ICYMI: Gun Advocate Needed Her Guns To Protect Herself and Her Family


Including both licit and illicit firearms, the US has 101.05 privately-owned guns per 100 residents and Canada has 30.8 per 100 residents. The US has an annual firearm death rate of 10.54 per 100,000 residents (3.43 homicides, 6.69 suicides, 0.18 unintentional, 0.08 of undetermined cause) while Canada has a firearm death rate of 1.97 per 100,000 residents (0.38 homicides, 1.52 suicides, 0.05 unintentional, 0.02 of undetermined cause).

Focusing on homicide, the logical conclusion of the “guns aren’t the problem” argument is that Americans are naturally 3.42 times as violent as Canadians, which isn’t a very convincing argument. The rate of homicide by any method is 4.96 per 100,000 in the US and 1.45 per 100,000 in Canada, but if we factor the guns out, we get homicide rates of 1.53 in the US and 1.07 in Canada. In other words, the US is 3.42 times as violent as Canada in total, but only 1.43 times as violent without the guns.

We know that once the dust has settled and people have had time to think about the issue, they still won’t do shit about it. What the hell is wrong with them?

(Statistics are from the University of Sydney. I know the US numbers don’t add up arithmetically, but that’s how they’re reported in the university’s publication.)
Frankly, "ban them all" stokes the greatest fear of all gun nuts. I don't think it's productive. This is what the NRA points to as the real goal of firearm legislation.

Now, regulating the shit out of firearms? Of course! I'm not against gun ownership at all, but geez, make it a little harder than buying used furniture on Craigslist. This type of "casual" gun violence is most likely due to firearms being as cheap and plentiful (and easy to obtain) as toasters (RIP, KV).
Maybe if a psychological assessment were required for plastic surgery, this mom would have been caught earlier (as that's, sadly, more likely than regulations on guns).
Sending thoughts and prayers etc.
What the hell difference does it mean if gun nuts' fears are stoked? There's no point in trying to be "productive". That has gotten us nowhere; the NRA simply says we want to ban them all. So tell them "Yes, we should BAN THEM ALL! There is no good reason for anyone to own a gun."
Kudos to Dan for a concise and researched little piece. (Or kudos to his minions if they grunted out the actual work).
@5 Well that's the problem with the NRA talking point. Everything is a ban. In reality not many countries have outright banned all firearms. Even in Europe people still own long guns for hunting, etc and you can get hand guns in many EU countries - it just requires a whole bunch of licensing. Because you know banning guns outright really doesn't work. Like banning drugs doesn't work. Highly regulating them both does work. I'm fine with bans as a negotiating position because these gun nuts are already delusional. But the reality is prohibitions just don't really work. But regulating regimes do.
@5: I'll provide my own venison, thankyouverymuch.
Agree with #2. Banning all guns is a fool's dream since it's a constitutional right. Regulation is reasonable as we do it with just about every other aspects of our lives. We heavily regulate who and how people vote and yet we don't see a fraction of the attention from lawmakers with regard to the 15th amendment. But then there's no corporations profiting from that amendment.
I'm glad to see that Dan Savage holds our rights in such high regard that supporting the exercise of them now counts as a mental illness. Does support of any of our other rights qualify one as mentally ill?

If you'd like to ban them all, lets vote. There's a process for changing the constitution, so where is the strangers support of such an initiative? The sad part of this story is that while the message is ban them all, the action is missing. So maybe if you took the advice from last week tonight and did something about it something would change. Until then, you're all just whining for someone else to do the hard work.
real gun control comes from within.

a ban is a practical impossibility. licensing and registration with active militia responsibilities. in the meantime, just stay out of families that keep handguns at home, and you'll probably be ok. statistically.
Politics aside: it wrenches my cold heart that this woman's husband watched her shoot their children and then his wife get shot by the police ON HIS MOTHERFUCKING BIRTHDAY. I simply cannot conceive of such horror and sorrow.
@9 Here's the text of the 15th ammendment: "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

