Anti-Gun Control Arguments Haven’t Become Any Smarter or More Honest

Dishonesty remains at the core of anti-gun control arguments and I note that regardless of evidence, shifting policies, or gun control experiments in countries other than the US, these arguments have barely shifted in decades.

Here’s the failed Sad Puppies 5 leader Sarah Hoyt https://web.archive.org/web/20180221173128/https://accordingtohoyt.com/2018/02/21/your-most-basic-right/

Here’s a summary of the arguments deployed:

Self Defence: Hoyt starts with claiming a fundamental right to self-defence. That’s a good start, as at least that is common ground. She trips over it almost straight away.

“So while it’s illegal to attack you, the criminal will still do it, and if you don’t have the right to defend yourself (as is true in many places in Europe) then you’re devolving to the criminals having power of life and death over law abiding citizens. This is a recipe for the law to become dead letter and for everyone ignoring it.”

The argument is posed as if X occurs then Y will happen. If there is no right to self-defence, Hoyt claims then effectively the rule of law will happen. She also claims that in many places in Europe there is no right to self-defence. Where? Because that would be a simple test of her argument. Point out these countries that have no right to self-defence and we can all go see how everyone is now ignoring the law in general.

She doesn’t mention a single one. Nor is it clear which European nation has everyone ignoring the law.

Of course, she also wants to connect this to gun control. The UK has strict gun control, arguably the strictest gun control in Europe. And yet:

Armed population are a defence against tyranny: there is little evidence for this being true and substantial evidence that it is false. Authoritarian governments do not tend to first act against guns but rather tend to first act against ways for people to organise. Free trade unions are a common target, open communication is another. Tyrannical regimes may enact gun control but not more so then non-tyrannical regimes because…most countries enact some kind of gun control.

But more relevant is this claim runs counter to a later argument: criminals will get guns or other arms one way or another anyway.

Lawbreakers will still have guns: Hoyt says:

“Because it makes killing easier, criminals and psychopaths will have it. They will have guns, regardless of what the law says.”

Yet that hardly means it should be made easy for them. A determined burglar can break into your house but that doesn’t mean you should leave your front door open. Making life harder for criminals to commit crimes is how laws work. Few laws prevent all cases of a crime and this kind of fatalism applied across the board really would lead to the law becoming a dead letter with everyone ignoring it.

Of course, Hoyt has forgotten that she thinks actual determined people fighting a tyranny somehow WON’T people to break the law and get guns.

A gun is just a tool: True and tools make it easier for a person to do a thing. Printing presses are tools and the development of printing presses and their spread led to more books and more literacy. Computers are tools and have led to profound social change. Sure, without printing presses people still found ways to make books but precisely because it was harder there were fewer of them. Likewise, without spreadsheets people would still do accounting or statistics but the tools we have make it easier. A gun is a tool that makes killing people EASIER. Hoyt does recognise that guns make killing people easier and then ignores that point.

Note that this argument runs directly counter to the necessary for self-defence argument and the armed population argument. If a determined person will easily use ‘a shoe, my handbag, or the handle to my office door’ to serve the same purpose as a gun then what need does anybody have for a gun?

This argument is part of Schrodinger’s gun – when a gun is both a magical talisman that enables the rule of law and wards of tyranny and yet also a dumb lump of metal easily replaced with a well-aimed shoe.

You can be confident that a person who advances such arguments does so with NO sincerity. To advance these Schrodinger’s gun argument implies that the argument is offered in bad faith.

Gun control is stupid: Hoyt starts struggling:

“The only people who believe that the way to prevent violence is to disarm the law abiding people and leave them at the mercy of psychopaths are children and idiots. “

Children, idiots and a wide range of people on the left and right in most nations of the world. In the English speaking world, in countries with many cultural connections with the US, major gun control measures have been enacted by CONSERVATIVES.

Stalin! The arguments come closer to gibbering at this point. I don’t know how Hoyt thinks the Bolshevik’s came to power but I’m quite certain she doesn’t believe that Lenin and Trotsky were just fine & lovely and Stalin betrayed the revolution. The Bolshevik Red Guard were armed paramilitaries who toppled the Provisional Government. Lenin took power using literally MILITIAS of armed citizens to depose a more democratic (if deeply flawed) government.

