America’s new gun owners aren’t who you’d think

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Dox47
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28 Sep 2022, 9:49 pm

This story is actually behind the curve quite a bit, this has been going on for a while now, it's just recently starting to get media coverage. IIRC, when I joined my current gun club in 2020 white males were actually in the minority in my orientation group of 12 or so, and that was completely normal, our on site range officer is a black woman.

I've got to laugh a bit at the one lady's description of the reception she was expecting at the range vs the one she got; people forget that gun people are at heart enthusiasts, and when we see someone who shares our passion we get excited and helpful, especially if that person is female.

The "it's easier to talk about being gay than owning a gun" thing also rings unfortunately true, and gun ownership has become more culturally fraught in recent years. Hopefully that might change though, a few more years like 2020 and the demographic shift is going to be impossible to ignore.

Liberal, female and minority: America’s new gun owners aren’t who you’d think

Quote:


CNN

Several times a week you can hear gunfire echoing from Brandi Joseph’s scenic Southern California property. A licensed firearms instructor and dealer, Joseph decided to open Fortune Firearms in December to serve a growing and rapidly changing clientele.

“There is a huge uptick in female owners,” Joseph said. “Women are getting trained; women are carrying… liberal and conservative.”

Proof of that change pulled up Joseph’s long, dusty driveway in the San Jacinto Valley just before 10 a.m. for a Saturday social, of sorts. A group of seven African American women stepped out of their cars seemingly eager to start their first firearms training session.

“Our society and climate is changing… it’s just better to be prepared for your own safety and protection. That’s how we feel,” Laronya Day, who organized the outing, said.

Now in their early 50s, the women have been friends since they were kids in Los Angeles, about two and a half hours from Joseph’s business. And most of them acknowledge they lean left politically.

“Do you have some friends who would be totally turned off by this?” we asked Charlean Ward. “Absolutely,” she responded. “That’s their choice; I’m exercising my choice.”

Jamie Beverly looked less certain, if not uneasy. “Seeing all the guns on the table, I was like ‘ugh,’” Beverly said. “Would you ever want to carry?” we asked her. “I don’t think so,” she whispered.
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Over the course of nearly two hours, Joseph led a detailed instruction, teaching the women about everything from the types of handguns best suited for self-defense to how to load and disarm a firearm. Only after the women had repeatedly loaded the cartridge, inserted the magazine, chambered the gun, and then doing it all in reverse, did Joseph determine they were ready to fire at their paper targets.

Echoes of gunfire rippled through the rural valley as the women pulled their triggers.


‘I definitely am more closeted being a gun owner’

About an hour east of Los Angeles, Yessica Mendez and her wife Crisia Regalado met with their instructor Tom Nguyen at Burro Canyon Shooting Park. But Regalado, 25, admits she at first wanted nothing to do with guns.

“Just the sounds… the vibrations of each impact… made me very jittery and shaky and I had to excuse myself out of the range,” Regalado recalled. “I don’t know, it just triggered something inside of me and it made me scared.”

Mendez, 30, was equally disinterested in guns at first. But in recent years she’s felt a growing need for self-protection.

“I’m a Mexican woman in a same-sex relationship; I need to feel safe. I need to feel protected,” Mendez said. “And right now the laws and the things that are going on don’t make me feel safe and don’t make me feel protected.”

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She convinced her wife to join her for a training session with Nguyen, who began LA Progressive Shooters in 2020.

“I never intended to become an instructor, but the need from the community was there,” Nguyen said. “And there’s also folks from my own liberal community who see me as, ‘oh you like guns you must be a gun nut.’ But that’s not really it at all.”

Nguyen says his clients are mostly liberal and from all backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations. He prides himself on creating an inclusive student base.

“The more I educate those who are formally anti-gun the more they actually realize that there’s more nuance to it,” he said.

Both Mendez and Regalado now have their own guns and are working toward getting their concealed carry permits. But they avoid talking about their guns with friends, who they say are firmly anti-gun.