You'll notice that it still leaves it to the states to decide who gets to vote. While completely stupid banning all left handed people from voting would not be excluded by the 15th amendment itself.
What an unspeakable tragedy. Sending prayers to victims, perp, family and friends.
@11 Do i need a license to burn a flag or speak my mind? Why should i need a license to exercise any of my other rights?
@9 - As a matter of practical politics, what is and isn't "Constitutional" is arbitrary. A strict reading of the "A well organized militia..." part of the second is just a few Supreme Court appointments away. So a sustained trend in public opinion towards gun control will ultimately result in more gun control.
The "ban them all" attitude immediately alienates a majority of gun owners who actually would be in favor of additional gun control, so that approach is both completely impractical and counterproductive. Most gun owners are not members of the NRA - consider it a shameful corporate lobbying hategroup. We are represented by neither extreme of the debate. I don't need a closetful of AR-15s. I do, however, need a serviceable rifle and a shotgun for filling up the freezer -- not everyone wants that crap being sold in the grocery store, donchaknow...
@15, Gee, when you put it that way... guns for everybody! Your toddler may not be old enough to speak his mind but he can hold a gun, probably, so give him one today! It’s in the constitution and shit.
@16 Please learn how to read, "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"

Notice how the militia bit is detached, and it clearly states the right shall not be infringed.

Please consider how allowing one right to be infringed could be applied to others. In the same way that today's undue burden decision regarding abortion regulations in Texas could be applied to gun ownership in some states and vice-versa.
@15: we're never going to agree that our rights are without limits, so don't bother with your "exercising my rights" claptrap.

if you just KEEP the arms in your home and only BEAR them when the state needs defending (or when you're participating in a well-regulated militia - got to make sure that arsenal functions, just in case!), we've got no problems.
@18 They're called squirt guns. Dumbass
@22, Not squirt guns, real guns – constitutional guns. Start them at the youngest age possible. It's their right, right? Right.
@13 The point is that the 15th amendment denies states to prevent people of color from voting and yet states still do it; usually states that hold such high regard for only the 2nd amendment.
@20 - you're missing a comma. You can't even quote your own amendment correctly for fuck's sake.
Can one of the pro-2A people here cite me the last couple of times that any group of US citizenry, wielding guns, has done anything to gain or preserve other rights enshrined (but possibly ignored or denied) in the Constitution?

I can think of one off the top of my head, but you won't like it.
And no, the Oregon stand-off doesn't count for this exercise.
@15, yes you do need a license/permit to speak your mind if you're going to do it via parade, protest, or other public gathering they could disrupt traffic, parks, etc. They're called reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. It's why you can't lead a protest with bullhorns on residential streets at 3 in the morning.

And the first amendment is doing just fine with "reasonable" time, place and manner restrictions.

So how about we extend some of those reasonable restrictions to gun ownership?
Why can't we all agree that the second amendment should apply only to gun technology that existed at the time it was written? How could the founding fathers have known what weapons technology would bring? And why can't I buy a bazooka? Isn't that a type of arms?
My summary of the pro gun comments: "I see it as a right, and therefore I have decided to not think about this logically and instead to vomit forth NRA talking points when confronted with statistics rather than acknowledge the simple fact that the joy I get from having a gun in my hands outweighs any pleasure I might get from saving lives. Freedom!!!!"
Crusty Sheets ..
well posted Dr Savage, thank you!