Private militias do not have a great track record when it comes to the rule-of-law versus tyrrany. There are many exceptions but a list of people who had their own armed militias BEFORE they took over the state includes these chaps:

  • Pol Pot
  • Mao
  • Lenin (and as a subordinate Stalin)
  • Hitler

On the plus side, there are examples of people’s militia’s fighting for freedom against tyrannical governments or against military dictators (or wannabe military dictators) but even these EXCEPTIONS tend to not be groups that Hoyt would like (e.g. the paramilitary wing of the ANC or the Sandinistas). In zero cases, do we have nations maintaining significant private paramilitary forces during periods of democratic stability with rule of law. Private guns are not a prophylactic defence of freedom.

Gibber, gibber, SOROS!: Seriously.

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41 comments

  1. Jessica

    Strangely enough, the most authoritarian country in the Western World is also the one with the slackest gun laws and the one with the most appalling rate of mass shootings.

    It’s odd that the rightists can’t allow themselves to consider that the real root cause of the problem is toxic masculinity combined with criminally lax controls on murdering machines.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Andrew

      Exaggeration doesn’t do the gun control cause a bit of good. Venezuela, a country which is doing a pretty good job at starving its people and has armed militias (colectivos) helping to prop up the regime, seems a no-brainer to me as the “most authoritarian country in the Western World.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chris M

        Dude, what about North Korea or Saudi Arabia? The problem with Venezuela is that it is failing. It doesn’t even have the death penalty.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andrew

        It’s true that “Western World” is a “stretchy” term which has evolved over time, starting out as just Europe and then maybe being Europe plus other English-speaking countries. I use it in the sense of Europe plus countries with major European-ancestry population from colonial times, so do consider Venezuela (once the richest country in South America) to be included. Wikipedia actually has an interesting article on the term.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Johan P

    I have no idea what sort of gun control existed in Portugal during Hoyt’s beloved Estado Novo – but a significant reason the regime fell was the strain from fighting armed militias in Angola and Mozambique. That’s certainly an example of people’s militias as a deterrent to tyranny that Hoyt can get behind. Right? No?

    (Anothing issue is that the militias in the Portuguese colonies were mostly armed from abroad, they didn’t rely on weapons caches from a happier more liberal time where the common man could own guns. So still not really an argument for proactive militia organizing.)

    On a related note (although only tangential to Hoyt) there seems to be a amazingly large overlap between Americans who insist on having guns to defend themselves from evil government, and Americans who demand that everyone pay total obeisance to the police and military, and who vigorously defend the police every time there’s a questionable police shooting.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Cora

    In most, probably all European countries, you do have the right to defend yourself when your life or those of others are in accute danger. Of course, you will have to prove that you or others really were in danger and that you did not use excessive force, i.e. shooting at someone who is unarmed is not okay, even if they are in the process of stealing your TV.

    There are occasional court cases involving alleged self-defence in Germany. Here are a few fairly recent cases I have been able to find:

    Case 1: A young man with no criminal history gets involved in a drunken shuffle in a Munich subway station, provoked by another group of equally drunk young men. The shuffle escalated and the young man near-fatally stabs one of the other young men with a knife. The victim was drunk, physically violent and provoked the altercation, but he was not armed. The perpetrator later said that he stabbed the other man in self-defence and that he feared for his life, because there had been another violent attack in the Munich subway a few weeks before. The court ruled the use of force excessive and sent the young man to prison for three years and three months for attempted manslaughter. A higher court reduced the sentence, but did not acquit him.

    Case 2: Three men were helping a friend to move and were carrying furniture from his house. While working, all men drank a lot of alcohol. Afterwards, they wanted to make themselves dinner in the largely empty house. A quarrel broke out and one of the men pulled a knife and attacked the other three. Two of the men fled, the third was trapped in a room with the attacker. During the resulting shuffle, the attacker was fatally stabbed with his own knife. In this case, the man was acquitted, because he feared for his life and genuinely defended himself.

    Case 3: A father and his adult son get involved in a quarrel with their landlord and his wife about the rent for their cabin in the woods. The quarrel escalated and the landlord attacks the son, who winds up stabbing him seventeen times all in all. The landlord’s wife tries to help her husband and attacks the son, whereupon the father first tries to pull the woman off his son and than pulls an (apparently legally owned) gun and shoots her twice. Both the landlord and his wife die, whereupon father and son bury the bodies in the woods and only confessed, after the police discovered the bodies. To everybody’s surprise, father and son were acquitted, because the court couldn’t prove that they were not defending themselves.

