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Why do you like and/or own a gun?

Guns Politics Youxi988 Yes Or No Gun Laws Should Guns Be Regulated

Living in a bubble can be comforting. There is no tension at dinner parties and no arguments on vacations. You are constantly fed “proof” that supports the way you think, which makes you feel smart and good and “right”. But when your whole world is an echo chamber it makes certain subjects absolutely incomprehensible – and I’m not being superlative, there are things that I just don’t understand and I have no one to ask because everyone in my bubble is asking the same question or regurgitating judgmental answers that aren’t necessarily progressive, nor do they feel accurate.

The day after the election, when I asked you why you voted for Trump it was out of utter curiosity because I was desperate to learn more about why one would check his box. And I learned SO much. Your responses and the dialogue that ensued really changed my view on America – it didn’t change my politics, mind you – but it made me really respect the the experiences of many of you who think differently than I do. “Oh, That’s why…”  I felt that at least mentally I could wrap my head around the whys and relate more to other Americans. Newsflash, folks: listening to different viewpoints is enlightening. Duh.

So today’s question is another one in which I’m desperate for your input:

Why do you own and/or like guns?

I’m sincerely hoping that those of you who love and appreciate guns can help those of us who don’t understand your views.

If you are curious about my stance on guns, here you go:

I’ve shot a 22 at pop cans with my family in Wyoming and it was fun. I’ve shot a machine gun at a firing range in Vietnam where my adrenaline spiked faster than those bullets (its a weird tourist thing). I realize these are not everyday gun shooting scenarios but they are all I’ve got. Despite being a less than great shot (but i’m not bad), the energy was intense, the destruction of the target was immediate, and the power in my hand was palpable. Holding a gun feels awesome.

It’s precisely that power which scares me the most. If everyone in America was mentally balanced, had strong moral compasses, and an appreciation for humanity I’d be less worried. If everyone in America had a healthy childhood, never suffered from violence, and had the mental tools to deal with conflict in a non-violent way, I wouldn’t be worried.

But that’s obviously not the reality.

When you hold a gun you feel powerful and I think it’s because you know that what you are holding in your hand can, in fact, destroy something or someone else in a second. Not that you want to, but you are very aware of the possibility. Because let’s be clear, that is the point of a gun. Guns are meant to kill, destroy, and remove life from something else. It’s not always premeditated, obviously. It might be for personal defense, sport or hunting game, but it is meant to KILL and there is is a shit ton of power in that. I mean, on a base level what is actually more “powerful” than the ability to destroy something near you?

There are a lot of people who feel powerless in life for a myriad of extremely sad reasons.  As hard as it is to remind ourselves, mass killers were once innocent babies too and for whatever reason they likely had a void of love, stability, attention or weren’t given the tools (or help) to heal, succeed or be happy. And that baby, now grown, given the chance to feel some power, or maybe to feel anything at all, might take it. If triggered they might, in fact, pull that trigger. When we call it ‘sense-less’ it often really means just that – they feel nothing. The latest shooter went to Wal-Mart to grab deoderant and then to Macdonald’s to grab a filet-o-fish after killing 17 high school kids (we don’t know what he really bought). That void of sense isn’t the result of having a normal, healthy life. It’s just not. And yet there is no multiple choice questionnaire or blood-test to find out how broken someone is or what their potential threat might be to society before they buy an AR15 or M16.

But that’s probably not you or most of us. And to be clear I don’t want to take away your guns.

But I understand and appreciate your need to feel safe – I want to feel safe, too, which is why I have a fancy home security system. To each their own. I understand that having a handgun provides you some comfort for personal defense. Just because I don’t want to own a gun doesn’t mean that I want to take away the right of responsible, highly checked and trained adults to buy a handgun for personal protection or a rifle for sport (assuming you store them in safes where no child could ever find or accidentally obtain access). The main reason I’m not campaigning to take your guns is because its clear that being totally anti-gun is futile and will further no progress. I am am personally very anti-gun, but I just want compromise with the hopes of more safety and less tragedy. I want stricter gun laws. More regulations. Less access to military style rifles that can kill so many so fast.

But man, I feel hopeless and helpless.

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We all  know why politicians won’t change the laws – they are being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the NRA to essentially not regulate guns and vote pro-gun policy. I get that. Frankly, I think they are cowards, but I don’t think they are necessarily bad people. They also just do not have the same fears and vulnerabilities of normal people because they and their children or grandchildren are more protected and privileged. It’s the same reason why they don’t advocate for public schools or universal health care – it’s not like they sent their kids to public school (or would now) so they can’t relate at all and therefore they don’t see its value or necessity.

But they would have voted differently on that AR15 ban if one of those children had been at Sandy Hook or Parkland.

I know why politicians aren’t trying to ban military style weapons, but I don’t understand why normal citizens are opposed to more gun restrictions and banning the AR15 or M16. I don’t understand why people think strangers should be able to buy guns online via the gun show loophole, without an effective background check. I don’t know why someone would be opposed to strict background checks and wait times for any gun store. Or maybe you do and most of you who own a gun really do want more restrictions. I know that a lot of moms read this blog and I can’t fathom that anyone with a child thinks that this weeks shooter should have been able to easily buy that AR-15 at a local gun shop, mentally ill or not.

I know, truly, that there are two sides to every story and I NEED to hear the other side because I’m sad and feeling so helpless and hopeless.

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So in the name of gaining knowledge, understanding and to create an important dialogue, I’d love to invite comments from those of you outside of my liberal bubble – those of you who own or like guns.  You can be anonymous and enter a fake email (people do it all the time),  I want you to be as honest as possible.

The main questions are:

-Why do you own a gun?

-As a gun owner do you think that there should be more restrictions and tighter gun laws? If not, why?

 – Do you think that AR-15s should be legal for purchase? 

Let me be clear – this is NOT a political conversation. Obviously, this is a very passionate subject and it’s easy to get angry and words might fly out of your fingers that can take the conversation in an ugly direction. But this space will remain void of trolls and bullies (aka we’ll delete anything that feels disrespectful). My general rule is that if you wouldn’t verbally say it to an eight year old, find a way to rephrase it. We have an opportunity to listen to each other and learn and we shouldn’t squander it with generic rhetoric, judgment or digression.

Because if knowledge is power then maybe learning from each other is the only way we can become more knowledgable and more powerful than the piece of dangerous metal called a GUN.

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  1. I live in Texas. When I was growing up, the boys came to school with guns in the gun racks in their trucks! We do not own a gun in our household, because I had three sons, and I was always worried about the boy/gun connection, and didn’t want to have to worry about that. However, I and my husband were both in the military, and we know how to use/care for guns properly. (To be honest, I’d like to have a shotgun, now, for home security.) I do NOT believe that military-style weapons, such as assault rifles should be available for purchase to non-law enforcement individuals, period! We do need to change the laws regarding assault rifles. But, kids’ games, movies, cartoons, etc., are all way too violent, and when kids look at that on a daily basis, they get immune to the violence. Parents need to do their jobs as parents – teach the kids that violence is not the way to deal with things. And, we need to get back together as a country. We are all way too divided, and all the anger is trickling down to our kids. My son, who is a policeman/reserve officer in the Coast Guard, believes we are in the early stages of an all out Civil War! This really needs to stop! (I am an older woman, who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and I just keep thinking of that silly phrase, ‘Can’t we all just get along’? But, it’s the truth!)
    (Love you, and your work, by the way!)

    1. Thank you, Terra for being the first commenter. And I totally agree about the games/movies and cartoons. We are CRAZY conservative at our house which I really didn’t know I would be as a parent. We once let Charlie watch kung fu panda and afterwards, guess what he wanted to do? FIGHT, fight fight. Obviously thats not a huge deal, but it was like, well duh, of course he wants to physically fight now. Lesson learned. When they watch the gentle cartoon series ‘give a mouse a cookie’ they literally want to make muffins afterwards. ANYWAY, i could talk about how important it is to send the right messages to our kids all day every day, but I honestly think that the video games where people are using machine guns to gun down other people can’t be good. Maybe jus car racing games? 🙂

      1. I agree about the violent video games too!!! I think that they’re addicting and some have a hard time separating video games from reality. If I ever have boys – those games will NOT be allowed in my home.

        1. Video games and their link to violence have long been debunked since their first major debate in the 90s. Many people rightfully criticised and ridiculed the fear mongering crusade Fox News had on violent video games.

          I would agree they aren’t good for behaviour especially in large doses, but more often than not the nature of someone who develops or is born with psychopathy has neglible link to their experiences with video games(well into the multiple thousands of hours of cumulative play)

          1. This is absurd! Clearly, you’re a gamer 🤦🏼‍♀️. Violence begets violence. Video games are scary and graphic and have absoltely been shown to cause violent tendancies.

          2. Yep. Blaming video games completely diminishes a much more complex issue. It’s a lazy, simple-minded excuse. And no, I so not play video games, and neither do my kids.

          3. Guys, they have videos games in Canada too and this shit does NOT happen here. I can’t name ONE school that children died at from a gun.

            We have strict gun laws but it doesn’t mean you can’t own one.

          4. This is simply not true. Violent video games were developed by the military to train soldiers prior to being deployed in order to desensitize them to the violence. It HAS been proven that these games make the player less empathetic as that was the intent. Reference the documentary Screenagers. Video games where the player has to rescue someone, or work as a team can be beneficial to the learning process but games with violence and shooting normalize that behavior and negatively effect the way the player relates to the world.

          5. While in the 1990s there was some research that did not find a relationship between violent video games and violent behavior, more recent research (and there is a ton of it since the 1990s) has shown that there is a clear association between playing violent video games and increased violent and aggressive behavior. The evidence that this leads to violent crimes is weaker, but it’s pretty well accepted that violent video games do increase aggressive behavior, even if that doesn’t lead to crime.

            If you want to know more, here is a report of a recent major study (2015) by the American Psychological Association.

          6. I respectfully disagree and offer this in support of my position:

        2. I am concerned about the impacts of screen time because there simply hasn’t been long term longitudinal studies on the effects. I totally respect a mom’s decision to limit video games or exposure to violence. But I do want to caution that there HAVE been many long term peer reviewed studies that have shown that even first person shooting style violent video games do not impact teens/adults negatively. My husband’s therapist actually said that for men in modern society, violent video games can be a really healthy way to let off steam in modern society.

          I do wonder though if these sickos get their ideas from the games…but I just don’t know. We don’t have the data yet. I wish there weren’t enough shootings to ever merit a study sample. Sigh.

          Frankly, my kids are really drawn to the war type video games, and though I would prefer they be doing other things like basket weaving, I have given up the battle and have used the games to start a lot of really good conversations about good/evil, history, the horrors of wars, “collateral damage”, the value of all human life, and probably most important, the difference between reality and glamorized media violence.

          1. Just to add, remember that those kinds of video games and movies are available to kids all over the world, yet mass shootings rarely happen outside of America.

          2. The violent video games are for adults. That’s what the M rating is for. Not sure why people aren’t taking responsibility for exposing their kids to this violence in the first place. An M rating literally means they can’t buy it for themselves.

          3. Hi Emily, I live in Queensland, Australia where I’m sure you’re aware has very strict gun regulations. My husband owns a .22 rifle (I don’t know what its called technically but its not at all automatic, you have to manually do something with the gun after each and every bullet fired before you can fire the next) which is only used for some fun target practice, though he did used to go hunting & grew up on a farm. I’ve used the rifle to shoot targets & it is fun.

            Do I think hand guns/semi-automatics/fully auto-matics should remain/be legal? Hell no!!!! I find the notion that these assault rifles are able to be bought over there absolutely absurd!!! I cannot even fathom it!!

            We need rifles here for farming use/feral animal control etc, but there is NO need for a person who isn’t working in law enforcement to have an automatic weapon. As my husband says, if these shooters were not using automatic weapons, the death toll would be so so much less, as people would have more time to react, as everything is slowed down. There would be no shower of bullets mowing down victims. I once met a friend of my husband years ago who had a hand gun (illegally obviously & we haven’t seen him for over 20yrs) & just the sight of it scared the hell out of me. They just look completely lethal.

            There is no denying that our gun laws work! Anyone these days in Australia has to have a damn good reason to even be approved for a gun licence let alone own a gun.

            As far as video games go, I don’t agree at all that they add to the issue. We played shoot ’em up games as kids and we are very kind people to human and animal. We also played pretend fight games, played with home made wooden gun toys and plastic guns and we did not & do not have any want to kill anything. My kids play shoot ’em up video games and they are very empathatic boys to human and animal (even the very small insects!!) They have nerf guns and play typical play fighting boy games but there is no want to actually hurt anything. I believe the parents role is more in teaching/encouraging children how to be kind and empathetic, & teach the difference between make believe & reality, as opposed to sheltering them. My oldest once purposely squashed a caterpillar when he was quite young and was on the verge of understanding but not quite, & I intentionally made him feel extremely bad for what he’d done & made him u derstand the enormity of the situation for the caterpillar. He cried and felt very distraught towards that caterpillar, & has not killed another living thing since. Obviously video games need time limits etc, but I cannot see that a normal child who has no psychological issues can play a video game & then decide they want to hurt someone.
            Sometimes, I do believe sheltering can cause the issue as it makes them more curious as to WHY they can’t play them and builds from there. My kids know Dads got a rifle. They’ve shot target with it. Once it goes back into the gun case do they try to get it back out? NO. Do they think it’s a toy & ask to play wIth it? NOPE! Infact, do they have any interest whatsoever in it once it is put away? NOT AT ALL. Playing a shoot ’em up video game does not even temp them to want to play with the gun. They just know! Between common sense and us teaching them, they just know! There has to be a psychological issue with these people who’s desire it is to hurt others which has more to do with the values they’ve been taught & their non-ability to empathise.

        3. Girls play video games, too.

      2. I won’t comment separately as I too am in the LA liberal bubble and I identify as a liberal-but I wanted to say that your post was so well written and I feel will spark a informative and clean conversation here that us in the bubble can def learn from. I do want to say that i agree with the video games and if I was a Mom I would prob be pretty conservative as all that goes too. I mean back in my day video games just weren’t violent-I mean was Pac Man violent? 🙂 Even the space ship games were they shot other ships was still pretty tame stuff. It was just FUN. To me shooting other people with machine guns just isn’t fun. In real life like you I tried shooting some guns-I felt the exact same way you did/described about my experience. I too don’t want to take the guns away from sane, trained, careful gun owners who know how to store them properly (safe from any children), etc. I just want stricter laws and for them to actually be enforced. BUT why the hell would anyone NEED an automatic weapon in their daily life?!!!! That is insane. I sincerely want to thank all of you who are gun owners or who are pro-gun who will share their opinions here with us. I want to understand also.

      3. Emily, as the mom of a boy, who is concerned about violent video games (and screen time in general), I highly suggest the book “Boys Adrift”. It has had such a huge impact on my parenting of my son. I don’t want my son to be one of those boys who moves home after college with no direction and no plan to grow up. That book has given me tools to prevent it.

        1. Thank you, Hillary, for the book recommendation. It is in my Amazon cart now. I have a 12 yr old and he loves video games and its worrisome.

    2. Terra, thank you, your husband and son for your service. I grew up an “army brat” my father did have a gun but along with that gun EXTENSIVE gun training. I think it’s ridiculous for people who have not been through extensive background checks and training to be able to have a gun. Our kids are young (same age as Emily’s) we try to focus on just what you said, getting along!
      I do have to admit though, I let my husband keep a pellet gun, our house is in Arizona, we back up to the desert and occasionally want to scare an animal off because of the small kids and our dog…but I don’t think that counts as a gun. However I think we could scare off a burglar with it!

    3. In October I found this comment on EHDs comment section and there is nothing to add:

      “I think we have unintentionally culture of violence in our country. Art reflects what a society values and our music, television shows, movies and video games are filled with murder, mass murder, rape and incest. I don’t believe this reflects our society’s true values but I can see how a profoundly mental ill individual would come to believe any of these violent acts are normal because these images surround them. “

      1. All true, but once again other countries like Australia and the U.K. with strict gun control have all of the same influences yet MUCH lower gun deaths. 3.6 deaths per 100.000 in the US. The next closest is 0.5 in Canada. Clearly access to guns makes a difference.

        1. Yes, I’m Australian so I can vouch that our kids are subject to all the same issues – video games, screen time etc. The difference is that in Australia, not only do most people have absolutely no interest in owning a gun (the thought wouldn’t event cross our minds), but if we did then govt regulations make it very difficult achieve. Every time another American gun shooting make news, it’s harder and harder to accept that such a simply solved issue can be so difficult to achieve and the fact that the blockade is money is infuriating.

          1. Another Aussie here. We definitely have the same worries about violence and screen time that there are in the US. The concept of owning a gun is strange and very foreign to most of us here.

            I have one friend who owns a gun (for sporting purposes) and the amount of background checking etc that had to happen before he had permission to purchase one was extensive. There are also very strict regulations on the storage of weapons. This makes me rest easy, knowing that it is hard to legally purchase a weapon.

            Yes, if you really want to, you can get a gun through illegal means, but I think the numbers prove that our strict gun laws make a real difference.

            Check out John Oliver’s piece on gun control from a few years back for a brilliant, witty look at gun control in Australian versus US ().

          2. Canadian here (French-Canadian actually so, sorry for any spelling mistakes). I feel we think the same way. The though of someone owning a gun (or many guns for that matter) is just so… unusual? Almost weird.

            I mean, I know people who hunts but they do not have automatic weapons and they really need to go through an intensive background check. Maybe not as severe as in Australia especialy since the end of the Gun Registry (thanks Harper) but still a lot more thorough than in the U.S. for what I’ve heard.

            We simply don’t have that…. culture? When someone says they own a gun, we automatically become suspicious like: why? for what? do you have kids? do they have access to the gun? do you take care of it? etc.
            I remember when I was young, I was babysitting and the dad had many guns for hunting. They were in a secure cabinet with an electronic pad and a physical lock, in a closed office but still, I always felt unsafe when I was passing by that room. This is a feeling that many of my friends and family share as well but I guess this is exacly the kind of bubble Emily is talking. Even so, I think it shows how little accustomed we are to the idea itself.

      2. There is ample evidence that people with mental health issues are no more likely to be involved in violent acts than those without diagnosed mental health issues. If you are interested in reading more, this is a good link: .

        It is dangerous to stigmatize an already at risk community by blaming mass shootings on them. Please reconsider voicing such views.

    4. I think that while most people can play violent video games in a healthy way, some people can’t. Just like some people can binge drink on a Friday night out with friends and not having a drinking problem, while alcoholics cannot even have one sip. Some people can watch “intense” pornography as a release, while in others it may encourage them to act out those behaviors. It’s very subjective.

      Outside of video games, I think superhero movies are a huge issue in our society (especially because of how popular they are right now). Have you ever thought to look at the collateral damage the “hero” causes in pursuit of the bad guy? Sure he saved “the city,” but what about the 18 apartment buildings that got destroyed in the process – how many people were in those buildings? These movies glorify the pursuit of righteousness above all else, so I think people are conditioned to believe the end justifies the means. And, if you’re an alcoholic, sexual deviant or violence lover, your “end” may be worth the means to you and that’s dangerous.

  2. Not a gun owner. I will say however that from my readings on Twitter, and discussions there, it seems as though many gun owners feel their guns to be a symbol, almost, of them being able to stay safe in a world where the government and other people are probably out to dominate/rob/harm them. So gun regulation becomes a kind of proxy for a very deeply seated emotional belief about the world.

    1. And to add, Emily, your description of how it felt to hold a gun really resonated. I bet it is about that feeling of power, and its opposite, that your power is at risk every day.

    2. I’ve read a lot about that, too. And I get that. Hell, I bought a TON of survivalist food the other day, with compasses and weird straws that purify water, etc, because I was scared of a myriad of reasons – nuclear war, apocalypse, war or natural disasters…. but mostly natural disasters. Point is I get it. Feeling safe and protecting your family is super important to the daily health and happiness of your family. But AR15s clearly aren’t make us safer, obviously, its the opposite.

      1. Em, some might say…”How are you planning on protecting all of your survival gear if someone else has a gun and want to survive also?”

      2. You know whats crazy….I don’t think at the heart of this issue, most pro gun people are against stricter gun laws and banning assault weapons from getting in the hands of civilians. But I do think some have a fear that if the government starts to ban weapons in any form it’s going to snowball and eventually they’ll be illegal all together. It seems crazy to think that but I think people think if you give them an inch they take a yard. So those people with those views take a hard stance. Unrealistic as it may be I know people who fear that. Then there are also the extremist who think the government is so corrupt and believe there is a possibility they’ll turn on us. They have no trust in the government and want to have assault weapons to protect themselves against their own government (if they had to form a militia of some sort). That seems pretty far fetched to me but I think these are 2 real stances out there. I personally believe people have a right to bear arms but there definitely needs to be stricter gun laws and bans on assault weapons for sure.

        1. My husband is of the opinion that if we allow the government to restrict gun purchases then it will escalate to the government controlling us more (for example being able to decide if we can or cannot have a surgery, or we can or cannot have access to education if the gov decides theyre trying to keep people in specific classes). With that said he is a champion for very secure and strict gun laws… limiting access to purchase for people who are emotionally at risk for irresponsible behavior with guns, longer wait times for purchase, etc.

          I have to also say… I’m a wife of a gun owner who wouldn’t pick up a gun if my life depended on it. I’ve been avoiding taking a gun safety class because the idea of having a powerful weapon in my hand doesn’t make me feel okay. Ive had nightmares of a burglary and me shooting myself instead of using the gun for self-defense. Plus there is no way I would have the ability to take down a person with a gun breaking into my house. I hate that we have guns…. so my husband and I have been trying to have deep, thoughtful conversations with each other since we have very diff views on it.

        2. The message that you are talking about – if they take one gun they’ll eventually take them all- was initiated by the NRA and cultivated to the extent that people really fear that it is a real threat. It’s pretty irrational because during the years that assault rifles we’re outlawed there were still plenty of guns available. No one tried to take away all the guns. Most of the members of the NRA aren’t even this paranoid, but the mass message prevails.

          1. I would add that it was perpetuated by the libertarian movement (Koch brothers, Heritage Foundation) in the 1970s as part of a systematic effort to undermine American democracy. This was in response to the upheaval during the 1960s. The objective is to privatize all facets of U.S. government (schools, roads, health care), remove all taxation, and militarize the country (give supreme authority to the military over the people). Many of the members of this elite movement took their views from the fascist movements of the earlier 20th century. They are ultimately corporatists who believe that corporations should have free reign versus the American people. As a side note, many of the pro-gun owners whom I have spoken with in my family who are anti-government are still pro-Social Security and Medicaid. Everyone in my grandparents generation understood the role of government as beneficial (before government intervened people were simply left to die). They had no protection from workplace accidents or any assistance if they fell ill. The fact that we have entire generations who do not understand why we fought the American Revolution and established the Republic to begin with, or why government historically has been beneficial to humanity, demonstrates the effectiveness of this anti-government movement and propaganda campaign.

        3. I’ve heard this argument many times – if we allow government to enact stricter gun laws, then it could snowball – and I just don’t understand that mentality. Passing any laws in this country is difficult (look at the constant deadlock in congress) , so how could said regulations snowball?

        4. This is EXACTLY gun owning friends and family believe. That if the government makes any changes at all to tighten gun laws that guns will be banned outright. So they will do everything in their power to keep that from happening.

        5. Hi Kara. I’m not a big fan of guns, even though I’m a veteran. But my husband, also a veteran, has strong opinions about the government stripping us of our rights, so he has his concealed carry permit and owns a pistol. I wanted to comment on your first statement. We have many friends who feel this way. A not-perfect example is Obamacare. It started out that we could keep our doctors and our premiums wouldn’t go up. By the time the government pushed this through, we had lost more and more. We couldn’t have the same doctors, our premiums have tripled, and our coverage is poorer. Not to mention, we will be penalized if we fail to participate. These types of instances cause regular people to not trust politicians. You give an inch and they take a mile. Anyway, have a good evening. 🙂

          1. I have never owned a gun, but considered getting a .22 for ground squirrel control on my rural property. Going thru the process was interesting. Where I live it was nearly impossible to buy .22 LR shells because I was told that the Obama administration was buying up a huge amount of the inventory. It was months before I could buy a single box of shells. Supply was extremely limited. So, government can very easily restrict the rights of gun owners, even without laws to change ownership. It was very enlightening to me to see how easily this happened. Kind of changed my “California” view of gun rights to actually being concerned about the 2nd amendment being at risk indirectly..

    3. My husband and I own guns. Many women I know are purchasing guns and obtaining conceal carry permits. It’s not a fashion accessory or something we take lightly. We are doing this so we may protect ourselves and others if necessary. There is an inherit difference when you see so many fleeing during a crisis and a few that actually confront the danger in order to save lives. As far as us fearing the government taking away our civil rights, we are not concerned about that. They failed to track their own guns which resulted in the death of American citizens. They are neglecting to act on VERY credible information being given to them that would have prevented this senseless violence time after time again. Would you rather trust you or your loved ones life to a law abiding, caring, unselfish citizen trained in the event of an attack, or would you rather at that exact moment trust our government to do their jobs?

      1. Hi Kim,

        Do you have any concern with taking down a shooter in a public space with your own weapon? I own a gun and have thought about getting a concealed carry permit, but at the end of the day I’m not sure I would trust my shot (& I’m a good shot!) in a crowd of people. What if you missed and shot an innocent person? Has that thought ever bothered you? Interested in knowing your answer! I’m the only one of my girlfriends who handles guns so I’m curious.

      2. Imagine a scenario with an active shooter in a school and well-intentioned people with guns, possibly well trained, but also maybe not, shooting back. Now first responders enter that environment. How are they to know who is dangerous and who is not? How can we guarantee those people with guns won’t miss and hit a kid as well? From my point of view, more guns isn’t the answer and you may disagree. But maybe we can agree to a liscensing system that can give us some peace of mind. Nothing is going to be perfect, but not losing more children has to be worth trying something.

        1. Katie,

          I agree, I don’t think more guns is the answer and I definitely do not think we should be bringing more guns into schools. Apart from the completely daunting atmosphere that would provide kids, I would be worried that bringing in guns around kids would have the same effect as it did with providing heavier armor for our police officers. I know that’s a whole other very sensitive topic, but it seems that more emphasis has been put into ending situations rather than deescalating them (as opposed to how law enforcement is trained in many other countries). It makes me nervous to see how that could play out in schools.

          I was more so asking about just being in general public places. Like I said, I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable shooting in a public space, but I am curious if others do.

      3. Everyone thought the Las Vegas shooter was a caring, normal, law abiding citizen too – until he did what he did.
        The fact that everyone is defending gun ownership by stating you’d rather have a gun to protect yourself from someone else with a gun, is totally missing the point. As are those who believe it’s a right to own one. Or that they can do a better job taking down a shooter than those in law enforcement.
        Generations who grow up with guns can only imagine life, and these situations, with guns IN it. When you can realise that life can, and does, exist elsewhere without them, only then you will be able to legislate and stop these killings.
        Wishing you all luck. Your kids deserve more.

      4. What the hell is a conceal carry permit?! I take it that it allows you to carry a gun in public?
        What?!
        I live in Australia & to me, that sounds insane!!! I would not feel safe in America knowing people next to me could be carrying a gun. I know it sounds crazy to alot of Americans to restrict/tighten gun laws, but trust me, our gun laws work. I honestly for the life of me cannot understand the current American laws regarding guns. I just can’t get my head around it.

        1. And to add to my comment, a conceal carry permit just sounds to me like placing a problem ontop of another problem. Crazy!

        2. Hi Stacey,

          My BIL has a conceal carry, which I didn’t even know until Sunday! He can carry in public, almost anywhere. We were at a nice restaurant in Nashville eating brunch, and I asked him if he had it with him right then and he said yes. I have no idea where he puts it because I couldn’t see it and it wasn’t obvious to me at all that he had a gun. He’s also in the military and has been trained to use a gun.

        3. Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Las Angelos do not allow permits to carry concealed guns and have very strict gun laws so they should be the safest citiies in our country right?
          Mexico does not allow guns at all. How are they doing?

