Monday, July 29, 2013

Why do people love guns so much? (by anon)

I am asking about something that truly confuses me: why do some people love guns so much?  I’ll show you how I get to my tentative answers on this, and then I’m hoping that someone can shed some more light where I may be ignorant.

The purpose or function of a gun is to fire bullets.  No one can dispute that.  Where one chooses to fire those bullets can vary: at skeet, firing range targets, animals, or people.  Guns can protect people from threatening forces or unwanted pests, they can be used for inflicting harm on animals or people, and they can be used for game.  But all in all, guns are dangerous instruments.  They are lethal.  That is also something no one can dispute. 

Other things in our lives also have lethal capabilities, like cars and swimming pools.  Here are some stats I found from the CDC for comparison:

   Swimming pools (in 2004): 3,308 unintentional drownings
   Motor vehicles (in 2009): 36,284 deaths
   Firearms (in 2009): 11, 406 deaths by assault; 18,689 deaths by suicide from firearm

Yet, while swimming pools and motor vehicles can cause harm, that is not their intended function.  Pools function as swimming venues.  Cars function as transportation.  Accidents do happen.  Guns, however, are made for violence and people evidently did a good job of that.  With guns, there are accidents too.  In 2009, 588 people died from accidental firearm discharges, but that pales to the over 11,000 people who died from firearm assault.  Those 11,000+ deaths were not accidents; rather they were intentional acts by people using guns for the purpose they were made for – to fire bullets.  The guns worked well doing exactly what they were supposed to do, regardless whether one argues that people should not be on the receiving end of those bullets.  This is all to say that guns need to be put in a separate category from other things in our lives that can kill people.  Guns are made for violence, where other things are not (though there are trivial exceptions).

So guns are made for violence AND, lo and behold, we see ample violence from guns in our society.  It is non-negligible violence, and thus, I would think that people would abhor guns, except in the case of the military.  But, alas, no.  Tons of people adore them and argue fervently that guns are great.  This makes the question, “why do people love guns so much?” quite poignant.  Why DO people love such a thing that actually causes the very violence it is made for?  I have found these responses from gun lovers:

1.   GUN LOVER: It is my right to own a gun!  The Second Amendment of the US Constitution says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  ME: The Constitution only refers to the military, not civilians.  But just because something may be a right, it does not mean that one should act upon that right (though, again, it is not a right for civilians according to the Constitution).  And it is certainly not clear that possibly having a right to own a gun translates to loving that gun.  I have a right to own a fire extinguisher, and I do own one, but I do not love my fire extinguisher.
2.   GUN LOVER: The Revolutionary War is justification enough!  We need guns to protect ourselves from other countries.  ME:  The Revolutionary War ended in 1783.  It’s time to move on.  If another country is going to try and take over the US, your puny little gun is going to do nothing in this day and age.  Leave it to the big guns of our own military and stop acting like you are Chuck Norris (wink, wink).
3.   GUN LOVER: I want to protect my family.  ME:  That is fair, and I don’t find anything really wrong with the Castle doctrine to have a gun in one’s own home to defend one’s family from home intruders.  But those who give this kind of reason are not usually the ardent, outspoken gun lovers.  I probably shouldn’t even put this reason down as coming from a “gun lover.”  This reason is more akin to having a fire extinguisher in one’s home.  To value protection does not mean adoration.
4.   GUN LOVER: I love to hunt!!  ME: Ok, but at what cost?  Does your love of game really outweigh acknowledging that the US has a gun problem?  Hunting can be accomplished using a variety of hunting methods (e.g., bow hunting).  Maybe people should switch their means of hunting, or just find a different hobby.
5.   GUN LOVER: Guns don’t kill people!  People kill people!  ME:  I put down this “reason” because this is what people actually say when asked why they love guns so much.  But as you can plainly see, this response doesn’t answer the question for why someone loves guns so much.  It is just defensiveness.  But to humor the response, yes, guns by themselves do not kill people – people use those guns.  However, if there wasn’t an accessible gun, people couldn’t use it to kill.  The availability of guns raises the possibility of gun violence.  Out of all the first-world countries, the US has the most guns and accessibility to guns – the US also has the highest rate of gun violence and deaths.  For instance in 2011, there were 68 gun-related deaths in the UK, 165 in Canada, 65 in Australia, and 39 in Japan.  There were over 11,000 gun-related deaths in the US in 2011.  The numbers are stark.