    Case 4: In a home of refugees, two young men from Eritrea get into a quarrel about who gets to use the washing machine first. One man grabs the other in a choke hold. The man tries to free himself. During the struggle, he manages to grab hold of a knife his attacker is carrying and stabs him to free himself. After the other man lets go of him, he continues to stab his attacker to death. The first court sentenced the young man to five years in prison for manslaughter. A higher court ruled that the initial stabs were indeed self-defence, but that continuing to stab at the attacker after he let go was excessive and therefore still manslaughter, so they reduced the sentence, but did not acquit him.

    It’s notable that only one case involves a gun, everything else involves knifes. I’m also certain that every single case would have been worse, if there had been guns involved.

    Regarding the “only criminals will have guns” argument, Western countries with strict gun control laws also have much lower rates of violent crime than the US. And I’m pretty sure that the fact that guns are not all that easily available has something to with that. Considering the very common US fear of violent burglaries and home invasions, in Germany cases of burglaries turning violent are vanishingly rare. I can only think of one case where a homeowner died during a burglary, an elderly lady who suffered a fatal heart attack. The burglar himself called the ambulance.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Kat Goodwin

    Gun ownership has steadily declined in the U.S. — over 70% of the population do not own guns. The rate of violent and gun crime has also steadily declined in the U.S. along with it. Hunting rates/licenses have also declined and membership in the NRA has declined — they don’t get their money from members but from gun companies and people like the Kochs. About 3% of the U.S. population owns like a third of the guns — they’re hoarders and it’s compulsive. Gang violence is at an all time low. Gun buy backs have helped lower violent gun incidents. Gun control regulations, particularly background checks, have statistically reduced gun violence and crime where applied. Nearly every gun used in a mass shooting has been legally bought. The majority of mass shooters are white males, usually ones who express conservative and white supremacist views. Immigrants, both undocumented and documented, commit almost no violent crime and very little with guns. Gun owners can sell guns to other people without background checks, waiting periods and other regulations gun dealers have to abide by, online or in a parking lot, which has led to numerous gun owners plying illegal weapons businesses under a legal loophole. The 2nd amendment was about state law enforcement and what became National Guard units, not individual gun owners or pro-insurrection.

    After the Columbine shooting, the U.S. government commissioned a study which compiled and analyzed numerous studies about gun violence, mass shootings, teen violence with guns, etc. The study discovered that the number one factor that led to teen gun violence was easy access to guns. The Republican-controlled Congress buried the study after results were announced and as soon as possible they banned the CDC from doing new studies of gun violence and its effect on Americans’ health.

    Everything that the U.S. right says about guns, gun violence, mass shootings and gun control is a flat out lie. But it’s become an identity cult, so even those on the right who don’t own a gun will lie because liberals and moderates are for gun control. They started the tactics back when gun control was making advances in the 1980’s in the wake of the Reagan attempted assassination, culminating in the Brady Bill in 1993 that mandated federal background checks and waiting periods. Though activist James Brady, who was horribly injured in the assassination attempt, was a Republican, the bill was advanced by Democrats and signed into law by Bill Clinton, a Democratic president. So it became an identity issue, even though numerous Republicans had supported gun control laws up till then.

    The NRA developed its power when its ratings and endorsements started affecting Republican primary elections in the 1990’s, especially in sparsely populated, rural western states. (That effect was enhanced when we elected a black President, because you know why.) Republican politicians were soon trapped and forced to defend each mass shooting (one area of crime that while slight comparatively has increased.) Even though the majority of the American people want more gun control and a ban on military grade weapons (needed neither for hunting nor self-defense,) the Republicans depend on the portion of the population that make wild west philosophy a litmus test for correct “identity” politics to get nominations. To cling to their identity and the governmental power it indicates, the right will happily slaughter its own kids and claim it’s unavoidable like the weather, no matter how many statistics you throw at them. Because the Internet has made it easier for Americans to talk about gun control and pressure politicians for it, the NRA and the right have tried to keep Republican lawmakers in a headlock against the tide for two and a half decades. After every mass shooting in the U.S., gun sales spike upwards as the identity cult goes on a spree to show that they are in charge.

    The young got a taste for organizing this last decade and because this is an issue that directly affects them, there may be changes in the works from their efforts. It would certainly be nice as currently I would not recommend any foreigners come visit the U.S. on vacation. We have a lot of people here with a deep need to shoot someone, and even when they aren’t trying to, accidental gun shots and deaths are very high here, including a lot of children, because the people most into guns are not in the least responsible gun owners.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Cora

      Besides, it’s perfectly possible to have strict gun control laws and a flourishing hunting and sport shooting culture, as Germany and many other European countries prove.