          1. The point here is that semi-automatic weapons are unsafe for the general public to have, it doesn’t have to do with concealed carry guns so you have a moot point. Additionally, Mexico’s government is ridiculously corrupt so that point really doesn’t hold any water either.

          2. Thank you for pointing out that fact! Chicago has historically had more shootings than any other city in the US, and it has imposed some of the strictest gun regulations in the nation. The problem with banning guns is that criminals have no qualms breaking the law and will then be the only people who are armed. The problem in America isn’t guns, the problem is that our families are broken, respect for others Is gone, children aren’t being taught the difference between right and wrong, morality is no longer taught- in the name of the separation between church and state, In the absence of God there is no punishment for bad deeds if you don’t get caught. We don’t acknowledge our neighbors and there is no community, no sense of a collective well being or a network of people to support us when we fall, just individualism.

  3. Emily I can’t even go to this conversation yet in any kind of a civilized manner so will refrain from voicing my thoughts. But I truly want to commend you for being willing to bring it up on your blog which a lot of bloggers would not do – no shame on them – because it’s a risk to a part of your business/brand. Your questions are valid and your approach sounds truly open minded so I hope you get calm rational information in response. I’ve always lived in a similar bubble to yours but have lived in western NC now for 3 years and this is something I struggle with almost daily now. Thanks for sticking your neck out.

    1. Thanks, Deb. I’m trying 🙂 Also i’m super lucky that i have a platform that can reach so many different people. Just hoping people are brave enough to comment because I really want to know. 🙂

    2. Hi, Deb. Am curious about the details. The western NC I know is full of raccoon hunters. Is there a problem with assault guns and/or public shootings?

      1. Hi Anon,
        great question…although perhaps sarcastic. But in short…YES. Born and raised in western NC and experienced a school shooting while in 6th grade at Burns Middle School. You should check it out. I think when we ask questions like yours (whether drenched in sarcasm or not) we will find no place is immune to this issue.

  4. We have two handguns, which spend 99% of their time locked in their cases. Occasionally we take them to a shooting range. We also have no children in the house and have no illusions that we would be able to protect ourselves from intruders with these guns (just logistically getting them out of cases, loading them, etc, much less actually being of clear enough mind to go for the gun in that situation). Both of us absolutely believe that there should be more gun control laws: serious background checks, waiting periods, mandatory training, smart technologies… And there is absolutely no reason for assault rifles to be in the hands of anyone who isn’t military (and even that is a can of worms but another debate). I don’t even think the police should have assault weapons because they tend to misuse them.

    Thank you for starting this discussion because there are a range of gun owners and I think most of us are more sensible than the NRA would like. Most of us aren’t clinging to deadly metal while shouting about the Second Amendment.

    1. THANK YOU Natalie. Its so refreshing to hear. xx

  5. I own a 20 gauge semi-automatic shotgun because it was gifted to me by my father. I use it to go duck hunting with my husband a few times a year and also to shoot sporting clays (like skeet) at the shooting range occasionally. My husband is an avid duck hunter and has probably 12 guns of various types, including an AR-15. My brother probably has 30 guns, as does my father, who mostly collects World War 2 rifles. For reference, my husband and I are 30 years old, my brother 35, and my father 70.

    My father is the type of person on the complete opposite end of the political spectrum that you struggle to understand during these times. He refers to democratic politicians as “gun grabbers” and is a proud NRA member. I think he is so set in and comfortable with these beliefs he has held his entire life that he has no interest in challenging them. When all you listen to is Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and other people who agree with you, why would you challenge your beliefs? It’s easier, it’s comfortable. He is 70 and set in his ways. He likes his guns and he truly believes that gun control is a slippery slope (“If we create a gun registry then what’s to stop the next democrat in office from coming and taking all my guns?”). I have tried to have a reasonable conversation with him about this (and trust me, he is a lovely, sophisticated, intelligent man. if you didn’t know the above and have any preconceived notions, you would think he was just great) and it just goes nowhere.

    My husband, brother and I are far more reasonable. I think we would all be completely fine with increased gun control, closure of gun show loopholes, etc. because we know we would still be able to have our guns. I don’t know why my brother and husband have assault rifles. They think they’re fun to take to the range and they are both mentally stable people so it just really isn’t a consideration.

    In my opinion, it isn’t the “assault rifle” that’s the problem necessarily, but the high capacity magazines. You can kill people with pistols and shotguns too. You just can’t kill as many people as you can with a 40-round magazine clipped into an AR-15. Also, what a lot of people don’t consider, is that more gun deaths are caused by handguns than rifles. The assault rifle deaths just get more attention since they are typically what is used in these random mass shooting scenarios. But we don’t talk as much about deaths from gang violence, domestic violence, and suicide.

    I don’t know that this response helps to clarify the other side’s viewpoint. I am surrounded by people on the opposite end of the spectrum and I don’t quite understand it either except that they enjoy their guns as a hobby, behave responsibly themselves, and don’t think they deserve to have anything taken away from them just because other people behave irresponsibly. Do I think people deserve the right to own assault rifles and high capacity magazines? No. Do I think there’s a solution? Not really, but maybe I’m being pessimistic. Sure, a gun registry would make any non-registered gun illegal. But do you think someone who intends to commit murder cares whether their weapons are illegally owned? Probably not. You can ban high capacity magazines, but what about all the ones that are floating out there? What’s to stop my husband from selling one of his to a mentally deranged person (besides his reasonableness, of course)? Gun ownership is so deeply embedded in our culture, and unfortunately I think it’s just too late to prevent these type of tragedies going forward.

    I really, really hope I’m wrong. I hope when I have children I can send them to public school every day feeling confident that they are safe. I hope someone can come up with a practical and effective solution. But I don’t know how that’s possible with over 270 million guns spread across America.

    1. Catherine thank you for this really thought out response. I live in Boston in a bubble (I assume) not dissimilar from Emily’s so I want to learn whatever I can from this discussion. I want to understand – are you saying that these kind of mass shooting tragedies are just something we have to accept? Like this is just how it is, as sad as it may be?

      1. That last line stood out to me too, but I read it a different way… If there are already 270 million guns in America (I didn’t fact check this but it sounds about right), then even if all new gun sales were immediately banned and you could not buy a gun from a store, there are still TONS of guns for sale and easily accessible. I’ve seen guns on craigslist! That’s something I really never thought about before – is it too late? Is this just how it is in America? I don’t necessarily think so, but restricting the sale of new guns is not going to stop the flow or access to guns if someone really wants them. People talk about mental health resources as another factor in preventing mass shootings, and maybe that’s another important part of it. I don’t know. It all feels too big to combat.

        1. You have to start somewhere though…

        2. Hi Rachel…An Aussie here – When the Federal Goernment here did the gun law “amnesty”, they allowed people to hand in guns (that were then destroyed, quite publicly). Yes, there will always be guns available to be bought illegally, as there still are here in Australia, BUT people who had one and didn’t need it or didn’t use it, turned it in and were relieved about the fact hey didn’t have to constantly think about having one. It’s a different mindset here in Australia. I guess it’s more about not feeling afraid of society/in society. Maybe that’s why Trump won the election there, because he preyed on the people fear?!

        3. It’s not too big to combat, it’s just too big to see immediate results, which is why most people shrug it off as impossible. Remember that 150 years ago you could legally purchase another human being in this country. Opinions change. Laws change. It won’t happen overnight but we can definitely make a dent that future generations can keep chipping away at until eventually the idea of owning a handgun seems surreal.

    2. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and YES it is helpful. I’ll say a couple things:
      1. You are the kind of person who needs to speak out because you can do so in a measured way knowing and understanding both sides. Anti-gun folk like myself are shouting in an echo chamber and making no progress. We need YOU to help us protect our children.
      2. Gangs, suicide, domestic violence aren’t random and don’t happen en-masse. The two really can’t equivocate. Now terrorism and mass shootings feel more aligned, because its this latent fear that there is something among us that can ruin your life in one second, and its not in your control.
      3. When I was in college I had friends that experimented with drugs and alcohol when they had easy access and didn’t when they didn’t have access. Having it be illegal made a huge difference in the volume and frequency. Deranged people don’t always premeditate months in advance and having that access could change the course of a day.
      4. Totally agree about the magazines – they definitely should be banned.
      Again, thanks so much for weighing in. Don’t try to convince your dad, but i think you could have an influence among your community 🙂 don’t give up!

      1. I enjoy this sensible reasonable discussion because I think the reason we are in this situation is because our politics have become SO partisan and no one in power is willing to consider the other side or compromise. And it’s because of the way people vote. When lawmakers compromise they don’t get reelected. So who can blame them? It disgusts me.

        I agree that we need more people like me speaking out because I truly do understand both sides. It beyond frustrates me when people refuse to educate themselves about an opposing viewpoint. If it’s any consolation, I do think people in younger generations, at least the ones I interact with (and I live in Texas), are generally more reasonable than our parents. And I think most of my friends share my views on this topic. This gives me hope that things might change in the future.

        You are correct that gang violence/domestic violence aren’t random acts and I didn’t mean to compare them to mass shootings. I just think it’s interesting that handguns do cause significantly more deaths than assault rifles yet there really isn’t a lot of noise about banning handguns. Maybe because assault rifles make the average person feel more helpless, whereas people feel that they have the power to avoid gang/domestic violence? I don’t know.

        It is also interesting to compare the access of drugs to the access of guns. Like I said, I’m all for making the access to guns more difficult. I do think that could prevent even one of these types of events from occurring, and if that’s the case, then it’s worth it. I just think the bleeding-heart liberal types who scream on Facebook about gun control and the NRA (I’m not accusing you of being like this) have this expectation that gun control is the solution and will prevent these events. So yes, Dina, I believe that even if we enact serious gun control, there will be a black market full of millions of assault rifles and mass shootings will continue to happen. Then what will the solution be? I think that’s why people like my dad get nervous. Let’s say gun control is enacted, serious background checks are performed, gun show loopholes are closed, etc. And some guy moves in with his brother, who has a legally-purchased AR-15. He takes it one day and shoots up an elementary school. Maybe there were no signs he was dangerous. Maybe he had it locked in a safe and his brother figured out how to access it. Then what? I think the fear is that “gun-grabbers” will say we haven’t done enough, the only solution is a gun ban or Australian-style government buy-back.

        But even if we can prevent one of these tragedies by making it that much more difficult to obtain dangerous weapons, I’m all for it. I think we can all agree nobody needs a 40-round magazine. You have inspired me to continue speaking out. Thanks for the thoughtful conversation. And, obviously, I’m here because I find you wildly inspirational 🙂 thank you for all of your beautiful content.

        1. As an Australian I am really interested to know what is the disadvantage of a buy back scheme like we had in Australia? I don’t feel like my rights have been compromised at all but my safety and the safety of my family is much more protected under this scheme. Admittedly I would never consider owning a gun, but my brother in law is a farmer and has a licensed gun that he uses to cull kangaroos on his property and hunt as a hobby. He is content, the gun is stored safely and periodically checked by the police.
          There are illegal guns in Australia obviously but any legislation that reduces children accidentally stumbling across them or people making unfortunate spur of the moment decisions (whether they may are a depressed person or a distressed angry adolescent)
          must be a good thing. Every country’s laws are a compromise between individual rights and the community good (I don’t get to drive on the wrong side of the road even though I might like to). I hope the USA can find a compromise that is more effective at protecting innocent children.

          1. And here are some good stats on those Australian policies: no massacre here since the 1996 tightening of laws: AND: “In the two decades following the gun reforms, there was a reduction in the annual rate of gun deaths – from 2.9 per 100,000 in 1996 to 0.9 per 100,000 in 2016.”

        2. No one needs an AR15 – legally or illegally. I’m curious – you said your husband has one but you arent really sure why. Can you explain why you haven’t asked? Do you have children? I really am just trying to wrap my brain around my spouse having an assault weapon in our home and never asking why.

          1. She said that she doesn’t have children.

          2. When I said “I don’t know why he has an AR-15” that wasn’t really accurate… I do know why… my dad and my brother gave him the parts as Christmas gifts and he thought it was fun to build it over time. No, we don’t have kids, but I grew up in a house with 30+ guns and was educated about them and they were stored in a locked safe. If I did have kids I would still feel comfortable having guns in my house because my husband and I are responsible people who plan to educate our kids about gun safety, teach them how to properly use a gun, and keep them locked up and inaccessible.

            Your response suggests that you don’t know much about guns, which is largely the problem with this whole debate. It’s kind of like old white men imposing ridiculous abortion restrictions without understanding how the female body works. And yes, you’re correct – no one needs an AR-15. No one NEEDS a gun, period. But all guns have a practical use. My husband uses his AR-15 for hog hunting. He can also use it for home defense if necessary. And bear in mind that there are many more powerful guns than an AR-15. People simply think black guns look scary.

            I don’t think AR-15s should be banned because I don’t think that’s an effective way to solve the problem. You have to consider actual capabilities of the rifle, not how scary it looks or whether it’s a “military weapon” or an “assault weapon.” The 1994 assault weapons ban defined an “assault rifle” as a semi-automatic weapon having any two of the following five features in addition to a detachable magazine: a collapsible stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher. These features are cosmetic and have nothing to do with what the gun fires or how fast it can fire. Gun makers immediately found ways around California’s assault weapons regulations. I think the success of any future gun control legislation hinges on people who want to restrict access to firearms becoming educated about them so that the other side will take them seriously.

        3. Thank you for your response! I am learning so much here. I think I probably am what you’d consider a bleeding heart liberal 🙂 but even I am not for banning all guns. I just feel like though I may not like them, who am I to tell someone they can’t have a rifle for hunting or a shotgun to protect their family? To me I have the same right to do that as I do to tell someone who they can and can’t marry, ie. NONE. But as a country and community I think we have to make some compromises and like most have said, a civilian doesn’t need an assault rifle or a high capacity magazine for sport or protection. Of course I don’t think that banning them will stop mass shootings. But like you said if it could prevent even 1 OR hell reduce the death toll the next time one happens, I think we have to try something.

        4. I think you’d be surprised at how many “bleeding heart liberal types screaming abt gun control and the NRA” are in favor of reasonable gun control measures (not just melting all the guns), and don’t think it will solve everything tomorrow, but think we should at least TRY! It works in other countries, so If it can save lives, can’t we at least try? The other thing about the NRA is, they lobbied (and won, passing the Dickey amendment) to stop the CDC from even researching the public safety effects and potential research-baseds olutions to gun violence. Bc of them and $$$ lining pockets, we can’t even research, and we can’t even try, that’s what’s so frustrating. Also, I think I’m a respectful dialogue such as this, we should stop painting broad swaths of people with terms like “bleeding heart liberals”… and comments like one below that said “all the liberals think…” Em and other non-gun owning folks didn’t come in here calling everyone who is pro gun “republican gun nuts”…

          1. I’m sorry, Amber, I didn’t mean to offend or paint all people on the left side of the aisle the same (and I would consider myself left-of-center). I was referring to a few people in my network who are constantly posting inflammatory anti-gun sentiments and think the solution is to ban guns, period. And I think it’s fair to accuse some people of being republican gun nuts…. my parents, for example! 🙂 It’s the extreme people on both sides whose voices tend to be the ones heard and that’s why we can’t get anywhere with this issue – because they don’t respect alternative viewpoints.

            Also, the NRA does not carry as much weight as you might think. It’s voters like my parents and other people who are very very pro-second amendment and refuse to vote for anyone who is not. You might find this to be an interesting read:

      2. Do not mean to nitpick, but regarding point 2, just wanted to mention that mass shootings are terrorism. Unfortunately, our country has drawn lines that separate the two that are fundamentally racist

      3. Domestic violence and guns are a huge issue. There are things we can do to lessen the risk to women. Here in PA we’re trying to get a bill passed that would put some measures in place. For example if I file a restraining order against someone he has 90 days (I believe) to turn in his guns! 90 days! We’re trying to shorten that to 48 hours.

        1. I just wanted to clarify your comment because Utah has the same law. Filing a restraining order doesn’t mean that the person is required to turn over their guns. It’s getting the restraining order to become permanent (this process takes about a month to go through court) that the guns have to be turned over. My sister filed a restraining order against her ex-fiance, which ultimately did not become permanent in court. The judge sided with the ex-fiance, not my sister, so the guns (including an assault weapon) are still in the possession of the ex-fiance.

    3. i wish i could like this post! so many good points and so well put in my opinion.

      1. i agree i wish there were a like option. i like that this conversation is happening! good job everyone.

      2. We are adding it to the new site 🙂 when we relaunch (the like button). I, Catherine, also like your post. And i think we both agree that an Australia buy-back plan would be pretty awesome. OH and for the record I am absolutely for banning hand guns as well, I just know that would never happen and bringing it up would make people even more polarized. I feel like banning AR15s and M16s and their magazines and more background checks, etc, is a good compromise 🙂 Thank you so much for your input and taking the time to respond so eloquently. xxx

        1. So if you’re for banning ALL guns emily are you also for banning all (or any) abortions? Killing is killing right? What makes 1 killing worse than another? And furthermore what makes one right more “ok” to take away than another? If you want to take 1, then all should be equally as good/available to be removed.
          You cannot legislate morals or a compass. This country needs help in many ways. I’m all for tougher laws and actual enforcement of them…for everyone that kills.

          1. Flmom, I just can believe you compare these 2 topics, I think is really unsympathetic. With 250 million orphans in this planet, do we have any need to make girls (or women) that are sure they are not able to give a good future to their children, force them to have a child? For what? Seriously? Why would you do that to a child? Comparing this topic to mass shooting in schools is just… And using it to defend the possession of arms… It’s not right, to say the least

          2. Don’t think this really fair to compare mass shootings to abortion. But to follow your line of arguement, 35 states require that women receive counseling before receiving an abortion. 26 states require a mandatory waiting period usually 24 hours but some states up to 72 hours after counseling. Of those 26 states only two of them require a waiting period to purchase a gun. Only 11 states total require a waiting period to purchase a gun. Maybe if the shooters received counseling and has waiting/cooling off periods before their gun purchase some of these men could be stopped and/or helped.

          3. Thank you for saying that. It always amazes me how liberals only care about children being killed when it’s done by a gun and not an abortion. It’s very hypocritical. As a gun owner myself, I don’t believe in banning the AR15 bc it is not going to reduce gun violence. There are still shotguns and handguns for crazy people intent on killing. And being opposed to stricter gun laws, I feel it’s a slippery slope to a gun registry and an all out gun ban. The bigger question to me is why in the past decade or two have young males started mass shootings? Are we over prescribing our children? Is social media to blame? Video games? Or a combination of all? The issue goes much deeper than taking guns away. Oh and by the way, I’m a mother of 2 young children in ny. I live in the bubble too but I just don’t agree with any of it. It’s frustrating to think differently and be judged or yelled at bc you see the world differently.

          4. You do realize that one in four pregnancies result in spontaneous miscarriage before 20 weeks, no? As someone who has had a miscarriage (but not an abortion), I think it’s absolutely silly to vilify women for terminating an unwanted pregnancy that in 20% of cases might have terminated itself. This Is not the same as killing a person.

          5. FLMOM, I am a biologist and know something about development- a fetus is not a baby, it has a potential to become a baby after 9 months in the womb. It is estimated that up to 50% of embryos will miscarry. This is called natural selection. Do you think that every single acorn will become an oak and mourn the ones that do not? And later terminations, when the fetus is in 2nd trimester are typically done for fatal fetal anomalies to prevent suffering of the fetus and the mother. I speak both as a scientist and as someone who has had three pregnancy losses at different stages of pregnancy.

            The fat that you are equating killing 17 year olds in high schools and pregnancy terminations suggests that it is you who lack a moral compass, FLMOM.

          6. Hi FLMOM,

            I just want to say that while I am pro-choice, I very much understand your view point that abortion is killing a person and that you should fight for the lives of those cells.

            However, comparing the killing of children in a school where they are supposed to be learning, where they are supposed to feel safe and will have a healthy future independent of another person’s body, and the removal of cells from a human body are not in anyway the same.

            Thank you for your point, but I want you to consider that abortion is not relevant to a pro-/anti-gun debate.

          7. Terminating your own pregnancy is IN NO WAY the same as killing someone else’s child. Please do not equivocate the two

        2. I’m finding the thread really fascinating. Not sure if you want my opinion as an Australian…. but the buyback scheme worked a treat here. Generally speaking most of my fellow Aussies felt certain that Sandyhook was going to be your nations turning point like the Port Arthur Massacre was for us.

          Catherine I’ve found your insights so valid and balanced – you absolutely are the kind of person that needs to be more vocal.
          Just a note on the black market – obviously there will always be people who will go to extraordinary means to obtain illegal items. But what you will find (it happened here) is that the cost of obtaining a gun on the black market is extremely high – you’re talking an excess of $10-60k for a single weapon and ammunition. So it’s pretty unlikely that someone who is mentally unstable will be in a position to find a seller, organise a buy and have some serious cash to drop on the items. I think you’ll find a pretty big reduction in mass shootings.

          1. I do not own a gun. I’m married to a Kiwi/New Zealander living in the US currently (San Diego for reference). I’ve lived in NZ and Australia and was living in Aus when Sandy Hook happened. I think a buyback could work here, but we’re working with different conditions than Australians and we’d have to go about it differently. I believe two things need to happen (which were not issues Australia had prior to enforcing the buyback): politicians need to get out of the NRAs pockets and support their constituents rather than the lobbyists (I don’t know how you do that), but just as importantly and something we can all contribute to is changing the dialogue from bipartisan gun control to making a conscious decision that the lives of all innocent victims of gun violence (or mass shootings if we should start there) are more valuable than an individuals right to obtain a gun (or AR if we should start there).
            From an outsiders perspective that is the rationale of many Australians… the safety of their children, the safety of all Australians far outweighs the individual feeling entitled to owning guns. I think our media is doing us a disservice focusing on the politics of gun ownership and the second amendment rather than the root of why we want stricter gun control in the first place…. the safety of our children and ourselves. Something we can all agree on no matter our political affiliation.
            It’s dialogue from both sides of gun control (like this blog post) that can influence our media’s representation of the issue, changing from a distinct liberal vs conservative issue to a united front demanding change.

          2. Amie, I don’t think we have the fear factor here on Aussie, that they do in the USA. I think that base, core fear of what MIGHT happen reinforces the fear need to have a gun. I feel so blessed to live here in Australia, even though I was bron in the USA.

        3. Yes! This is so important.

          1) Comparing gun access to drug access is like comparing apples to oranges. Here’s why. College kids especially, do it as a hobby, and when they can’t obtain drugs they just find another hobby. Guns on the other hand, I would say a majority of gun owners (although this isn’t true for everyone) don’t really mind if they have to obtain their arms illegally. Not the ones who REALLY value their guns at least. So reduce access… They’ll still find a way to get their guns, even the really scary ones, it’ll just be on the black market.

          2) It is so so so so important to recognize that separating “terrorism” and “mass shootings” is systematically racist. We associate terrorism with foreigners. Mass shootings are committed by mostly white men. So we separate them, but they are the same thing!! It’s ALL terrorism!!!

          1. Regarding point one- if we make legal access harder and more than likely more expensive as a result, gun supply will eventually go down. Manufacturers won’t be making guns that they can only sell legally so over time, they’ll be fewer in any market place. Simple economics, prices will go up and demand will go down. Honestly, it would be a long term process but eventually we’ll have fewer guns in this country and I’ll take it!

          2. I disagree on your first point based on the people I know who own guns. My father, brother-in-law, and many members of my best friend’s family own guns for hunting, sport, and personal safety. They value their guns and right to own them. However, they are law-abiding citizens who obtained them legally and would not have done so if they had to go to the black market and involve in shady dealings to do so. I would argue that the majority of gun owners would not go that route.

          3. I noted to my husband last night that in my memory it seemed that most mass shootings occurred at the hand of men. I suggested that perhaps we needed a ban on men.
            He has yet to reply…..

          4. Tori, I think it’s important to correct a misconception that “majority of gun owners don’t care if they obtain their guns legally.” At present, this is absolutely untrue (whether that is because firearms are easy to obtain, I can’t say). What type of person do you think of when you think of most gun owners? If you think of a constantly gun wielding, thieving, midnight inner city mugger (which DO exist and you very well may live in an area where this happens regularly), then I can understand your bias. If you think of an antique gun collector, game hunter, law enforcement officer, or ex-military, it is almost certainly untrue that these people en masse would not prefer to purchase their gun(s) legally. On your second point re: terrorism vs mass murder. I can see where it may seem a silly or even divisive thing not to classify mass murder as terrorism (as it is terroristic), it is an important distinction to collect information for country level statistics internationally (NOT just USA), to create international comparisons and formulate strategies to counteract this behavior. It is not a classification made to be arbitrarily racist.

          5. Guns=Potentially Lethal
            Drugs=Potentially Lethal
            Looks like they are analogous to me.

        4. If you haven’t already seen it, you must watch John Oliver’s segment on gun control:

          As an Australian, it just makes no sense to me whatsoever that your country would put the rights of gun owners above the lives of your children (or anyone’s lives for that matter). I hope your politicians will finally do the right thing xx

          1. Thank you for reminding me of this video series. Damn, I love John Oliver!

    4. I really appreciate this post. I agree that those who are mentally stable really struggle to understand why they would need to give up their assault weapons. In my opinion wouldn’t we want to have the “good guys” in possession of the guns most effective at killing? That way we have a match against those who are mentally unstable and in possession of an assault rifle. That’s why I wonder if we should arm teachers, or at least have more armed guards on public school campuses. Of course, thorough assessment of mental stability would need to be done, but it would put the power back with those who are responsible enough to handle it.

      1. So you not only think every teacher should be armed, but that every teacher should be armed with an assault rifle? So that we could blast away at a mentally ill student? That seems more reasonable than barring the mentally unstable from purchasing or keeping weapons?
        I teach college students, and I have had so many students over the years write research papers on what kind of gun control could work in the US. And it’s actually not a hard question to answer. There is a lot of research out there that doesn’t get anywhere close to Australian levels of removing guns from private ownership that would easily reduce the number of gun deaths in this country. The problem is the fearmongering by those who insist that any action is the start of the “slippery slope” and insist that no action, not even very minor action, can be taken.

    5. Catherine, everything you said is so measured, respectful, and thoughtful! I feel the exact same way – except about it being too late. I don’t think that we can afford to think that way.

      I read your other response, that if even one of these tragedies is prevented, then further gun control is worth it – and that is truly the crux of the issue. I think, as someone who is pro RESPONSIBLE gun ownership, or even if I was against it entirely (which I’m not, but could be, if I thought it would stop these tragedies), that there is a feeling of hopelessness about how to further this cause in an effective way. We can’t take back what’s already happened – what would even work to slow down the scary people who don’t care what rules or regulations are put in place? I believe that SOMETHING must be done. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see what did work, that ONE tragedy that was prevented because of stricter regulations. All we have are examples of what’s working in other places. And unfortunately, none of those places are the USA – with the size and diversity, and complexity, that makes us unique.

      Thanks for your lovely response!

      1. Hi Karen, I am glad you think so high of your country, but every country is unique actually. I have no doubt that USA is amazing still mass shooting only happen there… Maybe you are doing something wrong, and you guessed right, it’s that you have guns.

        1. Mass shootings don’t “only happen here” neither do mass killings that don’t involve guns for that matter.

    6. I just can’t believe that (intelliegent) people like your father-in-law wouldn’t be willing to give up some of their ownership rights in order to save the lives of children. That just feels like a level of selfishness I will never understand.

      1. AJ, I understand where you’re coming from, but unfortunately it’s not that simple. If it was, I think we could solve the problem today and not have any more of these tragedies! From what I’ve seen, pro-gun people usually see the issue from this perspective:
        – They believe that gun control is a slippery slope and will eventually snowball into a governmental buyback program like you see in Australia. The slippery slope argument might sound irrational, but my father honestly believes this is a possibility. If it happened in Australia (and Hillary Clinton and other politicians have praised the Australian system), why couldn’t it happen here?
        Some people have asked “ok, what is so wrong with the Australian system?” Pro-gun people find this system disastrous. All of a sudden, many types of commonly owned guns were illegal – long guns, mostly semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, pump-action shotguns, and military type semi-automatic rifles. My husband and I would have to sell all of the guns we own, minus a revolver, to the government or we would be breaking the law.
        – Pro-gun people don’t think that giving up some gun ownership rights will make a difference. They think that the bad guys will still get their hands on guns and commit these heinous acts, so they don’t see the point in enacting gun control measures. In their mind, we already have restrictions in place (background checks) and people still manage to obtain guns.

