A Redcoat in Patriotland: A gun-dumb Brit's journey into the heart of American gun culture
Eric Sauseda
A young girl looked pretty comfortable holding a rifle, which is more than can be said for the author.

The AR-15 is lighter than I expected.

It's an intimidating chunk of rough-hewn black metal and rubber, but it sits softly in my hands. I bring it to my shoulder, and, making sure I'm not pointing it at anyone, I peer down its sights. I'm not sure what to do, so I start to copy the man next to me, a big bearded guy with his baseball cap turned backward. He's turning the rifle around, upside down and side to side, to admire what I assume is some facet of the workmanship.

I perform a similar inspection, but I have no idea what I'm looking at. It's definitely a gun. It appears to mean business. There's a place where the magazine goes; I recognize that much from the movies. I can see where the bullets come out. After that I'm lost.

People swarm around Backward Hat and me as we perform this ritual inspection, thousands of people on their way from one gun to another, families on day trips, herds of young men in combat shorts that bulge under the weight of concealed carries and gun-company promo materials.

"It's not so bad, is it? How does it feel?" Fred, my gun Sherpa, has a glint in his eye. He thought we should get the big one out of the way, so we're standing at the Bushmaster display, in the middle of the National Rifle Association's annual conference in Houston.

"The one that the liberals hate," Fred says, barely concealing his contempt. He's draped in a freshly pressed suit, face clean shaven and hair freshly cut. He might work for something called AmmoLand .com, as his press pass announces, but Fred wouldn't look out of place slickly anchoring a nightly newscast. "They've got a real hard-on for this gun. It's just a gun."

"I kind of like how it feels in my hand," I tell him, lying. The gun's entirely deactivated. It can't even be switched to "fire" from the safe position. A thin yellow cable prevents anyone from holding the trigger down, and there's a gaping hole where the magazine should be. But despite all these clearly necessary precautions for displaying a semiautomatic rifle in a place containing tens of thousands of people, my palms are slick with anxiety. I need to leave. Now.

"Put it up to your shoulder when you look down the sights," Fred says, grinning. "Take your finger off the trigger. That just shows people you've never held a gun before."

The far end of the rifle does fit snugly on my shoulder, but I still can't get comfortable. The model of gun that was used in the Sandy Hook killings and divided my new country is perched on my shoulder, and I can't keep my finger off the trigger.


It doesn't seem that long since I moved from Cardiff, Wales, to suburban Dallas, but it's been two years now — two years of bemusement at tank-sized pickups, non-ironic cowboy hats and differences in language, part of my never-ending quest to clumsily discover every British word that doesn't apply here. And of course, there's the difference in gun culture.

Before that AR-15, the first gun I ever held was an American friend's handgun, which I quickly handed back, half-paralyzed by some vague but very real fear. Before that — before I moved here for my wife's job — the closest I'd come to seeing a real gun was those arcade shooters, with their plastic cartoonish guns and their imaginary lasers.

As you may have read on your most liberal friend's Facebook page, there are basically no guns in the United Kingdom, and basically no gun violence. In 1996, after a school shooting, the UK moved to ban or monitor every gun in the country. You can get hunting rifles on a five-year renewable license, but it will require references. There's a central database of gun owners. The whole place is basically one long Glenn Beck nightmare, right down to our strangely logical name for soccer.

Given this backdrop, I was drawn to Houston by the chance to shed some light on Americans' fondness for guns — more than a third of households have one, although that number is falling — and to talk British to some serious Americans. Plus, as much as guns scare me, I was fairly certain I wouldn't get shot. "Journalist shot by NRA member" would be tough to spin, even for the guys who spin school shootings.

I arrive at the George R. Brown Convention Center on a Friday afternoon; the air and the mood outside is heavy. The center is an industrial-looking monstrosity, outfitted, temporarily I assume, with 30-foot NRA badges, as if the building itself has been deputized. The closer I get, the more slogan-blaring T-shirts invade my sight lines, some funny ("Reduce noise pollution! Use a silencer!"), some gross (see previous parentheses). Protesters dot the sidewalk. Some are pro-gun folks wielding placards depicting Obama with a crudely stenciled Hitler mustache. The others are anti-gun, largely in pastels for some reason, muttering things incomprehensible toward an uncaring convention center.

I move inside and am hit immediately by a flash of bright yellow bursting from a huddle of noise and movement, heralding something called the Wall of Guns. It's not a wall. Several gigantic wooden cabinets are filled with everything from camouflage shotguns to revolvers to assault rifles I recognize from GoldenEye (the Nintendo 64 classic, not the film).

People swirl around the cases, their faces alive with desire. I manage to piece together from the booming PA that there's a raffle happening. Tickets cost $20; when 100 are sold, the owner of the winning ticket gets to pick a weapon from the Not-a-Wall of Guns.

"You just hand them out to the winners?" I ask the man selling tickets. "There's no checking?" Checking for what, I'm not sure; it just seems like there should be checking involved.

His eyes go wide.

"Oh no, no, of course we don't."