      Liked by 2 people

      • PhilRM

        But we have to have fully automatic weapons for deer hunting here! Have you *seen* American deer? They’ve got HUGE, POINTY TEETH!

        Liked by 3 people

      • camestrosfelapton

        Australia has no shortage of hunters nor is it hard to get a gun if you work the land and need one for shooting wild animals. Proves that it is possible to take sudden, major, sweeping actions on guns and still permit hunting.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Bonnie McDaniel

      Not only what you said, but it’s the attitude that “I have to have guns to defend against gubmint tyranny.”

      Really, dude? You and your little peashooter are going to go up against drones, tanks, and Apache helicopters? ‘Tis to laugh.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Kat Goodwin

        I call it an identity cult instead of a gun cult because most of it is not about guns. (My late granddad owned a gun shop his whole life and he’d be rather appalled at what’s going on now.) It’s about money and political and social power. (A good percentage of that 3% who owns most of the guns are again selling them as arms dealers doing “private one on one” sales of guns to others online, etc., including probably some foreign buyers. They have lots of guns and ammo because it’s their actual lucrative business rather than for love of them.)

        Guns are picked as an identity wedge issue. It signals identity as the tough, frontier, guardians of the true, white America and its authoritarian, conservative values that they claim are the founders’ values while ignoring the “well-regulated militia” part. It’s about controlling politicians through the identity issue, which then gets them to do what policies you want to show allegiance, including tax breaks and the sale of government assets to the wealthy, which use these identity issues and fundraising around them to get their pet politicians in place.

        The insurrection myth was first necessary to keep the heat on politicians over guns in the wake of mass shootings and increased public demand for gun control and second, it’s fundamental to the cause of white supremacy. It was white Americans you see who they feel stood up to the “depravations” of the British in the original Revolution and white Americans who stood up to (anti-slavery) “depravations” of the federal government in the Civil War, goes the song. And in a new insurrection, which is possibly for some also the End of Days of their religious sect, the new insurrection which most of them think is going to be a race war, they will be able to stand up to the drones, tanks and missiles of the “bad” liberal government because they believe a large chunk of the military that controls those things will side with them and bring those weapons over, something that isn’t necessarily a fantasy view unfortunately. But they also need all the weapons they can get with which they will decimate the unarmed, weak, incompetent, liberal city folk who want to take their stuff and give it to POC, goes the song. They are prepping to kill their neighbors, not the U.S. military.

        Most of the folks involved with anti-choice efforts don’t care about fetuses or babies, as quite clear by their other policy choices. The issue was picked out by conservative groups as a potential wedge identity issue in the late 1970’s. (We know this because defectors told us and have records on it.) It’s been a huge fundraiser for far right churches and useful politically for theocrats to get their politicians like Pence in place. It’s less popular in general society, so to keep things going, they’ve expanded into trying to block birth control access for women. Likewise, the attacks on gay rights is an identity wedge issue that has made a ton of money for churches and helped politically, while not particularly caring about gay people (who they figure they’ll kill in the insurrection.) When gay rights issues became less useful, they simply expanded to attacks on trans people.

        They’ll contradict what they just said on ideology or religion because the key thing is solidarity of identity that leads to power, control, (and wealth for a few,) as the righteous (white) guardians. That comes before their families, their incomes, their civil rights and their health. American politics has been mainly a good chunk of the population trying to keep 30% of it from stabbing themselves and the rest of us, sometimes successfully and often not. But we went and twice elected a black president, which is the beginning of the end times for those folk, and so there’s been a lot of blood. We aren’t the only country going through this, but the weapons identity issue has successfully made use of rule of force more than once here and the white supremacy runs deep in the fiber of the country.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Paul Weimer

        I recall a L.E, Modesitt (not exactly a bleeding liberal) story where that point was made clear, in a future disintegrating US where peacekeeping troops from outside came into help restore order after the US government finally cracked to pieces. The local right wing populace with their guns did not stand up well.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica

      “The majority of mass shooters are white males, usually ones who express conservative and white supremacist views.”

      And almost invariably, they also have a history of domestic violence as well.