        I’m not trying to rationalize either side. I’m just trying to explain the point of view of millions of people to hopefully clarify why it’s difficult for our country to move forward with this issue. Trust me, no (mentally stable) pro-gun person wants children to be murdered.

  6. I own guns because I unfortunately live in one of the most violent cities in the US. We are constantly having to watch our backs. I have 2 tiny babies & feel I need to protect myself & the babes at all times. Do I like living like this? Absolutely not. But at this time, I have no plans to move to a safer city because my entire support system is here.

    1. Thank you for your response. That makes sense. Hopefully it gets safer for you and your babes. xx

    2. Thank you for your post. I am so sorry you have to live in fear. Support systems are so important. Totally understand wanting to protect your family.

    3. I have an honest question about how keeping a gun in a house, especially a home with children, makes you feel safer. Safe gun storage would mean keeping the unloaded gun locked away separately from the ammunition in a place that is inaccessible to children. So if the worst case scenario happened and your home was broken into, it would mean retrieving and unlocking 2 storage containers, then loading the gun. All while keeping a cool enough head to do so efficiently and maintain control of the firearm so that it’s not used against you. To me, this doesn’t seem like an effective means of maintaining one’s home security.

      On the other hand, if these safe storage steps are not taken, then kids are able to access guns. When unfamiliar with them (or even when familiar) they do not understand the ramifications of handling one. So then you see headlines about accidental shootings.

      And I mean this in an honest way. My brother and father keep guns in their homes and have never been able to articulate why it makes them safer.

      Also, it’s so sad that people feel unsafe in their homes. So I’m sorry you are struggling with that in your life.

      1. I wonder about this too! When I hear people keep a gun in their home to protect their family I review the senario into head as to how they would get and open the two separate safes in time, after being surprised by an intruder to actually make a difference.

        1. Vanessa, Some people keep the rifles locked away but wear their handgun in a holster under their clothes for immediate access (concealed carry). It’s actually very common in some areas.

      2. I’ve noticed a few other comments saying that a safely stored gun wouldn’t allow you time to protect yourself. Our gun safe will open only with my or my husband’s fingerprint. Clip in but chamber empty. In a matter of seconds we would be able to defend ourselves and our gun is stored safely. Coincidentally, there is a story in today’s local news of a senior couple being beaten in their home by an intruder. The wife was able to get their handgun and they did use it to defend themselves. The intruder survived his gunshot wounds and was later arrested. Just for the record though, we also strongly agree that there need to be stricter gun laws and an outright ban on retailers selling these automatic rifles, etc. it’s appalling that we have yet to take action.

      3. As far as keeping your family safe, cases like this do happen:

        Yes, these situations are incredibly rare, but much of our country lives in small town, rural areas where neighbors and police can’t respond quickly. And while many people feel that legislation is worth the chance of protecting school children, they feel gun ownership is worth the chance of protecting themselves.

        I don’t own guns, have never fired a gun, but I was raised in Montana. I know lots of people (including family) who own guns for recreation and personal protection (including on ranches where wild animals are a real danger). None of these people, including myself, is opposed to eliminating high capacity guns that can kill hundreds in a matter of seconds from the market.

        However, there seems to be a huge disconnect between this and proposed laws. To my knowledge, the proposed legislation thus far has included gaping loop holes that would make them essentially worthless in actually taking these guns (and only these guns) off the market– as someone mentioned in another comment about how they defined assault rifles. And there is a real fear of sloppy legislation being broadly applied in unintended ways (making that rifle that you used to shoot the wolf hunting your 2yo illegal).

        There is also a real sense of frustration in the way the data on gun deaths is thrown around to lobby for more legislation. The straight statistics on X number of deaths in the US per day/month/year fail to recognize that the overwhelming majority of gun deaths are suicides. Of the homicides, the vast majority are in a few of major cities (Chicago and Detroit always top the list) due to gangs, so that if you were to remove these few cities, the rate of homicides in the US is comparable to other developed countries– and not astronomically higher as is frequently cited.

        When this data is presented in such a slanted way, it creates a sense of deception and therefore distrust. People lobbying for more gun control would be wise to acknowledge that innocent victims killed in massacres are a tiny fraction of total gun deaths. Yes, we should do all we can to protect these innocent victims, including those of accidental shootings. But citing total gun deaths to try and make a point does little to further trust or garner an audience.

        1. I’m sorry, perhaps I’ve misunderstood your comment, but why should homicides that are gang related be removed from the statistics? Surely with more restricted access to guns across the board, those would go down as well? And isn’t that a good thing? That people, regardless of their background or level of affluence, would benefit from fewer gun deaths?

  7. Emily, I love this idea! The idea of seeing how everyone feels about an issue… Here are some of my thoughts/experiences with guns.

    Growing up, my father was in law enforcement. He worked his way up from a state trooper to eventually becoming a Texas Ranger. Because he was a peace officer, we always had guns in our home. From a very early age, I knew the rules. We were NEVER allowed to touch a gun without my dads permission. We knew where they were kept, we knew why we had them, we knew my dad always had a gun in his boot or on his hip. And we always felt protected by him. My sisters and I respect firearms. We hold them with a sort of reverence I think. We know the power that a gun possesses and we know their purposes.

    When I was little, there was a serial killer that devasted our community by taking a little girls life. You can look up the story – Tommy Lynn Sells was the evil man. It was terrifying, but we knew that in the middle of the night, if someone decided to come into OUR home, we would be protected.

    As an adult with a young daughter, my husband has guns of his own. Some for hunting which provides meat for us throughout the year (not that we don’t get groceries, lol!) but we do enjoy having that deer meat and sausage! And yes, he has guns that are meant for protecting us in case of emergency. We will bring our baby up to have the same reverence for guns that we have. They are SERIOUS and if we do not take the responsibility of teaching her about them lightly. We will also always have them properly stored!

    Now, if the government decided we could no longer have guns, I think we would feel like they’ve taken something from responsible citizens because of the actions of irresponsible ones. I know something has to be done and our babies need to be safe at school. And I would love to go to a concert without feeling like I’m in a fishbowl! I don’t know what the solution is. But my family has guns. And I really don’t want them taken away!

    1. I guess I didn’t answer the question about the AR’s in my post. I have mixed emotions. My husband has one. He hardly ever uses it. He’s taken it to the ranch with friends and they’ve shot it for fun, but this weapon kind of scares me. I will talk to him about it and share his thoughts with you! Because, honestly, I don’t know what to think about it.

      1. Thanks, Katie. That all makes sense and I have a lot of extended family who have a very similar story. Ask your husband if he would be willing to give up his AR15 in the name of a movement towards less mass shootings. Or ask him if he thinks they should be legal for anyone to purchase? I’m curious!

        1. To appease those who own them now, grandfather them in. But forbid all sales of AR15s henceforth.
          That is known as compromise.

          1. I totally agree. We can’t take them away (well, we could buy them back), but yes to thenmaking new sales illegal. xx

    2. Okay – here is a response from my husband who owns an AR-15 from a previous discussion that he sent me.

      “I agree that when the constitution was written the single shot musket is what they had in mind, but as you mentioned earlier times have changed. With assault rifles having been so readily available for so long now it doesn’t seem logical that a law to ban them will make them disappear. With that being said, they are already in the hands of people who do not pay much attention to the law and so restricting law abiding citizens from getting them only puts us at a disadvantage. I would hate to have to defend my wife and daughter in my home with a single shot musket or even a shotgun with 4 rounds if the intruder had an assault rifle with 30 rounds in his hands.

      Furthermore, some of the guns that everyone is mentioning that they grew up with and don’t mind people having is a .22. We all hunted rabbits with them and had a great time doing it. A lot of .22’s also can carry up to 20 rounds with extended clips that can carry much more rounds if you choose to purchase them. My point being, where do you draw the line? Is it drawn at black guns, hand guns, or do you only allow muskets to be sold?

      The issue is much more complex than just passing a law and all of our problems will go away. I think Chicago is a good example of this that most people are tired of hearing about.”

      1. Emily, you say to Katie “Ask your husband if he would be willing to give up his AR15 in the name of a movement towards less mass shootings?” …but do you really think that would help? (real question, not a snarky question). There are so many ways, legal and illegal to turn regular guns into semi automatic weapons. (and for the record it scares me).

        I am open minded to any gun control measure that would ACTUALLY help ensure that criminals and sick people don’t have such easy access to weapons of mass destruction, but I think gun control proponents also have to consider that “banning AR15s” might not actually contribute to fewer mass shootings. It may just be a band aid on a gushing wound. Would banning certain weapons from law abiding citizens decrease shootings from people who intend to break the law? After all, we do have strictly enforced murder laws. How’s that working out?

        I also have been very curious where a leftist, gun control proponent’s mind goes when they hear about a terrorist taking out civilians with an automobile. Though I am desperate to reduce these school shooting in every way imaginable, I do also acknowledge, sadly, that horrible, sick people will find a way to hurt others and so selectively picking and choosing which weapons are deemed ok for law abiding citizens, and which are not is probably not the solution.

        Things I am for as a proponent of the 2nd amendment:
        Access to mental health care for all! YES YES YES.
        Waiting periods. Maybe the difference of a day or two would save a life!
        Background checks.
        Closing gun show loopholes.
        More love and kindness and compassion for the marginalized – and I know this is a wish of most Americans on all sides of the gun issue and political spectrum. There are a few people in media making us feel that we are more divided than we actually are. EVERYONE is sick over this issue. Everyone cares about kids being safe in schools.

        1. Thanks Natalee for your contributions to this dialogue. I used to live in Australia, where guns are legal for those that go through the proper checks, but the checks make it much more of a hassle to obtain, and for the most part only hunters now own them. This was not the case 50 years ago. Australia was very much like America and seemingly everyone owned a gun.

          Then in 1996 a mass shooting occurred in Tasmania. The people were outraged, the govt responded (led by a conservative prime minister), they made it illegal to buy, own, sell all automatic guns (and the systems to make reg guns shoot more/faster), created better background checks, waiting periods and mandatory training. And they’ve never had a mass shooting since.

          Yes, Australia is an island. Yes, it’s much easier to control what illegal items go in and come out of that country. Yes, it would be much easier to get illegal guns in through Mexico. But most guns don’t come from Mexico… they go TO Mexico! (Side note: Mexico had its bloodiest six months in recent time from June-Dec 2017 with 27k deaths related to drug trade. The vast majority of guns came from the US where it’s apparently easier to get a gun then Mexico!)

          The point is… taking away military style works. Making it harder and more difficult to own guns helps reduce the amount in our country.

          Australia had a volunteer gun take back program where citizens volunteered to give up their most deadly weapons. It took time. But it worked.

          We might not be able to fix this problem tomorrow, but if we at least start to try, by the time by son has kids, perhaps they’ll grow up in a different culture, a different mindset. If you’re 70 year old father wants to keep all his 30 guns, no problem, but make it harder for his grandkids to do the same, and maybe their grandkids just won’t care, bc they won’t know the difference.

          The truth is, everyone is right who says that if someone wants to obtain an illegal military style weapon will always be able to get one, regardless of legality. But that doesn’t mean we should make it so easy to do so. But not everyone has connections to ‘bad guys’, and if we making these changes means we can stop even one person from opening fire on a school full of children, then I’d say we won. It’d be worth it. So let’s get away from the ‘its Never gonna be perfect so let’s not even try’ mentality… and just do what we all agree needs to be done. Let’s take that first step. Progress happens slowly

          1. Canada isn’t an island. Gun control laws save lives, period.

        2. To your first point abt finding a solution that works but not knowing if banning AR-15s is the right fix: as a first step, we should repeal the Dickey Amendment, an NRA-backed amendment that blocks funding to CDC research abt gun safety. Allowing the CDC to do their jobs is how we’ll come up with a solution that isn’t just a bandaid. For example, CDC research abt car safet/accidents lead to seatbelts in cars being mandatory, and eventually lead to seatbelt laws…. the rate of car accident deaths went down (you can learn more on the cdc site).
          To your 2nd point about “leftists” (can we stop bucketing people into partisan groups… that might help us see each other as more similar than different) and terrorists running over people with cars: of course bad peoples will find a way, and sometimes it’s plowing a crowd with car, or using a knife, or a bomb, but more often than not, with much more frequency in the US, it’s guns. The mass murders at schools and movie theaters and concerts are carried out with such efficiency bc of guns. If we start seeing an influx of intentional mass-car-murders NEARLY DAILY (bc that’s how often mass shootings are happening in the US), then let’s work on a solution for that, too!!

      2. Hi Katie! Thanks for your thoughts – so well written and they are helping me to understand as well. I grew up in CA but now live in Michigan – we’re now on the border of both a v liberal and v conservative area so the issue is coming up more. I was curious about your husbands comment re: Chicago and wanted to pass that on – I know it’s been an oft-quoted point but really doesn’t hold water because (1) the laws in Chicago were relaxed in 2013 and it was only in 2015 when the biggest recent % increase happened – and (2) Chicago is really close to Wisconsin and Indiana which both have very weak gun laws. Here’s the article: . Also – thank you to everyone for motivating me to talk to my Congressman – he’s super conservative and I feel like it’s a waste of time bringing this issue up to him but I am reenergized to reach out. Anything we can do to decrease the frequency and severity of gun violence is a good thing. And THANK YOU to Emily for starting this dialogue.

        1. Thank you for this re Chicago. As a Chicagoan, these constantly cited reference points that are totally wrong are so frustrating. For the record, I’m a fairly left-leaner on most issues, but my husband (a former cop) owns several guns (including formerly an AR-15 before we moved to Chicago) and has his concealed carry permit. He often drives through some unsafe neighborhoods and is a real estate agent who has to meet people he may not know at strangers houses in all kinds of neighborhoods. I’m glad he has a gun on him at those times. However, he is an expert marksman who is properly trained and I have full confidence that he could actually defend himself with that weapon without injuring himself or innocent bystanders or empowering the attacker (as so often happens with guns when people don’t really know how to use them). I believe this level of skill and training and extensive background checks should be required in order to obtain a concealed carry permit or to obtain a semi-automatic rifle of any kind (AR-15s just look scary – their firing action and lethality is the same as so many other semi-automatic rifles that would not commonly be thought of as “assault rifles”). Full background checks (no loopholes), waiting periods and a minimum gun safety/markshmanship course should be a prerequisite to any gun ownership. I myself have no desire to have a concealed carry permit nor own an AR-15 but I do think that if you’ve demonstrated the skill and training (and passed the background checks) to have one then it should be permitted. Most would not be able to do so and ownership of same would be greatly reduced.

  8. I truly believe the VAST majority of Americans believe in common sense gun control. Whenever i read outlandish comments on social media I have to wonder if these are written by bots intended to make us feel more divided than we actually are.

    Thank you for not hiding from this topic. It’s so scary. I just registered my sweet baby boy for MIDDLE SCHOOL. As I walked through the large and intimidating ‘new-to-us” campus, I cannot tell you the thoughts that ran through my mind. 🙁

  9. I am very liberal and have the same questions. Brene Brown has a great piece on her stance as someone who grew up around guns and believes in the right to gun ownership, yet supports gun control. She makes the point that we have this overly simplified idea that anyone who supports gun rights must support the NRA and be against gun control, which is a false narrative we create (and one I know I have bought into). You can read it here:

    1. Excellent piece, Kelly – thanks for linking.

    2. Thanks for linking to this–I was going to try to find it to post here, as I also found it to be a helpful article for reframing how we think about this topic. I personally have no guns and advocate for much stricter gun control, but I also know that we have to learn to listen to each other, from our opposite sides, and this article helps with that.

    3. In a similar vain to the oversimplified idea that “pro-gun means anti gun control,” there’s an assumption that anyone who is for gun control wants to take away/melt all the guns, which is just as harmful and untrue of an assumption. I tried to open a dialogue with a pro-gun, pro-nra family member about how all my “anti-gun” liberal friends in my liberal Seattle bubble don’t actually want to take away all the guns, and my very respectful comments basically started a family war.

  10. Will be checking back for comments. Thanks for taking the time to think about this subject and approach it in a calm, intelligent way. You’re brave!

  11. I am a gun owner (and gun hater) and a HUGE supporter of gun control. I grew up in Alabama in a house where there where guns. My mother was a law enforcement officer. Everyone I knew (but my family) hunted. I now live in RI and we do have a gun in the house, only because we live in a rural area with farm animals. However, that gun is in a locked case, in a locked room, separated from ammo. We have no children to worry about, but ANYTIME friends with a child will be coming over, I always reach out to them before hand and let them know that we own a gun and how it is kept. It should be their right to not have their child in a house with a gun if they do choose. No one needs to own a high powered gun and no one should own a gun that has the capacity to kill hundreds of people in mere moments (which is what automatic weapons with large capacity clips enable). In fact, it is the only thing those guns are meant to do. And yes, there are definitely issues involving mental health to be addressed, but there are people with mental health issues everywhere, yet we are the only country with these kinds of mass shootings. We should be able to talk about mental health AND gun control. We have got to make it harder for people to get these guns in their hands. This reality is terrifying.

    1. As a mother of two I commend you for your openness. My oldest is about to be 4 and I am dreading having to talk to all of his friends parents regarding if they have guns and where they are kept as well as the bullets.

      1. We don’t own guns, I have family members who do, I don’t know why but it had never even occurred to me that I should talk to my kids about what they should do if they come across a gun at someone else’s home. We will be doing that immediately. We love in Texas so the likelihood of their friends parents having guns is high.

        1. In my opinion, no responsible gun owner should be offended by a parent who asks these questions. Guns aren’t toys – they were literally invented to kill. As a parent, your job is to keep your children safe; of COURSE you should know about guns. Just my humble opinion, but I’d be worried about the houses with guns where someone gets bent out of shape when asked. When you feel confident that your gun is truly secured in a way that keeps others from harm, it isn’t a question that bothers you. And kudos to all of you parents for treading through this new reality with so much bravery. You’ve 100% got the hardest job out there.

      2. Whitney- I have a while before my baby is four, but the conversation about guns with her future friend’s parents is something that’s on my mind. Is this a normal part of “school-friend etiquette” now? Like, “Oh, Sarah invited you over…let me call her mom and see if they have any guns…”

        Me: “Hi Sarah’s mom, I’m sure you’re super nice, do you own guns? Is the ammo out of reach?” This is super foreign territory for me.

        Jess- THANK YOU for telling parents about this. I really appreciate it.

        1. I have elementary school aged boys and when they have a play date at a new house asking if there is a firearm kept in the home is now part of my standard exchange. For example, yes, my son would love to come over. He still sits in a booster seat so let me know if you need a spare one for the drive home. He doesn’t have any allergies and do you keep a gun in your home?

        2. My children are 9 & 11 and I’ve asked many times. I also ask about working smoke detectors before sleepovers.

        3. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened because there was a gun in my house. And I’m not naive enough to believe it could never happen to me, so we take every step possible to create a safe environment.

      3. Whitney, your comment really opened my eyes to all the ways that guns have an impact on life as a mama in the US – this particular one had never occurred to me but of course you’d have to have these type of conversations with other families so regularly. Must be so hard but good on you. I live in Australia, we have enough fears for our children here, and obviously I can’t properly understand what the climate is like in the US, the background and entitlement that people have towards owning guns. It just seems to me that you could argue all day that these guns are designed to protect, to make people feel safe, that most people who own them are rational but the reality is that these guns, repeatedly, are being used to kill in mass shootings, with children – children who deserve our protection – so often the victims. How can you argue for something that keeps you feeling safe when the cost is so many children’s lives, their actual safety? If so many parents, and so many kids, are feeling this fear every day – a totally warranted fear – over something that can be changed… Keep on fighting is all I can say. Gun owners might shout about needing to feel safe… but the rest of you, and especially kids just going to school, deserve that too.

    2. Jess, I don’t know why your comment made me cry, but thank you for being so responsible and considerate.

    3. Jess, thank you and yes to telling your friends. our kids are so young that they haven’t gone to a friends house whom we don’t know REALLY well and know they don’t have a gun, but its something that Brian and i have spoken about. Do we text them really quick and say ‘hey, just a quick Q – do you have a gun in the house?”. Probably … Thank you for doing that. xx

      1. There was a case here recently in Michigan where a woman who ran a home daycare of all things, had guns, and of course a toddler shot another toddler. I Was so livid when I saw this on the news. It has not occurred to me before this, but apparently you need to ask the people who watch young children FOR A LIVING if they have guns in their homes.

      2. I have been thinking about this as well! My son is 6 and asking other people about this seems like an easy thing I can do for his safety. I was appreciative of Glennon Doyle’s post on this (she is an encourager if using her words if you need them!)

        And thanks for posting about this. I’m with you in ideology and am finding it very educational to read about women gun owners and their perspective. I live in Indiana and am appalled at our lax gun laws but am finding it hard to vote my conscience because our congresspeople often run unopposed 😞 I also work in a high school so this issue is very much on my mind all time. Peace to you!

      3. Yes! You just text them and ask! And when new friends come over to our house I volunteer the info that we don’t own a gun and all our pharmaceuticals are stored properly away from the children’s reach.

        1. My daughter is 2.5, so we’re also at the “young enough she’s never at someone we don’t know REALLY well’s house”, but I screenshot a momsdemandaction insta post a few weeks ago to save that was a text convo between two moms as their kids are preparing for a sleepover: “Just FYI…Michael has a dairy allergy. Not life threatening, but we avoid all dairy. I always have to ask, if you have guns in the home, are they secured?” I thought it was a great way to keep what could be a bit of an awkward conversation very non-accusatory. I HATE that this is the world our children are growing up in. I hope they are the ones who finally decide to make some change and realize “we don’t have to live like this.”

  12. My husband and I are almost 30 and we do have a gun and two young boys. We felt we just needed one to keep in our home for our safety. I’ve only shot it once, and once was enough for me, it’s a frightening feeling. In my opinion there should be stricter laws and I hope there will be someday. I didn’t even want to take my son to school on Thursday, I was afraid and honestly I am still.

  13. I just can’t understand why an AR 15 should ever be sold to a civilian. I grew up shooting guns at my grandfathers house in the mountains and my step dad was a hunter and kept his guns in a locked safe. But I have 3 small children and would never ever want a gun in my home. The accidents that happen with them are almost as haunting as the mass shootings. I’m also not opposed to people in their right mind being allowed to own a gun for protection but I don’t know where those lines should be drawn. I can’t help but wonder what happened to that boy in his life that made him do that. Hurt people, hurt people. We are failing as a nation in so many ways and I believe many of those ways start in our own homes. “If you want to save the world, go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

    1. Thank you for being the first person to acknowledge this young man’s brokenness. My heart is broken for him as well as for everyone who lost a child or loved one on Wednesday. We’ve given up on civility in so much of this country, and it looks like we are giving up on caring for those who are marginalized by mental health issues- unless it’s politically expedient or a horrific incident has occurred.

      The below article is not recent to the Valentine’s shooting, but its message resonated with me, because I don’t think we’ll ever get significant movement on gun control in this country. So what can I- just me- do about this? This article convicted me. And every one of us can do what the author suggests.

      Finally, my son is now a fine adult man, but he suffered from severe depression in middle school. Eventually we learned he had been systematically bullied by a trio of boys at the expensive, private Christian school he attended. For 2 years! We worked with him for another year to help him develop “strategies” to combat the bullying (because, in retrospect, we were IDIOTS) before we finally moved him to another school. But at one point after his belongings were vandalized and ripped to shreds while he practiced baseball, I thought to myself “I can totally understand how a hurt, angry young man could come to a school with a gun and take out a bunch of kids. I totally see how that happens.” It terrified me. We spent thousands on therapy and years in prayer to help our son reach a place of wholeness and recovery from those wounds. But I fear we are the exception, not the rule.

      Again, thank you for acknowledging the brokenness.

      1. Great post, thank-you. Glad your son is doing well!

  14. I do own a gun and when I say I, I mean my husband went and bought it. But I do not think AR-15’s should be available to the general public. We have a small hand gun we keep in our bedroom dresser ( we don’t have kids) we keep it for strictly safety reasons, my husband gave me a short lesson at a gun range and I’ve shot it one time ( scared me) but just so I would know how to use it if the worst case was to happen. We don’t tell people we have it nor is it something we see as a pride thing or something to brag about it is strictly there for if someone were to ever break in our home to cause us harm!

    1. I totally get that. If I weren’t totally terrified of them because they have been stigmatized pretty solidly in my brain, but we feel safe in our community and I realize that that is a privilege. I know that having a big home security system is not something everyone can afford. Feeling secure is so important.
      I guess the irony is that by others feeling secure by being able to have a gun it has it caused many of us to feel insecure when we drop our kids off at school. I know its not the same, but while guns make some feel safe its important to know that guns make many of us feel extremely unsafe. I’m not scared of you, because you are responsible but the fact that its legal to those that aren’t safe makes me feel really unsafe. Its an interesting debate. I think guns make us less safe, but I recognize that it makes many other people feel safe. Seems like the best thing to do is to ban the guns that cause the most harm to others. If that guy had a handgun likely 1/2 of the kids would be shot. THAT is a big difference. if it reduces the death at all then why not just try? (Taya I’m not really talking to you, i know you know this .. i’m just writing my general thoughts for others that are reading). thank you for sharing. xx

    2. I’m in a similar situation. My husband has a pistol that his father gave him (I guess that means that I own it too). I’ve never shot it, and I don’t know how to use it. We also have a rifle and a Civil War gun for reenactments. Those guns are about the same size as me (I’m 5 ft even), so I would never be able to use them because they’re so heavy. I have no interest in owning a gun or even shooting one, but my husband feels safer with a gun in the house.

  15. Thank you for doing these kinds of posts. I think as a society, we’ve forgotten how to just talk to each other. A platform like this, without labels or politics—just a conversation is where we need to begin!

    My husband and I own a handgun which we keep in a safe that is hidden and only accessible by fingerprint. I never had guns growing up but my husband travels for work a lot and I was always nervous staying home alone. That’s why we have it, and I do think that everyone should have the option to protect their homes with a gun (if they choose to).

    As for automatic weapons, I don’t understand the need to own one. They aren’t necessary for home protection.

    I’ve heard a lot of people say that they won’t be told what they can or can’t own because of other people’s mental health issues. This is a bit troubling to me, and something I don’t quite understand. If it’s not necessary for protection, are you really not willing to give up a hobby in an attempt to create a safer environment? I 100% believe that is primarily a mental health issue but mental health issues aren’t always able to be fixed. I still believe that we DO need to address the mental health issues in our country (everyone is SO angry!!) but can’t we try common sense laws too? I’m so tired of people complaining and arguing but nothing changes. We need to try SOMETHING, ANYTHING!

    1. agree, completely. this statement you said: “If it’s not necessary for protection, are you really not willing to give up a hobby in an attempt to create a safer environment?” is what we say all the time. there is nothing i love enough that i wouldn’t give up if I thought that less children would die. period.
      thank you 🙂

  16. Love this post and the dialogue it will inspire – just wish you would have added one more question. If you ARE a gun owner/NRA member and believe in more restrictions, are you advocating for them by ing congress? Why or why not?

    1. Thank you lexie. Adding that to the post. I wrote it in , but i think its SUPER important for people who live in states that have looser laws and who support the right to own a gun to help make the change. In California I do feel like there’s nothing I can do. We have the strictest gun laws in the nation (don’t quote me on that, but its close) so i’m like what can I do? And to be clear, there are still shootings here.

      1. Riiighht, so doesn’t the fact that CA has the strictest gun laws in the nation make you think “Hmmm, maybe gun restriction isn’t the heart of the problem”.

        (Note, genuine question, not meant to be sarcastic or rude)

        1. restrictions are not the heart, definitely. but tighter restrictions wouldn’t hurt. how could more restrictions HURT? it seems like a good place to start. Its kinda a ‘why not try?’ situation. If it reduces the deaths by 1/3rd then that is enough. Why not start there?