@28 i always wanted to hear someone ask a gun rights nut your bazooka question to hear what the canned response is. because somewhere between a shotgun and a RPG i suspect they'd draw a line (but perhaps not -sigh-) and then one could ask why any automatic weapon, a device who's soul purpose is to kill the most amount of people in the least amount of time, is sane yet a bazooka isn't.
"Americans are naturally 3.42 times as violent as Canadians" They might very will be. A lot of these gun statistics are fueled by our segregated cities and ghettos, and drug prohibition. I don't think Canada has quite so much of that. Canadians also have much better access to mental health care. When the UK and Australia banned guns their murder rates didn't twitch. They continued to rise and fall respectively at the same rates as before. They were less violent than Americans before the bans, and they were exactly as much less violent afterward. I looked, because I was curious. I would encourage others to do the same. I can't help but conclude that murderers had no trouble killing after guns were harder to get. People have been murdering one another without difficulty since long before guns were invented, after all.
Humans want to feel they have the power to do something about senseless tragedy. Making a ritual sacrifice like say, giving up guns, is about as human a response as there can be. And for people that fear guns, it's got the bonus of being a sacrifice made by someone else. I understand it emotionally, but it's totally irrational. Even if I didn't believe that gun bans would be as effective as drug bans. Even if I didn't believe that mass murderers would simply choose another method if they couldn't get a gun. The US is already awash in guns. Who are y'all nominating to go door to door and take them away? What's next to ban? Cars? Crow bars? Private planes? Machetes? Baseball bats? Steak knives? 'Military Grade Assault Ice Picks'? It's not the tool that's the problem.
people see how poorly bans on alcohol, drugs and porn worked yet they can still convince themselves that a ban on guns can succeed. this is magical thinking at its worst. reasonable regulations keeping guns out of the hands of the criminal, the mentally ill, the abusive etc. are achievable. so are reasonable limitations on the types of guns available. but when you huff and puff about banning all guns you succeed only in accomplishing nothing and making yourself irrelevant to the discussion.
I think that if all they ever say is "you're going after my second amendment rights!!1!" then fuck it, let's go after their second amendment rights. It's a harder fight, sure, but nobody is getting anywhere anyway.
The Second Amendment isn't even a good sentence.
@32 Cars and private planes are both heavily regulated. Concealed Carry of machetes and steak knives is, in most jurisdictions in the US, a misdemeanor at least (unless immediate and pressing need for self-defense can be proven). Keep going, you'll argue everybody into gun control despite yourself ;)

P.S. I love how many gun nuts eventually find themselves arguing from the "it's not a gun problem per se, Americans are just violent racist nutjobs so we'll never be able to fix our gun problem!" position.
@32 - The tool is definitely the problem. Tell me with a straight face that the Bataclan attack would have killed anywhere near as many people without the automatic weapons and grenades.

Civilians just don't need automatic weapons. Period. Just like we don't need grenades, bazookas, flamethrowers, RPGs, or tanks.

Hunting rifles? Sure.
Handguns? Rather pointless, but whatever.
Machine guns? No.

Civilians don't need weapons of war.
The good news is, if the Dem's make good on their gun-law filibusters and sit-ins, ladies like this will be just as free to have her guns as she was before the Orlando shooting.

Way to Go, DNC!
@20 Nice try. The 'ol NRA missing comma trick. The supreme court noted that old chestnut, too.

You left out a comma which separates the clause "the security of a free state" from the rest - not the "well regulated militia" part.

"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."

Not the OTHER fucking comma.

Second like all gun obsessed absolutists you also leave out the term "arms." Not "firearms" but "arms." From swords to cannon were the "arms" of the day.

And we regulate "arms" all the time and always have. Unless you're arguing in favor of civilian RPG, grenade and nuke ownership - your absolutist nonsense is already totally undermined.

@25's rather cogent observation aside, the comma you DID include doesn't detach squat, and in fact, one could more forcefully argue that, because the clause referring to well-regulated militias was given primary place in the sentence, it strongly indicates the framers deliberately intended to denote a causal relationship between it and the second clause; in this case, that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed because it is essential to maintaining a well-regulated militia. You - and one should note the NRA - attempt to make the case that the first clause is merely perfunctory; a sort of literary throat-clearing in advance of what you purport to be an "absolute clause", which is not restricted by the opening clause of the Amendment. But this is based on the false, and frankly derogatory assumption that the framers did not have some specific reason for inserting the clause; a charge not made in reference to any other phrase in the entirety of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. In this specific example, the first clause is an "ablative absolute", the primary purpose of which is to give the conditions under which the rest of the sentence is true or valid. So, even though the first clause of the Amendment may stand grammatically free, it nevertheless is used as a way of clarifying intent, in this case that the right to bear arms is granted in the context and within the scope of establishing a militia. If their intent had been otherwise, they would not have had any need to insert the opening clause in the first place, and they could just as easily have drafted the Amendment to read: "The Right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed," without resorting to any further explanation.