      Liked by 3 people

    • PhilRM

      The most recent numbers I saw (I can’t quickly find the source, it was a post on TalkingPointsMemo) were that 78% of Americans don’t own a gun, and 3% of the population owns 50% of the guns.
      Aaaand after seven days of silence, NRA president Wayne LaPierre responds to the Florida massacre this morning with full-on “Freedom-hating libruls are coming for your guns!!!!!” Because of course he does.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Peer

    Im getting tired of those pro-Gun-arguments. They are not really arguments anyone believes (Really, Laws dont fix anything? Why do I have to go through airport security? And why is fertilizer more restricted than guns? I mean, I guess bombs are more efficent against a surpressive goverment than guns, right?), they are more mantras, repeated often and loud, to give strength and faith in the cult of the weapon. Nothing more. That Hoyt is now making stuff up about “other countries” just shows the desperation.

    If the goverment would be half smart they would raise taxes on ammo to 80$/round and finance whatever they want with the money.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Laura Resnick

      You know, I had not thought of this before (I keep focusing on sensible gun control laws), but I love this idea. Let’s put VERY high taxes on guns and ammunition. Alcohol is taxed at a high rate. Also cigarettes. Let’s tax the hell out of firearms and ammo.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Lurkertype

        Slowly ratcheting up the taxes on tobacco has directly led to plummeting rates of smoking. So taxing the guns and ammo would probably cut down on the death toll.

        Like

      • kiptw

        I’m trying to figure now if raising the price on human lives would be an unalloyed good. Theoretically speaking, I mean.

        Like

    • Cora

      Well, I don’t know. Those little tin soldiers (remember those?) are small, but certainly look like they know how to fight. As for the Happy Hippos, have you read Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pixlaw

    Honestly, Cam, I appreciate you taking the hit for the team by actually reading Hoyt’s blog piece. I gave up trying to read the MGCranks about 5 years ago after her SPARTACUS!!! (add boldface and moar exclamation points as needed) screed. By that point I’d already sworn off her fiction, which I’d found uninteresting at best, but that piece in particular convinced me that she’d gone so far off the deep end that even trying to figure out what she was saying was liable to drag me in to drown after her.

    Just be careful, is all I’m asking. Perhaps a life vest is a good idea.

    PS Cora, have you come across the Cuddly Hippos in KB Spangler’s self-pubbed novels? I think she did a t-shirt design as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Laura Resnick

      “I gave up trying to read the MGCranks about 5 years ago after her SPARTACUS!!! (add boldface and moar exclamation points as needed) screed. ”

      I didn’t know what this referred to, and I was curious, so I looked it up and read it.

      Most of it made no sense to me, but I can actually verify one part of it. I used to be very friendly with her (we pretty much fell out of touch before she wrote the Spartacus piece), and although I knew her for some years, I indeed had no idea that she was–I don’t know–Libertarian? Right wing? However it is she’s defining herself in that essay (I’m not quite sure).

      My experience in those days was pretty much what she describes: I thought of her as a European-educated intellectual and writer, and if I ever given any thought to her sociopolitics, I probably assumed she was liberal or centrist. (If we ever discussed politics, it hasn’t stayed in my memory. We typically talked about publishing, writing, books, and mutual friends and acquaintances when we got together.)

      So that portion of her 2013 Spartacus essay, in which she says she’s changing her behavior, clarifies some things for me.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Lurkertype

    I’ll just co-sign Kat G. She always says things gooder than me.

    My grandpa was a big hunter and had a lot of long guns. But he kept them locked down and I have no idea where the ammo was. Because he believed in safety. He’d been in the military for years and respected the tools. There were guys he wouldn’t hunt with b/c they were too dangerous. We ate deer and elk now and again; he didn’t have a romantic tribal self-image based on the things he killed giant animals for dinner with.

    And after slogging through the freezing mud of two different wars, shooting and being shot at, my dad certainly didn’t want or need guns around. He took up fishing instead.

    I invite the militia types to consider the stealth bomber, the tank, and the armed drones. Your average 14 year old girl with gaming experience could take them out from thousands of miles away with a drone. And they seem to ignore the “well-regulated militia” clause; that’d be the National Guard, not Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel with his MAGA hat and small arsenal.

    Just read a thingy going about on the social media: “Interesting time to be living in where ‘stop shooting our kids’ is seen as a ‘liberal talking point’ by the pro-life crowd.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • kiptw

      Dad was a hunter. He used to hunt for food in the hardscrabble days in East Texas and Oregon, and it was not only an escape for him later on, but a way of putting some food on the table with a musician’s income. There was a variety of firearms in the house, including a pistol in a dresser drawer. (Funny story: I took a pistol to school once, to use in a play, and it got stolen out of the prop room.) I used to help Dad make ammunition, from watching for tire weights along the roadside to melting them down over a propane flame to casting balls and slugs and loading slugs into shells—everything but weighing the powder. I also varnished, fletched, and nocked arrows. He brought home deer and elk, even got a deer with a rifle he’d made himself, and once with a bow.