          If the government were to buy back AR15s and M16s for $1500 a piece and then make them illegal (but legal for those who chose not to sell back) I think we’d see a difference over time. they have become so popularized and they are so in our collective conscious. Lets remove them from the top of the the news, take that option almost totally away and see if things change. WHY NOT? Australia did it …

          1. Last night, Saturday, in Maryland, a candidate running fora state delegate seat held a gun bingo fundraiser where he gave away several guns including an AR15. The event was sold out and those lucky enough to attend got to get drunk at Dave and Busters and try to win the same type of assault rifle that just killed 17 people. Bring the kids!

  17. I personally don’t love guns but we do own some. My husband likes guns. He thinks they are cool and likes to use them to shoot targets and occasionally goes hunting. I was against us owning any and having them in my home until we had a scary incident in the middle of the night. We thought someone was trying to break in ( it ended up being some friends playing a not very funny prank) BUT the feeling of hopelessness to defend ourselves against someone who might be breaking in to harm us was so scary. The only thing we had to defend ourselves was basically a lamp. After that night I gave my husband the ok to buy a hand gun. I think it is important to keep guns legal to buy because if you make them illegal the bad guys will still have a way to get them. The same way they can still get drugs illegally but then the good guys will be left without guns and without anything to protect themselves. That being said I think there is no reason for the public to have access to any semi automatic guns or anything that these shooters are using to kill a large amount of people. There should be no need for that type of guns. I also think stricter laws to get guns so that mentally ill people can’t get them would be best; I just don’t know how you would go about the screening and how it could be done.

    1. do your friends know they scared you so bad you decided to buy a gun? hopefully your friends won’t be pulling that prank again now that you can protect yourselves. this reminds me of the story where a man killed his daughter’s boyfriend because he was sneaking around the house in the middle of the night… that’s so heartbreaking.

    2. Thank you for this thoughtful response. I’m curious; if you’d owned the gun when your friends had pulled the prank, it seems likely that you would have drawn the gun and pointed it at them. Does that scare you? That you could have accidentally shot someone who is an ally?

      1. Interesting point. I’m curious why more people who use handguns for protection don’t have a home security system? Some are expensive, but many aren’t. More and more are coming out that trigger insane loud sirens and call the police immediately. I know i’m fantasizing here, but if our government cared about normal people at all (which is clear they don’t, re public education, healthcare, prison system, and general economic disparity) then that might be a write-off or perhaps they (the government) could work with a private company that could reduce the cost of the system – almost like solar energy. Less home invasions + less guns = a more confidant and secure community that would surely have less crime (think of higher end neighborhoods with far less home invasions because they have security). If home security is an issue for many people then perhaps there is a better solution that would create more security (when my alarm is on I’m NOT scared when i hear a noise because I know if a window or door was triggered the sound would be insane). But perhaps if I didn’t have that resource my insecurity would indeed make me want a gun for security. I think its an interesting idea to think about and thank you so much for sharing (and i empathize with needing to feel safe – like I said in a previous comment, its actually crucial to our psychology to feel safe in order to be successful as a person.) I want us all to feel safe.

        1. Very anti-gun here, but something I just thought about reading this last comment is that not everyone owns their home or has the ability to install something like a security system if they rent, so perhaps a gun is, quite literally, a more portable security solution? I certainly have lived in many situations where a landlord wouldn’t install a system and I definitely wasn’t going to make the investment myself. I do get a discount on my home owner’s insurance because I have a security system, which is nice.

          I live in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood that has some amount of property crime, (stuff getting stolen off of porches or backyards, etc), and something I always wonder about in the “gun as intruder security” argument is…at what point would you feel comfortable using the gun? When someone’s in your backyard snooping around? When someone is actively breaking into your house but not inside? When someone’s in your bedroom? When someone has a gun pointed at you? I’m honestly REALLY curious about this answer and think about it a lot. And like, would I be okay with potentially killing another human who is stealing my succulents or bike? I personally would not, but I realize other people may feel differently.

          1. I live in Florida, and am the parent of a teenager preparing to go to college. If you don’t live here, you may not be aware of how very disturbing our gun laws are. Stand Your Ground, the current debates and possible legislation to allow guns on college campuses, etc. If you are the parent of a teenager, you should be painfully familiar with the potential horrible decision making that goes on even in the minds of otherwise intelligent, well-educated, conscientious teens and young adults. Their brains just don’t work that way yet. Add in stress, lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, and alcohol or drug abuse etc., and voila, all the mistakes you look back on and wonder how you survived high school and college. Add an unsecured weapon, perhaps by a parent that thinks “my kid would never do that” and bad things happen. And I really have to scratch my head at adults who can’t comprehend or be bothered with complying with some type of stricter legislation over the current laws we have because it would hamper their enjoyment of a hobby practiced for purposes of entertainment. Guns are a tool for hunting, sport (I have really enjoyed watching the Olympic biathlon), and workplaces like farms or ranches. Shooting massive rounds of ammunition as fast as possible for fun is a perversion of the intention of a weapon meant to kill animals and people, and a failure to recognize the responsibility that comes with owning a gun.

        2. Having an alarm system that calls the police immediately – this is reliant on the belief that the police can come help you immediately.
          My in-laws are staunch pro-gun, pro-NRA people who live in a very rural place and own a ranch. They have an alarm system on their house, but first responders are a very long drive away. My father in law also regularly has to shoot and kill fox/skunks etc who are on his property to kill his chickens. He also has fear of wolves attacking his cows. Police and alarm systems are not going to help him here, and defending his livestock is defending his ability to feed his family and his income. This mentally that it is up to him and the tools he has to defend himself and his property is of course going to leak into his entire belief system about gun control and safety.
          I bring this up because we have people who have no experience with guns beyond watching violent tv shows or movies or terrorizing news stories and are deeply afraid of them. We also have people in this country that have been around guns their whole life and they are imbedded in their lifestyle. Both are American values. Trying to understand the “other” point of view more deeply (for both sides!) , to really find common ground and allow the “other” to feel validated in their views is so necessary to make the changes we need to make in our country and it is very difficult because the issues are so emotional and our social media and news outlets are terrible places for nuance. This comment thread has been incredible!

          1. I live rurally in Australia, and lots of farmers here have guns for the very reason US farmers have guns. Our buy back system did not eradicate guns. Guns are not banned, as the NRA seems to want to suggest. But everyone who owns a gun has to go to a course and pass a test to ensure that they know how to use a gun safely. Their license is then obtained after a police check, and you must also state why you need a gun and where you intend to shoot it. If you intend to shoot pest animals at a farm you need to demonstrate you own a farm, and keep the gun in a locked specific firearm cabinet, which is checked by police. If you shoot at a range, then the gun is kept at the range. This means there are pretty much no guns loose in the system apart from those stolen.

            So if there is a mentally unstable person, its pretty hard for them to get their hands on a gun. And if they want to attack you, I’d rather face off with someone carrying a knife, than a gun. Yes, we do have gun theft, which are sold on the black market. Penalties for having a stolen gun are incredibly steep. And, like domestic violence, shootings here are of bad guys killing bad guys. The only accidental killing tends to be, you guessed it, on farms when they are out shooting foxes, pigs or what have you.

            Basically, gun ownership is for those that need guns and no one needs one for safety because you should never be threatened with a gun.

        3. Emily, this is a really interesting point. My husband and I own a handgun but do not have a security system. We just bought our first house so I honestly haven’t even thought of the question you just asked until now. I was thinking though, if I knew someone had broken in, and I didn’t have a gun, I think I would be panicked. I’m sure that the loud sounds would be a deterrent for most, but what if someone was really there to harm you? Also, I’ve read that emergency response times have averaged 20 minutes in places. I’m sure that number varies, and in some cases (maybe more rural areas), the response time could take even longer. If criminals are aware of this, do you think they would be deterred from sounds, or do you think they would finish the job they came to do?

          I saw a post from someone in another country mention how the US is such a fear based society—and we really are! That one comment really made me wonder how much of this “hype” to protect ourselves is in our heads. I still think I’d rather keep our handgun but this is definitely good for thought…

        4. A dog is also a good option. They can be trained to bark and be menacing toward strangers but be gentle with a family. (Like an alarm, it’s a deterrent.) I was robbed in the middle of the night with my husband gone and two babies in my bed. The intruder literally broke the front door down through the deadbolt. He was wearing gloves and camouflage clothing and demanded to know where my purse was. He went through all my bedroom drawers while I was on the phone with 911. When the cops arrived, they took his description and had the K-9 unit tracking him. This was in an affluent CA neighborhood (Bay area) and this is what the cop told me: “Buy a gun and use it. If the person is off your property when he goes down, drag him back on before you call us.” No lie. We got a trained Rottweiler instead and always felt safe. One day I ran out for an errand and left my unscreened windows open as per usual. I came home to find the UPS man cornered in my yard. Our protector had jumped out a window and kept the intruder motionless until I got home and told him it was okay. Yikes. (I am still anti-gun and would never have one in my home.)

          1. Cynthia-with-Rottweiler, I love your story (and your position on guns). When we bought our house we got a security system, then a year or so later got two 40-lb dogs. One day while we were at the movies our back door blew open (old house with old door), setting off the alarm system. The cops left us a note stating that they tried to investigate but they didn’t enter our fenced yard due to the “3 large dogs.”

            The fact that my 2 medium-sized dogs made enough of a racket and seemed vicious enough that the cops didn’t want to mess with them gave me all the peace of mind I needed. We cancelled the alarm system shortly thereafter. Supposedly, just the presence of a dog or dogs is enough to deter most burglars.

      2. We talk a lot about the theory of using guns for home protection. Could some people share how they themselves have successfully used a gun for protection against an intruder? What happened? How was the gun stored safely (away from children) but easily accessable in an emergency? What kind of gun did you have, and did the power of the gun help you in the situation? I do ask only for personal stories as I imagine that these kind of heroism stories can be quickly stretched after going trough a few people.

        I also welcome ‘unsuccessful’ examples, but that’s not really the aim of the question.

        The need for daily personal physical protection is so foreign to me that some actual examples would open my eyes. Writing all this makes me realize how lucky I am…

        Also, I can identify with many of the comments in this post. For those who own guns who don’t feel comfortable to speak up, could you maybe just leave a quick note if we’ve simply widened our echo chamber to include some liberal gun owners? Or if these are broadly felt beliefs? Asking because many of the comments here seem to be in contradiction with those of their own spouse/family/friends and so closely aligned with my own.

        Thanks again all, I’m waiting with baited breath for your replies

        1. Use of a gun in a home invasion for personal protection is exceedingly rare, and according to a wealth of data, gun ownership makes inhabitants less safe. From one study: “For every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” Source:

    3. Hi Brooke, I just wanted to let you know that your one comment really stood out to me.

      “I think it is important to keep guns legal to buy because if you make them illegal the bad guys will still have a way to get them. The same way they can still get drugs illegally but then the good guys will be left without guns and without anything to protect themselves. ”

      I live in Australia and when they made all guns illegal back in the 90’s, this was my exact fear. Even though guns didn’t permeate our culture like they have in the US, I still didn’t like the idea that nasty people would have guns and good people wouldn’t.

      Now that our government took the bold step so long ago, I can attest that there wasn’t anything to worry about. We still have bikies and other ‘baddies’ that I know have guns, but on the whole they usually turn them upon each other rather than other people. This can be backed up by statistics that show we haven’t had a mass shooting since the guns were banned.

      I know people are really fearful of what could happen if guns were bought back in totality, but I can assure you from experience it leads to a much safer environment.

    4. And if you had owned a gun at that point, you may have accidentally shot one of your friends out of fear.


  18. Not sure if this link will work, but hopefully. My husband said its a good speech. He also feels like gun control will only make that the good guys can’t get guns, the bad guys will find a way to get them not matter what laws are made.

    1. I really appreciate your comment and sharing that video and my reaction to it is not a criticism on you or your husband – its with the guy who spoke in that video. I think you should know that I don’t think that video is truthful. First off, it was cut to look like it was at a joint session of congress with cuts to congressmen/women reacting. He is a conservative you-tuber that probably gave a speech somewhere but someone cut it to look like he was addressing congress to give his words more authority. Even worse, his thesis is that there are two kinds of people in this world – ‘predators’ and ‘prey’, and that taking guns out of the hands of ‘prey’ would be like cutting off the horns or a gazelle amidst a fight with a leopard. Its an extremely problematic argument that first off says that there are two kinds of people in this world ‘predator’ and ‘prey’, which i fundamentally don’t agree with (who gets born what and why?). Secondly it assumes that the ‘predator’ always has the power and the prey doesn’t, from the get go, which propagandizes paranoia and perpetuates reactionary culture. Its easy and fun to make huge inflammatory analogies, but its not accurate and its totally misleading (not to mention false). This video, shared 558k times is a terrifying example that we believe what we are fed (the left does this just as often), and that one person, in front of a green screen with a dramatic analogy and a confidant voice can spread a message which helps form many others opinions on guns and violence. I’m completely open to the ideas of others, I hope you know. I also know that we are caught up in our lives and its hard to research the source and make sure that what we are watching and spreading is not only accurate but is in fact the message that should be read, watched and heard. But tell your husband that this speech is meant to fool and inflame others and the real question is WHY?

  19. It seems to me that if someone wants to harm others, he/she will find a way. If one gun becomes unavailable, they’ll just use something else. We have a deeper issue here than gun control, a heart issue. We have turned away from a God who is love, acceptance, moral, good, and respecting of human life. Without Him comes depression, sadness, lack of respect for human life, anger, etc. As a society, we need to raise a generation that returns to parenting with these values. So many of the shooters have dealt with horrible childhoods. I can’t stress enough the value of good parenting combined with the love of God.

    1. This is true. We recently lived in London and there people are getting stabbed as they don’t have as easy access to guns. The most recently terror attacks involved machetes b/c that is what they could get. If you want to cause harm, you will use what you can find.

      1. Yes, if someone wants to harm someone they will find a way, but I would rather come up against a knife than a gun. Imagine if those terrorists with machetes had had easy access to assault rifles – the death toll could have been considerably higher. And organised groups of terrorists are, in my opinion, a completely different thing to the unhinged individual who can buy a gun and shoot his school ‘friends’ (term used loosely) for whatever reason he/she thinks justified. I am 100% against guns. And yes, I’m British.

      2. Sure, people that want to cause harm will cause harm. But that harm will be significantly less than that inflicted with a weapon like the AR-15. Making laws to make it more difficult to purchase guns like these would make it at least a LITTLE bit harder for those that do want to cause harm. If we could make it even a tiny bit harder for them why wouldn’t we? Another idea that I’ve heard over the years is making it similar to something like DRIVING, for which you need a license, take a test, renew that license, etc. Are gun owners opposed to this??

        I recently read (an older) piece about the history of the NRA and how it started:
        “The NRA, which started as a group to help people improve their marksmanship in 1871, became more heavily politicized in the late 1970s, when newer NRA members decided to focus more on halting gun control legislation instead of recreational hunting and safety training.”


        Obviously, the organization has changed greatly over the years and I know when these debates come up we always lump all NRA members into one category but that’s obviously not the case. What do more NRA members think? Why don’t they demand change?

        And if the NRA lobby is so powerful due to all the funds they pump into candidates campaigns, lobbying, etc., is the answer to OUTSPEND them?? Can we create an ANTI-NRA? or something with more gun regulations in mind? Celebrities/rich people of the world are you listening??

        1. But these celebrities/rich people you speak of, these politicians who want to ban guns from the average person, guess what’s protecting them? Guns! Sure, they’re not carrying them personally, but they have bodyguards, secret service agents who do. They’re protected and their kids are protected, but WE don’t need that for us or our kids.

        2. Yes I think this all the time about your spending question! When our politicians can be bought we are really in a heap of trouble. I think overturning Citizens United was disastrous. Here’s a link to the top congresspeople and their NRA money:

      3. Yeah, but you can’t stab 20 people in 2 minutes.

    2. But the difference is SO obvious – with a knife or machete you will most probably be able to harm only one person at a time, or a few people in an attack (and it might be possible, even for unarmed bystanders, to intervene)!!

    3. Our family is religious and I am personally totally on board with society making moves more toward traditional religious values, but I really don’t think that is 1( realistic at this point or 2) at the heart of the problem. Loads of “godless” countries don’t have the kinds of problems with mass shootings that America does. It feels too fatalistic to just say bad people will find a way. I do think that’s true to a point, but if there are things we could be doing to decrease the likelihood of these things happening even a little bit, shouldn’t we be doing every single one of them, like, immediately!?

      1. every single small way of reducing death should be done. full stop. I agree. why not try?

    4. Hi K, I do believe in a society that values love, acceptance, moral, good, and respecting of human life, and think many societal ills stem from humans who aren’t being showered in these things. However, lack of God does not cause depression, sadness, lack of respect for human life, anger, etc. Some of the most wonderful humans I know are do not believe in God. Some of the most wonderful people I know believe in an entirely different God than the one you pray to. It is fully possible to raise a generation with fantastic values, without God. Equating non-religious people with immoral acts is very closed minded and ignorant.

      1. Thank you, Anna, so well said.

    5. You can dig a foundation for a house with a spoon, but it’s a lot quicker and easier to use an excavator.

      You could kill 100 people with a knife, but it’s a lot quicker and easier to use a gun.

      A tool is a tool and of course it takes a person to use it – but some tools are just better than others, and guns are the best killers out there – efficient, easy and accessible.

  20. I’m anti gun, but I can understand people’s rights to owning one. I would just think that in this decade we could make it harder to but them then it is to buy Sudafed! This was a wonderful way to open up dialogue bc all I keep asking is “who are the people that think automatic weapons should be on the market” I truly don’t think there can be anyone who could think they should be, which brings me to my next thought. Why the heck can’t we reform that – start there it seems so simple.

    1. turns out at least this group of people, the ones who own guns, want more gun control. I think that its a microcosm for society. We only hear the voices that are terrifyingly offensive which makes us want to ban all guns. So kudos to all of you who are creating a progressive dialogue. xx

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  22. I’ll be brave and answer as a household with guns including an AR15. We own these for protection, but hope and pray they never have to be used. They are weapons that need to be treated with respect. I grew up in a household with guns for this purpose and was taught to use them properly at a range. I can clearly remember this time a police helicopter was circling our house looking in the woods surrounding it for a suspect and my father getting out his gun and sitting on the back porch. He is the most mellow man I know, but felt genuine fear for his family. Did he want to use it? No, of course not. Did he hope the sight of him and his gun would ensure this criminal didn’t try to break into our house and create a hostage situation? Absolutely. I believe the sight of gun can be a big enough deterrent and you don’t actually need to use it. However, if you do get out a gun in a situation where you feel an extreme threat for your life, you do have to be prepared to use it. It’s not a toy. If you own one, I believe you need to be fully trained to use it. I don’t really feel ‘powerful’ when I hold one either. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s more like reverence mixed with a little fear. Do I enjoy shooting them at a range? Yes, actually I do, but it’s not because I feel powerful. It’s more the mental and physical challenge to aim and hit the target. I don’t know any responsible gun owner who thinks, ‘wow, I can’t wait to shoot someone.’ And honestly, I don’t know that I would be able to shoot someone. If I had to (meaning threat to my own/children’ lives are imminent), I’d aim to injure and hope to get justice through the legal system. Owning a gun is not something I take lightly and think there should be tighter laws. A waiting period is not a big deal. A background check is not a big deal. A check to ensure you are mentally sound, maybe like recent dr visit? Great. What about some sort of training required like what is required to have a concealed weapons permit? Absolutely. You should be able to prove that you know how to use it and care for it responsibly.

    As for the AR15, it was something my husband built from parts for fun. Most of my family also own them. They are hunters, but we are not. Do I think they need to be outlawed completely? Not really. They are just a rifle that looks scarier. They are not fully automatic. They fire the same as an semi-automatic handgun. Yes, I know they hold more bullets, but they are also harder to conceal than a handgun which could do just as much damage. Would I care if owning one required even more extensive checks than handguns? Not at all. Unfortunately banning guns in this country isn’t the answer or even possible. We have gone too far. Too many guns are out there and while law abiding citizens would turn in their weapons, the criminals wouldn’t. It just is too late. It is not too late for other changes and I hope I see them in my lifetime. I don’t want my children growing up being afraid.

    p.s. Also want to add that we do need more to help mental illness in this country. We need to remove stigmas and shame so people can get help. We need to more willing to speak up if we think someone is a danger to themselves or others. It’s not just mass shootings, but suicides as well. I remember hearing Rick Warren speak about his son who commited suicide with a gun bought illegally due to his mental illness. We need to change and be better as a nation.

    1. very well said. another “like” for me! defending yourself with a gun doesn’t mean you have to kill the person attacking you.

    2. The only difference between you and me is that your husband isn’t a hunter. Everything you said resonates with me. My husband also built an AR-15 from parts for fun, we shoot sporting clays for fun, I don’t feel “powerful” holding a gun but its rather the challenge of aiming at and hitting a moving target that I find enjoyable. I look at it the same way as, say, going to the driving range to hit golf balls.

      I couldn’t agree more with your second paragraph. AR-15s are just a “black rifle.” They’re scary looking. People use them for hunting, too (hogs, for instance). My shotgun is also “semi-automatic.” Even if it was a pump, I could still kill someone with it. I am all for increased regulations, increasing the difficulty of buying a gun, etc. I just think people can’t expect for these types of tragedies to stop if we do those things. There will always be a black market and the crazy person will always be able to get their hands on one. But I do believe it is worthwhile to do everything we can to make it more difficult for crazy, dangerous people to obtain these weapons.

      1. I agree with this post too. Tons of our friends do not own guns and I am genuinely curious what they (or those of you without guns) would do in a life threatening situation in your home? Hopefully we all will never have that problem but I want to be able to defend myself and my kids and my husband wants to be able to defend all of us should we ever be in a life threatening situation at home. Calling the police isn’t enough.

        1. I keep reading how afraid people are of intruders coming to their home. I live in East L.A. where there are gangs and frequent violent crimes (usually gang on gang). I don’t own a gun. I don’t know anyone who has had intruders come to their home with guns. How often do people find criminals coming to their house loaded with AR-15s? This isn’t the wild west. Everyone pro-gun seems to have this idea that their lives are going to turn in to a Wild West style shootout with the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in an arms race on their front lawn. The only time I hear about people attacking people with AR-15s is when a teenage boy decides to shoot up his high school. I’m sorry, but this rationale is just completely distorted by right wing radio and fear mongering. This level of paranoia is really disturbing.

          1. I completely agree with this post. Thank you for sharing. It has always been my opinion that I would rather risk my own well-being that live with the consequences that could potentially arise from owning a firearm. The number of unintentional gun related deaths is staggering. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels. I couldn’t live with myself If an accident occurred because of my own negligence. Just a personal opinion.

          2. Yes, Cheswick!! I also live in LA, different area, and we hear helicopters circling all the time looking for criminals, we have people break into cars on our street frequently, home invasion burglaries happen in the neighborhood sometimes. But I’ve never heard of anyone bursting through someone’s door with a gun. I’ve never heard of a home owner successfully defending him or herself with a gun. This is not reality. If it happens, it’s far less frequent than mass shooting where many people die in such a short amount of time.

          3. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
            It *seems* that most urbanites, where crime itself is higher, DON’T own the guns, but the folks in the rural areas are super concerned with violent home invasions, and I just don’t personally get it.

          4. Thank for this comment, I completely agree.

          5. Because you haven’t heard of it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t have to be an AR15 to kill you (that the intruder has). In a super safe suburb a man broke in my bedroom in the middle of the night. So now you’ve heard of it – it happens.

          6. Came here to say exactly THIS, so thank you.
            I don’t it either. Black market “criminals” aren’t committing these mass shootings. It’s nearly always white men with no criminal record who obtained them legally.

          7. I wouldn’t consider it paranoia. I don’t know many people whose houses have burned down at night; yet everybody has fire alarms. It’s a precaution, it’s a safety measure. It’s like carrying pepper spray when you’re a woman running alone on a semi-deserted road. Something could happen, and you need to be aware of that. Saying “it will never happen to me” just isn’t smart. Do you think the people who it DID happen to expected it?
            You don’t want or even expect it to happen; however, you’re prepared if it does. You don’t want to wait until it happens and then wish you could somehow protect yourself. Also, there are more than enough stories on the news of home invasions to make them a natural thing to fear.

          8. Katie – yes, of course people need to be able to defend themselves to some extent and of course things happen. But what is the tradeoff in having our children gunned down in cold blood in their schools?

            Your analogy of a fire detector is really lame. “I wouldn’t consider it paranoia. I don’t know many people whose houses have burned down at night; yet everybody has fire alarms. It’s a precaution, it’s a safety measure. ”

            A fire alarm has no downside – it doesn’t cause fires! Is letting everyone buy automatic weapons really a safety measure? Is it really making us safer? Yes, there are home invasions. You don’t need a semi-automatic weapon and unlimited ammo to fight off a home invader. How many home invasions are stopped by the owner winning a gunfight? There must be statistics and I’d love to know.

            When children have the ‘natural fear’ of going to school – something is very very wrong.

    3. Well said

      1. I wanted to reply to Traci re: urbanites vs rural. Part of the difference is self-reliance or time to help. When you live 15 minutes or more from your nearest neighbor, if something happens you need to be able to care for yourself. Or protect yourself. I’m not a gun fan. But we do have a rural cabin and at nights when I’m here alone I *do* think about how long it would take the police to get to me or how long it would take me to find someone who could help. I see the appeal.

      2. For all of the commenters who say that they keep a gun or guns in their home for protection or the feeling of protection, where do you keep your gun(s). For example, if the gun(s) are kept in a locked safe how would you be able to access them quickly enough to protect yourself from an intruder? And if you keep your guns accessible does that mean that you do not have children in the home or that you believe even young children can be trusted to learn gun safety? I am genuinely trying to understand how guns actually provide a homeowner with protection in the event of a nightmare scenario, ie a burglar, criminal, rapist or murder slipping into your home in the middle of the night while your family is sleeping. Is it just the feeling of protection that you get from having a gun or do you actually imagine that you (or one of your family members) would be able to disable an intruder with a gun?

        1. Our household is all adults/young adults who have grown up shooting, handling, and respecting guns from a young age. All guns are kept unloaded, out of reach of small children, but within easy reach of us, with ammo nearby. We all know which gun to grab, and where the ammo is. I have no doubt that if someone were to break into our house with the intent to do harm, that he would be met with at least one armed person. And yes, if it came down to shooting the bad guy to protect our loved ones, I have no doubt that we would do what had to be done.
          Of course, once the guy heard our German Shepherd, he’d be an idiot to come any farther.
          So yes, you pray it never happens that you have to take a life to save your loved ones, but home invasions happen A LOT. You have the comfort of knowing that you won’t be at the mercy of any monster who breaks in to do harm. You will be able to protect yourself.
          Also, it would take the cops at least 20 minutes to get to our house. I think people who live in urban settings overlook the fact that the police can’t always get to rural households in time.

      3. My best friend had a man come into her house through her unlocked door two minutes after she had left and held up her husband and infant son at gun point. It was still light outside and it was in a good neighborhood and a good part of town, Indiana for reference. The need to defend yourself is real, regardless of where you live. She now has a conceal carry and carries a gun with her.

    4. Jess, thank you for that comment. I think there is a lot of reality in your comment, much of which i’d like to deny. (are we too far gone?). But your perspective is enlightening. thank you 🙂

  23. I’m a gun owner by marriage, meaning my husband owns guns and therefore so do I. I have shot a few of his (including an AR-15) but have never bought one and have no desire to use one. He grew up hunting and that’s the main reason we own them. We do not fear for our lives as a result of a break in and really do not foresee any reason to ever use a gun on another person. If my husband did find himself needing to use one in self defense he would aim to harm – not kill. Also, from the time they are born, we push gun safety to our children. They will learn to respect guns and the power they possess.

    To a certain extent on regulations, yes. What scares me the most is private gun sales. We are not required to do any sort of background checking in our state, or even ask the age of the person buying from us should we decide to sell. I’m not sure what the answer is to this, personally I don’t see any reason why anyone who wants a gun should not have to obtain a permit, which are heavily regulated. That permit then should also be required for private sales.

