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Guns - City Vs. Country

Comes news today of yet another mass shooting, this one in a school in Connecticut. jaylake, a man I respect and admire, is fervently anti-gun, although on most other issues, including health insurance, we completely agree. At any rate, Jay asks (in part) "if our system of gun ownership is so good, how come nobody else does it like we do?"

Well, a lot of countries allow private ownership of firearms. See, for example, Canada, Belgium, Italy and Spain. But ignoring that, why do a lot of countries ban firearms ownership?

Speaking as a gun owner, I suspect the answer is unfamiliarity with guns.* Simply put, if you don't own a gun, or know anybody that does, a gun can be very scary. It's also very easy to assume that "anybody can buy a gun" when in fact the purchase of guns is regulated even here in the USA.

Now, perhaps the main reason I own guns is that I grew up in a rural area, and my dad owned guns. We lived in town, not on a farm, but farmland was a few blocks away. Gun ownership was frankly easier. You didn't have to drive long distances and pay for range time. Cheap places to shoot were a ten-minute drive away. I do a lot less shooting now that I live in the suburbs, largely because it is a pain in the neck to do so.

I further suspect that this rural vs. urban attitude to guns is not unique to America. In Great Britain, no slouch when it comes to banning guns, you're much more likely to find a gun on a country farm then in a city flat. But in many countries, Great Britain being one of them, rural concerns get short shrift in electoral politics. Consider Great Britain's ban on fox hunting. Strongly opposed in rural areas, yet it passed Parliament with ease.

Here in the USA, rural interests are politically stronger, thanks to the US and state Senates. This, plus (I think) a higher rural / urban population ratio, leads to more support for rural interests.**

* Jay Lake is most definitely not unfamiliar with guns, but he's the exception in many cases.
** This isn't good or bad, it just is.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
The history of UK gun bans is fairly recent starting with the semi automatic ban in the wake of Hungerford (nut goes off it and kills a lot of people in a spree attack) in 1986 and Dunblane (nut goes off and kills a bunch of elementary school kids with handguns) in 1996. The last one he held his guns legally.

Since those and the bans there has been on spree killing in the UK. Although that seemed to have been a tragic event between lovers. </p>

That's it in the last 30 years.

It doesn't happen every 3 to 6 months.

I'm disturbed less by gun ownership than I am by the usual suspects saying this is a moral failing by the victims for not having armed themselves ahead of a possible attack.

Dec. 15th, 2012 07:10 am (UTC)
Owning a gun, when I lived outside of town, was not only easier, it was actually useful.

Lived there for nearly four years, had occasion to use firearms. Not daily, but once in a while; Varmint control and once to put down a dog.

Lived in the city for going on a decade and have never needed to kill a rattlesnake. Biggest pest here is mice.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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This is the personal blog of Chris Gerrib, and all opinions expressed here are solely his own. Commenters are welcome; however please be polite to me and my other readers. I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, inappropriate or otherwise objectionable at my sole discretion. The opinions expressed in a comment are not necessarily mine, and if I do not delete a comment that should not be construed as my agreement with the commenter.

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