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Strong Debate on Gun Ownership, Self-Defense and the 2nd Amendment

Patch users spoke often, and sometimes eloquently, in response to our poll question about gun ownership. We've compiled some of the best opinions here.

Patch’s most recent Sunday Poll question — Have Recent Events Made it More Likely for You to Own a Gun? — has an almost 50-50 split among 90 votes and more than 200 comments from Patch users.

The discussion is at times emotional, but numerous users have shared thoughtful opinions about gun ownership, gun violence, self-defense and even mental illness. What follows are some of the best comments. You can still vote in the poll and participate in the discussion.

Keith Best: I refuse to be a victim. I will protect myself and my family WITH A GUN if I have to. If I never have to pull it out all the better, but as I said, I refuse to be a victim.

Steve Ebbie: I have hunted all my life. Own a variety of guns: shotguns, rifles, pistols and black powder. I've never needed more than two shots to take game. I remember the first time Barrack Obama was elected there was a run on ammunition because people were scared. Hope ammo has a long shelf life. I know fear does.

General Batguano: If the government truly wanted to confiscate weapons, they would first announce that they were going to confiscate all weapons, then they would simultaneously send local sheriffs to the houses of gun owners and call over the megaphone, "Come out with all your weapons."

This would trigger well-trained, well-coordinated and disciplined army of gun owners to unleash their master plan (codenamed "Fantasy"). They'd communicate over the phone systems and the internet that the government forgot to shut down or monitor. They'd shoot their way through military roadblocks and barricades and link-up to seize the police stations, military bases, and communications networks; effectively rendering the government incapable of counter attack.

When it was all over, crowds of meek non-gun owners would pour into the streets and raise the victors on high.

(Full disclosure: I AM a gun owner.)

Randy1949: We're all law-abiding until we commit our first crime. We're almost all of us sane until we fall prey to a mental illness. Sane, law-abiding citizens can purchase guns and then become neither sane nor law-abiding.

So how do we deal with this fact in an imperfect world?

Adam: Gun bans simply don't work. … Illinois has the most aggressive gun restrictions in the country and Chicago has had over 500 homicides in the last year. And Rahm Emanuel, who (criticized) the NRA proposal to put an armed officer in every school has been taking that exact same approach for some time now. When the Columbine shooting occurred there was an active ban on assault rifles signed into law by Bill Clinton. One of the (weapons) specifically mention in the legislation, the TEC-9, was used at Columbine. Last time I checked, heroin and cocaine were illegal but I think its fair to say that it hasn't stopped people from using them. … In short, yes, I will be buying a gun.

Tom Bosworth: Choosing not to own a gun is fine, but the idea that no one should be allowed to is not. Neither is prohibiting others from choosing high capacity magazines. The Korean shopkeepers who stood on their roofs with "assault rifles" to protect their stores during the Rodney King riots were the only thing which prevented their destruction, and quite likely their own deaths.

High capacity magazines are essential for resisting multiple assailant attacks. You may believe that you will never be in such a situation. That's fine: your life, your choice. Other people live in different situations, and they as reasonable and responsible people have the right to make their owned visions as well. A shopkeeper in Oakland lives in a very different world from those in Fox Point or Bayside, WI. Bans don't work: they just disarm victims without stopping murderers and rapists.

Mike Itzenhuiser: Have recent events made it more likely for me to own a gun? Absolutely not. I've owned guns my entire life. Recent events have only made it necessary to get my concealed carry permit. Now I don't leave my house without packing heat.

Charlie DeSando: Things change over time. Rights can be limited, such as the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment is not absolute, and neither is the 2nd amendment. There can be limits placed, as put forth in the Constitution.

St8shooter: I can't think of one mass shooting involving an assault rifle because assault rifles are "fully automatic" while the civilian model of AR15's/M4's are only semi auto which is the same as most handguns and many other shotguns and rifles. It's a civilian model because it is appropriate for civilians. It shoots almost the same bullet a squirrel hunting rifle does just in a gun that looks differently. The only difference is the larger magazine and if there was any correlation to the magazine size and killings then I would be ok with banning them but there isn't.

