Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A survey of opinions on gun control

Let's talk about guns and gun control today.

Okay, now that you have read that above sentence, what was your reaction to it?  Was it:

a) Oh, no.  Not this topic again.  It's everywhere today, and I really don't care much about it.

b) Yes!  We need to talk about how important it is to protect the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, and to recognize that just about every measure to limit this right is tyranny in disguise.

c) Yes! We need to talk about how important it is for Catholics/Christians/others to come together to oppose the culture of violence that is present when we glorify the ownership of lethal weapons, along with violent movies, violence in TV and video games and books, and other ways that we desensitize people to violence and killing in the entertainment culture.

d) Yes!  Because the Second Amendment never envisioned people owning handguns, assault rifles, and other tools of death and mayhem.

Second question--you:

a) own or do not own guns but have no problem with responsible gun ownership and reasonable limits.

b) own guns or have no problem with virtually unrestricted gun ownership at all.

c) do not own guns and would prefer that gun ownership be much more restricted than it is today.

d) do not own guns and think that Christians generally shouldn't own guns except for rural use such as hunting.

Third question--you think that present government action re: gun control is:

a) a bit disgustingly opportunistic but probably the right sort of direction, with some reservations.

b) a tyrannical move by a dictatorial-leaning administration to deprive people of the means of keeping an encroaching federal government at bay.

c) not nearly enough, but a start.

d) a poor substitute for the kind of sweeping gun ban you'd like to see.

Fourth question--you'd be most likely to own a gun:

a) for hunting, sports/recreation, or similar use.

b) to protect yourself from the government; in fact, your guns are (or would hypothetically be) part of your survival kit for the coming collapse and/or power grab by the government, and you honestly expect to have to use your guns in this manner in your lifetime.

c) while you'd be unlikely to own a gun, if you had to live in a very dangerous neighborhood you'd consider owning a gun for protection.  But you'd be more likely to buy a large dog.

d) there is no circumstance whatsoever under which you would ever own a gun.

In the interests of full disclosure, my answers to questions one through three are the "a" responses, but the answer to four is "c."  This is because I am not from a hunting culture and can't imagine taking it up as a hobby this late in life, and the same thing really goes for target shooting.  But I don't have much of an issue regarding people who enjoy hunting or recreational target shooting, either.  It's just not where I'm from, personally.

I'm interested to hear your responses (and apologies, as usual, for the low-tech survey; I know the ones where you can just click a button are easier, but I'm all thumbs when it comes to creating and embedding those).  Feel free to add comments, as well.


John Thayer Jensen said...


But I live in New Zealand, where guns are rather more controlled than in the U.S. I confess that with question 4, my 'c' is very theoretical. I once owned a pistol (illegally), almost literally shot myself in the foot - sold it to a friend (also illegally) who, I think, only ever uses it for target practice.

What, a New Zealander wants to know, is an 'assault rifle' and what reasonable arguments can be presented for retaining the right to own such? We hear that President Obama wants to outlaw private ownership of these. They sound to us like little machine guns. The mind does rather boggle!


John Thayer Jensen said...

forgot to tick the e-mail button so this is a non-comment comment :-)

Jessica Snell said...

First question: b, but only if I have to choose one. I do think some limits are a good idea, so I can't endorse b whole-heartedly.

Second question:Very firmly a.

Third question: I can't really answer, because I think it's opportunistic, but I don't think it's a conspiracy, and I kind of doubt we're going to need guns to protect us from the gov't any time soon.

Fourth question: c.

Mack Hall, HSG said...

Weak and muddled tyrannies are proof of Plato's position that democracy is its own destruction. The People, bless them, are content with HONEY BOO-BOO and DANCING WITH THE STARS; as long as they can have their finger-food and wide-screen drug they will remain subservient and irrelevant.

John Thayer Jensen said...

So, Mack Hall, what is your position on gun control??!!


Kirt Higdon said...

I'll have to modify some of the answers.


2.a and I do not own a gun. The question arises as to what constitutes responsible ownership and reasonable regulations. I have no big problem with the status quo. My neighbors owning guns makes me safer.

3.a Yes opportunistic but in the wrong direction.

4.c But no dog! I've been attacked by dogs and often threatened by them, but never by guns. We need stricter dog regulation.