    Your question about ARs…I don’t totally have an answer for. We used to own one, got rid of it because he didn’t hunt with it. It is nice to have when varmint hunting, something we do often in our area to keep them away from our animals, crops, home, etc. They’re lightweight and short, so easy to carry and easier to hit something on the move. With that being said, we no longer own one and are completely ok with never owning one again. My only concern with making them illegal is what will happen if pistols are the next weapon of choice? Will those be banned next? If we can find a way to balance regulations and compromise, I have no issues with the ban of semi automatic weapons.

    1. Janel, I agree that the same regulation should be for private sales. You seem like a really smart, realistic person so my plea is for you to be an advocate for the background checks that you say your state doesn’t have. You have a really good perspective on it all, and clearly respect guns while knowing that more regulations aren’t a bad thing. Talk to your friends. Chat them up and help encourage a culture of change. I honestly don’t think that anyone will go after handguns. We are too far away from that to consider. It would be like making wine illegal. Right now we are just trying to get meth out of the hands of kids (fine, i like a good hyper-analogy, too).

  24. My husband owns one gun, it has never left it’s case in the two years we have been married. It stays hidden and quite frankly nobody would know that we own it unless we chose to divulge that information. Once we have children it will be locked in a gun safe at all times, and when our children are old enough they will take a gun safety course and understand the dangers of guns, and furthermore how they can be handled safely.
    As a gun owner, YES I stand for tighter gun laws. Any individual who wishes to purchase a gun should be recorded, have a background check, and absolutely must take a gun safety course and proof of a safe place to store the gun. I also do not think we should have access to semi automatic or automatic weapons, and I think there should be restrictions on how many guns can be kept in a household.

    In any case of a total ban, it isn’t hard to see the ineffectiveness. I truly believe careful regulation is the answer. My house was burglarized on two separate occasions growing up. Mind you, I lived in a safe and relatively middle class neighborhood. At age 11 I was woken up on a Sunday morning by the sound of the intruder leaving our home with so many of our loved possessions. Talk about terrifying. I will rest easier knowing my husband and I are capable of protecting our future children and ourselves by any means necessary.

    1. Thanks, Maegan. That all makes sense and I totally appreciate your relationship with guns. Tell your friends. Encourage them that its ok to tighten laws, more background checks, etc. They may not believe me, but they will listen to YOU. And maybe when the next election happens they might vote for someone that aligns more with you. xx

  25. Please read this regarding your comments about the NRA

    1. That was interesting. I agree that blaming one organization doesn’t progress anything. After all they are people too and likely they are trying to do the best thing they know how to do. I don’t think the NRA is full of bad people. Our perspectives are just so skewed to our own reality. xx

  26. I think guns are dangerous and need to be heavily regulated like a car. We should require a license and training to get one. If a person has a mental health disability, he would not be able to own one. Licenses must be renewed annually.

    The idea that citizens should have guns to protect themselves from our government is not realistic. This isn’t 1875. If our government turns against our citizens, a gun is not going to save anyone.

  27. We live in Michigan, which is a big hunting state. Growing up we personally used it for hunting animals (mainly deer) to eat but my Dad was very conscious of safety and of course made me take ‘hunters safety’ courses. I am still hyper aware of the safety factor and triple check to make sure the gun is not loaded and the safety is on. Today my husband and I still have a few guns, I think he has a 22 and a shot gun. The 22 is for killing small animals that are a nuisance-either getting into our house or barn (we live in the country). And is bigger gun is for hunting, which he hasn’t done in a long time but it is put away safely from our children. I do think there should be tighter gun laws, and agree with Terra, I see no reason that anybody should be able to get automatic weapons or assault rifle type guns unless they serve in a public service that requires it but I don’t have a solution to how to do it. But many conservatives argue (or so i am told) that we need to be able to protect ourselves from government therefore we need to be able to have equal protection…

    1. I do think its interesting that gun sales are down since Trump has been in office. Does this mean that people are less worried about the threat of government? (I know why … less likely any regulations or bans will happen) I know that you, Adrienne, were just referencing your friends but I think that is an interesting point. People feel unsure and unsafe and therefore look to guns for protection and security. The irony is that now a lot of us feel insecure and unsafe right now and yet we don’t have guns to turn to because we are also anti-gun. So we are just kinda shit out of luck right now. We don’t feel safe in our own country (not on a day to day basis .. i mean existentially) and yet we don’t have a weapon to make us feel safer. I suppose thats why i’m talking about this -my hope is that through conversation i feel more armed and secure. Not sure I do, but I appreciate it so SO much. xx

  28. I live in London where NO ONE HAS A GUN, so no one has the need to protect themselves from guns! Not even police have guns :/ just tasers. So we don’t even need protection from Police.
    We haven’t had a mass shooting in my entire life time (I’m 25) and the word gun doesn’t even cross my mind EVER. Unfortunately there is a lot of propaganda in the media which supports guns, the NRA has definetely bought a lot of the media and is feeding you this story so civilians are also supportive. I think Americans should try and change their perspective on what a country without guns could be. As this will keep happening when you allow anyone, law of civilian to own guns.

    1. I understand your train of thought, but the UK has had it’s own mass murders involving guns in the last 25 years…Cumbria and Dunblane come to mind. Removing guns from a society does not prevent the mentally ill and/or angry people from obtaining firearms to do their deeds. The UK is a perfect example…unfortunately.

      AR-15’s are not high-powered, automatic weapons. If you ban them, sick people can commit the same damage with a .40 cal semi-automatic hand gun and a bag of loaded magazines. Will the government need to ban handguns, too? Then other hunting rifles? Where will it stop?
      How do you remove all of the weapons currently in existence?
      Law abiding citizens may turn in their weapons, but will criminals turn in theirs?
      How will you protect yourself if an armed burglar breaks into your house…if you think law enforcement can respond to your alarm system in time to save you, you might be disappointed.

      1. Hi Tracy.

        You are completely correct in saying that there have been mass murders involving guns in the UK in my/our lifetime.

        2,710 children have been killed by shootings in the US since 2014. Nearly 58000 people in total. In contrast, last year in the UK 26 people were killed by guns. That’s the highest since 1990, but for the sake of argument let’s assume the same number of people were killed in every year since 2014 – that’s around 105 deaths, as opposed to 58000.

        So I strongly disagree with you. The UK is a perfect example that it is far, far more difficult for mentally ill people to commit mass murder if they don’t have easy access to high powered weapons. It’s not impossible, and it never will be, but I think the statistics tell their own story.

      2. Tracy, you mentioned Dunblane, which is to date the only school shooting in UK history. After Dunblane, the parents of the victims launched a campaign to ban the ownership of handguns, which was eventually successful. Handguns were banned. There has never been a school shooting since.

    2. Melissa,
      People in London do have guns- just illegally and just really bad people you dont want having guns.
      London has CRAZY amounts of terrorist attacks. I’d much rather die from a gunshot wound than a machete to the neck! I’d also like to protect myself against terrorist if the US ever became like the year you all had in 2017.

      1. I think what Melissa is saying is that she benefited from a life without mass shootings up until recently because guns were illegal. And when you live in a country that isn’t plagued by what we clearly are it begs the question why? In fact if you are wondering how I feel about all of this, it can be summarized really easily with these five words – THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN ANYWHERE ELSE. THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN ANYWHERE ELSE. THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN ANYWHERE ELSE.

        sure terrorism does. but multiple, uncountable mass school shootings a year doesn’t happen anywhere else. thus the question of WHY?

        1. Exactly. After Columbine we looked at what happened and we told the kids they had to be better than we were, nicer than we were. They needed to be inclusive and and end bullying. So schools focused on anti bullying and yet it still keeps happening. So we added buzzers and security measures at the front of schools and yet it still keeps happening. We trained teachers and students how to turn out lights and hide under desks and in closets and still it keeps happening. We tell the kids and teachers that they need to report anything they see that is troubling — whether it something a kid posts on social media or something they see — and yet it still keeps happening. We have put such a huge burden on our children and our educators to make schools safer and yet we as a nation won’t even fund the CDC to study gun violence and haven’t for the last 20 years. And we won’t make it easier for people that need help to be able to afford it. It is a complex issue and yet the response to looking at what MIGHT help is a flat NO. The hardest part for me as a parent is that some of those kids that were killed were left in that school for 24 hours while law enforcement figured out the path/s that bullets took through their bodies. How do you bear that as their parents? How do any of us bear it as parents? How do you say that the type of gun and the type of bullets and the type of high-capacity magazine did not create that horror? It is scary and sad and maddening. I am not anti gun. I grew up with them. But if the only change that comes out of Parkland is that now they will add what to do if the fire alarm is triggered to the training scenarios, then we have failed as humans and as a nation.

          1. This is such a well written paragraph, Sarah! I would “like” it 1 million times if I could. You are exactly right. I have three kids in elementary school and I worry about their safety every day.

            I see a similar mindset in the thought process behind teaching women how to not be raped. Take self defense classes! Wear modest clothing! Be hyper aware of your surrounding at all times! All of the onus for not being attacked as you go about your daily life is on you, as the woman, to try to prevent it. Fucking ridiculous! It is my reality as a woman and it absolutely sucks. Is society actively teaching men to not rape women? No.

            Now I fear it is our children’s reality at school. I am waiting for the tide to turn on the school shootings–it seems to me that the natural progression for conservatives who absolutely cannot blame guns for these situations, and refuse to have any new gun control, will be to start blaming the schools. They weren’t safe enough! They knew this could happen! They aren’t protecting our students!

            If you can’t tell, I am just sickened and disheartened and utterly pessimistic about America right now. I am by nature a very optimistic and happy person–although I am liberal, even this election didn’t get me down. I have always believed America is bigger and better than it’s elected officials and as a student of history, I know we have survived far worse than DT. But I feel HOPELESS about the gun issue. It’s just inconceivable to me that we can’t as Americans agree that keeping our children safe is the most important issue we have.

        2. THAT comment is exactly what does my head in about this whole issue. I’m brought to tears by the mass shootings that happen in the USA and it just does not make any sense. It doesn’t happen anywhere else, but nowhere else has the “right to bears arms” mentality either.
          Thank you so much for this post Emily. When I saw it listed, I was like, “Yes! The one about voting was so informative and brave”.

      2. I’m an American living in London at the moment. I’ve lived here for over 10 years, and very much enjoy the peace of mind that comes with the fact there are such tight gun restrictions in this country. I very much disagree that we have a CRAZY amount of terrorist attacks. Fewer people died this year in a terrorist attack than in 9/11. If you want the hard numbers, between 2000 and 2017 126 people were killed in a terrorist attack. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX OVER A SEVENTEEN YEAR PERIOD. I’m sick of the US media and people who know little of the actual facts using rhetoric to support their agendas. If you want to know more, here’s a useful link.
        My family keeps asking if we’re ever moving home, and my honest answer is never. Not as long as gun laws stay the way they are. I would rather my girls go to school without having to think about gun drills or worry about being shot down by a fellow student. As for knife crime, yes it happens here. But it’s far harder to commit a mass killing when you have to walk up to each and every person and stab them.
        As someone who was in high school when Columbine happened, and was evacuated from my university for safety reasons on 9/11, I genuinely know the fear and hysteria – I experienced it firsthand. I hope my daughters never have to experience that. As a fellow citizen, whether you have children or not, surely you would want to spare everyone that situation as well. Having more guns is not the answer – having no guns isn’t an option – fine. But intelligent restrictions ARE an option, and it’s very much time to find a solution to the problem.

    3. Uh, the United States is five times larger than the entire United Kingdom. How do compare your numbers?
      Most of the violence is in gun free areas.
      Don’t forget, our 2nd Amendment came about because of the Revolution and the abusive King!

      1. 58000 / 105 = 552
        Kelly, you say America’s population is 5 times the size of Britain’s but it has 552 times the number of deaths by mass shootings according to the numbers given above. That’s over 110 US deaths for every ONE in the UK when you account for the population difference. I’m not from either country so have no bias in favour of either

  29. I live in the Deep South. My family are not gun owners, we don’t hunt, etc. but we are waaaaay in the minority in terms of our lack of gun worshipping. But, here’s what people are saying here in defense of their military style assault rifles. Maybe it will at least help you understand why, even if you don’t agree: the second amendment was written so that if, god forbid, the citizens of the United States ever had to fight back against our own government, we would be able to. If you think people want AR15s to protect against a “bad guy” you’ll never understand. ITs bigger than that. It’s, what if trump goes nuts and we have to fight against his military- your engagement going to hope and pray someone has some kind of weapon to fight back. It sounds far fetched and crazy, I know, but that is the reason the amendment was written, and that’s why even the most common sense gun laws are being fought against. Even if you don’t agree, maybe that’s a perspective you hadn’t previously consider, and maybe it will help you to understand a different view point.

    1. This is interesting and I have considered this to be the basis for the amendment in the first place. Sounds far fetched but revolution happens.

    2. It sounds far-fetched and crazy because there is no way to fight back against our military with any level of weaponry one can buy. Our military is overwhelmingly more fearsome than any other nation’s military in the world! The idea that we can fight back against our own government with guns is completely absurd. We would have to rely, as every other nation’s citizens do, on the outrage of the free world to stop such actions. I’d also just add, the idea that our soldiers would, en masse, turn on our citizens also strains credulity.

    3. that is helpful. I know that fear drives a lot of our decisions. I guess ultimately the goal would be to understand the source of the fear itself. If the government is such a source of fear then what do we need to do to change it? the government should provide security and stability, not make people hang on and/or build up their arsenal just in case. its all very good to hear. thank you, Natalie.

      1. Re the fear of government: I think a lot of people relate to The Government as though we’re in a science fiction movie — like it’s a surreal superpower that is showing every sign of turning towards darkness. It’s so easy to forget that the government is just a group of politicians, who are just a group of people trying to make a their own way through the world — flawed, for sure, but struggling in their own echo chambers. It’s so much easier to vilify what we don’t understand.

  30. As a citizen from a country far far away (New Zealand) I am fascinated to read these responses. It is inconceivable to me that it is possible to buy even a handgun on the internet. I really can’t understand why anyone would want to live in a society where you have guns in your house so reading these comments is truly fascinating. Often Australia is brought up as an example of the positive effects of gun control to which the US could follow. But honestly to me it seems like the collective psyche of the US is so different to the rest of the developed world that maybe some form of gun control is too little too late anyway.

    1. One quick question maybe someone can answer. Is it common for people to shoot intruders? Do guns in the house routinely prove useful? ( I guess we are taught here to never interrupt an intruder but we also don’t live in a fear based culture).

      1. That was exactly my question!

      2. I’m not sure if it’s common, but it’s not unexpected. In the U.S. it’s called the castle doctrine, which says that you have a right to defend your “castle” in the event of an intruder. If you feel that your life is legitimately threatened, you have the right to defend yourself by any means necessary.

      3. This is a good question. We are a hunting family. Myself, my husband and two of our five kids have hunting licences and hunt every year. Our main meat is venison, we eat hardly any other meat. (Our other kids are too young). We have a larger rifle for deer, and a shotgun for birds. We also have handguns, and a smaller 12 gauge shotgun which is easier for smaller sized people and women to shoot. I don’t know how often guns are used to stop intruders, mostly because it doesn’t seem like the chance of an intruder is very high. However, as someone who has used and been around guns my entire life, I will honestly answer that if someone broke into my house with clear intent to harm, I would not hesitate to shoot them if my family was at risk. They do make me feel safer. That being said, we are very responsible with our guns, locked up and separate from the ammunition and constantly talk to our kids about guns and how to properly use them.

      4. Reply from someone from the US (lived in Wisconsin and Florida): No one I know (even within my extended circle of acquaintances) has ever had an intruder

      5. I’m going to look for more sources, but here’s one:

      6. Yes, if you sign up
        For alerts can you be made aware of dozens of media reported cases a day of people defending themselves with guns. That’s the media reports, so they’re typically local news stories from American cities large enough to have a local news outlet and who have gotten a local law enforcement report. Additionally, the times weapons are brandished or racked to scare away intruders or would be attackers are not included in self defense with a weapon statistics in the US. Also, in the UK and other nations where guns are essentially banned, petty crimes/muggings and break ins are more common because thieves know they won’t encounter anyone with the ability to defend themselves

        1. I’d be intrigued to see your statistics that show petty crimes are more common in the UK because of a lack of guns? All statistics I can find point to the opposite?

      7. I don’t know about shooting intruders, because the laws about this differ from state to state. But I read this statistic on Thursday from the US Justice Department: on average there are 200 instances of legal defensive gun use (LDGU) in America EVERY DAY. Most of these do not involve a shot being fired, they involve a gun being used in a legal manner to defend someone against a physical threat of some kind. I was shocked at this number. Then I read another study from Fla that said the estimate was very low, because those are the instances that actually get reported to law enforcement.
        Wow.

    2. As a Canadian living in Toronto, I am also fascinated by the idea of needing a gun to defend your personal safety. This is not a mentality that anyone in my ‘bubble’ has. No one I know is worried about an intruder coming to harm to them and their family, yet alone fathoming to defend themselves with a gun. (Fellow Canadians…. if you think differently, please speak up!)

      I’m genuinely interested in WHY people are so worried? Other than the fact that the civilians around you also have such easy access the guns 🙂 What’s causing this culture of fear and how can you change it?

      1. What most Americans terrified of intruders in their houses won’t ever say out loud is that the boogeyman they fear so much, invading their homes at night and doing unspeakable things to their belongings and causing harm to their families, is a brown skinned person.

        1. They probably won’t say it out loud because it never occurred to them before.

          1. HaHa

        2. Donald, I can’t help but feel the exact same way.

        3. No. I’ve had an intruder try to break into my home (my husband fought him off with a baseball bat while I called the police), I’ve had family members hide in a closet from one in their home (what’s crazy is we don’t live in and “unsafe” area at all) and both intruders were white. People are afraid of intruders. We don’t care what color they are. Is racism an issue – yes. But this isn’t that.

      2. I also can’t help wondering more on the “intruder” question. Would a gun really protect your family? Aren’t you better to hide in your bedroom while they steal your tv? Surely intrusions where they violate a family are very very rare. Or in the time tntakes to unlock your gun safe you are all dead anyway?

        1. I live in rural Southern Illinois. In our area there has been an increase in home invasions over the past several years. Just this summer a 70 year old neighbor drew a gun on three people (aged between 20 and 30 years old) that had broken into his house. He did not shoot them but held them until the police could come. Rumor is that they were on drugs. Meth is rampant around here. I never want to come face to face with someone desperate to get enough money to get their next fix. While I don’t live in constant fear of this happening, I just wanted to weigh in that it does happen in rural areas.

      3. I live in LA. at times i’ve heard a sound and gotten scared. then i remember that I have an alarm system. but i do think the internet has effed us all up. we are scared. Well, maybe we are less scared in LA than in other states. Maybe its proprtional – the fear you have equates to the gun laws of the state in which you live. xx

      4. I’m an American living in the city of Philadelphia and I, too, am fascinated by the idea of needing a gun to defend your personal safety. My husband is in law enforcement and has a service weapon, which I absolutely hate. If he wasn’t, we wouldn’t have a gun in our house. Despite living in a city with violent crime and a husband who deals with violent criminals daily, I don’t think it’s at all necessary to have a gun. So why am I not worried but others are? It’s an interesting question.

        When you read the reasons for people wanting to stop the regulation of guns, every reason is related to some fear. Fear of governmental overthrow, fear of intruders, fear of mass shooters walking into a school, fear of street violence. Fear has governed so much of our culture, it’s actually really sad. “We can’t let trans people use women’s rooms because we are afraid they’ll sexually assault our little girls.” “We can’t let Muslims into our country because we are afraid they’ll kill all of us.” “We have to build a wall because we are afraid Mexicans will come and steal our jobs and rape our women.” “We can’t let women have equal pay because we are afraid we’ll lose our masculinity.” I don’t know how you get rid of the fear except to educate people. How do you teach people that their fears are unfounded? I really don’t know.

        1. I love this comment Liz, very insightful.

      5. I am Canadian as well and even thought I have lived in the US for 9 years I still don’t have this “fear of intruders” that everyone seems to keep posting about in defense of guns. It’s a fear-based culture that Americans are raised with. I would never dream of owning a gun to “protect my personal safety” because to me it seems so counterintuitive. Also, I feel MUCH safer in general whenever I return home to Canada because of our gun safety laws – and the fact that most people just don’t own guns! If everyone is so afraid for their own personal safety, doesn’t it make sense to look at that issue first? Like Sarah said, WHY are you so worried? Maybe you wouldn’t feel this way if all the “intruders” didn’t have such easy firearm access. As a Canadian, I often find this country very hard to understand.

    3. It would be interesting to see if intrusions are less frequent in areas where people are more likely to have guns in their homes. I want every single moron who even thinks about entering my home without permission to know that a hazard of their “job” is THEY MIGHT DIE.

      I’ll tell my kids this too: Never break into someone’s house because THEY MIGHT KILL YOU. I suspect high rates of gun ownership is a deterrent, but would love to see some stats.

      1. I’d love to know that as well. One of my senior thesis papers at college was how the death penalty isn’t a deterrent. It’s not. I don’t really believe in deterrent behavior at the same time i have two kids and I use deterrent threats all the time (if you don’t put on your pajamas like a big kid you can’t watch a show like a big kid, etc). So who knows?

        1. This isn’t about guns, because as someone living outside the US it is completely perplexing to read all of this naval gazing and dooms daying when any practical study of real life examples from around the world will show a very clear way forward.

          But for your comment about kids, I think you will find that your thoughts in college can also hold true for parenting and while instilling fear works, it isn’t the only (or in my opinion, the best) way. Read some more on positive/respectful parenting if you want to learn more 🙂

    4. So i had never thought much about guns when I lived in an affluent suburb in Ohio, but then we moved to North Carolina, and suddenly everyone we knew (exception of 2 couples), even generally more liberal friends, had guns. Furthermore, I’ve lived in two different apartment complexes and have watched my neighbors carry in a gun (not in a case), that looks like an AR15. It messes with your head a bit – even for someone as anti-gun as I am and my husband, to realize anecdotally speaking, it seems like everyone had a gun but you. It’s bizarre and to answer your question, i have never heard of home intruders either. I would be speaking from Emily’s bubble to continue to go on, but every argument lately seems so illogical to me. We can regulate dangerous substances and items (or make them illegal) for the greater good. But, I’m not super proud to be an American these days and if Newton didn’t change anything, I’m not hopeful it will now, sadly.

      1. that must be weird to be anti-gun but have your friends all carry. kudos to you for recognizing it all and not just going with the flow. Sounds like you are being mindful but adapting to a new environment (that sounded super clinical, like i’m a vet or a zoologist 🙂 Point is, you can make a difference with small conversations about regulations. you don’t have to be anti-gun to be pro-safety. xx

      2. I live in Philadelphia and I’ve heard of intruders and I still don’t think a gun is necessary. 99% of the time (don’t check my statistics) the intruder is either someone looking for money for drugs and isn’t violent (just grabbing what they can and getting out), or, in the case of violent intrusions, the intruder knows the person who’s house they are breaking in to. I personally don’t keep stacks of cash in my house and don’t know any violent criminals, so I’m not worried about violent intruders.

  31. My husband and I are liberal leaning moderates…. ( if that’s a thing LOL) my husband owns a hand gun and a shot gun. We have locks on both of them and have always talked to our children about gun safety and how important it is to not touch a gun.
    Personally I’m not a fan of owning a gun at all ( but I was never raised with any) and AR 15’s or any other military style weapon is completely ridiculous to me. Both my husband and I are fully on board with stricter gun laws and regulations and the fact that an 18 year old is able to go buy those guns legally is mind boggling.

    Like one of the other commenters mentioned, I think there is a group/generation that is set in their ways and happy in their bubble and I don’t believe will ever budge on this topic. I also believe the conservative politicians and nra fully take advantage of that. I do also believe that the younger generations will at some point soon make the big changes I believe most of Americans want.

    Waiting for that day is exhausting and frustrating that we will endure this same thing over and over until that time comes. Unfortunately change doesn’t come over night but we just have to keep speaking up and I believe it will happen.

    1. I am excited about the next generation. Obviously its so depressing that it took another mass shooting for students to activate but the idea that Parkland is calling for a national walk out is so exciting. Politicians might listen. if not for any other reason than they want to win the votes of the youth and their parents who likely support it. Today was the first day I’ve felt hope in YEARS. WE NEED A NATIONAL SCHOOL WALK OUT.

      1. Oh, come on, Emily. EVERY generation thinks that theirs is the best and will solve the world’s problems. They ALL think that the old are behind the times. My great aunt thought my generation in the 60’s was doomed because we worse mini-skirts and the boys had long hair. We recently met some WWII soldiers. Now I would say that they were probably our “Greatest Generation” yet they still had the problems of racism when they returned home. My generation grew up like “Father’s Knows Best” with most of our moms at home. We went to church together and ate dinner each night together. Teachers were always obeyed and parents punished you if you didn’t. Yet there were still many problems in society .Not too long ago, my 37 year old daughter said she had a nicer time to grow up than now because she could ride her bike all over the neighborhood and go into friend’s homes without questions asked. I have worked with children most of my life and the one thing is see that is different in this generation is drugs. I came in with so many grandparents raising their grandchildren because their moms were addicts. That simply was not part of my generation or even my early teaching years.

  32. Hi Emily!

    I’m an avid reader of your blog and commend you for the way you worded your blog post. I believe that if you and I sat face to face, we would probably whole heartedly disagree on many political issues. However, I also believe we would be kind, respectful, and open-minded. I believe we would both walk away from a political discourse with a better perspective of why we think the way we do and the past and experience that has shaped our world view. It is for all these reasons that I’m even willing to answer this post . I do not get involved in issues on social media. This is a first 😊

    I am what you would consider “religious.” I believe with my whole heart, mind, body and soul that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that he is coming back one day. My whole life revolves around this statement. The way I answer anger comes from my love for God. The way I show kindness to others is because of my love for God. The peace I have is because of my love for God. The way that I show love and respect to my husband comes from my love of God. And the way that I parent my 4 precious children comes from my love of God. You get the idea. With all of that being said, I’m imperfect. I’m flawed and inconsistent and in constant need of grace and mercy from The One who can give it.

    It is with all the above background that I answer your questions.

    My husband and I own one firearm, a shotgun, that we keep hidden from our children. They are aware of its existence and know the rules. Only mommy and daddy are allowed to even touch it. We continually educate our children on why we have a gun and what we use it for. We have a nice security system for our home, but let’s face it: if someone wants to break into my home and said person is under the influence of drugs or is mentally unstable, a security system is not going to do much good. Even if we had time to call the police, there has to be a way to protect our family for 10-15 minutes until their arrival. While I hope this never happens, I am prepared to take another person’s life, if it threatens my family. It’s easy to say that and the ramifications are far reaching even if I feel that I have the right, but the consequences are ones that I’m willing to accept.

    Do I believe in theory that we should have stricter gun laws? Yes. I believe that every person should have a wait period before obtaining a license and firearm. I believe that every person should have to pass two courses: a gun safety course and a course on how to defend yourself. Owning a gun should be a burden and responsibility. Obtaining a gun should cause a lot of inconvenience. It is a weapon and should be treated with great respect and care. But the flip side of that is the precedent it sets. We know the corruption that exists in our government. I’m a staunch conservative and I’m willing to admit that it is rampant in my own party. What happens when these stricter gun laws are taken too far? Dangerous legislation is passed ALL THE TIME in this country. Who says that legislation won’t pass one day where my right to bear arms is taken away because I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mother, and deemed not a high priority? It’s a dangerous path. As a Christian, I’m going to obey and respect the authority of our government whatever is passed and decided. But I grieve the idea of not being able to protect my family.

    As for automatic weapons, it is my belief that only current military and police force should have access. I know the arguments about cartels trafficking guns into our country, etc. However, I still cannot jump on board with the idea of ordinary citizens owning and operating military grade weapons. It just doesn’t make sense.

    My response has turned into an essay. Sorry! Thank you for asking and for being willing to listen to a different perspective.

    1. This! I agree on every point.

      I live in a house with a safe of guns. They are respected and remain unused and untouched. (Most were inherited) I feel safer knowing they are there, if say, a crazed person who tried meth for the first time is breaking down my doors. (happened to an acquaintance, who thankfully had a gun!)

