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Guns, Guns, and Guns the good, the bad, the evil!!! continuance on difference between UKand US

(66 Posts)
Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 07:51:20

Last night we were talking about differences in our cultures and one thing that kept coming up was guns. It appears that alot of you are appalled by the lack of Gun control in the US and the consequences. 49% of US households have a gun.

My perspective as a US citizen is there a basic reason people keep guns.

1. Police and Military...use in job
2. Hunting
3. Protection
4. Sport or Collector
5. Criminal Activity


I think most of you would agree that Police and Military probably need guns for thier job so that is not really up for dispute.

Next, is hunting and outdoorsy living. Ranchers, farmers, and people who hunt usually have rifles for those purpose. There are a small percentage of citizens who still hunt to put food on the table. Very few gun accidents or crimes come from this group of gun owners. It generally believed that that is because it is a way of life for these people and they have taught gun saftey since they were tots.


Protection, these are the people who probably live in crap neighborhoods and are afraid. Unfortunately, this is the group that has the most child related accidents.

Sport or Collector, this group mostly consist of a bunch of over egotistical men who have guns to show off, or because they can. I really don't know what the rate of accidents and criminal use, with this group is.

Then there are the criminals. These are the people who usually buy guns illegally anyway. Then they file off the guns serial number so there are no chances of tracing the guns origins. United States has many gang problems and it not uncommon to hear of these guns being used to scatter bullets at someones home or an entire group of homes. This is also the group that is most likely to hurt innocent bystanders.

So this is the layout, of the reason why our citizens feel they need guns. As for outlawing guns it would be nearly impossible, because it is a "right" protected under the constitution. This means that even if our lawmakers passed a law, our judicial system would throw it out. When you add to that NRA (natinal rifle association) is a powerful and large force to be reckoned with and they throw money at certain political parties it would be even more hard.


My perspective. Alot of people in our country still hunt and a small portion of those people actually count on the meat from hunting as a food supply. My parents own a couple of rifles that they keep in a gun safe. They have used them on several occasions to scare off coyote that are attacking thier animals. They have also used guns to kill rattlesnakes that have are in a position to cause bodily harm to a person. I do see the need for guns among this group.

I have a handgun for "protection." It was a compromise between my husband and myself. I really didn't want guns in my home but he was raised with them in his and felt it was necessary. The compromise...the gun is in a locked box...with a trigger lock...and the keys are kept in seperate locations. Personally, if someone broke into our home, I would be more like to use a can of pepper spray.


The sport or collector... these are the people who want automatic and semi-automatic guns to show off to thier buddies. They serve no purpose.

Finally the criminal, most of the guns they have are illegal anyway. They have been smuggled in from other countries or stolen. They are dangerous but even with stricter gun laws this group of villians would be able to get thier hand on guns.

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 08:08:45

One thing I forgot to mention is that along with NRA being powerful and large, they crush arguements for gun control.

GryffindorGHOSTY Thu 12-Jul-07 08:14:42

How many crazed teenagers have gone into schools and massacred students in the US in the past, say, 15 years?
How many in the UK?

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 08:19:52

There have been a few instances but if you counted the people who have died in those instances it really is small comparitive to the people who die in other gun related accidents or non accidents.

I did hear of a freak instance a while ago where a kid came to school with like a meshadi? I don't know heard it in passing.

So, the arguement would be that your teenager is statistically safer in a classroom than anywhere else, those instances just get the most media attention.

Personally, I think it is scary.

NotQuiteCockney Thu 12-Jul-07 08:21:02

The illegal guns used by criminals generally start out as legal guns, and then get stolen, or misused. Many of the guns used in school massacres etc are perfectly legal.

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 08:25:43

Notquitecocky

You are right that a portion of the illegal guns started of as legal. But that doesn't change the fact that a large portion of them were smuggled in. When you see gangsters hanging out their car, shooting an automatic rifle, chances are they didn't get it here. Then lets not forget the infamous hollywood bank robbery. The criminals had more gun power(had guns illegal to sell in US) then the entire police force and a bloody battle pursued.

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 12-Jul-07 08:34:39

I don't assume that police 'have' to carry firearms - they have not automatically carried guns in this country (England) historically and I found it shocking/ disturbing on the occasions that I have seen armed officers.

I like the fact that guns are not seen on the streets or in peoples homes as a matter of course in this country and I would be very unhappy if that was to change. There is huntin' and shootin' for sport and this is regulated in the main successfully as far as I am aware.

I know that in some areas of the uk there is a very different experience of guns and gun crime I live in a very suburban 'safe' area but I used to live in Sarf London. I still felt safe most of the time there.

All I know is that seeing more gun's on the street (on police etc.) would not make me feel safer and imo would encourage the escalation of incidents involving guns as crims would arm themselves to equal the firepower of the police.

I would not seek to oversimplify the issue - but the above is what particularly troubles me.

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 08:38:21

bigmouthstrikesagain

That is really interesting. I had no idea that police don't automatically carry guns in England. Here all police have holstered pistals. It is not as intimadating as going to Mexico, where they walk around rifles.

There have been situation where a police have mistakenly shot someone. I do believe that those incidents are few compared to the times police guns have saved lives.

pigleto Thu 12-Jul-07 08:39:04

I used to shoot handguns for sport before they were banned in the UK. It was exciting to hold and shoot a gun. I can see how they are addictive. Dh enjoys shooting pheasants. I am veggie on and off so our freezer is full of dead birds which I am not going to deal with. My good friend in Sweden shoots elk, they are very tasty on the barbeque. So I am not entirely anti gun.