Bottom Line: I do wish we would focus on criminality and the mentally unstable, instead of discussing limitations for the law abiding. I haven't read many posts, blogs, or articles, that address the real issues.

People that choose not to own guns, and people that want complete arsenals are generally not causing these events that occur. Mass shootings, and day to day shootings are happening because we have people in our free society that should be institutionalized, or jailed.

Exrepublican: The term "assault weapon" is very misunderstood by people who are not familiar with guns. An AR-15 certainly looks menacing. In reality, it is a semi-auto fire rifle with a fairly small caliber bullet. I for one think that the government should restrict it to a maximum of 10. Of course it won't deter someone hell (bent) on murder, but it makes it just a little harder to cause mass casualties. Nobody who hunts uses a 30 round magazine. To truly make a difference, I believe you have to take some discretion out of judges hands. There has to be harsh mandatory minimum sentences for people who commit crimes with guns. I'm not talking about just murder. I mean ALL crimes committed while armed with a firearm.

The Anti-Alinsky: The opponents of Liberal gun control are not a "do nothing" group, we just realize that the restrictions that Liberals really want (take all guns away from everyone) does not and has never worked. What we want is real change that will be effective, and it does not have to come at the expense of trashing the second amendment.

Conspiracy T January 01, 2013 at 07:24 PM
City with the toughest gun control laws...... Let this be the shining star of the New Gun Free America the left dreams of......(sarcasm) CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A West Town neighborhood man became the city's first homicide victim of the New Year, which so far has seen at least ten other people wounded in separate shootings, authorities said Read more: http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/20478869/at-least-9-people-shot-in-early-hours-of-new-year#ixzz2GklpJfd5
General Batguano January 01, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Gee, Daniel, where to start? I guess the logical place to start is the first sentence, "The bill of rights is not to be interpreted." See, it's impossible to institute the Bill of Rights without having an interpretation of what it means. As an trivial example, the words "right to bear arms" could mean that the citizens of the US have the right to possess the limbs of bears. Of course, Brian, you and I 'interpret' the phrase as the right to own weapons. I could go on, but we all have better things to do than pick apart the logical black whole contributed by Brian.
J Parish January 01, 2013 at 10:49 PM
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" -Benjamin Franklin Just a thought by a founding Father.
Lynell Milner January 01, 2013 at 11:50 PM
I would like to add this to my post above: “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. “ — Noah Webster "When Congress won't act, I will," Obama brazenly declared last year -- and not for the first time.In fact, he frequently uses the threat to act unilaterally. He has taken DUHbya's unitary executive style of governing to an obscene level. He informed Congress, in complete disregard of the Constitution, that he did not need its consent to attack Libya. He DOES know proper procedure, but choses to ignore it. In most countries, that would make him a tin-pot dictator. So what happens if Obama unilaterally decrees our guns will be confiscated? This is where the true meaning of the Second Amendment comes in to play. As King Leonidas told Xerxes the Great of Persia when Xerxes demanded the Spartans surrender their arms at the Battle of Thermopolae, "Molon Labe" -- which roughly translates to "come and take them". There are an estimated 90 million gun owners in America, many of whom will say Molon Labe, buster! A nation that will submit to gun confiscation will not long remain a free nation.
YAMATO January 02, 2013 at 01:59 PM
cops are a reactionary and chaos control force. They cannot and will not be there to protect your child or you when crap hits the fan. A well armed citizenry is required and removal of gun(kill my kids zones) need to be eliminated. The number of casualties drops when citizens are armed and in the locale. Reduce the type of arm, magazine..etc will not make you feel better about a shot gun or rifle round or six shooter killing your kid. The mentally ill/sick frak needs to be stopped and an armed citizen in the vicinity is the best.
