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Private Gun Ownership - Good or Bad?

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Last week, we had another mass shooting in America. A young college student deeply rooted in misogynist mentality, and frustrated by female rejection, decided to take a drive through a California college town and open fire, killing six people and wounding numerous others. As you know, guns are deeply rooted in American culture, and always have been. So why the recent proliferation of school and mass shootings over the last few years? I think in large part these tragedies are not a result of guns, but the sickness of society in general. After all, Americans have always been armed but the proliferation of mass shootings has been rather recent. Twenty years ago, or even ten, we didn't hear about such tragedies on a consistent basis.

People sometimes forget that the right to bear arms is expressly enumerated in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Private gun ownership is a principle upon which my country was founded. We are the most heavily armed civilian population in the world, with close to 300 million firearms in the hands of civilians, including my family members. I am completely pro gun, and have always been surrounded by firearms. I shoot Rifles, a 9mm glock and .357 Magnum Revolver at the range under the supervision of my father. So, where is the delicate balance between respecting the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens and preventing mass shootings?

I can't say there are any easy answers, nor do I know the best solution. For instance, in the most recent shooting, the culprit had a long history of mental illness. Police officers had even visited his house after worried calls from State mental health officials. Yet when they arrived, the shooter was completely calm and convincing. Thus, they had no legal grounds upon which to enter the home and search. If they had entered his room, they would have found his guns, his detailed plans for the massacre which he had been cooking for over a year, and other clear signs that something sinister was brewing.

People all over the globe are suffering from depression and other forms of mental illness, and they should not be under constant suspicion for seeking treatment. One simple way to mitigate widespread gun violence is to have tighter and consistent controls. Currently, gun laws drastically vary from State to State, and I don't claim to be an expert in nationwide legislation. Such knowledge is almost impossible. California is known as the strictest State, and Texas and my home State of Virginia are considered two of the most pro-gun locations in the nation. This is not surprising given that the National Rifle Association is headquartered only a 1/2 hour from my apartment. In Virginia, private citizens can openly carry firearms and I've seen it in restaurants, particularly in rural areas. Is it necessary? I don't think so. Only Washington, DC and Hawaii require all firearms to be registered.

Our founding Fathers made certain that private gun ownership will never completely become extinct in America, but this doesn't mean that laws shouldn't be changed. Some of the most strongly advocated solutions include:

(1) Background checks for all firearm owners
(2) Waiting period
(3) Registration of ALL firearms in every State
(4) For schools - allow teachers to carry firearms into the classroom and train them on use

What do you think? Do you wish Russia had more lenient laws for private gun ownership? What should America do to prevent these tragedies? I sometimes wonder if it's really possible to truly prevent a deranged person from committing these acts of violence. Even if tighter gun controls exist, they would likely still be able to obtain firearms on the black market. In the end, we cannot mandate good and evil, though an attempt should at least be made to control evil to the greatest extent possible.

Comments

( 163 comments — Leave a comment )
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peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 03:17 pm (UTC)
You are not scared of a woman with a gun? :))
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girlspell
May. 30th, 2014 03:20 pm (UTC)
There really isn't anything you can do. Guns are allowed and I'm glad. We are protected in the constitution. Most shooting happen by people that are mentally ill. There are safe guards. This latest shooter was examined before by mental health experts. But mental illness is not understood very well. They slip through. He was able to purchase a gun legally. I'm not that much of a fan by the NRA. They are more for gun manufacturers then actual gun owners. But they are typical of all lobbying groups. They are there and it's legal. Crime wise, most guns are stolen. Still the track listing of how guns change ownership is a good crime tool. I'm not sure how it is for gun ownerships outside the U.S. I have no idea what countries they are allowed or not allowed to have a weapon.
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
I agree, the real problem is the person, not the gun. The NRA is the most powerful lobby group in America, that's why laws are so slow to change. All politicians, even Democrats who usually favor tighter gun restrictions, are scared of them. I don't know international gun laws either, it varies so much across the globe. But I remember reading Yemen is second to U.S. in civilian gun ownership.
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anonymus
May. 30th, 2014 03:45 pm (UTC)
Great Russian sings said: "Rifle is a celebration!" :)
It`s true.
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 04:52 pm (UTC)
What about laws in Russia? A private citizen can own a rifle for non-hunting purposes?
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fesma94
May. 30th, 2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
Definitely good to own gun! But more important to have proper laws,to protect gunner who protect own property and life.