Additionally, when one reads the Second Amendment in the context of other references to militias in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (cit ref Article I, Section 8 enumerating the Powers of Congress, Article II, Section 2 granting the President powers as Commander in Chief, et al), not to mention the Militia Act of 1792, passed just three years after Ratification, it becomes abundantly clear that the Right to bear arms granted in the Second Amendment also comes with an obligation for Citizens to form militias at the behest of either the State or Federal Government if and when called upon to do so, and is NOT, nor was EVER intended as a check or bulwark AGAINST the Government, as the NRA also erroneously posits. This is why the Amendment isn't absolute: for example, a Citizen doesn't have the right to own military-grade armaments such as machine guns, bazookas, RPG's, or tactical nuclear weapons, so clearly there are limits to the sorts of "arms" one may rightfully possess. If this were not the case, then why doesn't the NRA advocate for their ownership as much as it does for other firearms? After all, a machine gun or bazooka would come in very handy in a home-defense scenario - a bit of overkill, perhaps, but then their entire argument is based on the principal of Citizens wielding overpowering force against attackers, is it not?
@32, It's weird to argue the weapon doesn't matter while *simultaneously* arguing that guns are important or even necessary, yet gun people do this alllllll the tiiiiiiimmmme. I mean, if the tool doesn't matter, then gun people should be content to replace their guns with swords and slingshots.
@31: AUTOMATIC firearms are, in practicality, banned. Since 1934. What we have is a plague of SEMI-AUTOMATIC firearms. its an important distinction, because if you don't make it, then 2nd Am Absolutists dismiss you as a n00b.
@2 "Frankly, "ban them all" stokes the greatest fear of all gun nuts. I don't think it's productive. This is what the NRA points to as the real goal of firearm legislation."

Well the NRA and the Gun Owners of America looked at any compromise or basic gun control regulations in the same manichean viewpoint as a total ban. The NRA sells paranoia, whether it is imaginary or real, mostly imaginary..

So I would say go for total ban of firearms, take 300 million firearms out of all gun owners homes, called them public health risks..

Which is why their "bu - but, cars and hammers and chainsaws are just as deadly as guns!" argument is so risible. If that's the case, then why don't they just use their cars, hammers, and chainsaws to defend themselves?
@46: When they make that claim, they're comparing the annual mortality from blunt weapons and edged weapons to that of long guns only, and conveniently glossing over the massive death toll from handguns.
It's a pitty folks think there's some threat looming in their lives warranting a personal defense plan. I liken it to gluten intolerance. But the bad guys are bread and pasta, and the defense plan is overpriced natural food markets.
What Dan said, sick & tired of being held hostage by NRA, Repubs & gun nuts. The shear number of people killed, maimed, families devastated, millions of lives forever changed because of guns is staggering. This should be a fucking wake up call to all Americans. Shame on the "greatest" country on earth.
Aside from the fact that the idea of the Second Amendment extending to private, civilian ownership of firearms is a very recent concept, the term WELL-REGULATED in the Second Amendment clearly indicates that the rights depend on being well-regulated. @42 states that SCOTUS recognized a distinction in the beginning, and said that only militias needed to be regulated and not civilians (except for some arbitrary distinction about nukes and bazookas, but they can be regulated, why not semi-automatic weapons)? But that's not true, because it the beginning, SCOTUS didn't recognize the Second Amendment to apply to a private ownership of guns.