    2. Yes! Great comments. I also want to jump on board the idea of safety with alarm systems. We live in a rural area, technically a township, so there is some debate between the two closest towns as to who would come to our 911 call. Your point about how fast an intruder can move vs. the response time of the local police force is valid. I have heard of people making a 911 call and it taking the police 20 minutes to arrive. A fancy alarm system may not do you any good in that situation.

      1. Yes!! This is how it is where I live also!

    3. Hi Brooke.
      Thank you so much for your response. It honestly doesn’t sound like we are too different. We both want to protect our families. We both want to do everything we can to make sure they are safe. And while you might be more religious and I, we both have a lot of spirituality that helps guide our lives. I love how you think that owning a gun should be a chore. thank you:)

  33. We are gun owners at my house. My husband is an avid hunter and my kids hunt with him too. Not sure how many guns my husband has but I do know we have shotguns, 22s, and a AR15. He uses the AR for hunting and that’s why I bought it for him a few years ago. I do think they could work on the gun legislation and fix the loops holes of purchasing a gun shows.

    After this school shooting I did a quick google to look up the history of school shootings. I found an article that listed the amounts of deaths each year from school shootings. Surprising it showed that during the 90s there were maybe twice as many deaths as in the 2000s. It showed a decline in the amount of deaths was happening. Now I haven’t researched if this article is accurate or anything but found it interesting.

    1. I just saw this article today. School shootings aren’t a new thing :

      1. Just for full media literacy/ transparency The Trib (The Tribune Review) is a notoriously right leaning paper in the Pittsburgh area. I wouldn’t trust it for any non-biased coverage of the gun control debate. Not that the data isn’t true but the conclusions they come to will definitely have a heavy conservative bias.

      2. You read that list and it’s 1, 2, 1, 0 deaths and then suddenly at Sandy Hook you get 28.

        28 kids.

      3. The worse school massacre in US History killed 54 people and injured another 58. It was in 1927, and the guy used a bomb. I don’t understand the sickness that leads someone to kill innocent people. Guns are being used commonly, but if it get harder to get the guns, these sick people will move on to something else – bombs, ramming trucks into crowds, poison, or whatever else their evil little minds conceive.

        People *knew* this guy was a danger. They reported him. And the authorities did nothing.

        The church shooter, by current law, should’t have been able to buy guns. But the military failed to put him on the “no-guns-for-you” list, even though they were required to do so. The government let us down.

        And you think more government will help? We have laws that we’re not enforcing now. I don’t know where you get the faith in government.

        1. Sorry about the typo above – the bomb 44, and injured 58. Still a shocking number.

        2. ince this is an effort to share perspectives from both sides here, here’s why I believe government has a role to play. We are required to wear seatbelts, and that’s helped some people survive car accidents. We are required to remove our shoes and scan our belongings at the airport in an effort to reduce the chance that someone will be able to board a plane with weapons. If lettuce is making people sick, government agencies issue recalls and they revise food-safety regulations in the hopes of helping save lives. None of these examples are perfect. People still die in car crashes and terrorist attacks, and they still get sick from food, too. But these actions have helped save lives.

          1. Hmmm, yes, but I would wear a seat belt regardless. Its just a good idea. But I’ll keep my guns. Don’t trust the FBI to protect me.

        3. Lily, can we please make these ‘sick’ people move on to using a tool other than guns then? Every other country has, and mass killings are near nonexistent.

  34. We own two shotguns and a rifle for sport. My husband is not an avid hunter but does maintain a duck lease and comes from a southern family who occasionally hunts. I come from a Midwest family who have never owned a gun or hunted. While we traditionally identify as moderate Republicans, we do not feel any civilian needs to own military style weapons. There is simply no reason for it. Also, I would support legislation that increased gun control.
    For me, I feel like both sides over simplify the problem to fit their agenda. Yes, more gun control please, but people who want to hurt people will find a way. We are not failing our children by just allowing easy access to guns.

  35. I grew up with 6 brothers and a father who owned guns, hunted, and did target practice in our backyard. My only experience with guns has been with VAST respect, care, and responsibility, because that’s how my family modeled it. I’m pro- SOME gun laws, but there is absolutely no reason for ANY civilian to own an AR-15, or any kind of automatic or semi-automatic weaponry. There’s just. no. reason. I don’t mind guns in general, but think we DEFINITELY need more responsibility and screening for those who own them. I’m politically conservative, and am SO ANGRY with conservative politicians for holding on to loose laws for political reasons, instead of doing what they can to protect people.

    THAT SAID, I believe at my very core that you can’t legislate morality. We can (and should!!) create and change laws to protect the majority, but there will always be people who break laws. I live in Washington, DC, where gun usage has been outlawed for years, and one of my brothers got mugged at gunpoint while landscaping my backyard in 2011. He was literally held up with a gun shoved in his back, in a place where guns are strictly prohibited. The laws didn’t protect him.

    I think stricter gun laws SHOULD happen. But I think there are bigger conversations that need to happen— diagnosis and care of mental illness, community responsibility, millennial individuality that (can) result in self-centered lifestyles, social media (media in general!!) that has shown a proven increase in depression and suicidal/violent behavior in teens… these are conversations that are JUST as important / MORE important than the conversation around gun laws! A happy, whole, healthy person does just wake up one day and find in him/herself a murderous passion to destroy other people. What precedes gun violence? THAT’S the conversation we should be having.

    YES, set stricter gun laws. They will help. But they won’t change hearts. They’ll only make it harder for evil people to act out evil— if a person truly WANTS to harm others, they’ll find a way to do it. We need to back up 10 steps and work on those desires, work on healing and care and accountability. How do we do that??

    1. I agree with a lot of the sentiments of this comment – I think the heart of this issue is more about why are kids/adults enacting these mass killings and less about how they are doing it. I am a gun owner and supporter, and like the rest of these level-Headed commenters do not think there is any reason for civilians to own these military grade guns and support some sort of tighter gun laws. However, the cause really lies in mental illness and until our country starts to address those issues, I fear these types of violence will not stop. Additionally, while i do think people with mental illness should not be allowed access to weapons in general, i wonder from a pure logistical standpoint how that would work? There are so many people undiagnosed or not seeking medical help in our country I wonder how we could even create or keep an accurate list?

      1. Mental illness is a problem in every country and certainly where I come from (NZ) then management and care of it is woefully inadequate (we have a terrifyingly high teen suicide rate). The same in Australia. However neither country has problems with guns or mass shootings (guns are regulated). So I think it is unreasonable to divert blame to mental health issues – this seems to be propaganda issued by the NRA

        1. Thanks for your comment Estelle, it is enlightening.

          1. Estelle, according to The World Health Organization the United States has the highest percentage of mental illness of any country in the world. Within 12 months an estimated 27% of people will go through some sort of mental issue. In New Zealand, the figure it close to 20%. The United States has a population 70x the size of New Zealand, so all in all – 86 million more people deal with this issue in the US than in your country. To compare these two countries with vastly different sizes, cultures, and argue because your country doesn’t have an issue means every country shouldn’t is just ignorant. To me, saying that mental illness is not apart of the problem is saying that kids who grow up in households only have the idea of mass shootings because they have access to a gun. Seriously?

      2. To comment further on the mental health aspect of the debate, a friend of mine who is a psychiatrist said that she is finding that people are deterred to seek help for mental illness if they feel like it may put something on their “record”, and could be denied some things such as owning a gun. It was something I hadn’t thought of before, and helped me see some of the complexity of the issue.

        1. Many adults failed to do their job. The boy had problems, everyone knew about it, it’s hard to believe he wasn’t taken into custody for a mental evaluation and then monitored instead of being allowed to roam the neighborhood.

          From the Washington Post: Nikolas Cruz, the older brother, was especially moody, prone to an explosive temper and seeming to delight in torturing animals and provoking everyone else on the block. He killed squirrels with a pellet gun. He stole neighbors’ mail. He tried to get his dog to attack and bloody the pet piglets being raised in the house across the street. He picked fights with other kids constantly, biting one kid’s ear. He threw rocks and coconuts, vandalized property. He lurked at late hours along drainage ditches that run alongside the back yards of every house on this block. One neighbor caught him peeking into her bedroom window.

    2. I believe you summed up what would have been quite a lengthy response from me with the question “What precedes gun violence?”. That is indeed , in my mind, the conversation that we as a country desperately need to be having.

      Guns do not kill people. They are inanimate objects. People kill people. It’s the brain in the head of the body that the arm, hand and fingers are attached to that sends the signal to the finger to pull the trigger. Why? Why would someone decide to kill multiple people? And in many cases random people that they don’t even know. Why? No gun? A person who desires to kill will make a bomb or use a knife or drive a van into a crowd of people. The “why” needs to be addressed.

      1. Yes, there is rampant mental illness – and really the questions may be why do young men do this? Why are our young men so angry and incapable of dealing with their emotions?

        However, the guns do not kill people argument is such a straw man. Taking the parkland attack as an example, how would it have gone down if this kid didn’t have his semi-automatic weapons? He would have attacked with a knife? I don’t think so – not the same kind of power trip that Emily mentions in her intro statement. And if he did, surely the casualties would be way less. Or he would have acquired a truck somehow that he would have driven into the school? Doubtful. These attacks are very much about guns, the power of guns, the accessibility of guns, and the madness of our gun laws.

      2. This is so illogical to me. Heroin was just sitting on a shelf until a human came along. No need to have a law about seatbelts, prescription opioids, speed limits, whatever because the object/device didn’t do anything, people do. Just because an object doesn’t have agency doesn’t mean we can’t have laws to protect people because it’s inherent (or not inherent) use can be dangerous.

    3. I love this!! I am totally with you on this one!!

  36. Another Emily here 👋🏻

    I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin in a house with guns. My dad talked about hunting but never really got around to it. His guns were for dealing with vermin. I only know of him shooting animals in our yard that were rabid or otherwise sick.

    Now, my husband and I live with our one-year-old on twelve acres in Wisconsin. It’s VERY rural. We have one rifle and a shotgun. We’re comfortable having them in case there’s ever an animal situation. (Its rare, but sometimes bears wander into our area) more likely, we’ll have to deal with sick wildlife.

    We do have a shooting range in the backyard. It’s VERY safe and fun. We also live in prime hunting territory (but we don’t hunt) and a shooting range is about two miles away.

    Most rural folks in our area have guns (I think) but they’re also responsible gun owners.

    I HATE the NRA and 100% that we need reform. What’s most frustrating is the propaganda the NRA and other conservative organizations are feeding whoever will listen. I have only ever voted as a liberal, and I don’t think stable, responsible adults should have their guns taken away. But I do think there’s no reason for anyone to have a semi-automatic weapon.

    I would strongly be in favor of regulating the gun industry like the automobile industry. Make people take a test. Make it a little inconvenient. Make gun owners pay for insurance on their weapons!

    Thank you for starting this conversation.

  37. Really appreciate you bringing this up for discussion. I am curious to hear from both sides. I am for stricter gun control and have never understood why it is easier to buy a gun than it is to get a drivers license. Why can’t there be training and testing for a license to buy and carry a gun?

  38. We own guns. I’ll give my ideas, with trepidation.. I hope to not be attacked for my ideas …. Not that I think you would do that, Emily, but by other readers.
    I own guns because I think it is part of being a responsible citizen, like voting. Gun ownership by citizens is a check on the government, like a two party political system is a check on the ideas of both parties. Do I think I’ll ever need to use it? I doubt it. Do I want to give up my right to access the same guns that could be used by the government against me? No.

    Gun control I’m comfortable with:
    – raising the age at which you can purchase AR-15s or M-16s. There is a reason you can’t rent a car until you are in your later twenties. I think all these reasons apply to gun ownership too, unless you are a member of the military or an honorably discharged member of the military.
    – open to restrictions regarding magazine size & additions to semi-automatic rifles that make them essentially automatic.
    – open to raising the cost of AR-15s (through taxing) to make it difficult for young people to purchase.

    Yes, I think AR-15s should be legal for purchase.

    I’d also like to point out that the NRA is not the only thing preventing Republican lawmakers from restricting guns. The people who elected them are against it.

    1. I can kind of understand the people who live somewhere where they a) fear their house will be broken into by someone with a gun when they are there and b) feel that they would have time to get their gun and the presence of mind to aim it correctly and only hurt the invader.

      But, I admit, I am unable to understand the belief that a) the government is going to come and get you (unless for a crime or lack of documents) or b) that if the government did somehow become totalitarian and come after its citizens in a violent manner, that owning a gun would have any possibility at all of saving us.

      1. I know a lot of people who share Rebekah’s views, and I don’t disagree. While I can’t speak for her, my friends view it as a check on government not because there’s any imminent or even probable threat of a totalitarian government, but that the knowledge that the population is well-armed and could form a militia is in itself a check on totalitarian impulses of government. It is very much rooted in the history of the American Revolution.

        1. It doesn’t seem to be much of a check on our current totalitarian-leaning government.

        2. The American Revolution was fought against a government that was across an ocean, 200+ years ago.

          So while I hear you, I can’t help but imagine that the appeal of being able to “form a militia” is rooted more in someone’s emotional makeup and personal history than a cognitive analysis of what a government is apt to do in 2018.

          But then I have come to the conclusion that politics in the end is rarely rational, and that people’s beliefs are formed by their deep emotional experiences – early in life often – and therefore without new deep emotional experiences those beliefs are unlikely to change.

          I will say that discussions like this one that Emily has facilitated are surely our best hope of understanding each other and edging back towards a center that can create a more unified America.

    2. The government is going to use guns against you? What does that even mean? And how would you owning a gun protect you against this? Genuine questions & would love a response.

  39. My family owns two guns, one for hunting (I’m married to an Alaskan) and one for self protection. I hate that we have the glock – all my research says that guns in the house leads to more deadly incidents. Full stop. Our compromise is that the gun is unloaded and in a locked gun safe. (And, honestly, it’s not even currently in our house right now. My BIL is in the national guard and so it’s living in his gun safe). I’m ok with the shot gun and comfortable with its purpose. It has a trigger lock, is unloaded, the bullets are not with the gun, and is in a locked cabinet that my kids don’t have the keys to. We talk a lot about gun safety in our house.

    That said, I would give up both in an INSTANT if we could ban them entirely from our country. If nobody had guns, than my husband wouldn’t feel that we’d need the hand gun for self protection. And I say that not just because I have young kids in schools (that are currently, literally, under attack) but because it would make everyone in our country safer. At this point I feel like it’s the only moral thing to do.

    My 20 year-old cousin brought a holstered handgun to our family dinner on Wednesday – the same day at the shootings. He brought it into our house without our knowledge, our permission, and around our kids. The fact that he views guns as so commonplace and treats them so causally leaves me horribly depressed. Neither he nor my uncle could understand why I was so upset. This has got to change. Our children are literally dying and nobody seems to care. How can we get past the cycle of ‘sympathy and inaction’? What will it take to push us over the edge into reason and action?

    One thing to consider: if you own stocks or have a 401(k) there is a pretty good chance that you own a gun company like Smith and Wesson (American Outdoor Brands Corp). I’ll bet you that 90% of the people here own and profit from stock in gun companies (and don’t even know it). Not only can you vote on a political level, but you can vote with where you choose to keep your money.

  40. I don’t own a gun, or know anyone that does, never even seen one. In Sweden weapons are owned by hunters, criminals and cops.

  41. We own a gun for hunting, all of the meat our family eats is wild game husband has harvested, legally, himself. Everything he shoots, we eat. We also have handgun, locked, in our home. He and I both feel strongly that there should ABSOLUTELY be stronger gun laws and there is NO reason what so ever anyone should have access to an automatic rifle. I’d gladly turn over every gun we own and never eat a wild animal again if it meant I could bring my babies to school with out the fear that they might get murdered.

  42. Hi Emily! I commend you for asking respectfully for the views of those on the other side of the aisle. I’m an American, I live in England and quite frankly, will never move back. I don’t think it’s too much to ask citizens to hand in their guns for the greater good. Sure, allow shotguns for sport but nothing else should be in the hands of the general public. It really upsets me that someone’s gun is more important to them than another person’s child.

    It’s not video games, it’s not mental health that’s the problem, it’s the selfishness of American society. The same selfishness that fuels the American dream has completely divided the country.

    It’s very sad to see the state of affairs across the pond.

    1. Hi Jane, I understand your sentiments, and while I don’t entirely disagree with you, what you’re suggesting is a bit troubling, and hopefully I can explain why.

      You state: “I don’t think it’s too much to ask citizens to hand in their guns for the greater good.” Asking law abiding citizens to hand in their legally owned property to the government is outrageous. I know that guns can be dangerous, I know that the state of affairs right now is frightening. But the government taking your property is also very frightening, sets a scary precedent, and is part of the reason why people are allowed to own guns in the first place: so that the government can’t take advantage of you.

      Also, people’s guns are important to them in part so that they can protect themselves and others. A pervasive attitude about guns isn’t that they are MORE important than another person’s child, they are important BECAUSE of another person’s child. If the bad people have guns (because we all agree that laws don’t stop bad people), then good people should have them too so that maybe they can try and stop them.

      Hopefully that all made sense!

      1. Thinking of guns as just property is maybe the problem. If I made a nuclear weapon in my basement, is that my property that government shouldn’t be concerned with? If I have a meth lab in my basement, is that just my property? Do you really think that people should be having a gun fight with the governement? That the guns are keeping the ‘government’ from invading your home? The government builds roads, schools, etc. They’re not coming to invade your property. If the government wants to take advantage of you, it’s not going to be by force. And if they did want to take you by force – they have way more force than your guns will be able to fight off. It’s just a nonsensical argument. Also, how many instances are there where people have fought off intruders or ‘bad people’ with their guns where this scenario turned out with a positive result. I’d love to know this statistic!

      2. Ellen,

        I ask in true confusion.

        In what scenario do you think the government, and what arm of the government, would come to take your property? Has it happened to you? Why do you worry it will?

        In all the things I am concerned about that has just never occurred to me.

        Thank you.

        1. Lisa, governments ALL eventually fall. Whether from a revolution from within or an invader from the outside, our way of life here will eventually come to an end and the transition will not likely be an easy one. Consider that a mainland invasion of the US is much less palatable to foreign governments if they know that we have an armed populace (70 years ago/WWII is a mere hiccup in time ago).

          How about Trump? Do you dislike him? Believe he is dangerous? Might he stage a coup to retain power? What if we were suddenly dealing with a hostile government? Or if our government destabilizes, who steps in? China?

          Or what if NK manages to take out our electrical grid for a week? Or the big earthquake in SoCal comes. If you live in a dense city, things will get pretty ugly, pretty fast (think post-Katrina NOLA, LA riots). Might you want a gun to protect yourself from looters? In a large-scale disaster, the cops won’t be answering 911 calls in a timely manner, that’s for sure.

          These are some reasons that people want to own guns. Probable? No. Possible? Completely.

          1. This point is where I get hung up with the 2nd amendment. The right to bear arms is much more about having an armed populace against the threat of a totalitarian government than it is about citizens protecting themselves and their families from home Invaders. How do we reconcile this piece of the Constitution with what our culture is today and this horrible unintended consequence of children killing other children with the same arms that responsible citizens also bear. The authors of the Constitution certainly didn’t foresee this outcome, so how do we move forward from here?

          2. Well, let’s look at what you say. I think on balance it leads us still to sensible gun control.

            – Yes, in an apocalypse – nuclear war, vampires, monsters – I would want a gun. And silver bullets. But apocalypses are low-probability.

            – So what about non-apocalypse higher-probability attack events?

            – An invasion by another country wouldn’t be stopped by owning guns. They’d come with advanced weaponry, we’d be lost. If China steps in, they’ll have prepared for 50 years before they do one anything.

            – Looters in a survivable natural disaster, I would think, could be stopped with single-shot rifles. In those situations people are going for what is easily taken – that’s kind of the definition of looting.

            So, balancing possible future apocalypses against already happening mass shootings, I’d try to solve for the terrible thing that is already real. Things I’ve seen suggested by knowledgeable gun people include setting up a buyback program for all semi-automatic/large magazine capacity guns, and serious licensing and background check processes for the purchase of the guns that remained legal.

            I think that’s why the term “sensible gun control” is taking hold. Something in between confiscation of everything and allowing for everything.

  43. Emily, I don’t think violent video games or violent music or movies are to blame. It seems as if whenever there is a mass shooting, the public is quickly to blame video games. There has been studies and more recently this one:
    that shows there is NO evidence between video games and aggression. I grew up playing video games and so did my husband, and neither of us carried out a mass shooting, nor anyone else I know who plays or played video games. Wr need to stop pointing fingers at movies, games, music. GUNS cause massacres, not videogames.

    1. But here’s the thing: it’s proven that movies, games, and music affect the way one THINKS. Guns only provide an outlet for that messed-up way of thinking. People don’t stare at guns until they suddenly start thinking crazy thoughts. However, crazy movies, games, and music that promote violence, killing, and rape most DEFINITELY change a person’s mindset and have an affect on their actions. The gun is the tool; not the cause.
      And just as you grew up playing video games and never killed anyone, so have many grown up shooting and owning guns and have never killed anyone. Again, we’re talking about .01% of the population. You dont’ want video games banned. Well, some of us don’t want guns banned.

  44. Please read Emily, Great conversation. We do own guns. I was opposed for many years but even though I live in a well lit, higher end neighborhood, my cars were broken into twice and house once so we bought a couple guns. There are 300million guns owned in US. They aren’t going away. If they ban semi automatic weapons, there are YouTube videos that teach you how to make them with $15 worth of parts added to a regular gun. We have to look beyond the gun control issue. For starters, I think all people with a following, like you, could influence Hollywood to stop making movies and video games that romanticize gun violence. Such an easy change to make. Our kids are desensitized from watching these. Secondly, I think more needs to be done to figure out why so many kids are mentally challenged and require medications. Is it an environmental issue or chemicals in our food? To me, these issues far outweigh the gun issue. The gun didn’t commit the crimes, the person pulling the trigger did. He could’ve easily used a car and ran into a crowd of students. We need to get to the root cause of the problem (and certainly make gun restrictions tougher in the process). Thanks for listening, Lori

    1. Thank you for sharing. I have a follow up question that I’ve wondered after many posts… Do you imagine the gun would prevent another burglary or are you worried about more violent threats since you have experienced crime against your property?

  45. As a mother of two, every time we get a call from school, my heart skips a beat as my first thought is ‘are the kids ok’!

    Shootings in schools, supposedly they safest place for them, are happening way often. For those that own guns on the pretext of self defense and protecting their families, how do you protect your child when they are not with you – which is the majority of their day. Because you wish to protect yourself/ your child for the few hours that they are in your care —at home, you expose them to the threat of others with access to guns the rest of the day.
    Not sure how that is worth it!

  46. We own guns. By we I mean my husband and his family. We literally have a “gun room”. We are a Florida farming family. I grew up in CA, Bakersfield but still CA. I do think there needs to be tighter gun laws, I do think there needs to be tighter gun laws and restrictions. My husband bought a gun recently that I wasn’t excited about and he said it took 3 hours and normally took half that time. I think it should take way longer than that. Pre children I loved shooting sporting clays. Loved he challenge of it. My husband is great at it and participates in fundraisers similar to golf tournaments. All of our guns are doubled secured where even if the kids got ahold of them there is a second lock on the gun and they would not be able to load them. We own zero gun toys and have 3 boys. That was actually my husbands policy. I’m sure we will have nerf guns or similar someday when they are gifted but we want to our kids to know how serious guns are. So recap- yes to more restrictions even though we are a rural farming family that owns a large variety of guns… we are also vegan so there’s that. HA.

  47. I live in Texas but my husband and I lean more liberal on a lot of issues than our friends and family do. I take classes at our local community college which allows concealed carry. I said something to my husband about it yesterday and how it makes me uncomfortable. But his response was that he thinks its good. That everyone with a concealed carry license has to have training. He’d rather have that than only have bad guys with guns and not anyone else. We both feel like there should be stricter laws but his comments have really made me think. I’m not sure where I land on it. But I appreciate you opening a dialogue and trying to help more people communicate their perspectives.

  48. I live in the UK where guns are severely restricted, and it feels safe. Read about the Dunblane Massacre which happened almost 20 years ago, and the public Snowdrop campaign afterwards at .
    Guns used to be more widely kept in homes, more especially in country areas, but not now; there’s no need.
    Also look at Australia, which changed its gun-heavy culture (my husband is from hicksville country Oz).

  49. Hi Emily, thank you for providing an open dialogue and platform for discussion. My husband owns a shotgun and rifle for game hunting. We are a game eating family and one deer and/or elk from a legal hunting area gives our family more than a years worth of meat for meals.

    We have two girls that are very young and my husband and I have discussed in length gun safety, storage, healthy/appropriate conversations about guns, etc. I would say our home is conservative for our babies and there’s very little TV and what he watched is purposefully and mindfully.

    My family growing up did not own guns. We barely discussed them, but a gun in our home wouldn’t have made me feel safe. The feeling if safety is and was created by the relationship I had with my parents and family.

    This is my experience and my lense on guns and gun ownership. My husband, as a gun owner, is 100% in support of more gun regulations. I am 1000% in support of stronger gun regulations.

  50. As a Canadian I am finding this very insightful to read and will keep checking back and reading. Thanks for the well written post Emily, and for the very interesting and eloquent responses from all the commenters.

  51. Hi Emily, thanks for bringing this up! I am not a gun owner and I don’t really care to own a gun right now. I am not really on the same side as you on this issue but I understand where you are coming from. I don’t think republicans are cowards for siding with the NRA, I just think most of them are pro-gun to start with and stand with their supporters to back pro-gun policies (same as any other lobbying group in picking politicians that already support their agenda). I am in support of more restrictions and tougher background checks, however I am doubtful this will help. The Florida shooter was able to get one because he didn’t have a criminal background or anything on his record (FBI doesn’t put their watch list out for the public). The Las Vegas shooter also had a clean background. What background check or other gun control measure could have stopped these? I really want to know! If we ban AR-15s, there are still handguns. Handguns are used more frequently than rifles in mass shootings so I am not sure that would make a difference. My only solution I can think of is earlier awareness of mental disorders in schools and possibly limiting gun ownership for people with certain disorders. But, does that mean a mental disorder should go on a background check and prevent responsible adults who control their mental disease from getting a gun? If you buy a gun online, you are still required to undergo a background check from a federally licensed dealer. Also, at gun-shows that vast majority of vendors also require a background check and the percent of total guns bought from gun shows is only 4%. So I don’t think going after those two markets makes an impact. I keep on thinking of a possible solution and then arguing the other side to myself realizing that it probably wouldn’t make a difference. I think it’s have guns but these events happen occasionally or ban all guns. I hate saying that but I’m open to ideas!

    1. Caitlin, I agree with you, too, on all points. I think you’re right ” … have guns, but these events happen occasionally, or ban all guns.” That’s a really hard choice moving forward, but I think it’s sadly realistic. Oh, and I also argue one side of the coin, then immediately argue the other side and get NOWHERE. So …. helpful, haha.

  52. I love that you are opening this dialogue. I was raised in a tremendously liberal family where conscientious beliefs dictated the politics. But when I got to college I met wonderful people who grew up believing different things from myself and I began to ask questions and look for answers away from the sources I was comfortable with. I began reading NRA policies from them, not distilled through someone else’s filter. I began learning about guns and laws and realized how much well-intentioned misinformation is out there. For example, AR-15s are semiautomic which means one trigger pull = one round fired. They look scary but behave like a hand gun. I’ve also heard people talk a lot about how easy it is to buy a gun, until they tried to do it themselves. Social media is abuzz with posts on how Trump has made it easier for people with mental health issues to get guns. The truth is that he rolled back a regulation which mental health advocates AND the ACLU called an overreach. Somehow our culture has become an angry one and, deprived of guns, people committed to violence will find another way to accomplish it. There was a chemical attack at a St. Louis HS 2 days ago, a couple of years ago 22 people were stabbed in a PA high school. We have plenty of gun control laws, but what there isn’t enough of are prosecutions. Research how many people brought up on gun charges -at state or federal level – go unprosecuted. Especially upsetting are those charged with steaw purchases – buying a gun for someone who cant legally buy one for themselves. It’s a complicated issue and we all need to ask a lot of questions and seek out answers free from spin and manipulation. And, of course, try to be the change we want to see in the world.