Edited at 2014-05-30 03:48 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 04:54 pm (UTC)
Are there strict gun laws in Israel, I have no idea? Private citizens can own any type of weapon, or no? I certainly know all soldiers have them because I encountered so many during my trip at all of the checkpoints. :) And they all look like little kids carrying these huge weapons as a means of intimidation.
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petro_witch
May. 30th, 2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
Actually 3 of 6 were killed by a knife and 2 of 6 were killed by his car. So, 7 people were injured by the shooting and 1 of these 7 is died. I'm wondering why all mass media are talking about guns? Why not about knives or cars?
south_of_broad
May. 30th, 2014 04:05 pm (UTC)
Simple! They would have to admit " guns don't kill, people do ."
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moonrainbow
May. 30th, 2014 04:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, that IS a holywar topic!

I tend to be against private gun ownership. I believe that if you can own a gun, a criminal can, too, and your gun doesn't help you against the criminal if you are not ready to shoot at people (and criminals are easy with shooting).

But then I listen to my wife and she's a supporter! She says that a girl can't stand against man's brute force, but a gun in a girl's hand changes the game!

So even a family can't agree on this simple topic, do you really expect finding solution in a big society?
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
In Texas, you can shoot almost anyone, even if they trespass on your neighbor's lawn. Not your OWN lawn, but someone else's. But it's surprising to me that you're against all private gun ownership. What about for hunting, is it okay? I always knew Maria is a wise woman. :))
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Texas is the greatest state! - zyrianov - May. 30th, 2014 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
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south_of_broad
May. 30th, 2014 04:13 pm (UTC)
1 and 2 is already in place in some states. At least In SC , I also had to go to school in order to get concealed weapon permit. 3 is unconstitutional . Law abiding citizens will register their guns, criminals won't . So what's the point? 4- I am all for it! The sign on the door won't prevent evil from entering , the teacher with the gun will.
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
There is no schooling or wait period in VA, unless the laws have recently changed. Anyone off the street can go to a gun show (and there are a lot of them here!!) and buy a firearm on the spot. I don't think 3 is unconstitutional. We are required to register our automobiles and pay taxes, inspection fees, etc. on them. Imagine the uproar if we began to tax private gun ownership!!! :)) I'm an advocate for training, esp. in those States where you can openly carry a weapon.
leo_sosnine
May. 30th, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC)
America should do nothing about that. The problem about this guy and similar cases is just growing population. If people own guns sometimes they will kill each other with guns and that's inevitable. More population in size -- more cases like that. Of course guns make it easier for people to kill each other and banning guns completely will eventually lessen numbers of people injured in killing sprees, but won't stop killing sprees themselves, remember a recent knife killing spree in on american school?. People always tend to kill each other and it's not necessarily bad. This case was bad, however.

On the other hand, killing sprees can be stopped effectively by other people who carry their guns with them, so I support your suggestion on school teachers carrying guns.

Nice pic!
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 05:04 pm (UTC)
"People always tend to kill each other and it's not necessarily bad." :)) When is it not bad to kill others? The only exception is warfare or self-defense. I also like this photo. It was taken in the back of my dad's pick-up truck at Christmas time.
new_forester
May. 30th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
I love it when the pro-gun people bring up the 2nd amendment. You forget that the Constitution is but a document. It was written by people and people can change it. It has been changed (amended) many times before and what makes you think it can't be amended again to repeal the 2nd amendment? There was a time when the 2nd amendment made a lot of sense. It doesn't any more. Self-defense is a myth. Does that person trespassing on your lawn really deserve a death penalty for his crime? Gun ownership takes justice from the courts and the legal system and puts it into citizens' hands, Wild West style. I am uncomfortable with that.
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
I agree the Constitution is a "living document" that should adjust with societal changes, but you can't underestimate its importance, particularly with respect to civil liberties. In fact, it has been amended less than 20 times in over 200 years despite over 10,000 attempts by legislators. The main exception was the Bill of Rights, of which the Second Amendment is a part. It will never be repealed. Impossible.

I agree a person trespassing on your lawn doesn't deserve to be shot, but once they enter your private home you should have a right to self-defense. I'm not sure why you think self-defense is a myth? What about alcohol? It also is a deadly weapon when people consume massive amounts and get behind the wheel and kill people in accidents. Should it also be banned? The number of very responsible gun owners FAR outweighs those who do harm, so things must be kept in perspective.
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skribacov
May. 30th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
Право на оружие священная корова свободного общества
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
Да, я соглашаюсь.
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tombormor
May. 30th, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
In Russia private guns are strictly prohibited except for the hunting purposes. And even for hunting you have to get a license first, that is not so easy.

