'slave' you are employing, but it isn't one which would be recognisable to those who were genuinely enslaved at the time when the Constitution was signed. I can only repeat the point I make in the article. Millions of us live in countries without guns, and yet we do not feel enslaved. Do you really think we in Britain are enslaved?

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "Does it include the right to own grenades and mortars? If not, who should have the right to decide exactly what the 2nd Amendment does include?"

      It includes the arms commonly held by the people per the Supreme Court and other people with common sense. No one is claiming it includes grenades and mortars...or battleships.

      And what other countries have the US minority mix of blacks and Hispanics with a low crime rate?

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      WillStarr; I'm sure you're right that minorities who rightly or wrongly feel disadvantaged are responsible for a disproportionate level of violent crime in America, even more so when they develop a gang culture. But there are other nations which are genuinely multi-racial which lack the problems which America has experienced, so one wonders why this is, and what can be done to improve the situation in the USA? But surely ease of access to guns only makes the problems generated by such groups worse than it would otherwise be?

      In the example you give of Scotland, the crime stats from 2005 make clear they only refer to developed countries and only to crimes which do not include murder. In terms of murder, Scotland's statistics are still much better than America's. Most violent crime in Scotland has been related (as in America) to gangs and drugs, and the violence has been inflicted by knives and similar weapons. Would the murder rate be higher or lower if those knives were replaced by guns?

      As you say, the 2nd Amendment only mentions 'arms' rather than 'firearms' but how should that be interpreted? Does it include the right to own grenades and mortars? If not, who should have the right to decide exactly what the 2nd Amendment does include? I would think myself that it is possible to work within the 2nd Amendment and still control guns, even if an outright ban is deemed unconstitutional. But if not, then certainly 'amendment of the Amendment' (so to speak) is a possibility.

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      Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

      Guns prevent master/slave relationship.

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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Over 70% of America's gun crime is committed by a population that the UK simply does not have...a large black and Hispanic inner city gang culture. Comparing the US to countries that don't have such a large minority population is obviously flawed and patently unfair.

      BTW, not long ago, the UN declared your own Scotland to be the most violent country on Earth:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/425796...

      In any case, the Second Amendment does indeed recognize and guarantee that the people have a natural right to life, and natural right to defend that life, and a natural right to the means of defending it. It defends the right to arm ourselves, and does not even mention firearms. That's a right we all have, including you.

      But if we no longer want the Second Amendment, the Founding Fathers were wise enough to include an amendment process, so let's do it the right way, and repeal the Second Amendment.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      Patriot Quest; there are plenty of countries with strict gun controls in which gun ownership is uncommon even among criminals. Do you not accept that stricter gun control can - over time - reduce the number of guns in the hands of criminals? What needs to be addressed is how other countries achieve this, and why - you believe - America cannot.

      When you say 'America believes we are free for one reason - the ability to overthrow a tyrannical government', are you speaking for all Americans? And do you really think that what may have been true 200 years ago, still applies today in 21st century America? Why are privately owned guns key to your freedom, but not key to the freedom of the people in almost all other democracies?

      You talk of successful Afghan resistance to the Russians. This was as much to do with the inhospitable terrain, and the difficulty which any occupying army experiences in waging war in a hostile nation, as it does to do with weapons. As an example of people power without guns, I could of course point out that in Tunisia where gun ownership is absolutely minimal (less than 0.1 per 100 people), the Tunisians still managed to bring about the downfall of their government a couple of years ago.

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      Greensleeves Hubs 4 years ago from Essex, UK

      ib radmasters; I will take the time to read your hub, though a cursory glance shows that - like mine - it is rather long, so it will take time! Even with a quick glance I can see points with which I disagree, and points with which I can agree. And of course I can agree with the importance of tackling the power of gangs. However, gang control and gun control are not mutually exclusive. I believe in the need for both.

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      Wayne Joel Bushong 4 years ago from America

      The comments you printed are viable and good reasons to keep guns. Criminals do not obey laws therefore stricter gun control will do NOTHING to keep guns out of their hands. Back in the 60s gangs would take radio antenae off of cars and make ZIP guns with 22 caliber bullets, ..........America believes we are free for ONE REASON and that reason is the ability to over throw a tyranical government. Therefore guns are the key to our freedom, Some critics say our military could over throw us with sophistacted weapons anyway, I say Afghans lived in caves and rode horses yet pushed back the Russians!

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      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Read my hub on gang control not gun control.

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