“They’re really not open to understanding,” Mendez said. Adding that she feels more comfortable discussing her same-sex relationship with friends than her guns. “I definitely am more closeted being a gun owner, for fear of retaliation.”


Finding common ground at the range

Both Mendez and Regalado at first worried about the type of people they encounter at the gun range, many of whom, they say, advertise their conservative politics in what they’re wearing or listening to.

“It’s mostly all men, mostly all white men, older men like 70s, 80s,” Mendez said. “Seeing people looking at us, and kind of just staring… It always makes us more uncomfortable. Because we’re like, ‘oh my God are they going to come and tell us, like, get out of here… you don’t belong here.’”

Instead, they’ve gotten a different reaction.

“They’re like, ‘Hey, you’re doing well, but can I show you something that might help you more?,” Mendez said.

Mendez says not only has it changed her impression of those individuals, but she also believes it’s given some a different perception of people like her.

“When I (came) back the next day, (one of the men) was like, ‘Hey! I saw your wife out there – she looks nice. Tell her I said ‘hi’.”

Still, as a Mexican-American immigrant in a same-sex marriage Mendez feels pulled in different directions politically.

“But at the end of the day I have to choose. Am I going to choose guns? Or am I going to choose my relationship? And I will always choose my relationship, but it’s just like a shame that we can’t come together and feel safe,” she said.


De-stigmatizing lawful gun ownership

Gun sales in one of the country’s few black-owned gun shops, Redstone Firearms in Burbank, California, soared post-pandemic and have remained steady, according to co-owner Jonathan Solomon.

“It’s not just one demographic. It’s not just one ethnic group. There’s just not one level of income… it’s a wide variety of folks that come in here now,” he said.

While white men have the highest rates of gun ownership in the US, one survey shows that in the first half of 2021 roughly 90% of retailers saw a surge in gun sales to African Americans. The same survey found that about 80% of retailers reported an increase in firearm purchases by Hispanic and Asian Americans.

Solomon, a former police officer, opened the shop about nine years ago with his wife Geneva. He says his new, diverse customers are primarily buying their first gun for a shared reason: self-protection. But he warns them to pay close attention to the rapidly changing regulations on firearms.

“It’s a consistent education when it comes to gun laws, especially in California,” Solomon said.

California is consistently rated among the states with the toughest gun laws. There are strict policies aimed at dissuading hasty gun purchases, including a 10-day cooling off period from when you buy a gun to when you can take it out of the store. And getting a concealed carry permit in places like Los Angeles can take more than a year and include background checks and interviews.

“It’s really convenient to think that if we just ban an object, if we just ban guns, then all of our problems would be solved – all of society’s problems would be solved – but that’s not true,” said firearms instructor Nguyen.

Nguyen said more and more residents are willing to put in the time and go through the hurdles to legally buy and carry a gun. And he says most of his clients support tough gun regulation so long as there’s clarity, consistency and still a path toward legal gun ownership. He only hopes they incorporate education and training into that process.

“I want to de-stigmatize lawful and responsible gun ownership,” Nguyen said.


‘I just feel liberated’

After completing their two-hour class at Fortune Firearms, most of the group of seven childhood friends were noticeably more comfortable in their new-found knowledge.

“I just feel liberated,” Ward said. “I feel like, let’s move to the next step: license to carry, get the concealed weapon.”

Data from Harvard found that more than half of new gun owners are likely to be women. Joseph says many of her clients are more liberal women who don’t advertise that they’re carrying.

“Most people have (in mind) the cookie-cutter firearm owner… right-wing…. But then there’s the other side that is quiet. They own guns. They’re buying them. They’re stockpiling ammo. It’s just not on their Facebook pages and it’s not their profile pictures,” she said.

Image

Day is now planning to move forward with carrying after Joseph’s class. “With all the things that you see on the news, things are happening more… in so many public areas, movie theaters, Walmarts, grocery stores…. It’s like there’s no limit now,” she said.

But gun ownership is not for everyone. Even after their course, within the close-knit group of friends there are differing opinions toward firearms.