But SCOTUS does recognize that now, so we have to live with it. Even so, that doesn't mean we have to live with that right completely unregulated. @15 asks why he should need a license to exercise a Constitutionally-protected right, and asks which other Constitutionally-protected rights require licenses. Ummm, LOTS of them! Let's just take the First Amendment. There are all sorts of licenses and restrictions. Speech may be free, but we have noise ordinances, and regulate public airwaves, and all sorts of restrictions and protections on commercial speech (including copyright laws, trademarks, and more). We require permits for large public assemblies and parades. We have freedom of religion, but religious organizations still have to file paperwork to register as a religious nonprofit -- in other words, they need a license to exercise their Constitutional rights.

I'm not saying we should go out and take everyone's guns. (Dan may or may not be saying that, but if he is, I am not.) But I think can and should ban civilian ownership of semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines. I think every sale of a gun should require a background check, including gun shows and Internet sales. I'm willing to limit that to sales from gun dealers -- say, anyone who sells more than three guns per year -- but I'd prefer we set it up so even if you're selling your old gun to your neighbor you could do it before the sale is completed. (Yes, with their signed consent first.) I think that if we're concerned enough about someone to not allow them to fly on an airplate, we shouldn't allow them to buy guns, either. And yes, I know there are problems with the terrorist watch list, but rather than throw up our hands in despair, WHY NOT FIX THE LIST? We can add some due process to that process and fix it so that they can fly and buy if they shouldn't be on the list in the first place. I think we should require gun owners to carry liability insurance that would maybe help provide some leverage in forcing gun owners into taking more sensible precautions with locking up their guns or equipping them with safety mechanisms so kids can't accidentally shoot them.

And yes, I think we should also put more attention to critically underserved mental health services, but we shouldn't let that distract us from some pretty simple, common sense solutions. That needs to come in addition to, not in lieu of, these other approaches.
Ban all the semi-automatic guns? Go ahead and try. Hell, let's have a referendum on it. People who live in the Seattle bubble might not realize it, but last time Gallup checked, 72% of people opposed a ban on handguns.

Those who would ban guns are people who must make the moral case the mother who finds an intruder in her daughter's bedroom or the wheelchair-bound veteran attacked in a home invasion would be better off unarmed.

@51: just to be clear, there are valid hunting uses for semiautomatic rifles and for handguns.
A semi-auto rifle allows a 2nd or 3rd shot without the giving away your position to the animal(s) the way bolt and lever actions do. So few hunters would take issue with mag. capacity limits.
And many blackpowder and archery hunters carry a backup handgun for incidental encounters black bears, which can be incredibly dangerous to you even when you're not trying to be dangerous to them...

So again..."ban all guns" isn't a helpful proposal, because it's both impractical AND it will alienate a majority of gun owners who don't otherwise support the NRA, DO have good reasons to own a firearm or two or three, and ARE amenable to modest firearm restrictions.
i.e., the irrational, emotion-fueled voices at both ends of this debate are unhelpful...
@51: just like those who advocate uninfringed access to should make their case based on a hypothetical of an alienated kid with Asperger's attacking an elementary school with several semi-automatic weapons, and pumping bullet after bullet into 6 year olds.

oh, wait. right. not a hypothetical.
@52, is there a reason that bow hunting puts you at added risk from bears, above being out in the woods? Because I've spent plenty of time in the woods without a handgun; bears just aren't much risk most places if you're not a fool. There's some residual risk, always, but you can stay home too.

I do know some people who carry in the backcountry, but I don't think any would say it's necessary, they just feel more comfortable.