He describes the process, which basically involves the gun of your choice being sent to your local gun retailer for you to pick up. I imagine what this process would look like back home, should some budding entrepreneur decide to register GunLottery.co.uk. Even the right-wing press would denounce him as dangerous. He'd be living on the streets within days.

"So you're selling these guns for $2,000, essentially," I tell the ticket man, and he laughs. This place is a real money spinner. There's a wheel of fortune, the winner of which takes home a really big knife. And the raffle lasts all weekend. They've already given away 50 or 60 guns, he says.

"How many do you think you'll sell?" I ask.

"Depends on how many tickets we sell. Want to buy a ticket?"

I don't.

"Can you just straight out buy a gun from the wall?" I ask him.

"Well, if you've got $2,000."section break

The press room is tucked into the upper corner of the convention center, a sterile gray room with neon lighting and three flat-screens. There are good points and bad points.

Good point: It's got free cookies. Bad point: It's otherwise no different from the convention floor.

I thought it might be a quiet place to jot down some totally nonjudgmental observations about Sarah Palin's shouting, but there she is on all the TVs, prattling on in Alaskan about her hunting prowess. I briefly consider switching the channel to football, but something about the scene — the press Wi-Fi password is "standandfight," and my fellow media members are largely from outlets like blackmanwithagun.com or the Philadelphia Gun Blog — tells me there probably aren't a lot of Watford FC fans here.

I flee, cookie in hand, under the watchful gaze of a man in a black T-shirt that says "SECOND AMENDMENT: AMERICA'S ORIGINAL HOME SECURITY." I go back down the escalator and get my first glimpse of the conference hall. I pause a moment to take it in and to finish my cookie. That's when it hits me: I should have taken two.

It also hits me that this place is gigantic. You have to admire the architect who decided that Houston needed something bigger than the starship Enterprise for convention-holding. It feels like the far ends of the hall are shrouded in mist, and that I must trek through the night to make it to whatever brushed-steel obscurities it holds.

The center is rammed to capacity, like Cardiff City Centre on a Friday night but with way more guns and way less beer. I let the tide carry me out into the sea of cloaked armament. There are no metal detectors, and it's kind of assumed that most everyone has a gun. I'm not sure if that makes me feel more or less safe, but I certainly can't get it out of my mind. I brush past a guy in combat shorts and feel his handgun brush against my leg. I briefly long for the Tube at rush hour, where the things that brush against you only leave a rash.

There are guns everywhere, of course, but it's more a shrine to general survival implements: handguns, rifles, assault weapons, silencers, scopes, entire stalls of antique coins for some reason, clothing, endless ways to conceal a weapon, knives, throwing stars, stuffed animals, targets, holiday packages, humongous gun safes that you could live inside if you were small and resourceful, and, my favorite stall, the one I'm looking at now.

It's called Zombie Industries. It's a large corner stand with variously attired but universally bloodied zombie torsos, displayed prominently above the polo-shirted workers below. The "director of sales," Nicholas Iannitti, flits around underneath, happily talking about his creations, which retail for around $100 apiece. They're targets to use on a range; that much is obvious. What makes them special is that they bleed when you shoot them.

"Our best seller is Chris," Iannitti says, pointing toward a gray-hued zombie high on the wall.

"Any idea why?"

"None at all," Iannitti says. "We're equally proud of all our creations."

The other zombies are either green-skinned or silly caricatures, like the zombie with a Bin Laden beard and a turban simply called "Terrorist" or a garish clown with an evil grimace.

"Why do they all bleed red?" In all the films and computer games I've seen, zombies bleed black or green.

"We tried out a lot of colors — yellow, green, black — and in the end red was just the easiest to see down range."

"Anyway," Iannitti adds brusquely, as he considers more deeply why someone with such a silly accent is asking such silly questions. "How do any of us know what color a zombie's meant to bleed? I certainly don't."

I wander off, pushing aimlessly down rows and between booths. After some perambulation during which I observe every rifle ever imagined, some swords, an ax and a VW Campervan with a chain gun on top, I decide to make my exit for the evening. But just as I'm ready to leave, I'm swept back in by the sight of a man's dream dying.

He's standing in a booth with machetes and swords and spears, basically all the weapons you're left with in video games when the real pixel-killers are out of ammo. He's wearing a ten-gallon hat, and his face has a gray-and-white handlebar mustache so fulsome it could shelter an entire family. He is purchasing what I think, from my extended playing of Soulcalibur II, is a halberd.

The weapon — a giant medieval ax, basically — is on display as one glorious piece. But this clerk! This clerk separates it and hands it to him in two pieces, with the business end tucked safely into a bag. The man looks confused, then crestfallen. As resigned to his fate as a man with a mustache and weapon that size can be, he walks out of the hall, head down. His hope, it seems, was to gaily parade his killing implement throughout downtown Houston, past the ranks of police outside and past the baseball game going on at Minute Maid Park. Or maybe in the baseball game, to put the Astros out of their misery? We'll never know. His dream, like so many, was crushed by the laws of the nanny state, and he's heading home. I'm not far behind.