Muscovite said...


Rebecca in ID said...

1. b. C is far more important but since you wrote "gun control", b is the more *immediate* response.


3. none of what you've listed? I think gun control advocates are for the most part well-intentioned but wrong. I think govt confiscation of guns could eventually facilitate hard totalitarianism but I don't think the gun control propositions are part of a conspiracy, they're just stupid.

4. Again, none of what you have listed. I have in the past and am still seriously considering buying and carrying a gun for general self-protection or protection of people I'm with, even though I don't live in a particularly dangerous neighborhood. I think our society would be much, much safer if ten or twenty percent of citizens were carrying guns at all times and places, and I guess I feel I'd like to do my part in that regard.

Rebecca in ID said...

sheesh, I should have read your first question more carefully. Not b, because I disagree with the "tyranny in disguise". I think responsible citizens being able to carry guns is important for the safety of our society and needs to be protected because of that. The attempts to control it are mostly born of stupidity/lack of common sense rather than tyranny in disguise.

Rebecca in ID said...

John Thayer Jensen, I was with you on the "assault weapon" thing until I decided to go find out more about it...this is an excellent article for understanding what exactly is being talked about:

and this short testimony affirms one of the points made in that article as well as making several good points about why gun control can be so dangerous:

John Thayer Jensen said...

Rebecca in ID - I was really just wondering what an 'assault rifle' was. Regarding whether they should be illegal or not - I mean, for most private citizens to own - I gather from the first article you posted that they already are - and from that horrific story that lady told on youtube, I gather that it doesn't matter a lot how many rounds a magazine can hold, because she said it only takes a second to change rounds.

Dunno - just wondered what they were and what the justifications for private citizens owning one were.

I could own a pistol or rifle or shotgun here in New Zealand, quite legally, but I couldn't legally carry a pistol around with me (and apparently you can't in Texas, either, from what that lady said).

I sympathise with Kirt Higdon about dogs, though. I have two cats. I'm sure they will protect me :-)


Rebecca in ID said...

jj, I think you can carry them in some places in Texas but not in others. It's patchy as in other states, so there will be "no carry" zones here and there. If you forgot your gun in your purse in a "no carry" zone you'd be guilty of a felony. Of note is that the Aurora shooter chose the one theater of the 20 in his area which had a big sign proclaiming the theater a "gun-free zone". It was not the nearest theater to him. He did his research.

Kevin said...

1) B
2) B (I don't own a gun but I support unrestricted access.)
3) B
4) No good answer to #3. Here's why:

A) I have little/no interest in using guns for fun. Although if I ever bought one I would certainly train to be able to use it properly.
B) I expect the future will be rather less exciting than that. I may one day own a gun but I fully expect never to need it, except for the slight chance of a random violent criminal.
C) I have no qualms about owning a gun, and think it would be a very smart idea in a bad neighborhood.
D) See C.

Tony said...

1. e (I know there's no "e"). We need to discuss how to decrease the danger to our citizens without infringing on the God given right of people to protect themselves.

2. e (I know there's no "e"). I own multiple guns for different purposes (hunting, target shooting, self defense). Each tool is designed for a specific use like any other tool.

I believe the only restriction on gun ownership should be if you have shown you should not own a gun either by having been convicted of a violent felony, or having been ajudicated as dangerously insane.

3. e (I know there's no "e")
It is an unconstitutional and misguided attempt to use government to solve a problem which is not solvable by government. I'm not ready to go to "b" yet.

4. e (I know there's no "e")
I use them for hunting, sport and self-defense, not against the government, but against such criminals who would try and injure or kill myself of my family. If I am on site during a mass shooting, my gun would be brought to bear to stop the perpetrator.

I would not live in a dangerous section of town. My gun is in case criminals from there come to my home.

In conclusion:

I have the God-given right to protect my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have the right to choose how I will protect that right. Government has no right to limit how I decide to do that, either by taking away my gun, limiting how many cartridges I can have in my magazine or what kind of gun I will use.

With that God-given right, comes the God-given responsibility to care for my fellow citizens. This means knowing how to use my weapon effectively so that I hit what I shoot at, and more importantly knowing when to shoot.