Edward Willing January 02, 2013 at 02:28 PM
It gives me a headache to read over and over again when those advocating gun-control mention the fact that the First Amendment is not absolute and unlimited. If I could make five cents for every time I hear it in the defense of ridiculous and impractical and unsuccessful gun bans I would be a rich man. The reality is that there is no limit on the First amendment. There are no restrictions at all. The only restrictions that are seen in any constitutionally protected right are when you use those liberties to abuse the freedoms of others. Libel is illegal. Because you are lying about someone else and harming their reputation, maliciously. And the dumbest example of all… Yelling fire in a theater… Is revealing just how pathetic and weak the gun-hater group's argument is. No one yells fire in a crowded theater. By choice. Self-regulation is a beautiful thing, and the expectation of it raises the level of the publics behavior. The basis of every progressive infection on constitutional rights is always based on the same thing… refusing to accept the reality that stupid people will do stupid things with the freedoms they have to infringe upon the freedoms of other individuals. Bans. Don't. Work. Ask Capone.
Edward Willing January 02, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Clarification: re: "no restrictions at all..." There are no front end restrictions. There are punishments for violating it. All gun control advocates support front end abuse and limitations of second amendment rights while using the inciting/libel Lawson's an excuse. Apples/oranges.
Lyle Ruble January 02, 2013 at 03:19 PM
@Edward Willing...Self-regulation may be a goal but it seldom ever works.
Edward Willing January 02, 2013 at 03:59 PM
@lyle That is the obnoxiously wrong and evil thinking that has brought us to this point. You are an enemy of liberty with what you just said. Self-regulation happens every day. Seldom? How can you sleep at night with such lies in your mind blows me away. It is quite the opposite. I am shocked a full grown adult with an education can say such a reckless, liberty-hating thing.
Edward Willing January 02, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Btw, thank you for allowing all my other points to stand unopposed. ;)
Lynell Milner January 02, 2013 at 04:14 PM
"Bans. Don't. Work. Ask Capone." Of course they don't. You can't legislate morality; nor sanity. When it comes to killers, you remove them from the gene pool, not ban their weapons of choice -- which are useful tools when used properly.
Edward Willing January 02, 2013 at 08:55 PM
The wrong presumption people have is that guns are made to kill people. Wrong. Guns are made to protect people. Anything used for evil causes death and destruction. But the laws, however reasonable ad they may seem, never work. Ever. EVER
Exrepublican January 03, 2013 at 03:13 AM
I have to chuckle when I hear people like Patriot say the "left" are sheeple. I guess you could say I'm a little more left than I am right. The notion that everyone that votes democratic wants guns taken away from people is a joke. Come up with a reasonable comment. I own guns. I shoot guns. I have extensive firearms training in pistols, shotguns and so called "assault rifles". Most, if not all of my left leaning friends deer hunt every year and own hunting rifles. I for one don't want "assault rifles" banned. Mag sizes are going to get limited to maybe 10 and I'm totally fine with that. Who needs a 30 round magazine? Not a hunter. If you need more bullets than 10 for home defense, you shouldn't have a gun.
Daniel S. January 03, 2013 at 04:17 AM
Do you think one needs more than 10 rounds to defend the country? If so, then you are on board with the 2nd amendment and there need to be no further discussion on gun bans, magazine bans, ammo limitations or markings. It's PEOPLE and nothing else that need to be regulated. Grant the people the rights that the 2nd amendment actually allows, which is: 50 state reciprocity, remove the restrictions at the post office, no states have the right to ban firearms in any public places, including parks (state & federal), no bans on any federally owned land, including land controlled by Fish & Game or Army Corp of Engineers. In exchange for the right to travel all 50 states freely (which the constitution granted), I am willing to take a training course that meets the requirements for gun ownership and carry and will register for a gun license in my home state, that is valid in all 50 states. In addition, I would be willing to require all gun sales and transfers (including within family) be verified by completing an FFL background check though an authorized FFL licensee.