“I think it’s great that more people are being educated and taking steps to protect themselves and protect their families,” Beverly said. “But for me personally, I’m still leery. I don’t think I would purchase (a gun).”


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Last edited by magz on 30 Sep 2022, 2:26 am, edited 2 times in total.: Sweeping attack removed

that1weirdgrrrl
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28 Sep 2022, 10:01 pm

Well written article that represents open mindedness and differing conclusions while still being respectful.

Thank you for sharing.


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28 Sep 2022, 10:31 pm

There's nothing wrong with women owning guns.


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29 Sep 2022, 6:03 am

Okay, I have questions.

I live in the UK where gun controls are waaaay stricter than in the US. I can buy certain types of gun, with a license - I can get airguns, a shotgun and certain types of rifle. There are strict rules on how I'd have to store these weapons, what I can use them for and I certainly wouldn't be allowed to carry one in public. Assault weapons, automatics, military style weapons - just a no-no. I can join a gun club if I want to shoot for pleasure.

Personally, I'm happy with this. I don't need a gun for protection because pretty much no-one else has a gun either and our police don't tend to shoot people much.

Yes, these gun laws restrict my freedom, but I support them in return for not having to worry much about being shot. In some ways, all laws involve restricting my personal freedom for the benefit of a wider society, it's just about the balance, right?

And yes, we do still have gun crime, there will always be some people who get hold of these things and want to do bad with them. But I think we've made it as difficult as we can.

I fully appreciate that America is not the UK. That there are guns everywhere, there is a historical culture of gun ownership and it's tied in with the idea of independence, being able to protect yourself and your property.

And because of that, the kind of amnesty we had after the Dunblane massacre probably wouldn't work and would probably lead to civil unrest if it was enforced.

What I don't get is why some people think that it's better if everyone has guns. Why isn't it just sad that the people, like the ones in this article are buying guns and learning how to use them because they don't feel safe? Why isn't it a failure of governance? Why are some people proud of it, instead of embarrassed?

Is it really better, or is it just too hard a problem to fix?

The article talks about destigmatising lawful gun ownership. Fair enough, you can't really blame individuals for wanting to protect themselves within the environment they find themselves, but the choice to perpetuate that environment maybe should be stigmatised, no?


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Dox47
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29 Sep 2022, 7:45 am

DuckHairback wrote:
What I don't get is why some people think that it's better if everyone has guns.


Well, guns are one of the few tools that somewhat level the playing field when it comes to self defense; it doesn't matter how big and strong you are if the person you're attacking has a gun, and if you're not big and strong you can effectively defend yourself with one against virtually any threat. You can't really argue that guns cause crime, if you hand a gun to someone with no tendency towards violence it's not going to cause them to go out and commit a crime, what you can argue is that they make some crimes worse by allowing a single person to do more harm, but prohibiting them is a band aid solution if you don't address the underlying causes of violent crime, such as poverty and honor culture.

If you're on the street in the UK and someone comes at your with a knife or club, what are your options? IIRC you're not allowed to carry anything that can be used as a weapon, so I guess it's better hope you're in good shape to run and/or there's a cop nearby, where as I can defend myself in that situation, and am not totally reliant on the state for keeping myself safe.


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29 Sep 2022, 11:26 am

Dox47 wrote:
DuckHairback wrote:
What I don't get is why some people think that it's better if everyone has guns.


Well, guns are one of the few tools that somewhat level the playing field when it comes to self defense; it doesn't matter how big and strong you are if the person you're attacking has a gun, and if you're not big and strong you can effectively defend yourself with one against virtually any threat. You can't really argue that guns cause crime, if you hand a gun to someone with no tendency towards violence it's not going to cause them to go out and commit a crime, what you can argue is that they make some crimes worse by allowing a single person to do more harm, but prohibiting them is a band aid solution if you don't address the underlying causes of violent crime, such as poverty and honor culture.


Thankyou for engaging with my questions. I've been thinking about this and I think the levelling of the playing field is the part that I see as problematic.