Should I hurt someone with my firearm either through carelessness, malice or indifference, I should be tried, and if convicted sent to jail. If I am released, my right to bear arms should be take away from me.

Until then, the government should leave me the #%$& alone.

Mack Hall, HSG said...

John Thayer Jensen --

Oops! I did rather wander in a moment of pique, eh!

I suppose my view on gun control is that the Secret Service needs to be disarmed until they grow up and stop acting like frat boys on spring break.

Kimberly Margosein said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Turmarion said...

1. a, immediate reaction; c. secondarily.

2. a.

3. a. I don't actually think it's any more opportunistic that what most politicians on both sides do these days; and given the political climate, it's arguably the case that outside of a context such actions would be non-starters. In any case, a. comes closest.

4. a. I would like to comment on b something that isn't generally appreciated. There is a certain type of Second Amendment absolutist that is very publicly vocal about their rights and the dangers of tyrannical government takeover, etc. If the government really did decide on a tyrannical takeover, no amount of guns these people have would matter. They'd be easily located (just look at their websites, organizations, etc.), and a few well-placed drones would leave very little of them behind.

That's a bit on the brutally cynical side, but it shows the complete disconnect between the conspiracy-theorist type of gun supporters and, well, reality. They shouldn't spend time wasting about the government coming for their guns--if the government was really out to get these people, they'd be already dead.

kkollwitz said...

Given the choices,

b Overstates my worldview but ok.

b I have just never cared about how many guns, type of guns or whatever about guns anyone has, either my neighbors or not my neighbors. To me it's like how many books someone has and how big they are: a non-issue.

b Overstates my worldview but ok.

b Overstates my worldview but ok.

Pat said...

1. C/D.
2. C
3. C
4. I can't imagine the circumstances that would cause me to own a gun. Certainly not living in a dangerous neighborhood. The stats are against me there - that is, it would be more likely to injure me or my child than any criminal. I guess I would own a gun if our government and military complex collapsed.

Diamantina da Brescia, aka Gentillylace said...

1. C
2. D
3. A
4. Between C and D. I am terrified of using a gun -- I suspect that guns are more likely to be used in suicides, accidents or in crimes of passion than for protection against common criminals or the government.

Rebecca in ID said...

Diamantina, re: your last concern, I believe guns are used four times as often in self-defense as in the commission of a crime. I can try to check on that statistic if you'd like.

Rebecca in ID said...


scroll down and check out the "crime and self-defense" section.

eulogos said...

l. Mostly a. But if engaged in the subject, mostly b.
2. a. Don't own guns, but support the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. I think knowing what are "reasonable limits" would take more study than I have given to the subject. I think I am probably a fool and a wuss not to own a gun and know how to use it. (But, I am a wuss, and personally terrified of the damn things.)
3. You are not including any comments to choose from a moderate pro-gun position. I agree with "disgustingly opportunistic" but I don't think it is the right sort of direction, and I incline somewhat in the direction of b.
4. Certainly c, probably not a, but do very much enjoy the venison provided by hunting friends, and I have some suspicions in the direction of b. If not the government, then against lawless men in a time of economic collapse. I think owning a gun for such an eventuality would be prudent. But I am not sure that at 62 I can learn to use one safely. My husband, at 65, says his eyes are too bad. But I would wish for supportive younger neighbors who do have guns!

You did realize, didn't you that the language of your survey is not balanced, and that you make people who want to own guns for one of the main reasons we have a second amendment, sound like nuts?
Susan Peterson

Rebecca in ID said...

"You did realize, didn't you that the language of your survey is not balanced, and that you make people who want to own guns for one of the main reasons we have a second amendment, sound like nuts?"

LOL, I kinda thought so too. :)

Diamantina da Brescia, aka Gentillylace said...

Rebecca, thanks. I looked at the webpage you referred me to. It was quite enlightening. It also had statistics about firearm accidents, but not suicides by firearms (which is what I am the most worried about, to tell the truth).

KC said...

I was going to answer, but Tony answered completely for me. I agree with each and every one of his answers.

In Texas, you can carry now, John Thayer Jensen, you couldn't when that shooting happened (in the neighboring town). There are places where you cannot carry but they try very hard to let you know.