Guns in the Home

Unconventional warfare (United States Departme...
No, not that kind of gun!
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In general I support gun ownership rights, though I think these rights are easy to carry to excess. Are reasonably thorough background checks really a form of denying someone their rights? Does one really have the right to carry a gun almost anywhere? I think there are a number of quite reasonable weapons limitations.

Despite the fact that I have the basic skill, I do not own, nor do I intend to own a weapon. My reason for this choice is simple. I think the odds are vanishingly small that I will get to the weapon in time and use it successfully to defend myself, and the odds are high that I will do so in error if it’s accessible, especially if I’m caught waking up. I’m not that guy in the movies who sees the threat, evaluates it, draws his weapon, and shoots the bad guy all before the rest of the world knows anything is wrong.

There is a problem, however, in that not everybody who thinks they’re safer with a gun actually is safer. Idiots will doubtless possess weapons and will, being idiots, do idiotic things. What’s more dangerous, because it’s less obvious is that reasonably intelligent people who are easily distracted, or who are not always fully aware of the immediate situation, are likely to do dangerous things, and not necessarily recognize their weakness. There’s a study that suggests that 90% of American drivers believe they are above average. But make sure to read the funny stuff about people who think they understand statistics! Then be aware that more than 50% of a sample can be above average. But I digress–at least 57% of the time!

I was set on this line of thinking this morning by this post at Greg Laden’s blog. He provides some statistics, but also gives two anecdotes that are worth thinking about. Into which category do you fit?

My personal view is that this is an area in which we need to err just a bit on the side of freedom. People should be free to choose some dangerous behaviors. While there are places guns should not be allowed, and circumstances under which safety should be first, in one’s home one should be able to choose which risk to face.


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  1. The fundamental issue is that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right as finally determined by what has until recently been an extremely reluctant Supreme Court. Finally the SC has seen the 2nd Amendment as no less vital than the 1st, etc. There is not any credible Constitutional excuse to hinder the exercise of that right. So.. it is not a matter of the right being taken to far. If so, then let reporters have to tolerate a 30 day waiting period between writing and publishing a story. After all, if one Constitutional right is to be infringed, why should such infringement not be visited upon other Constitutional rights? If a citizens 2nd Amendment right is to be reasonably limited, why not the 1st Amendment, etc.? To put it simply, the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right is in the Bill of Rights precisely to prevent the government for any supposed reason, good or otherwise, from limiting citizens from owning, possessing, using, firearms. The 2nd Amendment does not just address a particular type of firearm or a particular purpose. It is broad and inclusive of the entire issues just so that no one would later be able to parse the language so as to exclude and then prohibit owning, possessing, using firearms by any citizen of the nation. The issue is with the 2nd Amendment is not if anyone feels safe just as the issue with the 1st Amendment is not if someone is offended. The issue with the 2nd Amendment is not if someone does or does not use firearms properly just as the issue with the 1st Amendment is not if someone does or does not use speech properly. There are very few if any legitimate reasons to limit the 1st Amendment. Exactly the same is true of the 2nd Amendment.

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