It's Saturday morning, and I'm back, ready for another day of occurrences I don't understand conducted by people who don't understand me. (My accent's still thick enough that it takes at least three tries to order "water" in restaurants.) As I make my way, I notice several new road closures. Police are in the intersections, directing people and cars alike. After a few minutes' walk, it becomes apparent what the fuss is about:

There's a Cinco de Mayo parade, and it's heading straight for the NRA convention.

It's an explosion of color against the gray Houston landscape. A float is decked out in green and red streamers. Up and down the street, Hispanic families wave at the extravagantly dressed populace on slow-rolling display. I'm just waking up, so I'm slow to piece together the wonderful dissonance happening before my eyes, but it eventually it hits me. I spend the rest of the walk imagining the committee that plotted this route, presumably late at night and after a few drinks too many, a decision made of either ignorance or mirth. I'm rooting for mirth.

The main float turns away at the last minute, and, despite some confused looks from NRA badge-wearers, the powder keg of racial hilarity is defused. One man, neat white beard prominent under his sunglasses, shouts something at the float, but it's drowned out by the kind of fast-paced Spanish-language song you hear in one of those scene-setting shots in a film set in Mexico.

I pass more protesters — today Obama is a "puppet of the British government," which gives us a level of respect I never even knew we had — and soon I am back on the packed convention floor. I skim around the side of the stalls, following a loud crackling noise I could hear yesterday above all of the aural chaos. Eventually I find the source: a stall selling "personal-defense equipment." Mainly this means stun guns of extraordinary strength, which flash intimidatingly and emit a noise like the electric fence from Jurassic Park.

I approach one of the sales guys, who's handing out stun guns to people without looking at them. I ask him what their bestseller is.

"Definitely the flashlight Taser," he says. "It's got a flashlight at one end and the Taser at the other."

Logical enough. How many volts would that carry?

"About 2 million. It'll incapacitate an attacker for ten to fifteen minutes."

"That's a pretty long time. It must be some serious equipment."

"It really is," he says. He picks one up and presses a button, and a deafening burst of electricity fills the air. "It's the perfect non-lethal defense."

There's a guy next to me, can't be more than twenty, swishing one around and grinning. He's about a foot away. This feels considerably less safe than standing around a bunch of assault rifles.

"What's this?" I ask the salesman. I'm pointing at something that looks like a phone case.

"It's a Taser iPhone case."

I probably should have expected that. It's a miracle of engineering, really, a normal-looking pink iPhone cover with a flip-off top concealing a stun gun. I picture the epic battles my phone and I have as I try to wrest it from my pocket while driving and listening to the superior music of my homeland. I imagine the consequences of throwing the best part of a million volts into that mix.

"Six hundred and fifty thousand volts," the salesman says proudly, "and twenty hours additional battery life!"

Would be pretty useful if someone tried to steal your phone, I guess. They'd never see that coming.


I retreat upstairs to the press room to restock my reportorial supplies (read: more cookies), passing the Not-a-Wall of Guns, the PA still blaring, "WAAAAAAAAAAAALL OF GUUUUUUUUUNS!" It's here that I end up sitting next to the media arm of AmmoLand.com.

Aside from the AR-15 they want so badly for me to hold, my Sherpas up the Mount Everest of guns are useful for something else: getting people to talk to me. My media badge and accent are a left-right combo of untrustworthiness for most people I approach. But at the Ruger stand, our first port of call after the Bushmaster display, I'm having the safety features of a Ruger SR45 demonstrated to me when a guy starts waxing lyrical about the safety of this particular gun.

"Best gun I ever bought," he says without prompting. "I got kids, and none of them are gonna be able to fire this. It's got a double trigger for safety!"

He motions for me to tilt the gun and look at the trigger, which my finger is wrapped snugly around, much to Fred's dismay. Sure enough it has a second trigger in the middle, raised up from the first. Two triggers! I'm not sure what this means, exactly, but I assume it shoots two bullets at once, possibly in different directions so I can kill two bad guys at the same time.

I sense my opportunity to get a gun enthusiast to open up, surrounded as I am by the only media he can trust. I strike with all the subtlety of an untrained Brit brandishing a Ruger.

"What did you think of the recent gun-control reform bill?" I ask. We're just a few weeks removed from the disintegration of the president's plan for universal background checks.

"Ain't gonna change nothing," he says. "None of that crap would have stopped anything happening. You know, they interviewed guys in jail who went there 'cause of gun crimes. Less than 2 percent got their gun legally. Obama needs to try and help the good guys."

"How are the bad guys getting their guns?" I ask, earnestly.

"I could go to any high school in Houston and get any gun I wanted. I just got to know the right people. It's easy."

I sense the mood starting to turn. My Sherpas have to leave — AmmoLand isn't going to populate itself, I guess — so I offer my goodbyes. Popping outside for air, I see the anti-gun protesters stationed across the road in front of a huge piece of modern art. It's a weird series of white and blue shapes outlined in black, giving them a comic-book feel. In front of it stands a podium, and behind that stands a lady calmly reading from a book.