That being said I still think the UK stance on gun control saves lives and the US laws put people in danger. Criminals will always have guns but children are killed every year by playing with guns that are in the house for "protection".

strawberry Thu 12-Jul-07 08:46:56

Agree with BigMouth. Do not want British police routinely armed. Also in the UK it is not ok to shoot someone for trespassing but I think this would be considered acceptable defence of property in US. What use is a gun in a locked cupboard in the heat of the moment or outside the house? Bit like carrying a personal alarm in your handbag IMO

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 12-Jul-07 08:47:26

Leati - I am sure armed police have saved lives but does that automatically mean that they have to be armed at all times?

The UK has armed response units they are despatched when required by the level/ type of incident. However if they are a bobby on the beat in an ordinary street do they need to be armed? To deal with shoplifters, low level anti-social behaviour, giving directions to tourists etc.??? BTW I am not compltetly up to date on policing policy here so please accept my apologies in advance for any innaccuracies

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 08:48:00

Pigleto
I agree with you about children being the likely victim of "protection guns." One really good thing about that is the laws have gotten tougher.
Homes where children may be present at anytime, are required to be locked or to have a trigger lock. This is good and more people are doing it.
Like I said earlier, personally, I am more likely to use pepper spray for protection.

bookthief Thu 12-Jul-07 08:48:28

I for one am very glad to live in a country where gun ownership is not a cultural norm. As it is, the increasing use of guns in the UK alarms me but I don't think more guns, whoever has them be that the general public for "protection" or the police would lead to anything except more death.

I live in Glasgow which has a shocking record of violent crime involving knives. This tells me that the will to hurt others is as sadly prevalent in our culture as any other. It is not an uncommon site in this city to see young men with horrendous facial scars from knife/bottle/razor attacks but at least they are alive. If they had access to guns it would be a bloodbath.

iirc shortly after the Dunblane massacre a man walked into a nursery school with a machete. The difference was that noone died in that incident. Much harder to run away from a gun.

Fewer guns = fewer deaths. Nothing that I have seen or read convinces me otherwise.

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 12-Jul-07 08:51:24

Exactly bookthief - totally agree

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 08:52:06

bigmouthstrikesagain
Hmmm. This is a good question but I think things must be a little different here. There is not a week that goes by that you do not here of some patrol officer pulling someone over, who is suddenly and unexpectantly attacked. Unfortunately, police are often looked at as the "enemy" in certain unsavory circles.

I have heard of times when an officer is just sitting in his car, writing his reports, and someone sneaks up and murders him. I know its awful but I really do think police need to carry guns.

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 08:54:29

bookthief...
I definitely see your point. My question is then

In your opinion, do guns have a place at all?

For hunting
For Police

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 08:56:09

Strawberry,

I agree with you. That is why I prefer to carry pepperspray. But that being said, I think here it is necessary for police to carry guns.

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 12-Jul-07 08:59:31

I think you are correct Leati - i is different in the US but discussing those differences are helpful I think - it is always good to question the status quo - test the accepted norms - is it really necessary to be armed? Is it safe to have unarmed police? etc.

I feel safer knowing that guns are not the norm here. Perhaps you feel safer in the US knowing Arms are the norm?

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 12-Jul-07 09:01:07

'is helpful'

Leati Thu 12-Jul-07 09:07:29

I think I feel safer knowing that police are armed but not the average citizen. Here is my nightmare scenerio, my child goes and visits a friend whose parents are vigil with locking their guns. One of the kids plays with it and the next thing you know a child is hurt.

bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 12-Jul-07 09:11:32

That is a concern I hope I never have to deal with Leati - I am sorry that you have to.

choosyfloosy Thu 12-Jul-07 09:14:31

I do see why gun ownership is so defended in the US - when I see American gun owners on TV over here (trying to show how shallow my knowledge is!) I am always impressed by the deep sense that this is part of their citizenship - not necessarily owning a gun but the right to own one. I'm sure you know what I mean more than I do leati.

Also I can't see, now that guns have so thoroughly permeated the society, how you could change that - because anyone they stop may own a gun, all police officers have to own one etc etc...

but I certainly found it upsetting to see visible guns on police in America. To me it it seems deeply unsafe, and that even seeing a gun raises the level of a confrontation before it's even started. I wouldn't ask directions from a policeman hung with weapons - it posits the policeman as a threat to me, not a support to the community, IMO

I would assume any farmer might need a gun, for rather vague reasons, and that shooting can be a sport. Other than that - I'd ask anyone to prove why they really needed one.

bookthief Thu 12-Jul-07 09:17:57

Leati - I am pretty much anti-gun in every situation to be honest, but I know that's unworkable. The guns are out there now.

I don't know if you're aware that after the incident in Scotland in Dunblane where a man shot and killed most of a class of 5 year olds and their teacher, gun ownership was massively restricted (with the full backing of the general public) including for sport.

I think the legislation is just about right and allows hunting with shotguns (I don't know the details to be honest.) Hunting isn't something that is in any way attractive to me but I know that a lot of people feel that it's an important part of rural life and farmers need to keep down vermin.

As for armed police, again I think that our current system of specialist armed response units is sufficient. Even there it is far more common for someone to be shot by the police under dubious circumstances than for the police to be shot. Petty criminals do not carry firearms in this country (in the main). If all police were armed I suspect that would change as the criminals sought to "protect" themselves.

Ulysees Thu 12-Jul-07 09:18:01

My bf is from Texas and the thing he'll miss most when he lives here is owning a gun and hunting. I've told him he'll just have to be happy with fishing!

bookthief Thu 12-Jul-07 09:22:40

Ulysees - he can hunt with a gun over here, just not a bloody great assault rifle!

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