This is what I take from the above, if someone wants to protect their own home and family by having a gun, that seems fair considering that there are so many guns floating around in the US right now.  If someone loves hunting, I’m willing to grant some justification there, but only tentatively.  Given the gun violence numbers, for the benefit of society, hunters should resort to different means of hunting. 

Unfortunately, however, most of the ardent gun lovers I have talked to and have read about on the Internet, give no real reason why exactly they love guns so much.  They simply retort that they have the right and that people kill people, not guns.  But those aren’t reasons why they love guns so much.  So why do they? 

My speculation is that many Americans have irrational fears.  One kind of fear is fear of the world and people around them.  They distrust institutions and they believe that guns are the answer to curb that fear and distrust; they feel like they preserve some measure of control. 

Another kind of fear is the fear regarding oneself.  Let’s face it.  Most gun lovers are males, and having a gun can make a male feel more masculine and powerful.  Guns can help some males sway their fears that maybe they are not masculine enough.  This is the same reason why many males gravitate towards buying large motor vehicles.  It is a manifestation of hyper-masculinity.

And there you have it.  My answer to why so many people love guns so much is irrational fear.  Am I right?  Wrong?  Please let me know.


  1. Maybe Batman can explain "You must know your Enemy Alfred, Id never use one, but even I can appreciate the attraction of a gun. The Heft, The sleekness, the cool steel; the precision. And the Power. The Power to change lives, change history, The power of God."

  2. It seems that if "guns don't kill people, people kill people" is true then the US might not have a gun problem but rather a violence problem in general. The stats comparing guns to pools and cars includes two categories, assault and suicide, these are things that are fueled by emotion and it is reasonable to think that most of the people committing suicide or assault wanted to do it and could have found a way to commit these acts of violence if they could not find a gun.

    I do happen to be a gun owner, I liked this explanation of why to own guns...

    1. well, yeah, your right. I say that we dont need more guns necessarily.... just more in the hands of moral people, and less in the criminal....

  3. I have always liked guns, (since childhood), I would never want to harm anyone, no fantasy of such h, I have love and compassion. You did not answer my question, your answer looks bias. So, why do I like guns. Is it the power? Fear harnessed? Control of power and fear? Try not to be biased. Sorry for any spelling errors.

  4. Got to be kidding me. A bat is a piece of equipment for baseball and is only counted as a weapon when used as one, knives are tools till used as a weapon, golf clubs, sticks, hammers and the list goes on. The said can be said for firearms. They are tools for hunting and competition. It's from all the hate from anti gun that give it a simple evil look. Criminals are criminals but don't hate on law abiding gun owners who might be the difference between life and death of you or loved ones.

    1. and, anyone of those tools can be used to kill someone trying to kill you.

  5. If citizens own guns then genocides can't happen.

  6. Many people have gun for safety purpose or for doing sports activities. Gun control is not a solution to stop crime. Criminals and illegal gun supply should be control. Gun control only stops legal, law abiding, people from using, owning, buying, selling, guns legally. Criminals do not care about the law.

  7. Although gun kill people I love them because of the mechanics involve in them. It is fascinating to me. I have a mechanical brain and love taking things apart and putting them back together. I also love target shooting; It is good for un-pluging from everything and meditate.It is sad that some people actually commit crimes using guns, thus creating this sense of fear and weirdness about those who like them.

  8. this article does seem bias to me. you took the time to look up your stats online but maybe you should go to a local range and talk with the good men women and children that shoot for fun and understand these people are not violent thugs and see firearms as a tool of many uses. i work with a young guy that insisted that guns are pure eviland i convinced him to come with me to the range and just experience what shooting a gunis like and well 3 years later he owns sevral himself and has takin every class the range offers. and i wont even start on the 2nd amendment being misunderstood im sure my fellow gun owners will get you straight on that. you dont hve to like guns just understand murder and violence has been a part of man for thousands of years and nothing will change that. sticks n stones where the original assault weapons

  9. Please... My friend. EducAte yourself. The second amendment was never meant for our military. The second amendment was created to protect our first amendment: Our freedom of speech. It was also created to overthrow the existing whenever they came to be corrupt and disloyal to the constitution. It was meant to give the right to form a well regulated militia in times when needed. George Washington said something very similar like that. I'm not trying to offend you here.. But please.. Use your brain and stop using the "It was meant for the military" excuse. The right to protect yourself in a first country is very rare... So use, stand, and fight for that right.

