The single most important thing for you to understand is that while the vast majority of guns in the hands of Americans are never used to kill or hurt another human being, they are indeed designed for that purpose. And though we target shoot or hunt, we will ultimately acknowledge that. Well, most of us. I don’t really want to pretend to speak for everyone but there are other gun owners here who will probably agree with what I am saying:
For gun owners, the context is important.
One gun is found in a desk drawer by a child, who kills his little brother with it in a deplorable gun accident.
One gun is used to shoot a fascist in Spain, in defense of a village.
One gun is used by a pregnant woman to kill a carjacker.
One gun is used to kill a rival drug dealer on the street.
One gun is used by a radical leftist political group who shoots an armored car guard.
One gun is used to shoot that same leftist political group down when they take hostages and begin firing at police.
One gun is used by a hiker who is attacked by a bear in Alaska.
One gun is negligently discharged and kills another hunter.
One gun is used to kill a home invader, who is in turn armed himself, with an intent to rape one of the residents.
For those who oppose guns, or hate guns, all guns are one thing: killing.
To gun owners, context is everything – that is to say, defense of innocent human life from one who tries to violate another’s right to life (and/or liberty).
As a gun owner, I consider the blanket rejection of guns to be simplistic and, without being overly strident, infantile. It would be nice to live in a world without violence. I do not believe that disarming people who are responsible, who would never initiate a criminal or violent act against another person, will do anything to serve this goal. It is odd to me that so many of those who most despise the State – the US government, would turn around and at the same time insist that only this same government be allowed to own arms, to the exlusion of responsible citizens. To me that indicates a contempt for one’s fellow man and a bizarre, childlike faith in the government. What are agents of the government? Men and women – just like civilians.
We who you will find online arguing in favor of the Right are not gang members. We are not criminals. We are not, for the most part anyway, Travis Bickle wannabes, lying in wait, hoping we have a chance to use our weapons on someone.
We believe that guns equalize good people and bad people. We believe they are a disincentive to bully and victimze other people. We believe their presence in prudent and judicious hands are a deterrent.
Most of us believe in caustic, malevolent evil – which almost always comes armed. Most of us believe in the right to defend the life one oneself and other innocent people against that evil.
If you want to really understand American gun owners, you will first have to understand that “gun culture” is not one thing – the inner city streets and the Second Amendment crowd almost never meet – they are two completely separate worlds. That is something those who hate guns and gun owners refuse to see, more than anything else.
For this reason and the reasons stated above, we do not view guns or gun ownership as a single thing: we abhor the decontextualization of gun ownership and resent the way we are stereotyped or lumped in with psychopaths and criminals, where the use of a firearm in self defense is grouped in the mind of some anti-gun people as the same thing as cold blooded murder.
We see a gun as a neutral, inanimate object, until it is picked up by a sentient human being.
We support the right to keep and bear arms because we believe the good guys ought to be armed, if not in numbers and firepower superior to, then at least at parity with criminals, and, god forbid, a tyrannical government run amok.
As those who believe we ought not to be armed should basically surrender to any armed criminal believe we live in a fantasy world when we assert that fighting back is not only our right, but is the prudent thing to do, we look with equal disbelief at those who think we should take the word of armed criminals that if we just cooperate, everything will be just fine.
We believe this because we believe in the right to one’s own life, and the means to defend that life. That is really all it comes down to. We do not believe that it is privilege granted by the State. We do not believe we have any obligation to seek consent from others to own weapons. We believe it is a right all men and women have, and would have, whether the US Constitution enumerated it in the Second Amendment or not.
(Again, if any gun owners disagree, I’m arguing for my camp, not necessarily for every gun owner. Feel free to downvote me if you think I’m way off base – these are the reasons I believe in gun ownership.)
Incidentally, as for background checks: I am theoretically for denying firearms to those who would misuse them for criminal intent. 100% for it, but with the caveat that any such regulations are not used to register (thereby enabling confiscation of) firearms or otherwise alert the government as to who has guns and who does not have guns.
There were those who supported the NICS background check because records of those checks were supposed to be destroyed after a certain time – that is, the government was supposed to destroy records, having been run on law abiding citizens, after a certain period.
Guess what happened?
The State simply cannot serve as a clearinghouse for the very means by which – theoretically speaking – the State is supposed to be challenged and destroyed, in the event of tyranny, which “more reasonable, non paranoid” people (their kind of terms) say can’t happen here….