FYI you may be thinking of grizzly bears rather than black bears?
@55 - Not a hunter myself, but it seems arguable that if you are hiding/camouflaged while bow hunting, the chances that a bear my unsuspectingly happen upon you are greater than if you are a backpacker hiking along, talking and making noise.
My understanding is that if bears hear or smell humans, they generally go the other way.
If they can't hear/smell humans, then the chances they'll accidentally approach too closely for eithers' comfort are distinctly greater. And a mother with inquisitive cubs would be worse than just any old black bear. Just my two-cents.
The Orlando shooter had purchased his guns legally, was an armed security guard, passed background checks and psych tests...although there were warning signs there was nothing documented that prevented him from owning and possessing firearms.
As a convicted felon, I no longer have the "right" to own or possess a firearm. If I were a criminal, I would have no difficulty acquiring guns. Guns can be purchased over the internet with NO background check in over 40 states.
Those that make the argument that people kill people, guns do not kill people, etc. or that cars kill more people and haven't been outlawed seem to not be making the connection between availability and successful mass shootings. Sure, a crazed killer could attempt to kill people in a club using a hunting knife-but, as we have seen, guns are much more efficient.
It is my natural inclination to advocate making guns less available, tough to get. Unfortunately, there are an overwhelming number of Charlton Hestons out there vowing that "they will have to pry them from my cold, dead hands."
Our society has become one degenerated and void of empathy. Killing is a solution of first choice rather than of last resort.
I can't think of any realistic solution, but educating and promoting peaceful solutions.
Dan and @49 despicable me: Agreed, right fucking spot on, and thank you both.
I can't help but wonder if there are any sane, NON-gun-crazed Texans left in the Lone Star State of Confusion. They have my sympathy.
To those debating tactics: I assume "ban them all" was a heartfelt sentiment in light of this tragic story, but also a bit of hyperbole and not a specific policy goal. I could be wrong. But this point seems useless to debate...
It's always great to read an article written about something the writer has I knowledge about.
I can guess you have never help a gun nor had any experience with one.
It's like a 15 year old writing about how scary driving is before ever driving a car.
Your facts are massively biased and you pick and choose your stats which are half facts. But you want to be a respectful journalist. I have read the stranger for almost 10 years and a piece like this. Just makes me resent it. That people like you are allowed to right for them and have their name behind you. It's sad
Yes Dan. Ban them all. That is a wondrous end point.
Social change needs to happen first, and as we see, it is happening.
The young are rising up again. About bloody time.
Hillary and Elizabeth. Two women in charge. Beautiful.
I posted an article about this event on my timeline. I headed, "I'm sure many of my pro-gun friends will respond by saying that if only the daughters had guns to protect themselves, this tragedy could have been averted." To my utter dismay, but not shock, that's basically the response I received. Along with a bunch of "how dare you politicize such a tragic event," "this is about access to mental health care, not guns." To which my response was as follows. There is no such thing as gun violence NOT being political in this era. It's interesting how shootings are only political matters when the gunman is Muslim. In which case, the obvious response is not to deal with the easy availability to aquire guns, but to ban Muslims. And finally, the need to address mental health care does not negate the need to address gun violence. They are not mutually exclusive.
@52 "And many blackpowder and archery hunters carry a backup handgun for incidental encounters black bears, which can be incredibly dangerous to you even when you're not trying to be dangerous to them..."

Black Bears will leave humans alone, unless you are covered in trout and huckleberries, or get near a Mom and her cubs. A Grizzly is completely different story, and I doubt a handgun unless it is a high caliber handgun and aimed at point blank range will stop a grizzly..
@61, You've been reading this rag for 10 years and you've just figured out they hate guns and think Dan Savage wants to be a respectful journalist? Aren't you adorable.
@32 b07ias My modern vehicle is registered with the state. It is inspected every year. I had to take drivers ed before obtaining my first license. I have to renew my license every four years. There are legal limits to how much alcohol I can have in my system and still operate my vehicle. I have to carry insurance on my vehicle. Ignoring any of these regulations will result in fines at a minimum, and ignoring the fines will land me in jail. I'm all for regulating guns the way we regulate vehicles. Are you? If not, stop with the "cars kill people too" argument. It's not worth anyone's time.
>"Actively [supporting] gun rights on Facebook" is evidence of mental health issues all by itself.

You aren't helping the cause with shock-jock bullshit like this, dude
One of my lovely high school teachers made our entire History class memorize an excerpt from the preamble to The Declaration of Independence off by heart: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and institute New Government,.."

