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Are Guns Necessary for Self-Defense?


The US is moving in the exact opposite on gun legislation than it should be because of fear of the NRA. 39 states now allow citizens to carry concealed weapons and according to the NYT, there has been a push from the NRA to "loosen gun legislation". I don't know about you, but the idea that the person in line behind me at the check-out line in the grocery store might have a gun in his pocket is downright scary and I think there should be thorough background checks before someone is able to carry a gun.

While I understand that many consider the right to bear arms the most important amendment to the constitution, I (and the majority of Americans) believe that the right to bear a single-shot musket or even a hunting rifle is not quite the same thing as the right to bear a semi-automatic machine gun or a hand gun.

Most gun supporters claim they need their guns for self-defense, but I disagree and have are a couple of examples to illustrate my point:

I heard a noise in the middle of the night a few nights ago. I had no idea what it was, but it sounded suspiciously like the back door to my place of residence opening. Unlike many Americans, I don't take advantage of my second amendment rights. There isn't a musket in my house, let alone a semi-automatic machine gun or even a hand gun. I was terrified, but because I live in an urban area with people around, I used my own type of self-defense. I didn't attempt to throw knives or to wield any blunt objects in the house, but I did yell as loudly as I possibly could.

Hopefully, there wasn't an intruder, but if there was, he or she would have heard the noise and  fled. I didn't have a gun to risk shooting myself or someone else in the middle of the night when I am groggy.

When I was in college, my friend and her Dad had a similar experience. They both heard a noise in the middle of the night. Her Dad grabbed his hand gun and walked around the house trying to find the intruder, while my friend walked around to try and find out what was happening. He came very close to pulling a gun on his daughter in the middle of the night because he thought that she was an intruder.

That story didn't end up as badly as it could have, but oftentimes, guns in the home are used against spouses or other family members in anger or more often, in accidents in the name of "self defense". The idea of using a gun as a weapon for self-defense is out-dated.The reality is that an investment in a burglar alarm or a home security system would blast loud enough to scare away most intruders from your home.

The more guns there are in the United States, the more guns will fall into the hands of criminals, which is something that ardent gun supporters fail to recognize or understand. 39 states now allow citizens to carry concealed weapons and according to the NYT, there has been a push from the NRA to "loosen gun legislation". I don't know about you, but the idea that the person in line behind me at the check-out line in ght the grocery store might have a gun in his pocket is downright scary.

In addition to the accidental deaths and gun-related homicides involving family members, gun control legislation could greatly reduce brutal killing sprees such as Virginia Tech. Making it more difficult for people to get their hands on weapons makes it more difficult for would-be killers to kill.

Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association is one of the most power lobbying organizations in the United States and has "taken out" politicians for their tough votes on gun control in the past. I believe that Newt Gingrich's "success" in the 1994 election when the Dems lost control of the house and senate was largely bank-rolled by the NRA in response to the Assault Weapons Ban.

I don't know the best way to do it, but taking away some of the NRA's truthful power both in Washington DC and at the state level is a necessary step before any meaningful gun control legislation will be passed.

Pic from Flickr user 

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