I'm totally agree with you that the problem is the person who shoots, not a gun. So I suppose there should be restrictions for gun owners and compulsive background check.

But also I think that it's a little strange that in the U.S. (as far as I know) there are no special clinics for people with mental diseases. But often these people are dangerous both for themselves and for other people. They are not criminals to be imprisoned, but they should be monitored and controlled by doctors, and some cases demand isolation of the patient for safety reasons.
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
There are such facilities in America, but I think there is still great stigma and shame associated with mental illness so many people do not seek help. I agree there should be compulsive background checks for all owners.
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pin_gwin
May. 30th, 2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
My problems with guns are--
-By my life experience, it is hard to convince me that if I were having a gun ( any kind of) I would have it handy in right time for personal protection. Trying to keep it around all the time feels a big hassle.

-Another point - I have to be ready to use it against another human being. In theory, I understand that it may be the only right thing to do, however I do not feel right to do it cold blooded. At much younger age I was hunting with my friends and holding warm beautiful birds I just killed does not make me feel right even they were very tasty after all.

I leave now in a very safe suburban area and simply do not see a reason why should I carry a gun with me... it would be just another complication. At the same time, if I would smell any kind of public revolt, I would immediately get Kalashnikov from local Fleet Farm. But not before that.
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 08:53 pm (UTC)
I could never hunt or shoot an animal either, although I eat them. I don't even like going to a butcher shop and seeing them hanging and gutted. :( I'm not sure I could kill another person, even if my life depended on it. We can never know unless we're placed in the situation. "Any type of public revolt." You know when Obama was first elected there was a huge panic amongst gun owners. Ammunition and gun sales soared because people feared tighter controls would immediately be implemented. Yet little has changed with respect to guns during his administration.
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moebiuscat
May. 30th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
Well, with rare exceptions gun-related crimes are overwhelmingly committed with illegal black-market weapons. It's easy for a criminal to buy a gun, why would he get a registered and traceable gun so he can be csught?

So most gun control laws are just making it tougher for honest people to buy guns, making criminal's lives easier.
peacetraveler22
May. 30th, 2014 09:18 pm (UTC)
What about Canada? How strict are laws there?
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aapetrenko
May. 30th, 2014 10:14 pm (UTC)
I'm new to the States and all these dances around gun control make me understand that there are idiots in US politics as well as in Russian. Ok, there is no politics in Russia but anyway :)

The stories when the bill introduced in NY to decrease the size of the magazines from 10 to 7 rounds and explanation is mass shootings in schools... WHAT?! 8-0
The real explanation is the same as I saw many times in Russia: We did something loud. It does not and even can not have any effect on the problem in question. But this is a simple thing to do and we will shout everywhere that it does help. And some people will believe.

One of the effects of Santa Barbara shooting is the new bill proposed in California (less then a week from shooting) proposing a right for courts and polices to search and confiscate your guns if someone will tell the police that you're thinking about something bad.
It's even better then Minority report! :)

One important thing to remember is that all the gun control laws are affecting only law-abiding people. They do not have any effect on criminals.
onkel_hans
May. 31st, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
Guns for the people cannot may not ever be allowed in Russia.

Government is perceived in the U.S, as an unfriendly agency. The Constitution,by definition, is a tool to protect the people against government.
The guns are available to the citizens of America because of their right to protect themselves against the government, primarily.

Exactly for the same reason it is inconceivable that the government may allow guns in Russia. There is no reason even to talk about this in Russia. First - get rid of your terrorist government. But - just you try!

Edited at 2014-05-31 12:43 am (UTC)
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onkel_hans
May. 31st, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
To possess guns is a great right. But apart from possess, people must know and practice how to use guns.
In Central Virginia there are no shooting galleries. I tried to learn why and the gun stores told me, it's simple - the liability kills the cat the shooting ranges.

In place of the NRA, I would widely promote the shooting ranges, having a gun and not knowing how to shoot the target is even worse than not having a gun.
peacetraveler22
May. 31st, 2014 01:37 am (UTC)
Close to my house we have an outdoor shooting range. I remember the first time I went, I was a bit freaked out with people shooting in the open, standing right beside one another. Basically no barriers exist and any madman could open fire, yet this has never happened. Because as I've said numerous times in the comments, the majority of gun owners in America are responsible and take firearm safety seriously. Plus, a range is the worst possible place for a maniac to attempt a criminal shooting spree. Everyone around him or her is armed and it would be the equivalent of a suicide mission, as the culprit would be instantly shot. No doubt about it.
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