A large man stands about three feet from her, shouting into her face. The woman, middle-aged with graying brown hair and glasses, is reading names and ages, slowly and deliberately. Spittle flying, the gentleman is shouting at her, his NRA badge riding the waves of his gestures, up and down, up and down.

"THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NRA! YOU CAN'T CHANGE NOTHING!"

A policeman saunters over, intimidating in his sunglasses and no-fucks-given demeanor.

"I could do with your help, officer," the lady says. "This guy's giving me some hassle."

The policeman suggests that the guy move along. He does, muttering under his breath. The lady, satisfied, returns to reading names.

"What's she doing?" I ask a young dreadlocked woman standing next to her, clearly associated.

"We're occupying this place," she says, gesturing toward sleeping bags hidden inside the art display, "and we're reading out the names of 4,000 victims of gun violence."

"Over what period of time?"

"Four thousand from Sandy Hook up until last week."

To our side, the names of minors and adults alike, from around the whole country, are being read out in the order they died. The giant yelling man is hardly out of sight, and another badge-wearing storm cloud is already forming.


The speeches happen in the convention center's auditorium, a room so surprisingly sprawling it feels like a really boring version of Doctor Who's TARDIS. Still, going by the numbers, it's not big enough.

The keynote event of the weekend — it's named "Stand and Fight," after the Wi-Fi password, I guess — is two hours away, but it's long sold out. People have plunked down $15 to sit in the overflow hall and watch on a screen. And the keynote himself is right now signing books upstairs, where a line is taking up most of the second floor.

The media platform is raised up in the middle of the crowd, which is pretty rude if you consider the speaker and his disciples' feelings for the press. Before the big speech is the window-dressing: Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president and chief shit-stirrer, rallies the crowd. Colonel Oliver North offers a prayer. The music is cued. The lights dim. A huge "G.B." is projected onto the screen, rapidly replaced by a very large, stylized drawing of what I think is an eagle. Glenn Beck, looking more frail and graying than I remember, takes the stage.

"I usually don't make any notes when I'm giving a talk," he says. "I might write something down on a napkin, maybe. Not tonight. Tonight I've got some things I need to say."

We're fighting not only "for our country" but "for our souls," he says. The audience is hushed. Beck, it turns out, has a rifle. He raises it above his head. He's on the verge of tears, as he has been throughout the speech. You can hear his voice break, especially when he mentions Sandy Hook.

"After the Sandy Hook massacre, the government went in, seized the opportunity, exploited these families and pushed for more control over our lives. It's immoral."

Applause sweeps through the auditorium. Beck takes a moment to collect himself.

"The only way you can control a free people is to lie! The bigger the lie, the longer you deny reality, the more apt people are to believe it."

It's when he says "they've accepted the media lie that the NRA is malicious" that things start to turn. Thousands of eyes turn toward the media. I get the same feeling I had holding that AR-15, only this time they're holding the metaphorical Bushmasters, and I'm the intruder at the bottom of their stairs.

The next day, I come back for more. I talk to a group of elderly men leaned up against a streetlight. They've come all the way from Tennessee, and they're a lot more interested in my views than they are in telling me theirs, which are largely attacks on the recent gun-control measures.

"I'm from outside the gun debate," I tell them. "I'm a neutral. Really, I have no idea what I'm doing here."

"You better learn quick, boy. There are some bad people in this country."

I've heard this several times over the weekend, and at this point I start to ask myself, in haltingly perfect English: Do I need a gun? How am I going to stop someone who breaks into my house? Does it matter that a new gun would instantly become my most valuable possession in that house, followed not that closely by my tea kettle?

I limp up the escalator for one last date with madness, a speech by Ted Nugent. He's calling the speech "Freedom Is Not Free," which I immediately recognize as one of the musical numbers from Team America: World Police. It's a ballad satirizing the overuse of the word "freedom" in political rhetoric. I hum it to myself and wonder how to compute what I'm witnessing: a speech by Ted Nugent that unwittingly has the same name as a song that expertly satirizes the likes of Ted Nugent. Eventually it hits me: Satire just died in a conference hall in downtown Houston.

I leave the auditorium before the speech starts, past the "WAAAAALL OF GUUUUUNS" that never runs out of guns and into the street. I realize as I leave that, no, I'll never squeeze the trigger of an AR-15, that I'll never own a handgun. I probably won't even buy a stun gun. There's just nothing for me here, I think as I make for the door, although I will admit: There's something about those halberds.