What I mean is, a gun turns everyone into a tough guy. I'm a big guy, but I'm not a tough guy. I'll fight if cornered, or if my family are at risk, but I'm not good at it and anyone who is vaguely competent with their fists stands a pretty good chance of coming off best against me. I won't fight if someone insults me, or if they come at me and I can get out of it without fighting. The feelings associated with this stance are complex. Intellectually, I can justify what I do when challenged. I can be the 'bigger' man, I can walk away. I can put my physical safety ahead of my need to satisfy 'honor'. But even when it's ethically the right thing to do, it never feels good. It always feels like capitulation, like cowardice. That's because my ego has been bruised. No-one likes being reminded that if someone more powerful than them wants to, they can force their will on you. It feels horrible.

If I had a gun on my person would I behave differently? Would I think of myself differently? Does that change the equation? If I can get someone to back down because I pulled a gun, and then I don't have to deal with those unpleasant, complex feelings about my character, would I make that choice? Would I protect my ego in that way?

Maybe I would, and maybe you'd say that would be the right thing for me to do because I'd be standing up for myself and that's everyone's right.

But me having the right to pull a gun on someone raises two difficult questions for me.

Firstly, what's the threshold? Do I have the right to point a gun at someone if they are already pointing one at me? Okay. What if they're just pointing a knife, or a bat? What if they only have their fists. What if they're not threatening me at all, just taking something of mine. What if they've just called me an offensive name or disrespected me in some other minor way? What if they accidently scratched my car with theirs and aren't taking responsibility for it? How small does the offense have to be before it's not okay for me to threaten their life with a gun?

Secondly, by pulling a gun, I've changed the dynamic of the altercation. They've gone from someone who is threatening me, to someone who is being threatened. That's going to make them want to defend themselves. Perhaps they also have a gun. Perhaps they're more scared than I am and are prepared to use it. Perhaps my right to stand up for myself just got me shot. Was it worth it?

What I find interesting is this. Pro-gun people seem scared about the world in a way that I am not. And I'm the guy who is probably going to get the sh*t kicked out of him, or worse, if it comes to a fight.

Dox47 wrote:
If you're on the street in the UK and someone comes at your with a knife or club, what are your options? IIRC you're not allowed to carry anything that can be used as a weapon, so I guess it's better hope you're in good shape to run and/or there's a cop nearby, where as I can defend myself in that situation, and am not totally reliant on the state for keeping myself safe.


This is what I mean. This scenario doesn't frighten me, I don't feel vulnerable in that way. Not because I'm a tough guy but because it's so unlikely. Don't get me wrong, violent crime happens here, but it's very concentrated in problem areas where I have no business and no desire to go. The risk to me of getting in an unwanted altercation is very low and the chances of me being able to get out of anything that does happen without fighting is very high if I don't escalate it.

That's my calculation of risk, based on my life experiences and the country I live in.

It seems to me that pro-gun people, and people like those in the article in the original post, are doing the same calculation and concluding that it's an unacceptable risk to not carry a gun.

I agree that guns don't cause crime. But I wonder what the effect the normalisation of guns in a society does to that society. Isn't it possible that the very abundance of guns means that more altercations reach the point of actual violence? Isn't it possible that very minor altercations can become much more serious ones if one or both parties introduce a gun?

So maybe the reason why people in societies that have a lot of guns feel more scared of random violent crime, is because more altercations turn randomly violent in that society. The stakes of every little disagreement with a stranger have been raised to potentially life-threatening levels. Because no-one's ego need take a battering when you can pull a gun on someone.

It seems to me profoundly unhealthy.


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29 Sep 2022, 1:31 pm

In rural areas most women have guns regardless of political party.
Liberal gun owner here.


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29 Sep 2022, 2:02 pm

Being a gun owner isn't a problem. How some people misuse guns is the problem.



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29 Sep 2022, 2:04 pm

Matrix Glitch wrote:
Being a gun owner isn't a problem. How some people misuse guns is the problem.