    1. It seems he doesn't know that a Militia ARE CIVILIANS... He's 1st point is completely incorrect.... and it builds from there.

  10. Yes, guns have some (with the emphasis on "some") "utility", but the passion with which people love their guns is grossly disproportionate to the utility, to the point of being irrational. To use the poster's analogy, I can't imagine an owner of a fire extinguisher bragging that the only way anyone could take the extinguisher away from him would be to pry it out of their cold, dead hands.

  11. You have clearly misinterpreted and have wrongly quoted the U.S. 2nd amendment to the constitution

  12. 1st comment... a militia are civilians

  13. I am an American and would truly support War on the Terrorist… In the year 2001, on 9-11, 3000 plus Americans died and we went to war… war in Afghanistan and war in Iraq to root all evil that would support or cause the deaths of Americans!! Many of our soldiers lost their lives while deployed there!! When will we root out all evil that causes about 11,000 AMERICAN lives EVERY FREAKIN’ YEAR? I have an East Indian friend and he seems to say, “American have a lot of fear in them; they have lack of self-confidence and cannot face the adversary and look them in the eye without a Gun” Is this true? So I ask him to prove his point, and he goes: “You know Mahatma Gandhi, he never possessed a gun, he supported non-violence and his struggle for freedom and Independence of India from the mighty powers of British Rule was all fought without guns! Though the British has armies and most of them stationed in India were gun toting officers, however Gandhi was fearless, and continued his demand for independence using the non-violent movement as the main tool. He led the country to win freedom without carrying a gun or firing a single bullet… which lead the fall of the mighty British Empire as it freed many other nations that followed his footsteps of non-violence!! A Gun-less Mr. Gandhi also influenced Martin Luther King to follow suite in his Civil Rights movement and you know the outcome. Gandhi faced the gun of his assassin without fear having completed his purpose of the life. Do you know your purpose of life? ”
    I had no words to say, however my Indian friend continued, “Have you heard the story of Sheikh Chilli, a foolish young man who sat at the far end of a branch of a tall tree, cutting the branch off at the base where it connected with the trunk of the tree. He was bound to go down when the branch was severed. Yes, Americans are becoming a nation of Sheikh Chillis – foolish people that are allowing others to “Shoot-their-own-foot”. Unfortunately, these other people will be one of their own dear friend, or family or a loved one.”
    Americans are smarter than Gandhi and more fearless than any other person walking out there on earth, why would anyone call us foolish? If we are more intelligent and truly an advanced nation, why are we wasting our time here arguing about gun control instead of inventing new technologies or new realities where people exist peacefully (without needing to play with silly {and now useless or dangerous} toys called as guns) and we can get rid of earth the environmental insult that most ignorant people on earth are causing leading to annihilation of the human race!! Let us show the world that we live with real purpose, are fearless and not foolish!

  14. Owning a gun is one thing. Making a fetish out of them is another... guns are instruments of raw power that channel some primordial energies within us. Sexual and violent, among others...

    1. what? so, becuase I love a gun, im gonna have sex with it, or rape someone.........uh?!
      ha! your coment shows what you know of a fight. a knife cuases what you speak of.... in the crazed! the gun is new, only about 800yrs or so, so no, its not primordial...

  15. As far as not being able to do anything in the event our government needs over thrown...that's not the point. I'd rather fight and die but take out some assholes rather than not have a gun and not be able to fight to some extent. Irrational fears? Hahah. What a freaking joke. I don't trust anyone I don't know. Why would I? You live in your unprepared world where you don't believe bad stuff can happen. I'll be prepared for that 1% chance something happens. The fact that a gun could ever be useful to me is reason enough for me to carry everyday. Same goes for a knife. It just makes sense. I want to be as prepared as possible at all times.

  16. well, ok, I can see where your confusion is coming from, for the most parts.
    Lets first ask this.... why does one love Martial Arts?

    If you can answer this, you know why people love guns.
    the phrase "martial arts" can be translated to "war art" as well. in fact, the word "martial" comes from the Roman god, Mars, also known as Aries.

    of or appropriate to war; warlike.

    in fact, in Japan, the gun was considered a martial art...
    the word was "hojutsu"
    look it up, if you want.