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31 comments
Serpa
Serpa

Do anti-gun people such as the author revel in their cultural and technological ignorance of guns? Because it certainly seems they do.

rmp2011
rmp2011

a/ Gun crime has SOARED in the U.K since the banning you are so proud of.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-154307/Gun-crime-soars-35.html

b/ We don't want your anti-Constitution kind here. Tell your wife to divorce you and send you home to your fantasy-land where you prefer rubbing up against men in "the tube", or just both of you get out.

c/ While you are still here, why don't you go visit Mexico (since you love THEIR culture so much more than ours) and see how SEVENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE have been killed by the Cartels, most of them because their government DISARMS the majority of the population and/or will not allow them the level of self-defense weaponry that the Cartels are buying from the corrupt mexican military, or that they are having hand-delivered by ERIC HOLDER AND OBAMA.

d/ Until you get on the plane back to Londonistan, you need to print out these bumper stickers and use them appropriately:

Put this bumper sticker on your car:

http://i.imgur.com/lxPoG.gif

And put this flyer on the front door of your home and at your place of work:

http://i.imgur.com/xneXT.gif

And be sure to put this sign on the front door of your kid's school:

http://i.imgur.com/4THIk.jpg

jack.foobar.42
jack.foobar.42

I guess she doesn't want to join the British grooming gangs.  How insensitive of her.

bbhnkr
bbhnkr

"The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once."

Judge Alex Kozinski

ARlove
ARlove

 There are well over 300 million guns in America and an estimated 80 million gun owners. The Liberal-Communists are delusional to think that all free men and women will just hand over their weapons .... some will, but most will not. History readily shows us that unarmed citizens soon lose their natural rights and become powerless against an oppressive government which then begins killing its dissenting, unarmed citizens. The preceding is factual and the details of these events, unlike earlier times in history, are readily available to people who care enough to look. Millions have begun "Prepping" and have gathered weapons, ammunition and supplies in unprecedented amounts in preparation for what they feel is inevitable. Our Communist infiltrated government, which has been actively dismantling our Constitution and eliminating our God-given freedoms, is also prepping for the fight that they will soon be facing, albeit their numbers are much, much smaller. Freedom runs deep in the veins of most Americans and they will not disarm. Defections from the Government's forces will run rampant as they have already begun to understand the inherently evil ideology that they would support. They will soon come to realize that they will be facing friends and family that will fight to their deaths to be free. America is waking up! God help us all.

AmericanMom
AmericanMom

Having been stationed in the U.K. and originally from California,  this opinion is familiar ground. Fear drives many of our base emotions whether dealing with firearms, spiders or other imagined dangers we expect to leap out of the darkness.   

The Author states:

"But despite all these clearly necessary precautions for displaying a semiautomatic rifle in a place containing tens of thousands of people, my palms are slick with anxiety. I need to leave. Now."

...and so perhaps he should have. Culturally speaking the underexposure of dealing with firearms has created a phobia in many geographic locations. That is perfectly understandable. 


In all honesty, Mr. Cleaver did not "travel to the heart of gun culture" - he went to a National sales pitch. What did he expect? 

One doesn't travel to a Convention to learn about rifles or the "gun culture" - it is a daily journey that should be experienced with those that exercise the care and due diligence we have been afforded by our Constitution. 

I encourage all readers to take the opportunity to consider - is Mr. Cleaver afraid or is he attempting to create fear?



wonderdude
wonderdude

Boy, if we could only blame the British for our unenlightened governmental system and culture!

smdrpepper
smdrpepper topcommenter

This is a great article, showing another perspective on this issue.  I own guns myself, but I know we need to put the "well regulated" back into the second amendment.  It IS way too easy to get guns and there are people who should never have them.  We may not need to go to extremes like they have in the UK, but we can definitely take some pages from their playbook, as well as the rest of the industrialized world.  

Something needs to happen because we are rapidly becoming as bad as a third world nation.  And there are elements in this nation, including the NRA, that would be all about having another revolution.

They love to say, we need our guns to protect ourselves from the government, but never once do they actually notice that the government has the military.  And last I checked, your AR 15 has no chance against a tank or a jet.  IF the government was going to come after you, which all signs point to that never happening, they have much more resources than you.

angela52376
angela52376

I like the idea that this piece is written by someone that's not from this country and viewing it from a different perspective.  He comes from a place where people aren't screaming that they need firearms to be "free" or spreading the idea that there's this big bad government out there that wants to somehow "imprison" them so they must arm themselves against it.  The whole idea of this and the attitudes he came across were completely alien to him.  He lived up until recently in a country that DOES have extremely strict gun control yet he was able to enjoy as free of a life there as any here in the U.S. with no danger of being put in "concentration camps" or anything of that nature that the fear mongers against any sort of gun control here try to lead people to believe will happen if any gun control legislation is ever passed (and nothing that has ever been proposed is anywhere near as stringent as regulations in the UK).  Gun crime is almost non-existant where he is from.  He can walk the streets or go to a movie and his children to school with extremely little fear of some crazy with a gun coming in and taking out 20+ people in a matter of seconds to minutes.   It is ironic that the reason that so many people in this country feel that they need to own a gun for protection is precisely because so many people have guns.  On a side note, what he related about the NRA member harassing the woman reading the names is one of my biggest problems with the NRA and people with a militant pro-firearms mindset.  Instead of acknowledging that there are innocent people that have been killed by guns, through accidents, crime and suicide, and respecting those victims and their grieving loved ones, they make it about them and their guns over the human being.   If these people would respectfully acknowledge that guns do lead to the loss of innocent lives and show some remorse about that and respect for those innocents that have died by them, perhaps more people would be open to listening to and considering their viewpoint that though they have a negative side, guns do have their positive uses and place in society and it would also help if they seemed more outspoken about gun safety and keeping them out of the hands of children, the mentally ill, and criminals....but the vast majority of their attention seems to be focused solely on yelling as loud as they can that no one will take their guns away, regardless of the fact that zero legislation has ever been put before congress that would do any such thing to law abiding citizens.  Even the past assault weapons ban that was allowed to expire and the one recently put before congress was not retroactive, meaning only that no more could be sold.  Those that already owned them could keep them.  

