I think part of the reason that people (especially city folk) are so afraid of guns is that they don’t have any experience with them.  Or rather, any real experience since they’ve seen plenty of gun use in the movies and on tv.  So here is a nice little piece that exposes some of the myths that might be partially behind that fear.

11 thoughts on “Guns

  1. People who know guns well aren’t afraid as much as they have a cautious appreciation of their power, their limitations, and the importance of proper handling and safety. Key tips: Never point a weapon at something you don’t intend to shoot at and potentially kill, keep your finger outside of the trigger well until you are ready to shoot, check the chamber before you hand your weapon to someone, and teach your kids to speak to an adult before handling anything even resembling a real gun.

  2. I would think the problem would be that cityfolk are primarily acquainted with the effects of idiots with guns, not that they don’t know what guns are or what they can do. Take for instance, the higher murder rates in American cities as opposed to smaller towns.

    1. We are both right. They are acquainted with the effect of guns but not really the experience of owning, cleaning, firing, and otherwise being around guns as part of a general gun culture like those in rural areas and military/hunting families. Most city folks I know have never really touched a weapon and get a little antsy around them. For example, I asked a colleague if he wanted to go shooting, and he expressed a real sense of unease about the whole enterprise but admitted he’d never been around guns.

  3. For several years I made an annual trip from Connecticut to Wisconsin for a family deer hunt. In CT, as the TSA agent checked my firearm, passing travelers would look at me with horror and disgust. In Milwaukee, I was but one of many guys arriving with rifles for deer season, many of whom traveled in their camo jackets. I think there is a strong cultural-political dimension here. Guns are anathema to some because they signal a host of values they detest (e.g., self-reliance, liberty, conservatism). They may be less afraid of guns than of what guns represent.

    A funny anecdote: once, the TSA wanted to check my gun for gunpowder residue. Having shot a dozen rounds at the range the day before without cleaning my gun in the interim, I was more than a little amazed when the TSA agent told me there was no residue. I asked to speak to his superior and questioned whether their equipment was functional, only to be assured that the equipment was calibrated daily.

    1. What is amazing is that people like Elizabeth Warren are so turned off by these values. I wish our system incentivized more Tiebout sorting so I wouldn’t have to deal with as many folks like that on a regular basis!

      Yet another sign of the TSA’s incompetence!

  4. Funny paragraph from Paul Begala’s column at the Daily Beast on last night’s debate:

    Romney, who embarrassed himself four years ago lying about “hunting varmints,” stumbled again on the same subject. He was asked if he’s been hunting in the last four years. (Full disclosure: I just returned from a four-day deer hunt in South Texas.) He hemmed. He hawed. He confused elk with moose. And then he said he’d be “delighted” to go if invited. Really? Delighted? Mitt, dear chap, one is delighted to escort Muffy to the cotillion. You’re fired up to hunt. I can see Thurston Romney III sticking his delicate pinky out of the trigger guard, asking his maid to iron his bullets. Maybe it’s just me, but he seems so prim, so prissy when he talks about hunting. You don’t need to enjoy killing animals to be president, Mitt. But just stop peein’ on my boots and tellin’ me it’s raining.

    1. Yeah, Mitt doesn’t strike anyone as a good ole boy and if he has hunted at all you’d expect fox hunting in England not some manly escape into the wilderness!

      BTW, does Begala strike you as a hunter either?

      1. Mitt’s claims remind me of Senator Kerry’s statements about deer hunting while campaigning for president in Wisconsin. As Kerry stated at the time: “I go out with my trusty 12-gauge double-barrel, crawl around on my stomach … That’s hunting.” Indeed.

        There must be something in the Massachusetts water that leads politicians to make odd claims about hunting.

  5. He is a hunter, as he says in that piece. I was in touch with him all week, and he was indeed on a multi-day hunting expedition in South Texas. He’s from Texas and wears cowboy boots every day.

  6. The only things people in Massachusetts hunt are packies and chicks. Only criminals, you know, people from Southie and friends of Whitey, have guns.

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