      He sometimes brought home copies of American Rifleman from a friend’s subscription. Dull, dull, dull, but I could see that their emphasis in the 60s was on sport hunting, target shooting, safety, safety, and safety.

      So I’m familiar with benevolent gun nuts who aren’t a threat to anybody. He’d have chewed me out if I ever tried to go through a barbwire fence carrying a firearm. It could be that the money he spent on his hobby would have come in handy for the household, but there was the venison in the freezer to consider.

      Not really going anywhere with this. Tell you what, I’ll stop writing it, and you can stop reading.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. LondonKdS

    The US pro-gun right define “right to defend yourself” to mean “stand your ground” laws which state that you have carte blanche to cold-bloodedly kill anyone who broke into your property or who you claim initiated a confrontation. This is the explanation for the comments about there being no right to self-defence in European countries.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Hepworth

      Seems a likely explanation for their attitude.

      Obviously they’re wrong. I can think of several cases of home self-defence in the UK, often involving firearms, where self-defence was accepted on the facts, plus some others where it wasn’t.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Jenora Feuer

    LondonKdS’ comment reminded of of the song Loaded Minds by Spirit of the West, from their 1990 album Save This House:

    Young boy is killed by a gun-toting driver,
    He caught ‘im, shot ‘im, ’cause the kid went too far.
    When the man was asked why, he replied with conviction:
    “I caught that young punk throwing stones at my car.”
    Stones at my car.
    […]
    There’s a war in our streets.
    There’s a war in our streets.
    And we’re loading our minds with the word ‘self-defence’,
    And you take someone’s life for crossing over your fence,
    That’s the ‘freedom’…

    Liked by 3 people

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  11. Mark Hepworth

    UK gun ownership is a few percent, and of those the majority are shotguns. That’s not “banned” though – that’s controlled. Ownership is unusual but accepted in legitimate circumstances. I have three colleagues who own guns – two for rural hunting, one for sport. I also remember my grandad having a shotgun for rabbits back when rules were lax.
    Very small numbers of people in the UK have a real need for a gun, but those that do can generally acquire one provided they register it, have the proper storage, etc etc. If they do something to suggest that shouldn’t have it, the police have the right to remove it.
    *That’s* responsible gun ownership, and almost no-one gets shot.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Cora

      It’s similar in Germany, except that the percentage is probably a little higher, because both hunting and target shooting are popular pastimes in rural areas. And if you have a hunting license or are member of a target shooting club, it’s not difficult to get a gun. Though the target shooters usually keep their guns locked up at their shooting range or clubhouse.

      I grew up in the country and knew many people who owned guns because they were either hunter or target shooters or both. Several of my classmates were members in the local target shooting club. Many neighbours and friends of my parents owned guns as well. Every village has a target shooting club, but they are traditionally more about socializing and drinking than actually shooting. Plus, they have really uncool green uniforms. These clubs actually serve as an effective means of social control of people with access to weapons and tend to keep out the gun nuts (which self-respecting gun nut wants to drink beer with elderly people, while wearing an ugly green uniform), though occasionally one slips through.

      Gun licensing laws were laxer up to the 1970s and certain types of rifle did not require a license at all, until concerns about leftwing terrorism caused the government to pass stricter laws (the laws became even stricter after a few mass shootings in the 1990s and early 2000s perpetrated by teens who had swiped the legal guns of their parents). Back when I was a kid, my Dad had a rifle, which dated from before the stricter laws. He did have a license for the rifle, too, but he never went hunting or target shooting. I’m not sure what became of that rifle, though I haven’t seen it in its usual place (a locked cupboard in the garage) in years now.

      One issue that has popped up in recent times is that a specific group of nationalists/white supremacists, the so-called Reichsbürger (they believe that the German Empire never ceased to exist and do not accept the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany, they also believe that all German citizens are slaves owned by the US or something) have acquired legal guns via membership in target shooting clubs. They passed under the radar by keeping their nutty politics to themselves or maybe they were radicalised later. Once the police became aware of the problem, they proceeded to revoke the gun licenses of those people and take away the guns, but not all handed them over peacefully. Two years ago, a police officer died in a shoot-out with one of those people. The shooter is now serving a lengthy sentence in a prison operated by the state whose existence he still denies.

      Liked by 2 people

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