“Why Do You Have So Many Guns?”

– By Samuel Northrop –

As someone who was born and raised in an environment that embraced gun culture, I still cannot understand why so many people are resisting restrictions on guns, and much of the international community agrees.

I have spent the last six months living and working in Germany, and in my time there, politics came up regularly. But no question was asked more than a very simple one, “Why do you have so many guns?” For me, it is a question with no solid answer outside of tradition. It is ingrained in our minds and even our constitution and is very hard to let go of. But to the logic driven, Vulcan-like German people, this answer simply made no sense. The people that I interacted with on a daily basis had the same shotguns and hunting rifles that I see in so many households around here, but the idea of owning more than one or two was simply bewildering, much less handguns or military grade rifles. More than one joke was made at my expense about being a “gun-happy American” and even when I decided to play the other side there was no acceptance of the arguments I presented. “Criminals will still find a way to get guns,” or “It’s for protection,” were thrown back at my face time and time again.

The argument that criminals will still be able to find guns no matter their legality is a valid one. There is no doubt that an illegal market will be created as happens with any product that has been prohibited (case and point alcohol prohibition of the 1920’s). The point that is not discussed though is that even though it creates a market, the risk of being caught with a gun becomes much higher, and that makes the cost of these weapons out of the range of most people. According to an article from “The Sydney Morning Herald,” a newspaper in Australia where guns have been banned for over a decade now, the average cost of a semi-automatic handgun is somewhere around fifteen thousand dollars. I think that most people with that much money laying around would not have any need for an illegal weapon.

As for safety, there have been many studies that show a person is far more likely to accidentally injure themselves, commit suicide, or harm another person not in self-defense than in a actual justified shooting. These numbers dipped significantly for those who kept their guns locked securely in a gun-safe, but if that is the case, then what protection are they actually providing? I’ve never been robbed, but I’m pretty sure that the perpetrator is not going to stand and wait for me to unlock my safe to even the playing field.

I am not in favor of a complete ban on guns. Denying sport hunters or collectors of antiques of their hobby would be wrong, but I see no justification for personal ownership of highly dangerous weapons. I think the best compromise would be to allow certain range owners access to these weapons in a controlled environment, where enthusiasts have the opportunity to use them, but not take them back to their homes and communities where they can do real damage. We are losing respect in the eyes of our international peers, and I believe this would be a great step to restoring our place as the beacon of progress and development that we have been for so long.


5 Responses to "“Why Do You Have So Many Guns?”"

  1. robtmscott   June 21, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Why do we have more deaths caused by guns in our country, than in any other “first world” country? The answer should be obvious. The question ought to be, how can we best lower our rate of gun deaths? Yes, we do need to reduce the number of guns in our society, make them more difficult to obtain and more difficult to get licensed. Repeal the Second Amendment? Probably not. But recognize we have a national gun addiction and work on curing it, or at least mitigating it? Yes.

  2. R. Shaffer   June 21, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Following the OP’s logic, vehicles caused more deaths by a THREE to one margin in 2014 alone according to the CDC! 33,000 compared to 11,000! So if the purpose if to reduce fatalities in the US, then it seems that vehicles would be the obvious choice to target! But that just isn’t what people want to hear, is it? It doesn’t make news like gun control, so it’s passed over. Of the 11,000 firearm related homicides, how many were caused by felons? People who are known criminals? Who have been in the revolving door we call a justice system? I would offer the lion’s share. Take an honest look at out local news and see how many who are arrested already have a record! The mug shots are available before they are caught!!!! So, the answer is to create more laws, take away Constitutional rights and make criminals of honest law abiding citizens? I say enforce the laws we have now. Lock these repeat offenders away and make the punishment fit the crime. Our justice system is a joke. Plain and simple. And it’s set up to feed itself. How many $$$ are spent trying the same folks over and over? You can’t do that without turning them loose back on the streets. And these are the ones who could care less about guns laws or any law for that matter. So pass more laws, give up your rights and ability to defend yourself and those you love. But when you do, it will be too late to turn back. “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

  3. US Citizen   June 19, 2015 at 12:30 am

    It seems to me that you are more concerned with what other countries think of us than the preservation of our rights under the Constitution. Sadly the seems to be a very popular opinion now a days amongst some of our highest ranked elected officials. Who have sworn to protect these rights. What many people don’t understand in the United States and almost everyone out side of it, is that the second amendment was not written for sporting purposes. The reason for the second amendment is to keep the government in check. I know this is a scary concept. And I’m not some kind of anti-government nut job or anything. But you have to understand how this country was created. Without the right to bear arms we the people have no way of protecting ourselves from a corrupt government. The Germans should understand this best of all. The Weimar Republic introduced a national gun registry and when the Nazis took control it was used to strip the citizens of all their guns. This was done as an act of “Public Satefy”. I think we all know how that ended. Now I know you think that there is room here for a compromise but I tell you there is no budging on the second amendment. Because it will never be enough. If we limit our rights now they will just keep whittling away at them until there is nothing left. You would never suggest that the first amendment should be limited would you? The issue with firearms in this country is a lack of proper education and respect. Yes a gun can be dangerous but only in the hands of someone who does not know what they are doing. You wouldn’t just give a teenager the keys to a car without first properly showing them how to operate it. The media has done a great job of putting out a lot of misinformation and demonizing guns. But there is nothing evil about a gun. It is an inanimate object. It has no soul. It doesn’t hate. Evil comes from man and you can’t change that by getting rid of guns. If someone wants to kill somebody they will find a way. A lot of the problems this country faces today stem from a lack of morality.

  4. John Parker   June 18, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    That totally makes sense and I agree. People with more guns than they need probably do have mental health issues.

  5. G. Simons Cuthbert   June 18, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Most of the problem lies with mental health issues. The guns aren’t jumping up and shooting by themselves.