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Ignorant journalists do not help educate the public, especially ones that readily admit their own ignorance.

Gavin, you held a rifle, not a gun. Learn what words mean before using them. Some will claim rifles are a subcategory of guns, but they are weak-minded, too. There are shotGUNS and handGUNS, but you held a barrel with RIFLING.

You also did something really stupid. You handle a weapon without any knowledge how to do so. You should have asked the experts what to do. But you did not dare show your ignorance to those people, right? Well, you did by putting your finger on the trigger. You fooled no one but yourself.

Next time, when you are surrounded by more knowledgeable people, ask them for information before reporting on your stupidity.

drgb
drgb

@AmericanMom I clicked on the "Like" button for your post and it registered "Unlike" and won't register a "Like" so I'm  doing the long way.  Well said!

juandos
juandos

@smdrpepper "<i>Something needs to happen because we are rapidly becoming as bad as a third world nation</i>"...

You have <b>NO</b> idea what you're talking about - not even the remotest clue...

You want to take that '<i>well regulated</i>' somewhere, take it to the hood and see how it plays there...

"<i>They love to say, we need our guns to protect ourselves from the government, but never once do they actually notice that the government has the military</i>"...

So you automatically assume that the vast majority of volunteer armed forces will turn their guns on the citizens just because they are so ordered?

Amazing...

"<i>And last I checked, your AR 15 has no chance against a tank or a jet</i>"...

Apparently you've never been to a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8I5ADd4Mk"><b>Big Sandy Shoot</b></a>...

:<i>IF the government was going to come after you, which all signs point to that never happening, they have much more resources than you</i>"...

Never?!?! Maybe and then again maybe not...



JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@smdrpepper , the military may have more guns than I do, but they do not have more guns than We, the people, have. Also, the members of the military are citizens as well. They are sworn to not follow unlawful orders. Our military cannot operate as a whole against the people. Look at what what happened when one man stood against a tank in Tienanmen Square. Soldiers are not robots blindly following orders. Some will, but the vast majority will not.I do not fear the majority of the military. I fear a few with high power stealing our personal liberties, seeking our phone records, and stuff like that.

I also know the police cannot stop a criminal. They may be able to eventually catch up and arrest him, but I take personal responsibility for my safety.

angela52376
angela52376

@smdrpepper Exactly.  I am a gun owner myself but I am not one of these raving fanatics and I am realistic (and sane) enough to see that there are cons along with the pros of firearms.  Owning a firearm is a very serious responsibility and I don't think enough people take that responsibility seriously enough based on the number of accidental deaths, firearms being allowed to fall into the wrong hands be that stolen by a criminal because they weren't locked up properly or a mentally ill friend or family member getting ahold of them for the same reason, etc.  Guns are tools for a purpose and to glorify them and basically worship them the way some people do is ludicrous.  To go around talking about them in such a way that it gives the impression that owning one puts some sort of magical "bubble of protection" around you is also ludicrous.  The reason that some people are totally against any firearms and/or fear them is precisely because of the crackpot things that many gun owners say and believe.  If they acted more sane and grounded in reality and as I said in another post acknowledged the cons to guns and the fact that innocent people ARE killed by them (thousands every year in this country) and showed some remorse and more interest in promoting responsible gun ownership and safety over just screaming about people trying to take their guns all the time, people might not be so against them or anti-gun.

drgb
drgb

@angela52376 You fail to mention the fact that, although Great Britain may have fewer crimes involving the use of guns, their violent crime rate per capita surpasses that of the U.S.  In G.B. they use use knives, clubs, fists, feet, etc. and manage to accomplish what they did before their gun ban, perhaps less humanely.  Secondly, the purpose of the Second Amendment is protection from tyranny, be it from outside invasion or arising from within our borders.  All one needs to do is look back in history at countries that have had the most vile of dictatorships (U.S.S.R., China, Cambodia, Germany, Cuba, etc., etc.) and recognize the pattern of gun registration followed by confiscation.  You say our U.S. gov't. would never turn on us?  You're right.  It won't.  As long as the Second Amendment is respected. 

chris19832009
chris19832009

@JamesMadison Thought you might find this helpful.

gun1  [guhn]  Show IPA noun, verb, gunned, gun·ning.noun1.a weapon consisting of a metal tube, with mechanical attachments, from which projectiles are shotby the force of an explosive; a piece of ordnance.2.any portable firearm, as a rifle, shotgun, or revolver.3.a long-barreled cannon having a relatively flat trajectory.4.any device for shooting something under pressure: a paint gun; a staple gun.