Lyle Ruble January 03, 2013 at 04:39 AM
@Edward Willing...You're welcome. However, I can point to any number of examples where self-regulation is a complete failure, beginning with the banking and financial industry.
Lyle Ruble January 03, 2013 at 04:44 AM
@Daniel S....Defend the country from whom; the liberal left, an invading foreign power, our own government , Islamic terrorists, or home grown terrorists?
Daniel S. January 03, 2013 at 05:26 AM
Yes Lyle, Defend the Country against whatever, whomever, whenever, as needed. Read some some of the legal scholar writings and supreme court rulings about the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. They speak of having formidable weapons, not pea shooters with limited capability. The 2nd Amendment is not about Hunting rights, it's about USA rights. The right of Freedom, Freedom to protect yourself, your family and your country.
Lynell Milner January 03, 2013 at 05:42 AM
"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." ~Chief Justice Joseph Story
Lynell Milner January 03, 2013 at 05:53 AM
Tench Coxe, founding father: "The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ... the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people."
Steve ® January 03, 2013 at 06:00 AM
White people from the north?
Exrepublican January 03, 2013 at 11:52 PM
I bet you guys are big fans of Doomsday Preppers
Exrepublican January 04, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Not a fan of Al Gore. No fan of Al Jezzeera. You see, not everyone on the left side of the spectrum is as radical as you assume them to be. I understand that the vast majority on the right are also not radical in their views, with exception of some...
TODD ANDERSON January 04, 2013 at 06:24 AM
Im packin heat.....legally now. As it should be. Lotsa bad guuys out there....drugs and all.
TODD ANDERSON January 04, 2013 at 06:25 AM
And yes.....Gore is a tool....I mean really? Even he knows it.
TODD ANDERSON January 04, 2013 at 06:35 AM
In fact....was at the Walgreens in Milwaukee...some dude pulled a knife on the cashier...my buddy pulled his 9mm on the bad guy.Bad guy dropped the knife and the manager tackled the dude.....held him.down till the po po arrived.
Daniel S. January 04, 2013 at 07:14 PM
How much are you betting? Just curious, what are the differences of a Little Fan and a Big Fan? Don't know about some of the other people, but you lost the bet with me.
Avenging Angel January 04, 2013 at 07:44 PM
The anti-gun crowd refuses to recognize the thousands of gun defenses you described that occur every year. A large percentage of these defenses are catorgorized as "Someone would have 'most probably' been killed" if it wasn't for a law abiding person intervening with a gun. So, when they talk about confiscation, they are advocating the "most probable" deaths of thousands of people every year.
Patriot January 04, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Not to mention there are more people killed via clubs, bats, hammers and fists than rifles every year. So I am demanding an all out BAN on fists, clubs, bats and hammers IMMEDIATELY. There approx 600+ people killed every year with clubs, bats, hammers and fists compared to 400+ with rifles. Those evil nasty assualt rifles.
Patriot January 04, 2013 at 07:57 PM
So at work today there were some people having a discussion regarding gun control. I over heard a women speaking and she said quote " I dont understand why someone needs something that when you pull the trigger it fires 30 bullets. I just about jumped out of my skin with that comment. But the gentlemen she was talking with said, well that is entirely not true. You have to pull the trigger every time. you want to fire a round. Proves my point exactly. All she knows is our liberal biased media talking points. She was and is completely clueless on how a semi auto weapon functions. Amazing!!! Dont tread on me or my 2nd amendment rights period!!! Those are God Given rights protecting me and my family from a tyrannical government, enemies foriegn or domestic. They are not negoitable AT ALL!!!!
Patriot January 04, 2013 at 07:58 PM
This young man said it well!!!! http://www.guns.com/2013/01/03/marine-writes-letter-to-sen-dianne-feinstein-i-will-not-be-disarmed-video/

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