  53. We are gun owners and I am the granddaughter of a gun shop owner. My stepfather was the president of the ATA (amateur Trapshooting Association) and both my mother and my husband compete on a national level in the sport. I was raised at the gun club and my kids are currently frequenty at ours. We are trap shooters and shot only shotguns and only for sport. We do not hunt and do not personally care to

    That said we do not own handguns and would not have them in our home. I personally believe that no civilian has any business owning a high capacity firearm. While we live in the northeast in a state with very strict gun laws it is hard to understand how other states do not. I can’t fathom the state that any of the families affected by these tragedies have to live in for the rest of their lives. I also fear that even if we take all of the guns we away the anger that lives inside the individuals who choose to act this way will remain and there still will be mass casualty incidents although not committed by guns. Our society has changed so much and there is so much that contributes to these individuals acting out in these devastating ways. Unless we change the climate of our country and the nature of our society we will continue to see these tragedies continue.

  54. Thank you for posting these questions. This week, I’ve been sad, angry, frustrated and resigned. How do we stop what feels like a relentless cycle of violence?
    I don’t like guns. Never had them. But I have lived with my boyfriend’s guns for 18 years now. He grew up hunting and target shooting. He has guns of all kinds, including an AR15. They stay locked up and I can’t tell you the last time they came out. He says they are fun to shoot at targets but he’d gladly give them up.
    We both are on the liberal end of the spectrum, not that it should matter, really. We both feel this sense of sad cynicism… when 20 first graders were killed and nothing changed, well, it’s hard not to get discouraged.
    I also have a different perspective. I worked in law enforcement and supervised the section responsible for researching my state’s firearm back ground checks. It was the most stressful job of my life. The “Charleston loophole” permits the sale of a firearm if a background check isn’t completed in three days. The sheer logistics of obtaining and interpreting mountains of court documents in three days often makes this an impossible task. Especially with the gross underfunding of clerks of court. Closing that loophole alone seems obvious but it’s not a sexy headline.
    Mostly I’m tired of politicians shouting “gun control” or “fund mental health”…. and then they do neither.

    1. Me too ,I fear it is more than discouraged, i’m dispaIring. I hear the heart and thought you put into those guidelines, thank you so much. I appreciate the explainations of ammunition ect. ( Catherine, I am curious what your Dad suggests to resolve mass shootings?)
      I was taught that ones freedom ends at the intersection of it’s effects on others. It is a cost of living in society. I believe that preserving lives, precludes the right of gun owners in that conflict / intersection. I think the problem is bigger than guns/not guns. The whole system/ culture is out of wack, escalating to those weakest among us .We have lost our moral compass, our committment to our communities and fellow citizens. Everyone has to make their own decisions, but I am saddened that so many of us do not act regularly on a committment to the larger good of all. I believe when that is lost , the world becomes very us/them, and that is both dangerous and scary.
      I was a social worker/ therapist for 30 years. Conflict is designed to facilitate understanding. ( which is why , Emily, you providing this forum is fab., thanks) Isolation is extremely distructive to our mental health as both individuals and society. Blame is also extremely destructive. Adolesence is a crisis , in itself, add isolation , overextended families, and a violent media and blaming ( rather than helping) norms and we grow our own teen murderers. This time, lots of folks knew this kid was in trouble, and reported it. He had been expelled. It may have been impossible to tolerate in school, but where is help ? How could the folks he was reported to this time do anything? Where is help available? Mental health care is expensive and not very available to those troubled folks who need it. One can walk into any hosp[ital in the country and , by law, physical treatment is available.. Mental health care is not. Hospitals can only hold those in immediate dire need.. and they can do little other than give meds . We all need support and love, but to too many, including the angry among us, it is not available. Anger is a warrior emotion, it is designed to armor feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Most of us are given little emotional education. we all need ways to understand and connect w/ ourselves and others. Churches and temples used to do many of these jobs, and now they are neglected.
      I’m not sure I even believe in a god, but I believe we all need a sabbath. No commercial activitity, no computers or social media, just a quiet time for connecting, noticing our needs and those of our community.
      A “troubled” person needs us, and we will be better people for trying to understand and help.
      I realize this is way too long, but maybe we need to start somewhere? Woman know a lot about feelings and nurturing, can we try with those we know to do what we can? start a sabbath hour in our families/towns/neighborhood. Reach out to someone” behaving badly” with caring, compassion,, even humor .Try and find out what is going on with one and another ? LOOK into services locally available to those struggling immigrants, teens, homeless and try and help by being there? ( I fear trumps war on immigrants is fostering dangerous helpless-hopeless rage, our next gunmen. )
      Defending ourselves escalates the problem, paying attention to those in need would be more productive.. and it IS something we all can do some small thing about. Keep the faith !!

      1. I really appreciate this. Excellent. Absolutely.
        We must WORK towards more understanding of these dynamics, and also the support of government for this type of action (as well as gun control).

  55. Hi Emily… I appreciate your open mindedness on this topic. I am a Republican and a mother and am absolutely for gun control and common sense gun laws and no assault rifles like most others. However, I still feel that if someone wants a gun they will get/find one and our conversation should be about gun control AND mental health illness/treatment. There are so many people and kids struggling, why can’t we provide help??? Why do these people want to do this???? I keep hearing about kids getting expelled and although I understand the reasoning (you acted out/here’s your punishment) I just can’t help thinking by doing that we’re reacting to their actions but no one is digging deep enough to find out how to help or why they’re struggling and by expelling them we’re just adding to their feelings of loneliness and exclusion. Idk, just my opinion!

    1. I totally agree with you about expelling kids. I’ve alwsys been stumped by this – send them home with no further help? Won’t that make it worse. And I know the Parkland shooter did such a horrible thing but i keep focusing on the fact that his mom died in November. I know he had many violent and disruptive tendencies when she was alive but that had to have hurt him – i wonder with more help it could have prevented (and i read he moved in with a friends family so maybe they were trying?)
      I’ve also been accused of being a bleeding heart my whole life so I’m not trying to excuse his actions.

      1. Yes, terrible.

  56. My 24 year old blond, blue eyed brother bought a shotgun and often bragged about he could take care of himself and that he would shoot anyone who messed with his home or his classic car. He lived in an iffy neighborhood that had a history of break ins. On a dark, rainy night he heard someone breaking into his garage. He went onto his front porch in his pjs and bare feet armed with his shotgun. One intruder was in the garage but the other was standing near a parked car in the driveway. After my brother shot off a warning into the air, the man standing by the car shot my 24 year old brother right between the eyes. My brother’s fiancé witnessed the entire shooting from the window. The two men took off in the parked car. No one was ever caught or prosecuted for my brother’s murder. On the day of his funeral, someone broke into the garage again and stole his classic car. Point of this story. Don’t ever underestimate that someone is not a better shot than you. We were 21 years apart. I was the oldest and he was the youngest of seven children. I was also his godmother for his baptism. Looking at him in the casket, all I could think of was that the bullet was still lodged in the spot where the priest had poured the water over his one month old head.

    1. Nancy, I am so incredibly sorry. Love to you and your family.

      1. Thank you. I just pray that the people who mistakenly assume that owning a gun is a deterrent to someone whose intention is a criminal act. Burglaries and carjackings occur often in big cities. The criminals are always prepared to shoot first and faster with no hesitation.

    2. So sorry to hear about your brother, Nancy. Such sadness.

      1. So Sorry Nancy. I believe your brothers story needs to be heard, and I appreciate you sharing it.

  57. As an Australian, I’m already coming at this from a very different place (literally and figuratively). But I do appreciate the discussion, and would like to contribute/ask questions. Personally, I am very anti-gun, but I grew up on the edge of suburbia where my friends and family who lived in the bush/on farms had rifles, but it is fairly uncommon. As an adult, I can honestly think of only one person I know who owns a gun.

    I know that often our gun laws are brought up as a comparison of how gun restriction could work in the U.S. If you are not to aware of the event, In 1996, a man with mental health issues and intellectual disability was able to access a semi automatic rifle and killed 35 people (and injured over 20 others) at a historic/tourist site (a former prison colony). Our government changed the laws restricting access and enacted a buy back scheme and it is declared a success as we have not had any mass shootings since (of course, there are still other violent crimes, I am not discounting them).

    Ideally, the same would work just fine for the U.S, but despite our similarities, we have very different gun cultures.

    I do believe that the loudest/angriest/most aggressive dissent comes from fear. Those holding tightest to their guns are afraid of a changing world, with changing values, where maybe they are feeling a little powerless in a world they didn’t expect to develop and don’t understand, and the gun is a tangible symbol of power they can still have.

    I have a few questions for those in the discussion:
    – Do you believe there is there a reason for children to be allowed to own a gun (reading about it, in Minnesota, 14 year olds can buy a gun with parental consent, and in other states, 16 without parental consent) and, if you’re okay with sharing them, what are they?
    – Do you believe the restrictions should be on the types of guns, or the types of people accessing them?
    – I think my biggest question is for a comment I have seen a lot on line and here: What makes people believe that gun control will only lead to those with bad intentions accessing guns? I know it is not a clear cut situation, but I do believe that restricting gun access will restrict the access to those with mental health issues and revenge fantasies. Yes, I am sure there will still be underworld/crime syndicates that will have guns. But a regular person isn’t going to be able to walk up to them and buy one. They will also become more expensive and less will be produced, which creates a natural restriction on its own.

    Thank you Emily for this discussion, and all of you who have contributed to it. It is really interesting to read all of these views without the crazy name calling that I’ve seen Facebook debates fall into.

    1. YES the BUY BACK! All assault and military grade weapons should be illegal and we should offer a grace period where all ones in private possession should be turned over during a grace period, before becoming illegal. For anyone who says it won’t work, I don’t care, turn them over, get them out of homes, make them harder to buy, if it stops one death then its worth it. You’ll still have plenty of other guns to keep.

      1. My husband called our local police department to ask about how we could get our guns destroyed (our understanding is if we turned them into the police here in Tennessee they’d have to sell them, hence wanting to not turn them in) and the officers he talked to were genuinely stumped. No one had ever asked that and they had no answers for him.

    2. Thank you.

      1. The Australian example is so interesting and important! The same happened in Scotland btw. I did not grow up in a country where guns are very present (even lived in the UK where even police don’t carry guns), so it is not difficult for me to feel like the restrictions here are the reason for fewer shootings.

        I would like to know, from anyone who is pro-gun around here, how and if the statistics from countries like Australia make you feel?


        Another point which I know is not what this post is about, but it is just really important to me personally and I just wanted to add another view here:

        As a German living in East Germany, with family having lived in the DDR, I am concerned about the comments made here about the use of weapons in dictatorships (regarding nationalsocialism and the iron curtain) and would like to point something out:

        The danger and whole point of a dictatorship is that all the oppression is LEGAL. Government will have a military and any individual use (and I would even count a 100 rebels coming together as individual in comparison to the states military) would be illegal and that would mean the government would just punish those who tried to rebel against it.

        Further: In a military dictatorship, individual weapons would have no power in opposition to it’s massive military.
        If it wasn’t a military dictatorship in this sense, weapons do not help, because there are structural elements at work which are far more powerful.

        The best way to prevent an oppressive regime is to respect and protect the democracy you live in, by using democratic means, not weapons.

        I appreciate your post Emily, and I imagine feeling like you live in a bubble feels rather strange at this time in the US. But know that, globally, there is so much support for your point of view, because of the experience of other countries – therefore, it is not really a bubble. In Europe we live with fairly low gun violence every day; it is possible.

        1. Thank you for sharing your point of view and support. I do feel that we are always becoming stronger in our global community.

        2. And of course, the East German dictatorship was brought down by people marching in protest, and escaping to West Germany. And this protest was peaceful, not a single shot was fired, and, to the best of my knowledge, not a single stone was thrown. When fires emanated from the chimneys of the Stasi building in my hometown, courageous women organised a siege to stop them from destroying any more files.

  58. Emily,
    Thanks once again for trying to bridge the political gap through a respectful exchange of ideas and increased understanding. I am an anomaly; I live in Oklahoma, but I hate guns. I would never allow one in my house. Since that’s not the norm here, I can share what I hear all the time from gun-owners. Their main argument seems to be that criminals will not abide by gun-restricting laws anyway so enacting those laws will increase the number of criminals with guns and decrease the number of armed law-abiding citizens. It all seems to be driven by the fear of not being able to protect their family. Guns in their houses make them feel safer regardless of the endless statistics that prove guns in houses increase the risk of injury, suicide and death of family members that live there. Thanks again for using your platform in this way. I really respect you for it.

  59. My household owns a number of guns – the only one inside the house being a small handgun for self protection (in a finger print safe). We own some for security, and most because my husband has them for recreational shooting (not hunting). We both believe there is MUCH room for improvement to be made in gun control laws. Education is so critical. For one – even the words “gun control strung together still mean “TAKE ALL THE GUNS FROM AMERICANS” to some. There’s little to no healthy dialogue existing in the moderate, middle ground. Consistency across State and National policy and laws has so much improvement to be made. I could go on and on.

    There is no reason to me that the average citizen should have access to an AR15. Our country has a problem. And I sincerely hope any sensible gun-owning American, father, mother, son, daughter WHOEVER would be willing to participate in a reasonable buy-back program of some kind if they knew it would make even in incremental impact to reduce the number of mass shootings we are experiencing.

    Thank you for opening the dialogue on this. I hope it’s a healthy and helpful place for many.

    Sincerely,
    A gun owning, sometimes conservative, mostly moderate, Christian, mother, American whose heart is broken

  60. I live in Southeast Texas (one of the towns/cities that experienced flooding due to Hurricane Harvey). My husband owns 3 guns – a shotgun, AR 15 and a handgun. The only time I have ever been happy to really have a gun in the house has been during a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey and when we lived in a less safe neighborhood and I was home alone hearing loud partying and possibly gunshots (or fireworks) a few streets away (we didnt have any issues but it did make me feel like I was safer being home alone during those times). My husband and I were both raised around guns and from early childhood learned to respect firearms for the damage that they could do. The entire concept of having to lock away firearms because children can think that they are toys is just a bit nuts to me but then again even when in elementary school and younger I knew they were not “toys”. We as a society have done an incredibly horrible job of educating our children if they don’t understand the kind of damage a gun can do to the human body and just how easily a bullet can travel through a wall or any other object. That being said we don’t have children yet and should we have kids plan to purchase a gun safe just to make sure there are no accidents in our house.

    My husband and I both think that the guns laws should be much stricter than they are – no buying guns at gun shows or from any individual without a stringent background check, psych exam and waiting period. There shouldn’t be any loopholes where someone can purchase a firearm legally unless they’ve been vetted and every firearm should be registered in a national database. Is that going to eliminate the guns that are on the black market – no. But the system we have in place now obviously does not work and needs to be improved.

    I personally see no reason for any individual that is not in the military or law enforcement to have a firearm that does not have a logical day to day application such as a shotgun or rifle for hunting or handgun for protection. AR 15’s are not more accurate in these applications from what my husband has told me and in reality are appealing to gun owners due to their ability to be easily customized and basically how “cool” they look. I dont have any issue with collectors or firearms enthusiasts owning AR 15s or automatic weapons etc if they have to go through even more stringent pych evals and background checks and if the fees required are in the several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars range.

    Honestly its disturbing to see how easily mentally ill people can obtain firearms and even more disturbing to find out that customized high capacity clips can be obtained for nearly any firearm (at least that’s what my husband told me this morning). I’d personally be ok seeing all guns removed from individuals not in law enforcement but my husband was quick to point out that we would only be removing firearms from law abiding citizens and that criminals would still be armed and most likely the black market for guns would flourish. So I have no idea what the solution to our problems are but making mental healthcare easily accessible and no longer a stigma might have better chance of success.

  61. Do you know that an ad for an application for a concealed weapon popped up in the middle of this blog?

  62. Thank you for opening this dialogue, Emily!

    My husband and I have talked at length about guns- he is a gun owner and avid hunter and has been so all his life. From his perspective and mine, our main issue in relation to mass shootings is that of mental health. Looking back in history, we have had more mass shootings today than we did a century ago. But guns haven’t changed much in the last century! So the solution can’t be to take away guns, because they aren’t 100% of the problem. We agree that stricter background checks should be enforced although he said he has gone through strict checks to get his guns legally. The problem is criminals and mentally ill people won’t likely use the legal way to obtain guns, so harsher laws may not even affect them. Overall I would like them to be stricter though.

    I also 100% agree that video games add violence to our children’s radar. According to my husband, games like Grand Theft Auto also allow rape and other types of despicable voilence and should be taken off the market.

    I think the easiest viewpoint after a shooting is to say ‘guns should be taken away’ when in reality, that’s not the root of the problem. Hearing about Parkland has devestated me this week and I wish we didn’t live in a world where shootings are normalized.

    1. So interesting to see your reasoning: Do you think other countries where there are fewer shootings (like Australia) are different in regards to mental health issues, gaming culture etc.?

      (A little thing to add here though: only about 20% of weapons used in mass shootings in the US were obtained illegally.)

  63. Why do you own a gun?
    1. I think the BIGGEST reason i own guns ( I own lots of handguns,multiple AR-15s, keep tons of ammo in stock) is because of self-defense, home security. I dont depend on anyone to protect me but me. I’m 5’0, have two kids, if someone broke into my house and tried to harm me, how am i going to realistically fight them off? Definitely wouldn’t have a chance with a bat or whatever is non- gun owners choice of defense. I have a conceal carry permit and carry. The world is a scary place and scary things happen and not just by guns. If any guy ever tried anything on me, i’m not very strong, but the gun gives me strength. If you have the ability to have additional power behind you, why not have it? I know if you look at statistics, what are the chances of your home getting broken into, etc? Well it depends on where you live! But when you have people you are responsible for protecting, why take the chance?

    2. My husband and i shoot for sport + hunting

    3. We love to exercise our constitutional rights!

    -As a gun owner do you think that there should be more restrictions and tighter gun laws? If not, why?

    I’m not opposed to background checks and restricting criminals from getting guns. This is already in place.
    Like many people have brought up, most street murders are done by people with illegal guns and mass murders are done with people with clean backgrounds. It’s hard because it comes down to constitutional rights. You aren’t guilty until proven guilty and we can’t just take people’s rights away because they’ve seen a therapist for depression. Kinda unconstitutional.

    The other thing is that laws only effect law abiding citizens. Bad people will always be bad and get things illegally- ex. drugs! It’s the good people that follow the rules. That’s why (this might surprise you) i’m against restricting guns in places like schools or hospitals or wherever. Good people should get to protect themselves because the bad people could care less and are going to walk into wherever and do harm no matter what.

    – Do you think that AR-15s should be legal for purchase?
    Yes, absolutely. Guns are a right because it keeps the power with the people if they ever need to rise up against an oppressive government. People like to pretend that that is nevvverrrr gonna happen but it can and could happen so quickly. Just look at history. All it takes is a catastrophic event, or financial disaster and a dictator could rise into power. I mean, no one ever thought Trump would be president in a million years so why would you never say never about a government going Nazi Hitler on colored people? or gay people? or whatever? What if the government tried killing people because of XYZ? i’m going to fight if that ever happens. And you need real weapons for that kind of stuff. Also, AR-15’s are the best for home defense, not handguns. They work better in home.

    1. Hey, I just want you to know that colored people can be a very hurtful term for black folks.

    2. Have you had experience with using a gun against someone invading your home? Have you ever had to use a gun for self defense? How many people do you know that have?

  64. I don’t watch certain news channels or follow blogs that seem full of fear and hate -but learning the effect that the Russians have had on our zeitgeist and the intense posting of the fear that the Government fully intended to wrest your guns from you, the news channel that supports the same propaganda -is it any wonder that large swaths of our population are storing food,weapons and practicing self defense military exercises in the woods. I guess fear is the strongest emotion that can change an entire population to one that has sympathy and empathy for others to one that resorts to -me and my family -and self preservation against a boogy man deliberately created to inspire division and reluctance to care for the “other”.
    Beyond that as a 77 year old -why do kids prefer to keep their distance from one another with the texting, etc. Strange kind of dissociative behavior. Not so much e pluribus unum in this day and age.
    It breaks my heart because the demonizing of others is the same strategy used by a guy who almost brought the entire planet under his black hearted control. We pulled together then-we had to.
    The other class of gun owner seems perfectly reasonable to me-they hunt or target shoot or just enjoy the workmanship of guns the way some enjoy automobiles. Harmless and very much their own business.

  65. Also, this is a side note to my comment.
    People are all up in arms about protecting children and trying to save lives by gun control, but here is something to put into perspective: Abortions.

    Each year in the world there are 40-50 MILLION abortions every year.
    The last numbers we have for the US is 2013 little less than 700,000

    For someone who is against abortion and pro-guns, you can’t help but thing people are insanely nuts, the amount of attention they give to a few people being killed each year compared to the hundreds of thousands being aborted- mostly for the sake of convenience (less than 3% is because of rape or incest). If we cared about children, people with disabilities, we’d care about abortions. But unfortunately, it’s taboo because we like to just think about women’s rights and completely disregard the other human. Very sad and it doesnt make any sense. I think years down the road society will look back and our children will ask us what we were thinking allowing such horrible things to happen.

    1. As an unwanted child of irresponsible parents condemned to a childhood under the not gentle not parental not loving or kind or caring government social services-spare me. We have just seen the reports of a small boy dead at 6 years old,tortured,mutilated and finally beaten to death by mommy and daddy-beware the idealism of your decent heart. Unwanted children are unwanted-ask anyone you know who objects vehemily to abortion if they will take in an unwanted child,not as a foster child,but adopted ,blended into their family and referred to as our son or daughter and they will demand that the parents be responsible. If they were responsible would she have gotten pregnant in the first place. And please don’t use the entire childhood of a human being to punish the dirty girl who got herself -pregnant. I’ve heard that one frequently. If a woman does not or can not be a Mother to her fertilized egg in her own body she and only should decide. How can anybody have the arrogance to dictate the personal decisions of another person? And how can they insist that the child must be born but they have no concern for its childhood. In 2012, 82.2% of child abuse perpetrators were found to be between the ages of 18-44, of which 39.6% were recorded to be between the ages of 25-34. In the United States, more than 4 children die from child abuse and neglect on a daily basis. Over 70% of these children are below the age of 3. forgive the diatribe but I am 77 and I still shudder when I remember my childhood. If we don’t pull the kids who are screwed up into a sense of self worth and belonging they may resort to hate filled frustration and revenge. I still remember being the “girl from the home” and the resultant harassment. We walked the halls with our heads down hoping to just be ignored. And when we got back to the home,it was chores and homework. Our report cards were signed without compliment or censure. Preventing birth control or abortion will just produce more children into parenting by the State and right now there are hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care-the most unmoored confusing embarrassing and often loveless childhood one can experience.

      1. Judy, I am sorry for your pain and that it was stimulated. Joyce

    2. Rebecca, I have lost many many “babies” at various stages of development in utero. It sucked so bad. They were deeply wanted and valuable to me. But those losses are categorically different than the loss of an older, living child. It really disturbing that you are equating the two.

      1. Anna, how is it different?

        1. Hannah, I’m not Anna but I think the reasoning is that a fetus is a collection of cells with the potential to become a person. Whereas a child is a living, breathing, walking-around fully-formed human. I have never been pregnant so maybe those really are equivalent; I can’t say from personal experience. My own religion does not teach this equivalency.

          Do you think that the 17 abortions that have undoubtedly happened recently in Florida are as tragic as the Parkland incident? I’m asking seriously, hoping to understand your point of view which is so foreign to me.

          Thanks.

    3. Oh my god.

  66. I believe the sport/hunting heritage and tradition is a separate conversation – though important and I think speaks to the real divide in this country which is urban versus rural life!
    Assault rifles, gun control. the second amendment, and even the gun show loopholes are about citizens retaining the ability to rise against the government. I think the election of Trump shows that younger people who had only ever had Obama as a president in their adulthood suddenly saw what giving large amounts of political power to an office can do when suddenly a bad person takes that office. And it also showed how unrepresented in media a huge amount of citizens / viewpoints are in this country.
    America was founded on revolution. The idea that citizens had to form a militia and overtake the power has been a very American value since the beginning of our country and is instilled still in certain conservative groups. I can’t say I’m a part of them but I find that issue unrepresented in the conversation and also deeply complex when I try to think about real solutions.

    1. I also think that if stronger gun control laws were politically advantageous to republicans it would happen. I would like to see more restrictions, everyone commenting on this blog seems to want more restrictions, but clearly there is a large voting public that does not. I don’t think it is fair to say everyone wants them. My guess is the large numbers that feel this way are older and therefore less represented in social and news media.

      1. I think the election of Trump shows younger people that they can get out and vote against him in 2020. There is definitely a revolution coming, and it will make older/conservative people very, very mad. Frankly, its scary that any of them own guns.

      2. actually, recent polls repeatedly record that 65-75 of all citizens support increased gun control

  67. Hi Emily! I really respect and admire you for this post. I’d like to share my stepdad’s perspective as I feel as if it’s shared by many here in the southeast. He’s also a highly educated Trump voter. He owns what would be considered a semi automatic riffle. It’s an antique that he never shoots, but it has been passed down for generations and he enjoys the right to have this gun. He also makes the point that there are many people with guns who don’t do anything wrong.
    When it comes to guns like AR-15 I truly believe he would be ok with banning these; however, he feels if you ban anything it opens up the flood gates to band more. That simple. Believe many people share that same concern. Love this conversation as I too am in a bubble of friends who are adamantly against guns so I appreciate having my stepdad to discuss his perspective.

    🙂 Elizabeth

  68. Hi Emily,
    Firstly, this is exactly what the first step should be in any situation where something horrific happens – really attempting to understand WHY it happened in the first place and hearing from all sides. Maybe it’s mental illness, violent computer games and movies, unstable family backgrounds etc that lead to events like the one in Florida.
    I live in London in the UK. All of the above problems and potential triggers for someone to need to feel the ‘power’ you speak about are also present in our society. But the difference is we don’t make it easy for those people to get hold of a gun to use on a whim and cause such horrific damage.
    We also have the NHS, which may not be in the best state at the moment, but it’s still there to offer access for everyone to health services that may prevent any mental problems from worsening.
    Personally I’ve never once thought about owning a gun to protect my family and home, because I don’t believe there are enough guns out there that I need to protect us from. No one else I know is doing it so I don’t feel exposed or unsafe anyway.
    Any guns owned are highly regulated and can’t just be bought over the counter with the weekly shop.
    Apologies if I sound like I’m sitting in a little English cottage with Harry Potter, drinking tea and watching Downtown Abbey 🤦🏼‍♀️. Our country is far from perfect (don’t get me started on our government, Brexit etc), and of course we have violence, but easy access to guns is just not necessary. I understand the NRA-government situation makes this difficult to ever bring about a big enough change in the US without a very large backlash, but as an outsider it just seems irresponsible in a world where not everyone is of the same mental stability and morals.
    Less guns and better healthcare access for all Americans would definitely be a move in the right direction in my opinion though.

    1. “Less guns and better healthcare” is possibly the best statement I have read.

  69. -Why do you own a gun?
    I own a gun for self defense both at home and in public.

    -As a gun owner do you think that there should be more restrictions and tighter gun laws? If not, why?
    I do not think there should be more restrictions. I know the restrictions I personally had to clear and they seemed very invasive to me. As a libertarian I don’t agree that more regulations/restrictions/laws ever truly fix anything. Forget guns, it’s against the law to murder someone period and yet people do it everyday.

    – Do you think that AR-15s should be legal for purchase?
    Yes I do. I say most anything our government has access to its citizens should as well. Onviously large-scale weapons used by the military would be out of reach to citizens simply from a cost standpoint.

  70. So I’m reading all these comments and I’m seeing that we’re not as divided as we all assume. Everyone seems to be saying, yes, we need changes – even those of us with guns in our homes. It doesn’t mean take away our rights to own guns, it just means you have to be fit to own. And I do believe it’s a 3-pronged approach because if someone is mentally unstable, not owning a gun isn’t going to stop them. So mental health assistance needs to be a huge priority in this country. And finally, like others have said, we need to stop glorifying violence on TV and video games.