angela52376
angela52376

@JamesMadison  Yet somehow he miraculously managed to survive this long without knowing how to use one or owning one.  Hmmmm........

angela52376
angela52376

@drgb @angela52376   Come on drgb....you seriously believe that a bunch of citizens even if they were all armed with AR-15's woud be able to combat the numbers, technology, and weaponry of the U.S. military....or any other industrialized country's military for that matter....those days are long over.  Other countries including the UK have gun registration and the like and did NOT turn into dictatorships.  The reasons for those dictatorships came about for a variety of reasons unrelated to firearms and most likely the proliferation of firearms in the country would not have stopped it from happening, in some cases it might have actually make it easier in some countries for people like that to take power depending on what their support is in the general population which is usually based on the problems the country is facing and the desperation of its people.  But really the point is, with the amount of money we spend in just a single MONTH on our military, there is very little chance that the citizens of this country could any longer stop any inside or outside "tyranny."  I know it's fun to fantasize about being some sort of "freedom fighter" but it's just not reality anymore.  Once the days of single shot muzzle loading rifles being the best that anyone had, military or non-military, those days pretty much came to an end.  As far as "violent crime in the UK" goes, jrm9584 has very accurately stated the issue with comparing our stats to theirs.  Clubs, hammers, knives, etc can of course inflict serious injury or death on a person or even a few people, but you can't take out the number of people in the very short amount of time that you can with a firearm....and also do it from a distance which is not something you can do with those other weapons.    

jrm9564
jrm9564

@drgb @angela52376http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/01/12/fact-checking-ben-swann-is-the-uk-really-5-times-more-violent-than-the-us/


"the definitions for “violent crime” are very different in the US and Britain, and the methodologies of the two statistics he cites are also different... theFBI’s Uniform Crime Reports defines a “violent crime”as one of four specific offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

The British Home Office, by contrast, has a substantially different definition of violent crime. The British definition includes all “crimes against the person,” including simple assaults, all robberies, and all “sexual offenses,” as opposed to the FBI, which only counts aggravated assaults and “forcible rapes.

When you look at how this changes the meaning of “violent crime,” it becomes clear how misleading it is to compare rates of violent crime in the US and the UK. You’re simply comparing two different sets of crimes."

sfc415
sfc415

@drgb You're right, it's the pop gun in your closet that's keeping you safe from a nuclear-armed, drone-having, stealth bomber-owning military! 

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@chris19832009 , ask anyone who takes shooting serious (as all who shoot ought to do). You'll get that rifles are rifles, and guns are guns. Misuse words often enough, and their meanings will change. Marriage is under a transformation. Is a bike a foot powered device? Or is a bike a chopper? See? Words misused blur their meanings, as do a bunch of illiterate journalists calling a rifle a gun. Find a US Marine to define the precise meaning of these words.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@angela52376, hmmm... indeed. I've managed to go this long without the use of a cellphone. What difference does that make? I would not write an article on owning cellphone.  This author is ignorant of weapons, yet he has no issue writing about them. Curiousier and curiousier.

ARlove
ARlove

@smdrpepper @drgb @angela52376  Pepper, the reason why cops use hollow points is because they are more disabling and kill efficient. If they really cared about over-penetration they'd be using frangible bullets. FEMA camps exist, do your own research. There is ample evidence available proving so. Watch Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory episode that he did on the FEMA camps and see how the govt. lies and covers up. You're a Top Commenter? .... Really! You're the best that Missouri has to offer? Fool.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper topcommenter

@drgb @angela52376 Hollowpoint bullets are the preferred bullet for any law agency since when fired, do not generally pass through the body to hit someone else.  Thats common sense.  As for the rest, its just pure paranoia, and has no basis in reality.  FEMA camps, really?  Yeah, your a right winger all right since these are their usual talking points.

drgb
drgb

@angela52376 @drgb I'll be only too happy to respond to your posts. I hardly know where to begin, but let's start out simply. You make the assumption I'm "right wing" and go on to accuse me (by association) of making up a claim, making up evidence in support, claim "actual" evidence is essentially faulty, use fabricated evidence to prove it, and "claim victory". Did you actually read my response? Can you point out even ONE example where I've used the tactics you've described? My initial reply to your post referred to a comparison of violent crime in the U.K. and U.S.  Unlike your friend jrm9584, who attempted to mislead everyone by omitting the info that would prove my point, I quoted the remainder of the article he cited (see my response to his post). I won't rehash my rebuttal as you can read it above.   The remainder of my reply to you related to the relevance of the Second Amendment. In your "more than two decades of historical research into this country's history", you surely must be aware of the importance of this God-given right. If you think it isn't relevant to today's world, state your evidence. And if you don't think we should fear our gov't. please explain the need for Dept. of Homeland Security to purchase 1.6 BILLION rounds of HOLLOW-POINT bullets. While you're at it, tell us why there are hundreds of FEMA camps scattered around the U.S. capable of imprisoning millions. I search out and deal with truth, whatever the source. I know more than what the mainstream media reports. If the MSM's your only source for news, don't waste my time.   

