I have no problems with honest, law-abiding citizens carrying guns, openly or concealed. My brother carries a concealed pistol. A few weeks ago, there was a man openly carrying a pistol in the pizzaria my family was sitting in. That man was there for dinner with his wife and young child, and though I spotted the gun on his hip, it didn’t bother or worry me at all.
I grew up surrounded by guns. My step-father was a hunter, so there were several shotguns and rifles in various rooms, vehicles, and closets in our home. My father simply liked guns, so he had a few pistols and rifles in closets in his home. Firearms were completely ubiquitous things in my world growing up. I knew where they were, how to use them (safely), and how to leave them alone.
I currently own several guns. Most are heirlooms passed down from my father or step-father; only one did I purchase myself. But they’re all in usable condition, with ammunition (stored separately). If the Zombie Apocalypse occurs, I could be armed and ready in about half an hour.
I don’t think the government wants to take my guns away from me, but I do believe there are people who would love for the government to take my guns away. (Not my guns, specifically. But everyone’s guns, in general.) I believe this not out of paranoia, but because plenty of people directly state they want that. They even have political lobbies for it. Although, I don’t expect the government will ever actually confiscate everyone’s guns. I just don’t foresee that kind of thing getting passed without a catastrophic Constitutional breakdown.
I think the most the gun control folks will get is to make purchasing/obtaining guns very difficult, even for upstanding, law-abiding citizens. I’m not against some basic gun control ideas like background checks to prevent bad people with violent records from getting weapons. But I’m not so deluded as to think background checks will actually stop bad people from ever obtaining a gun; criminals can get guns in criminal ways. Spoiler alert: Bad people are bad, and will find bad ways to do bad things. And I believe that making it very hard for law-abiding citizens to arm themselves makes it proportionally easy for criminals to prey on them.
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
If the government ever came to my door demanding my guns, you know what I’d do? I’d calmly and politely direct them to each weapon. Because I’m not a nut or an idiot. There are laws in this country, and I obey them, without antagonizing the law enforcers. And the government has to obey the laws, as well, without harassing law-abiding citizens. Although there are plenty of examples of the government going above, (or under), the law to do things, such situations are usually and generally handled and corrected through the legal system.
I’m not afraid of any gun. I’ve had a gun pointed at me, intentionally, one time, by someone who did know better but just had a serious brain fart for a second. He knew the gun was not loaded*, and thought pointing it at me would be funny. He apologized immediately after realizing it actually wasn’t funny.
But I am afraid of some people: thugs, gangsters, generally undisciplined and violent assholes. And since it isn’t reasonably possible to keep violent assholes from getting weapons, (see: “Bad people are bad,” above), I like the idea of law-abiding citizens having access to lawful weapons.
It’s not the gun, it’s the person holding the gun. I judge the danger of a situation by the person. If you walk into a room and see a police officer, you probably don’t even think about the fact that he’s got a gun holstered on his hip. If I walk into a room and see a decent person with a gun holstered on his hip, I don’t worry. If I walk into a room and see a thug with a gun tucked under his belt, I worry. In fact, I’m cautious when in the presence of even a visibly unarmed thug.
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
But then, also, there are deranged persons that occupy territory outside an easily identifiable label. If such a person has a gun, well, very bad things happen. But you know what usually stops a deranged person with a gun? A decent person with a gun. That decent person is usually a cop or other security-type person in the vicinity.
I remember a story my mother related to me many years ago, soon after the situation occurred:
My mother used to work late at the office, and she had to walk from her building, through the parking lot, to her car in the dark, alone. So she got and learned how to use a pistol. She carried the pistol, a chrome .38 revolver, in her purse all day, and only took it out for her walk from the office to her car at night. She held it in her hand while she walked. One night there was a man in the dim parking lot. When he started approaching her, (for what purpose, we’ll never know), she stopped, held the pistol out to her side to let him see it. The man immediately spotted the shiny weapon glinting in the night. He stopped, turned, and walked away.
Did that man intend her harm? Did she survive that situation because of owning and carrying a gun? We don’t and can’t know for absolute certainty. For all the argument about whether or not armed citizens deter crime, I know of at least one time that I firmly believe an armed citizen probably did prevent a crime.
I, personally, don’t carry a firearm on my person in my daily life because when I weigh the odds of actually needing one at hand, it would be more certain and constant bother than it’s very low potential worth. The odds of me encountering a situation where I need a gun is extremely low. But other people have the scales of their life calibrated differently, and I have no problem with them choosing to be armed. I respect that decision, for them. They may even one day end up saving me because they chose to be armed.
A firearm is a tool. It can be used for a hobby, like a golf club or a baseball bat. It can be used for a useful purpose, like a chainsaw or a hoe. And it can be misused with dangerous results, like a golf club, a baseball bat, a chainsaw, and a hoe.
If you don’t have any guns in your home, you probably do have several sharp knives either in a drawer or in a block on the kitchen counter. Knives are very dangerous, and are used in many violent crimes every year. But you probably don’t really think much about knives.
You probably drive a car or truck or van every day of your life. Motor vehicles are very dangerous, and cause many, many injuries and deaths every year. For the past century, more people have died in vehicle accidents each year than died from firearms use both by accident and on purpose. But you probably don’t really think of your vehicle as a deadly danger.
The majority of people killed by guns each year are people in dangerous, and bad, lifestyles: thugs and gangsters. And though I don’t think those people deserve to die, I do believe that they do have personal responsibility in their circumstances. Join a violent gang or partake in a criminal enterprise, and you will probably encounter trouble. Live by violence, you may very well die by violence.
A mass slaughter by a deranged individual is a very rare event. But it was the deranged individual, not the gun that was the problem. Mentally ill individuals need help, and we, as human beings, need to be aware enough of the people in our families and communities to notice when someone is having a mental problem. We’d notice when someone was physically ill, and our medical, (and legal), infrastructure is built around helping such a person. But for some reasons, we, as humans, turn a blind eye to mental illness, and our medical, (and legal), infrastructure is just not prepared to handle it as well.
Unintentional deaths by firearms are usually due to ignorance and inexperience. Yes, accidents happen even to the knowledgeable and well trained. But children dying because someone was playing with a gun happens because the someone, (often a child), was never schooled on what guns are and how they can be dangerous. Even if you don’t have guns in your home, every parent should educate their children, (or have someone else educate them), about firearms. You’d warn them about fire even if you don’t keep a pack of matches in the house, right?
So, to repeat the point: I like guns. I own guns. I am fine with decent, law-abiding citizens owning and carrying guns. I am not against some moderate controls on selling/purchasing guns with the intent of making it more difficult for criminals to have guns. [Edit: Having just posted this, I discovered I’ve actually pretty much said this whole thing before: The Tuscan Massacre and Armed Citizens.)
* Always assume every gun is loaded until you check it yourself. And even then, always treat every gun as though it was loaded. No exceptions.