    The reason I practice the art of killing and love to learn it is becuase it helps me be better. now, I get that most on here prob wont get this concept. it is very weird.
    this is fine. its one of those things that must be experienced, not spoken about.

    in so far as the 2nd Amendment, no, Im afraid you are wrong. it has nothing to do with the Military. it specifically says a Militia.

    and theres a part that says they are indeed different.

    "Section 2
    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."!/articles/2

    and. before someone says the National Guard is the Militia, lets look at when they were founded....

    "The National Guard of the United States, part of the reserve components of the United States Armed Forces, is a reserve military force, composed of National Guard military members or units of each state ... Wikipedia
    Founder: Paul McHale
    Founded: 1903, United States of America"

    more than a hundred yrs after our founders.

    and, you forget, the Minutemen, our first know Militia, were a bunch of ordinary farmers.

    and, irrational fears, uh? well, we have reasons to be afraid.

    lets look at some thing the 1st President said....

    “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”
    ― George Washington

    "A government is like fire... a dangerous servant or a fearful master"-George Washington

    so, yeah, as a martial artist, i love guns and I love swords.and, just as I prepare for the possibility of getting mugged, so to will I prepare for a government take over, simply becuase it can happen.

    the military does the same. they prepare for a nuclear strike. is one likely? no. but, considering the plausibility of it, and the casualties, its worth it.

    I love the martial arts, even though its training one how to kill.
    but, if you can kill, would you do it everytime, or find peace a better option?

    theirs a qoute... "Only a warrior chooses Pacifism.... others are condemned to it...."-Anonymous.

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.!/amendments/2/essays/142/to-keep-and-bear-arms

  17. This is the part I liked best: "Let’s face it. Most gun lovers are males, and having a gun can make a male feel more masculine and powerful. Guns can help some males sway their fears that maybe they are not masculine enough. This is the same reason why many males gravitate towards buying large motor vehicles. It is a manifestation of hyper-masculinity". Holy testosterone!

  18. The reason people love guns is because owning a gun gives a person freedom. A gun gives its owner more control of his surroundings and when in the right hands creates peace. If the writer of this article above read my comment they would go nuts because of their lack of understanding but watching this 3 minute video may clear things up a bit.

  19. The reason people love guns is because owning a gun gives a person freedom. A gun gives its owner more control of his surroundings and when in the right hands creates peace. If the writer of this article above read my comment they would go nuts because of their lack of understanding but watching this 3 minute video may clear things up a bit.

  20. The more gun laws there are provoking the right to own guns the closer America will come to start looking like this.

  21. I love guns because guns are fucking awesome. When we go to war with you British fucks you are all going to wish you grew up shooting like us Texans.

    Two crippled U.S. Army Fucks
    CPL Gutierrez and SGT Enns

  22. People like power right? Well guns are a symbol of power and DO give you certain power. Like you gentlemen said guns are, excuse my language, fucking awesome! I am a freshman. I know that people consciously and subconsciously want certain things, in this case, power. It is psychologically proven. I seriously like guns as i indistinguishably said before. I get a feeling of power. How do you fucks I mean guys feel about it?

  23. Personally,I like guns because they give me the ability to have better control of my environment.I'd rather be armed in a situation of tranny,or disaster than left groping hopelessly for a way to defend myself.People don't need a valid or clear reason as to why they like something.I enjoy collecting knives and guns and I always have people asking me why I like it.And I tell them just because I do.You may not understand why some one likes something,but they still have the right to enjoy it.Take some one who collects bobbleheads for example.Why do they collect them.Theres no clear beneficial aspect gained from doing so,outside of joy because of doing it.Yet they still enjoy it.Why though?Different answers may be given,but it can be plainly and simply said."I don't know,I just like them." One of those things that can't be explained by words,but rather expirience.That's why there are so many different hobbies,because they apply to different kinds of people.If we all enjoyed the same thing,where would our thinkers,inventors,innovators,and creators be?There would be no diversity.Life would be dull and drab.Well,that's the best way I can explain it.Even though it might not make sense.

  24. So you are telling me that every right in the Bill of rights is an individual one except for the 2nd Amendment? You are either a moron or delusional.