angela52376
angela52376

@drgb @angela52376 Ah....of course you don't have "time" right now....you don't have time to back up your assertions and accusations however you have time to reply saying that you don't have time.  Cop out.  No, it wouldn't matter where I learned what I know, what primary source documents I've studied getting my degree or during my more than two decades of historical research into this country's history because you would say it's inaccurate no matter what simply because it does not agree with what you want to be true.  Here is the Right Wing Scientific Method:  1.  Make up claim  2.  Make up evidence to support claim.  3.  Claim all actual evidence is wrong/liberally biased/deliberately fabricated through some conspiracy 4.  Use made up evidence to prove it.  5.  Claim victory  

Please....if you have the time to accuse someone of being misinformed or ignorant or stupid then you have the time to present your evidence to prove such claims.  If you don't have the time to do that, then don't bother to post and attempt that sorry cop out.  

drgb
drgb

@angela52376 @drgb Sorry I don't have time right now to reply to all the assumptions/inaccuracies/lack of knowledge & history contained in your posts.  I may do so at a future time if you insist.  In the meantime, why don't you bone up on world & U.S. history from a source other than what you've read.  Does the mind good. 

drgb
drgb

@jrm9564 @drgb @angela52376 Found the article from which you're quoting.  The portion you quote seems to support a position implying that England and Wales are less violent or at least no more violent than the U.S.  Reading further, however, the author admits that in his "best estimate" the U.K. rate would be adjusted downward from 1,797/100,000 to 776/100,000 using the stated criteria.  That's still nearly twice the rate of 403/100,000 in the U.S.  (Nice try. You only committed the offense of lying by omission, which on this forum won't get you any jail time but should put a dent in your credibility).  I've tried to confine my position to the necessity of honoring the Second Amendment and the intent of the founders. That's not to diminish the inherent, God-given right of each individual to self-defense. Think about it. Your residence is being broken into at 3:00 a.m.  You're going to do one of four things:  1) Get your gun.  2) Wish you had a gun.  3) Call someone with a gun (the cops).  4) Become a victim.  Fortunately, in this country, you still have a choice.  If you choose # 3 or 4 I wouldn't want to be your spouse/child/fellow occupant.  

drgb
drgb

@sfc415 @drgb So then, are you implying that Americans should give up their right to arm themselves and feel just as safe as a result?  Perhaps you should confer with those who've lived in countries where gun confiscation has occurred.  People have a tendency to disregard laws that have no "teeth", no punishment for violation.  The "teeth" in our Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment.  Without it, the remainder are just words on paper to those who would like to take control over the masses.  It's hard to believe how many responders to my previous comment above are ignorant of history.  If politicians are among the least trustworthy of all occupations, why would you entrust them with something as precious as your liberty? A couple of noteworthy quotes:  1) "A nation that expects to be ignorant and free, expects what never was and never will be". -- T. Jefferson    2) "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote". 

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@angela52376, the point I got from the article was that someone without any understanding of firearms went to play around with firearms to write an article about their experience from a complete ignorant standpoint. Perhaps you found deeper meaning in the uninformed article. I did not.

So, Great Britain has no murders, no rapes, no crime, simply because thy passed a law saying the common man must flee a crime rather than defend himself? Really?  The recent hacking with an axe shows that the unarmed person is at danger to criminals.

Your overused "fact" is flawed. Yes, people with firearms unfortunately too often injure themselves or loved ones. But not more than they defend themselves. You do not need a dead body to make using a firearm a useful choice in defense. How many unreported times as a criminal fled without a shot being fired? When criminals know you are armed and willing to defend yourself, they mostly run like little scared nothings.

We agree that too many accidents happen with firearms. Too many accidents happen with motorcycles and cars. Too many accidents happen with swimming pools. Accidents are what they are. More responsibility is needed for each, including firearm safety.

I do not glorify guns. I respect the rights of my fellow citizens to defend themselves in any legal  manner they choose. Fortunately, the Second Amendment prevents our government from taking our ability to defend ourselves.

If you want stats, more unarmed people die waiting on the police to arrive. Stats can be used and misused.


angela52376
angela52376

@JamesMadison @angela52376  Yeah that was kind of the point to show that someone that has not lived in our society where ironically enough so many people feel the need to have a gun for protection precisely because so many people have guns sees the attitudes and mindsets here as so alien.  The far right in this country often try to make it sound like people can't possibly survive without one but the statistics actually show that you're more likely to be harmed by your own gun than you are to save yourself or anyone else with it.  Listen, I'm not against responsible gun ownership and we own a couple ourselves, BUT I also don't buy into the fear mongering gun fanaticism that so many in this country preach.  I also don't glorify guns as so many do.  They are simply tools for a purpose and owning one is a very serious responsibility that I'm afraid based on the numbers of accidental deaths, the number of firearms stolen and then falling into the hands of criminals every year, etc that not enough people that own them take that responsibility seriously enough.


 
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