..which is exactly why ownership should be restricted to those who pass background checks vs the near total free for all in the USA.


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29 Sep 2022, 4:15 pm

 ! Cornflake wrote:
An off-topic post about Trump and several responses to it have been removed.

Please, it you have something to say about Trump then add it to one of the many existing threads specifically about him.
The frequent introductions of this nature in unrelated threads is starting to look like trolling.

There are already far too many threads here about Trump and most of the additional content doesn't warrant a new thread; I'm going to review them with a view to merging it all into one general-purpose "Trump News" thread, along the lines of the "Emergence of a Deadly Coronavirus" thread.


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29 Sep 2022, 5:57 pm

goldfish21 wrote:
..which is exactly why ownership should be restricted to those who pass background checks vs the near total free for all in the USA.


They're not an over the counter purchase here, I'm not sure how you think it works but that's not it.


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Dox47
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29 Sep 2022, 6:31 pm

DuckHairback wrote:
If I had a gun on my person would I behave differently? Would I think of myself differently? Does that change the equation? If I can get someone to back down because I pulled a gun, and then I don't have to deal with those unpleasant, complex feelings about my character, would I make that choice? Would I protect my ego in that way?

Maybe I would, and maybe you'd say that would be the right thing for me to do because I'd be standing up for myself and that's everyone's right.


I'm not saying that's not a legitimate question, but I think you'd find that the reality of carrying a gun is much different than what a lot of people think; drawing a gun is serious business even here in the US, and you can absolutely expect to be dealing with cops and lawyers no matter how justified you were in doing so. I actually found that carrying made me less likely to cause any sort of confrontation, both because of the legal liability and because it takes the ego right out of it, I don't need to prove how tough I am because I know that anyone who's pissing me off is only still alive because I don't think they're worth going to jail over, makes it really easy to smile in the face of someone who's trying to pick a fight.


DuckHairback wrote:

Firstly, what's the threshold? Do I have the right to point a gun at someone if they are already pointing one at me? Okay. What if they're just pointing a knife, or a bat? What if they only have their fists. What if they're not threatening me at all, just taking something of mine. What if they've just called me an offensive name or disrespected me in some other minor way? What if they accidently scratched my car with theirs and aren't taking responsibility for it? How small does the offense have to be before it's not okay for me to threaten their life with a gun?


The threshold is quite clear, you need to be in reasonable fear for your life or serious injury to yourself or another, you can't kill over property or petty disputes (trespassing is a little different, you can usually legally use lethal force on someone who's broken into your home, but not just walking through your yard). It's determined by what's called the "reasonable man" standard, which does have some flexibility, e.g. a petite woman might be legally able to threaten or use lethal force in situations where I, a full sized man, would be deemed unreasonable in using it.

DuckHairback wrote:
Secondly, by pulling a gun, I've changed the dynamic of the altercation. They've gone from someone who is threatening me, to someone who is being threatened. That's going to make them want to defend themselves. Perhaps they also have a gun. Perhaps they're more scared than I am and are prepared to use it. Perhaps my right to stand up for myself just got me shot. Was it worth it?


Well, as I said, if you draw a gun when it's not legally warranted, you're going to be facing fines and jail time, so it's not a step to be taken lightly. If you're legally in the clear and someone continues the behavior that caused you to draw, I'd basically consider it assisted suicide at that point (I can't tell you how many videos I've seen where someone's last words are "what are you going to do, shoot me?").

DuckHairback wrote:
What I find interesting is this. Pro-gun people seem scared about the world in a way that I am not. And I'm the guy who is probably going to get the sh*t kicked out of him, or worse, if it comes to a fight.


It's not fear, it's being prepared and having options. I'm not scared when I slip my .380 in my back pocket before heading out, it's just like having a spare tire in case I get a flat, simply being prepared for a possible emergency that I wouldn't want to encounter without the proper tool.