Gun enthusiasts are so busy preserving their right to fight in a militia against a tyrannical government (which, rationally, would be a fight we would ultimately lose anyway) that they forget the biggest of all rights: LIFE, LIBERTY, and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. The first of which being the most paramount, as I believe we all can agree.

Guns take away life. That is their one and only purpose no matter which way you use your gun. To hunt, you are taking a life. For self defense, you are ultimately taking a life (unless, of course, you are lucky enough to only severely wound who you are pointing your weapon at). War, taking a multitude of lives. Suicide, taking your own life. No matter how much you think your "protection" cloak hides your true intention to take a life if given the opportunity the rational people of this country see right through it. They see you as a threat because they know what that gun truly means and the power it has and gives you.

However, the government will not repeal the second amendment because it takes away your right to alter or abolish governments that threaten or take away your life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness. I wish I had an easy answer and I am sure that many Americans feel the same. But the way we make guns available to citizens needs to be updated. Our lives depend on it.
@64: "or get near a Mom and her cubs" Do you have any personal experience with this? I do, and it was entirely unintentional.

@55: See 56. Hiking along and making far more noise than you realize you are (like most humans in the woods) -- yes, the bear already knows where and what you are, and will avoid you. You may as well say "I hike mostly using established trails in the sunny middle-hours of the day making noise and I've never had a problem with bears". Well, duh.
But yes: *Just hiking* with a handgun makes an otherwise normal person a dipshit.

Creeping and stalking for deer or elk - the whole point is to catch them unaware and close enough for a shot, often shortly after sunrise or just before sunset. But those tactics can also unintentionally startle a bear, including a sow with cubs. And at close range with a bow you're in trouble with a bear, and only somewhat less so with only a single shot from a muzzleloader.

All this being said, I hunt with neither a bow nor a muzzleloader, and I have no need for a handgun; the modern rifle I use is plenty for everything I will encounter in the PNW.
@68: I am absolutely clear with the intentions of my rifle. Venison feeds my kids. Do you think I should be embarrassed about that?
I think one of the big splits about gun control that isn't really being talked about is geography.

For people in major urban areas, guns really are an awful thing. You aren't hunting for food in Brooklyn and police tend to be around pretty quickly if someone is breaking the law. Yes, you could technically use your gun to stop crime from happening but(as commenters have repeatedly pointed out) that is pretty problematic in most cases.

However, in more rural areas, guns are much more useful and relevant. Where I grew up in Middle of Nowhere, Alabama people had to pretty routinely use rifles to kill poisonous snakes as well as hunt. Also, don't forget that, especially in more remote areas, law enforcement can be as much as a half hour away. That means that, unlike in more urban locations, the individual has to be able to take care of themselves, at least until the police arrive.

I think this is a big part of the problem with the discussion we are having. People who live in urban areas(like Dan) are thinking of people carrying guns where they are, which is admittedly bizarre and awful. People who live in rural areas(like many pro-gun people) are thinking of what life would be like if they looked outside of their door and saw a rattlesnake,burglar, bear, etc outside and they didn't have any way to deal with the issue quickly.

And in case anyone is wondering, I support extensive background checks and training for all gun owners, allowing the CDC to study gun violence(though I would like separate studies done for rural and urban areas), and banning gun ownership for people on the known terrorist/no fly list once the list is fully constitutional(meaning that people will have a way to petition to get off of it, up to and including a hearing).
@ 70. It is none of my concern what embarrasses you. I am simply saying that it is intent to take a life. In order to make Venison you have to kill a deer. I am sure The Declaration of Independence wasn't representing animal life, liberty, and happiness. But the function of the gun remains the same.
@70. Of course farmers will always have guns. Our farmers have guns. It's just there are no venison in the cities to hunt, only other people.
@64 If you are near a Mother Bear and her cubs, or hear them in a distance, the only sane thing to do is get out of there. Ditto if you find a fresh kill in the area.
@71: I concur.
@74: Disagree. It's not the ONLY sane option.
@71: I concur.
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