DuckHairback wrote:
This is what I mean. This scenario doesn't frighten me, I don't feel vulnerable in that way. Not because I'm a tough guy but because it's so unlikely. Don't get me wrong, violent crime happens here, but it's very concentrated in problem areas where I have no business and no desire to go. The risk to me of getting in an unwanted altercation is very low and the chances of me being able to get out of anything that does happen without fighting is very high if I don't escalate it.


Why leave it to chance if you don't have to? "I live in a safe area, I can talk my way out of it" sound like famous last words to me.

DuckHairback wrote:
It seems to me that pro-gun people, and people like those in the article in the original post, are doing the same calculation and concluding that it's an unacceptable risk to not carry a gun.


Again, not quite, the aphorism we use is "it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it".

DuckHairback wrote:
I agree that guns don't cause crime. But I wonder what the effect the normalisation of guns in a society does to that society. Isn't it possible that the very abundance of guns means that more altercations reach the point of actual violence? Isn't it possible that very minor altercations can become much more serious ones if one or both parties introduce a gun?


Why wouldn't it be the opposite, an armed society being a polite society when people understand the risk of escalating minor altercations? Licensed carriers in the US have a crime rate beneath that of the police, we literally commit fewer crimes than those entrusted to enforce the laws.

DuckHairback wrote:

It seems to me profoundly unhealthy.


It's just different, the US has different DNA than the UK and commonwealth countries, we tolerate more risk in exchange for more choices.


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DuckHairback
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30 Sep 2022, 6:49 am

^^^Again, thanks for the considered responses. You've not convinced me that society with abundant weapons is in any way better than one where they're outlawed for the general public but it's been really interesting to get a better insight into the mindset.

I won't go through point by point but I have a couple more things I want to say.

Firstly, a lot of your arguments rest on people behaving in a calm and considered way when in one of these hypothetical altercations. In my experience, people who are in these kind of interactions are anything but, they're operating with a dumpload of adrenalin in their bloodstream with has serious effects on their ability to make rational decisions. To me, that alters the calculation.

Second (this doesn't refute anything you've said but I feel it's important) I rarely ever even see a gun. If I go to London I may see a police officer carrying a weapon. If I pass an army barracks there may be a guard on the gate with a weapon. I once ran into a wood at daybreak and disturbed a farmer with a shotgun who was after badgers. It's always jarring - I mean I get a physical fear reaction from it. I don't think that's uncommon, I think it's natural - it's what is being described in the article you posted. I know that thing can kill me and has no purpose other than to kill me, should it's owner decide that's a 'reasonable' course of action. And I have no control over their thought process. I think that response is important. I think that's how someone should respond to seeing a gun.
I have no doubt that if I lived in the US and saw guns around, if I decided I should have one (and I may) for my protection and I learned to use it safely etc, then that fear response would go away with familiarisation. I don't like the thought of that happening. I think that would make me a worse person.


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30 Sep 2022, 4:59 pm

Dox47 wrote:
goldfish21 wrote:
..which is exactly why ownership should be restricted to those who pass background checks vs the near total free for all in the USA.


They're not an over the counter purchase here, I'm not sure how you think it works but that's not it.

Plenty of stuff in the news about gun show exemptions where there are no background checks, just people freely buying and selling like a yard sale with no background checks required.


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30 Sep 2022, 7:17 pm

goldfish21 wrote:
Plenty of stuff in the news about gun show exemptions where there are no background checks, just people freely buying and selling like a yard sale with no background checks required.


<-- American
Gunsmithing degree
Works in firearms business

Yeah, I'm sure your "news" knows more about this than I do.

There is no such thing as a "gun show exemption/loophole", that's a propaganda term that the anti gun people came up with years ago to refer to the fact that private citizens can sell their guns to one another informally in most states, anything bought from a dealer has to go through a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, which includes a NICs check for felonies and other disqualifiers. Some states, such as the one I live in, require all sales to go through a dealer, which in theory means that if I want to sell someone a gun, both of us need to meet up at a dealer for them to transfer the gun from me to their books, and then from their books to the buyer, with the background check on the buyer being performed at that time (for a fee of course, and as there is often a delay the gun may need to stay at the dealer for up to several weeks), but in practice it's largely ignored, as it's unenforceable for any gun that was originally sold before the law was passed. Of course, it's had no impact on crime because criminals typically don't buy their guns from the legitimate market, but that was never really the point, it's just meant to make owning guns more difficult and onerous because our AG thinks that will get him elected governor, and he might be right because Washington liberals are idiots.


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Dox47
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30 Sep 2022, 8:56 pm

DuckHairback wrote:
Firstly, a lot of your arguments rest on people behaving in a calm and considered way when in one of these hypothetical altercations. In my experience, people who are in these kind of interactions are anything but, they're operating with a dumpload of adrenalin in their bloodstream with has serious effects on their ability to make rational decisions. To me, that alters the calculation.


Well, as I've said, there is data for this in the form of the crime rate of licensed gun carriers in the US, which is below that of the police and thus suggests that law abiding gun owners can keep their collective heads just fine under conflict, otherwise you'd see a much higher crime rate and permit revocation rate, which just isn't there in the data.

DuckHairback wrote:
Second (this doesn't refute anything you've said but I feel it's important) I rarely ever even see a gun. If I go to London I may see a police officer carrying a weapon. If I pass an army barracks there may be a guard on the gate with a weapon. I once ran into a wood at daybreak and disturbed a farmer with a shotgun who was after badgers. It's always jarring - I mean I get a physical fear reaction from it. I don't think that's uncommon, I think it's natural - it's what is being described in the article you posted.


Eh, like a lot of natural reactions, you get used to being around guns, just like years of shooting have removed my natural flinch reaction to loud bangs in my vicinity. Gunsmithing school was pretty desensitizing in that way, we had to get used to being "lasered" (having the barrel of a gun pointed at you) all day every day as people at the various workbenches worked on different guns, which is not a comfortable experience for most people, even gun owners, but you eventually learn to trust the school's extreme measure against live ammo in the building to keep you safe.

DuckHairback wrote:
I know that thing can kill me and has no purpose other than to kill me, should it's owner decide that's a 'reasonable' course of action.


This is going to seem like a quibble, but as someone who designs guns, I hate the "no purpose other than to kill" line of thought, as it's just not correct. Guns are just tools for directing force when you get right down to it, they accelerate lumps of lead down long tubes, and when you're designing one the things you take into account are more like weight and durability and mechanical accuracy rather than "how can I make it more lethal?" (that's really the job of the bullet designer). A target rifle, for example, could be used as a weapon in a pinch, but is often far from practical in that role, having been designed from the ground up to maximize accuracy at the cost of everything else, often meaning it's heavy and has more delicate parts than a rifle designed for say hunting. Something like a gallows or a guillotine truly falls into the "no other purpose than killing" category, where as firearms are more like knives or bows in that they do have some utility beyond their pure use as a weapon.

DuckHairback wrote:
And I have no control over their thought process. I think that response is important. I think that's how someone should respond to seeing a gun.


Why would you think that? You just said you have virtually no experience with firearms, what would make you so sure yours is the "correct" response?

DuckHairback wrote:
I have no doubt that if I lived in the US and saw guns around, if I decided I should have one (and I may) for my protection and I learned to use it safely etc, then that fear response would go away with familiarisation. I don't like the thought of that happening. I think that would make me a worse person.


Why? You'd still be the same person, you'd just have an insurance policy if you couldn't talk your way out of something. You'd probably pick up shooting easily too, I find that people with no preconceived notions about knowing what they're doing are easier to teach, in my case it's the women I've taken shooting who've been the most natural shots once they've gotten over their initial unease, where as guys often think they know how to do it and end up making fools of themselves. I do have this one male friend who's an uncanny natural, like he won't shoot for years and then he'll shoot circles around me with my own pistols (handguns are the hardest to shoot), it's quite unfair, lol.


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“The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental.”
-- Robert Anton Wilson