    But these comments, coming in from people all over the country, from all walks of life all seem to be agreeing on needing some kind of change.

  71. Emily,
    I think this debate is complicated. I do not own a gun and doubt I ever will. If the debate is about restricting gun ownership here in the US, opinions are HEATED and all over the map. If the debate is about banning semi-automatic AR, I know NO ONE on either side of the aisle who is opppsed to that. So, I truly believe that if you asked whether your readers supported the ban of AR, you could start a movement. If you are going to ask about gun ownership in general, well…. So, let’s start a mom’s and dad’s march on Washington to BAN SEMI-AR.

  72. Emily, thank you for your bravery to ask questions and tackle the subject of guns.
    As for me, I am just about as liberal as they come. So I own a gun? No. Do I want to take away your gun if you own one? No still. What do I want? Let’s start with the easy stuff that is common sense:

    1. Eliminate gun clubs in schools. The NRA sponsoring gun clubs in schools makes no sense in this day and age.
    2. Waiting periods to get a gun.
    3. A national database for background checks.
    4. Eliminate the sale of large magazine clips.
    5. Mandatory classes for gun ownership. It takes more effort to get your drivers license than to get a gun.

    The tougher gun laws I would support:
    1. Eliminate gun ownership until the age of 21. Children DO NOT NEED guns. In some states, children can not buy cigarettes, but they can buy guns.
    2. I get for some, AR’s are for pleasure, but do we need them? For the matter of safety for our fellow man, not really.
    3. Bump stock? Who needs an attachment that will allow a weapon to fire at nearly the rate of a machine gun. Again, for the safety of our children and neighbors…
    4. Limit how much the NRA (or any group) can donate financially to any politician. I read an article last night about 6 politicians who tweeted “thoughts and prayers…” with regards to the murder of the children and teachers at the Florida school. They have received between $3 million to almost $8 million dollars from the NRA. Roughly $25 million to 6 politicians! Imagine how much money has been given to all politicians to buy their cooperation. Additionally, any group such as the NRA who says to politicians “if you vote against us, we will use all our resources to replace you” should be banned from political contributions, period.

    I believe that the younger generation will handle all of this one day and possibly more. Why wait for another shooting or a generation to grow up to enact these common sense laws. They do not take away gun ownership, but aim to help protect our fellow man.

    1. Some kids/teens like to hunt, and I don’t mean with a bow and arrow. If your child is not responsible, by all means don’t let them own or handle a gun, theirs or anyone elses. But you can teach kids responsibility by exposing them to guns (safely) and engraining in them from a very young age the danger of a misused, unsafely handled gun. Kids who respect guns and have been taught how to handle them correctly are responsible even if they haven’t turned 21 yet! As for cigarettes, they harm EVERYONE who smokes them; 99.99% of gun owners won’t ever be harmed or harm anyone else by a gun.

      1. Katie, there is no reason for children to own their own guns. If they like to hunt, then they should be able to use their parent’s gun with permission and with supervision during any hunting.

        If children cannot vote, cannot smoke cigarettes, cannot drink alcohol and cannot drive until certain ages, then why on earth would anyone think they could own their own gun?

        1. Personally I put smoking and drinking in a totally different category (and we all know that most people have drunk alcohol long before they are 21).
          As for driving, you can drive when you’re as young as 15! As long as you’ve passed a driver’s course. Well, ever heard of Hunter’s Safety? It’s the same thing for hunting. Teen-driven cars kill far more people than teen-handled guns, but I haven’t heard anyone saying “no driving until you’re 21.” And hunting with supervision until you’re 21? I’m sorry, but I must assume you don’t hunt, because that’s crazy! My family has owned their own guns before 21 and hunted without supervision (long) before 21. Basically, it’s whenever the young person displays a respect for guns, a habit of being extremely careful with guns, and enough common sense not to get lost.

          1. Katie, while I respect your right to your feelings, I believe you missed my point. I am really glad for all who were and are now raised to respect gun ownership. I am not saying that a parent or adult should not take an underage person to a safe place to learn how to handle a gun properly. I am suggesting that we have an escalating problem in this country and its time for change. Age limits were raised for a person to buy alcohol. DUI limits were lowered across all states. In many states you can no longer drive with minors for a certain length of time after you get your drivers license. These laws were updated and changes were made (no matter if you or I agree or not) when the majority of Americans fought for change. These mass shootings used to not exist and now it is a problem that needs to be addressed. It is time for change. It will not change the ability to hunt or teach safety for those who do. Over time, I believe tighter gun laws will save lives. I believe, shame on us all if we no nothing to try and keep another family from experiencing the painful fallout of mass shootings or gun violence.

  73. First and foremost, I want to say that I respect your desire to understand those who disagree with you on this subject. Our political views differ greatly, but I have always appreciated your open dialogue and willingness to learn more outside your bubble. These are difficult times and what we need is more discussion like this.

    That being said, my husband and I own multiple firearms. An AR-15 being one of them. My husband has been in the military for 10 years and we are strong supporters of our second amendment rights. It is no light matter for us to own guns, but we respect them and teach our children to do so as well. How one raises their children to view guns makes a huge impact on how they handle them as an adult. The bottom line as to why we have chosen to bring them into our home is that evil is real. We see it again and again. As a service member, my husband is gone a lot and knowing I have the ability to protect my children in his absence brings a sense of peace. We are properly trained on how to use them, how to store them and how to talk to our kids about them. When they are of age, they will be taught to respect the use of them as well. We are also trained and licensed to carry should the need to protect those around us while out in the marketplace arise. It is a heavy burden and I pray to God I never have to pull the trigger.

    An issue I find arising again and again about this subject is that so much of what people understand regarding gun regulations, loopholes, sales, background checks and statistics in general simply isn’t true. It is much more difficult to obtain these weapons than the media would lead one to believe. Having gone through multiple sales ourselves, it’s quite a process. State laws do vary, but overall it is not as easy as many believe. And the mass majority of us who believe in the right to own guns strive to do so responsibly, upholding all the laws, respecting the process and praying we never need to defend ourselves, but are also prepared to do so.

    It is my firm believe that if one is intent on committing horrible acts, more laws will not keep them from doing so. They simply hinder those of us ready and willing to protect. The laws already in place need more enforcement. People need to stay vigilant. Parents need to be as involved in their kids’ lives as ever. We need to have discussions like these with them and with one another. It is a heartbreaking subject, but as long as there is evil in the world, the more people who are ready to protect each other, the more prepared we can be for the next dreaded event.

    1. But isn’t it true that there are horrible people out to commit horrible acts in every country on the planet? Why has no other country had 18 mass shootings since January 1, 2018?

      1. Hi Marie,
        There has not been 18 mass school shootings in 2018. That number included anytime a gun fired on a school property, including a time someone fired into the sky in a school parking lot. Only five shootings happened during school hours and included physical harm. There has been ten mass school shootings since 2013 (at least four people killed or injured). I’m not happy this is happening but I don’t think it is helpful to misconstrue the numbers.

        1. Fair enough, I guess I should have specified that I wasn’t only speaking about school shootings (which as a mother of two school aged children is what terrifies me most) but also the 58 people that were slain at concert in Las Vegas in 2017. And the 50 people that were killed in an Orlando nightclub in 2016. Or the 12 people that were killed in a movie theatre in CO in 2012. My point is, where else in the world is this happening on a regular basis? All that said, I do agree with you 100% that we as parents, as citizens, as humans need to be more vigilant and involved- no matter what the laws say. As you said, these are difficult times and I hope we can all come together to find a better way.

    2. I don’t know if your premise of armed persons of sense and good character could save lives in any of our mass shootings. The horrible images that come to mind are of the good guys standing in a crowded theater and taking aim at the front row shooter. How many would die or be wounded in the resultant melee? In a mall or concert it wouldn’t be just one armed defender-it would be multiple defenders and the barrage of shooter bullets and defender bullets might turn a tragedy into an even worse bloodbath. There have been cases where multiple police officers shooting at a suspect have been wounded or even killed themselves. I just don’t see the defense idea except in the case of not a mass shooting but just 2 shooters. We do need to pay attention to the outcast kids in our Schools,they are immature and can make terrible decisions based on rejection and a feeling of nobody gives a @#$% about me so why should I give a &*(% about them. Let them die and they will know the pain I feel everyday that I go to school.

  74. I was eight months pregnant when Sandy Hook happened. I knew that day that the violence would only increase. I was raised in a very anti gun household as my aunt was murdered when I was young. My mom couldn’t get past it. I guess I took it to heart….my husband and I moved to Australia when our oldest was 15 months old. There were other reasons of course but the idea of sending my children to school with bulletproof backpacks and having them learn shooter drills was beyond what I could handle.

    Australia’s worst shooting was Port Arthur in the mid 1990s. Prime Minister John Howard successfully passed a form of gun control with a buy back program and passing strict regulations for gun possession. I know it’s a different system, a different country with a different history. I get that. But the problem was the same in that innocent children were murdered. Mothers, fathers, couples. It horrified the country and one administration made a self sacrifice to change the laws. It’s Howard’s legacy. The violence in the US will not stop without real reform.

  75. I’ll answer this question based upon the unique advantage (if you want to call it that) of being a witness to one of the worst school shootings in US history – Virginia Tech, April 16, 2007. I was a graduate student there at the time and had class in Norris hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so if the shooter had decided to go there on those days instead of a Monday, I may not be here to share my views.

    Even before that event, I had grown up around guns. My grandfather was in the army and an avid duck hunter. He and my father taught both myself and my sister how to respect a gun, the power it contains. As he would remind us, never point it at someone unless you mean to pull the trigger. I would routinely go target shooting and hunting, still do to this day.

    I own guns for multiple reasons, primarily security. I do not have children, so no concern there. I used to live in the country where the closest police station was 30 minutes away and there were only so many officers that would be on patrol at any given time in a very large county, so no telling how long it would take for them to respond. The first night we were in our new house, someone decided to pull up in our driveway around 3am and prowl around the backyard, triggering the security flood lights. That event solidified in my mind the need to have the ability to at least scare someone (the sound of a pump action shotgun will cause a lot of people to second guess their decisions). We did call the police and it took about 25 minutes for them to arrive.

    I do believe that mental health needs to considered when allowing people to purchase weapons. Often times, there are signs or indications that are documented (both officially (ie medical records) and unofficially (ie social media)) prior to the event occurring. But how can we tell when it will lead to mass shootings?

    However, I also see arguments against including mental health in gun purchases – invasion of privacy (creating a discrimination or stigmatization) and sometimes, people just snap and act erratically or impulsive. How do we protect against that?

    People have been killing each other since we figured out we could. Guns are a tool that makes it more efficient. Even if we take guns away completely, melt them down to a pile of junk, people would still be killed. If I remember correctly, there was a mass stabbing in China in 2012 where someone attacked school children with knives. So do we then enact knife regulations?

    I do believe that schools should not be gun free zones. Perhaps its because I believe that given the opportunity, a responsible gun owner could have stopped the shooter from taking that many lives. That belief is supported by what I saw and heard that day… somethings that no one should ever have to go through.

    It could also be pointed to the lack of value in human life. We are so diconnected from each other anymore. We are rude, inconsiderate, self serving, etc. Because of this, we no longer view each other as valuable. It makes it easier to disregaurd people if we don’t see them as valuable. Violent video games may or may not contribute to this view – I played computer and console games in college but the thought has never crossed my mind to hurt anyone like what was in the games.

    There is no easy answer to gun control. Period. Because how can we protect people from themselves? We need to look at all the possible contributing factors – not focus in on one thing or another because then we won’t see the forest for the trees.

  76. I’m a 27 year old married female with two young daughters living in the mid west. I am religious and consider myself a conservative Republican. I live my life in a state of “plan for the worst, hope for the best” we have food storage, water purification systems, and 72 hour kits ready to go in case of natural disasters, political uprisings, invasion from another country, etc we also own multiple guns and have our concealed carry permits. My husband carries a weapon with him at all times, and I have that option and the know-how to do so if I feel the situation requires it. (I’m a stay at home mom most days and only work out of the house one day a week at a hair salon, so most of the time my weapon is safely tucked away and accessible if I need it, but not physically on my body or in my purse.) I grew up as a daughter of a sniper in the military, guns were always treated with respect, and understanding their power & proper training on how to use them was taught to us at a young age. I plan to do the same with my daughters. You don’t fear something so much once you understand it yourself. Also, I don’t want my kids turning to others the internet, or video games if they are curious. I want to be the one to teach them. They know what a gun looks like, and have it ingrained in their heads starting at 1 year old not to touch. And that reverence and respect for the powerful weapon has started.

    I’ve read almost all of the comments that people have made so far on this post, and I think that a lot of great views have been expressed and thank you for creating this space for this conversation.

    I believe AR-15’s should be legal for this simple reason: I don’t trust our government to be able to protect me fully from an invasion, nor do I think it implausible for the US government to turn on us as citizens and I would want legal access to purchase a weapon similar to the ones potentially attacking me. I truly hope that to never be the case, but I also don’t think it totally impossible.

    We also own guns for hunting, and we eat the animals we kill. (Well mostly my husband does cause I’d much rather eat frozen chicken from the grocery store. Haha) but we also go shooting at the gun range both for fun and to keep practicing.

    My husband asked to include some of his thoughts as well… He says “people often think of our government turning on us as impossible, but people also thought pearl harbor and 9/11 were impossible until they happened. Self preservation is a god given right and when you try to make laws that take parts of that right away, it’s a slippery slope towards removing that right all together. When the second amendment was first created there were no restrictions about what kind of weapons citizens could buy. The citizens had access to the same weapons the military had. Also, just because you make something ‘illegal’ doesn’t mean bad people won’t find access to it. In fact the oppolosite is true. A person is more likely to break into a house that doesn’t have a security system in place, similarly, a person wouldnt attempt to harm someone if they knew they had leathal means to defend themselves. Locally we had a shooting at a grocery store where it was technically a no gun area but a shooter got in anyway, and luckily so did a normal concealed carry citizen and the shooter was quickly stopped by the concealed carry holder. The only death was that of the criminal. This event got little media time but stories like this are frequent and because the situation gets diffused quickly it isn’t talked about as much. It’s no coincidence that these shootings happen at concerts and schools where guns aren’t allowed.”

    Sorry for the length of this post, but hopefully my opinions we’re expressed clearly.

  77. Hi Emily! I love this and agree totally with the absolute need for change. It is way too easy to get a weapon in this country. I’m actually a Republican policy advisor for a member of the U.S. Senate (not on this issue) and I would actually disagree with your perception of Congressional members and their views on this very issue. Many of the members I know and work with also see a need for change but recognize that their constituents don’t. Most of the active Republican voters are elderly and get their news from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. They spend tremendous amounts of time on Facebook and read real “fake news.” They live in their own bubble. My grandparents are in that group. They inherently distrust the government and they tend to believe whatever is presented to them without doing any research. This is who Republican members of Congress answer to. While I understand the vast majority of Americans think Members of Congress are bought off with special interest, I couldn’t disagree more. They usually are more afraid of losing an election. Staff is typically clueless who is even donating to their Member unless they actively research the public information. I wish everyone could spend a day in Congress. It is a place where brilliant, people from all over, from all walks of life, are forced to talk to each other and seek to understand each other every single day. My best friends are Democrats. Almost all of us are there because we believe we can make a difference and both sides genuinely believe our ideas are what’s best for Americans. In every instance that I have not been able to get consensus on a policy with Democrats, it has not been that I don’t understand and respect their opinion (usually after many long debates), but because our constituents don’t have the privledge of spending hours to learn the other side and so therefore, we could not go there in terms of negotiation. Members are sent to Congress to represent a specific electorate and I would say the vast majority strive to do just that. Everything is just so politicized these days and rarely do people seek to understand the opposing argument. Members feel that they have to represent their base. And sadly, the Republican base largely believes it is their inherent right to own a gun and any regulation is the slipperiest of slopes. My grandpa believes: why should his right be infringed just because a handful of individuals have mental health issues. I think some believe that bad actors will always find a way and they would rather be able to defend themselves.

    1. Thank you for your hard work! I agree there are amazing people working in Congress on both sides. Sounds like those of us who are socially liberal, moderate Republicans need to speak up more. Hard when it feels like we’re shouting into a void (especially when so many moderates are stepping down). But worth doing. I actually strongly disagree with your assumptions. Both my family and my husbands family are longtime Republican voters – my parents both worked for Jerry Ford. But 3 out of 4 of them did not vote for Trump and they are absolutely besides themselves at what is happening to the Republican Party. It’s become so polarized (as you mention) and I think the assumption you raise is actually driving that significantly. However – the major question that many of us on this thread have not tackled (and what I know is top of mind for you) is what the FEDERAL government should be doing vs states and localities. Would you suggest that given the current assumptions in Congress re the elderly Republican electorate that we should not expect any changes from the Feds for the next 5-10 years or so? It’s a provocative question – not what I will do but it is frustrating to hear that. Appreciate your post!

  78. Thank you for this.

    To the posters who are saying they need a gun for safety reasons in their house, I’d love to learn more on that. Do you live in an unsafe neighborhood? Have you or someone you know had a home invasion before? If you live somewhere that is unsafe, why do you live there?

    My thinking is that if someone is breaking into your house, owning a gun wouldn’t really protect you… What if the intruder has a gun too? The odds of someone breaking into your house when you are home, and then you shooting them while you remain fine is all so inplausible to me…

  79. I’m fairly liberal living in a conservative state. I live in a great neighborhood with lovely neighbors – and I would estimate 80% of my neighbors have a gun in the home. We have some really conservative people in the hood who even have army style vehicles and stuff and all the “end times” shiz and you better believe if there were a natural disaster they would be my go to people for surviving.

    I don’t own a gun because they are expensive and not my hobby of choice at the moment but would have ZERO problem owning one. I have small kids and want them to grow up having seen the power of a gun so they don’t do something stupid at a neighbors home, etc. I want them to understand that a REAL gun is nothing to be messed with and nothing like a movie or a video game. They shoot with their grandpa so they can have reverence for weapons…and life. I know of many people who have killed an animal and decided hunting was not for them (myself included) .

    I have lived through a hurricane where the shelves went bare 5 days before and there were rumors that desperate people might come looking for food at gun point. I didn’t own a gun and really wish I had one for self protection. Just a sign on my front porch with “I am a mom with a shotgun and I am a bad aim” and then a few guns to back it up would have helped me sleep a lot better during the week after the hurricane.

    I don’t mind closing the gun show loophole, raising the age for automatic or semi automatics, background checks, waiting periods, etc. and most conservative gun lovers I know would be OK with this too. The stereotype that gun owners are unreasonable is just lame.

    For the gun owners who don’t want any more restrictions – they come from a belief that our country could be overrun at some time and fear a military state. Think about how terrifying Handmaid’s Tale is. If you fear that this could be our future at some point THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS take away automatic weapons from the citizenry! There is a deep seated (often tied to religious belief) fear that the government could consolidate their power and militarize. An armed electorate is insurance against this “end times” based fear. I am a liberal atheist, so I fear the religious right taking over government ala Handsmaid’s Tale, and am pro the idea of having an armed citizenry as a protection. This stuff sound so crazy, and I too believe that this shouldn’t outweigh my ability to feel safe at a concert, or sending my babies to school, but many people do believe this is possible, and we shouldn’t dismiss their fears outright. They feel they are being patriots when protecting the second amendment. And again, if shit were to hit the fan, I would be so happy to be armed and live in a neighborhood full of moral gun owners.

    Criminals don’t follow laws! So will more laws make us safer? I am open to any conversation here but I do often feel like the left doesn’t acknowledge the common sense fact that you can have hundreds of laws on the books, all it does is strip law abiding moral citizens of more rights, and doesn’t make schools safer.

    In countries where guns are less accessible – nutjobs use bombs and vehicles to do their damage. So though more restrictions/waiting periods would hopefully deter some of this violence, violence has a way of manifesting itself in ill people who feel powerless. I feel like chanting “GUN control” makes bubbled people feel they would be safer, but I don’t know that they actually would be and I get frustrated sometimes that they seem to not really be thinking things through, and being realistic. We have so many guns on the streets would tightening laws cause an even worse black market problem? Perhaps, and leftists need to consider this. Work in reality, not idealism.

    I for one cringe when I walk into a movie theater proudly touting “This is a gun free zone”. To me it may as well read “You are a sitting duck, sorry”. I personally WANT a sicko who thinks of mowing down a movie theatre to think twice about it because 25% of the wonderful, innocent law abiding people in the theater may be trained concealed weapons holder and KILL THEIR ASS.

    A coworker suggested that perhaps teachers who wanted to have gun training and a locked down weapon in schools for emergencies may help schools become more difficult targets. And yes, I am broken hearted that we even have to consider this. I know most liberals would cry “more guns don’t make us safer!” but I challenge anyone reading this to move past that visceral reaction, and deal in reality. We may be in a place and time, where more legal guns in the hands of responsible citizens could make us safer. I think of those teachers in Florida and just cry! They were heroes in the truest sense and I would have been totally OK to have them be armed on this horrible day.

    1. The argument that a good guy with a gun is the answer just sounds like really good marketing for the NRA to me. It sounds like a great way to sell more guns.

      1. Cathi, agreed.

        1. Cathi and Daria – sorry but I need to call this behavior out. This is not the NRA, this is a PERSON sharing their thoughts, that sound like they just so happen differ from yours. This forum was designed to hear both sides, and it is so unbelievably rude when people pull politics into this. What’s different than saying your counter-argument sounds like every other DNC spokesman on CNN? To imply you are simply a mouthpiece of your political party and you have no thoughts of your own? I think you both missed the point of this forum to understand both sides of the argument. if you want others to tell others how ‘right’ you are, I think your welcome to do it someplace else.

          1. freedom of speech is not limited. anyone can express views any and everywhere IMHO

    2. I think these thoughts are great. I didn’t expect s “liberal atheist” to be so open minded. Nice!!

  80. To clarify – I do not own a gun nor have I ever wanted to shoot a gun so I can’t relate to the feelings of control, protection and power owning a gun may afford the user.
    That being said, I am concerned about the ability to change law when the real need of changing people should be the focus.
    I’m heartbroken by the tragedy created by gun use. I worked at a school for 8 years and I had to be aware of students displaying warning signs of mental instability. I was also always concerned of a school shooting and had to make a decision what I would do in advance. I chose to fight for the students and to protect my coworkers.
    Our society should addesss the real issue of mental health in our country and why the action leads to shootings.
    Tragedies like the school shootings or Las Vegas only emphasis the real need for more mental health access. Societies acceptance of mental health issue and needed guidelines in place which consider the need of others safety greater than the needs of those unstable should be a dialogue in Congress.
    My mother has a mental health condition – paranoid schizophrenia, but due to the nature of our society struggles with treatment as she doesn’t want to be defined as being “crazy”. This is a common struggle for patients with mental health conditions.
    The shooter has been labeled as “crazy” but if we actually consider the mental condition, he would be diagnosed as psychotic with angry tendencies based on his postings abuse to his friend and animals.
    We halt change when we call people “crazy” or want to through them in the “mental institution”. When children with Down Syndrome were correctly identified as such and not “mentally retarded” it started changing our approach of understanding and support.
    I am not sure gun law changes will bring about protection from harm. Unfortunately in other countries with those types of laws knives and vehicles are commonly used as weapons.
    I hope whatever the direction from this tragedy, change to protect our loved ones will be achieved and help for those so troubled will also be accepted as well as in place. This conversation should not end until positive change is enacted to prevent another needless tragedy.

    1. I agree that there should be greater access to mental health care, less stigmatization of mental health issues, and indeed greater access to all kinds of health care in this country. However, I think that the focus on mental health of the shooters implies that neither policies nor culture are responsible. Instead it absolves everyone of responsibility, including the shooter. That is why I hope that the primary focus right now will be on implementing some kind of gun control.

      I would also note that mental imbalance or illness is not a defense to a crime unless a person is “legally insane” and cannot tell right from wrong. The way these shootings are carried out, as terrorist attacks designed to inflict the maximum harm in the minimum amount of time, shows that these shooters understand and desire the result of their actions.

  81. Thank you for opening this conversation with a genuinely open mind. By the way, I love your blog! I’ve been a fan since your HGTV days!

    I do not own a gun. I grew up in a home where both my parents disagreed with owning a gun. I was always taught that guns, cars, and anything with power is, essentially, a weapon. With that in mind, one must not take it lightly.

    I now have a brother who is an Air Force veteran and is a police officer for the San Bernardino police dept., one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. He believes in owning a gun and my parents flinch at the thought of him owning a gun. I noticed, recently, when we were visiting my brother as he was removing his weapon and badge, my parents quickly observed, flinched at viewing the gun being placed on the counter and asked him to place it elsewhere.

    Now, my dad is a diasporic Mexican, he grew up in a farm, raised chickens and so forth, came across many deadly conundrums, but he says his father never allowed them to utilize a gun. He has 12 siblings, not one own a gun. He came to this country as an illegal immigrate—I know, I’m opening doors where many many disagree with this—to work so he can send money home and make a better life for himself. He met my mom, born in Mexico, raised here, and she grew up in Watts where she constantly saw gun violence. They married, had me, bought a house in Huntington Park—it was a lovely dream 30+ years ago—raised me in H.P. When my parents moved there, it was a nice place, things turned bad quickly, but it happened due to gang violence. After having my brother, they moved away, all while still never wanting to own a gun. My dad would argue that Mexico, Africa, and many countries are they way they are because of corruption and gun violence. If it was up to him, guns would not exist. My mom believes guns are okay for military and law enforcement.
    I, on the other hand, do believe that one—a healthy, stable minded individual—should have the right to own a gun. I have three kids at home, I’m 34, but I don’t own one nor does my husband. He doesn’t agree to owning one because he worries about our kids being near one. I think knowing that I have the option keeps me at ease. I do foresee something catastrophic happening in the near future where you never know if your home is your only place of solace, where food is scarce and the people you have known for years—neighbors—break into your home to take your food, take the very element keeping your kids alive. God forbid that happens, but it has been proven that in times of distress, sane, normal people turn on others. We’ve seen it when natural disasters hit, certain people take advantage and steal from the vulnerable, rape, etc. Now how would those that are opposed to guns feel that the only way to protect their children happens to be the very thing they are against? But then, how would pro-gun owners feel that the very gun they own has harmed someone?

    I do think that something needs to change. I don’t know how, but something. My kids go to public schools, but that is not the only nerve wracking thing. We live in the suburbs, schools districts are 9’s and 10’s, but schools aren’t my only worry; malls, restaurants—where you may have an angry, disgruntled employee—and all greatly populated areas.

    I recently graduated from CSUSB and they had an incident there. My previous employer had an incident where a co-worker’s husband was drugged and threatened to blow up the place due to his jealous thoughts over his wife’s co-worker. I guess my point is this; if someone wants a gun to cause harm, legal or not, they will. The USA is infamous for providing weapons to other countries, look up the genocide of Rowanda, recently, it came out that our very government was transporting guns to Mexico. The news reported that once and it was shut down. I guess I also don’t know what to think. I know our world isn’t safe, I don’t know if I would ever have the guts to take a life, I don’t think I would. That is someone’s life!!! I have no right! How would I live with myself? No thank you! I can’t imagine that, but what if they were hurting my kids and the crap has hit the fan within our country? What if we are our only source of protection? It has happened during hurricane Katrina, and many other disasters. Although, I do think we should ban easy access to militarized weapons.

    Emily, I too want a safer world for our kids. I am with you! I really don’t know what to think. If the world were pretty and pink, as I grew up to think and quickly realized it wasn’t, then ban all weapons, but what happens when we can’t always depend on our “protectors”? Those hurricane victims have a whole other story to tell. The government that was supposed to be there to protect them, or to be “their protectors” wasn’t. Then again, how would guns have helped? Maybe as a form of protection, or it could have been palatine ugly. My dad always says, “the moment a person with a gun sees another person with a gun, then it becomes a challenge, therefore, it’s best to not have one”.

    Anyway, I hope this positively adds to the conversation and perhaps forward the conversation. Finally, I hope it makes sense because I’m currently fighting a bad flu. I’m a little woozy.

    I think reading the multi-faceted viewpoints is always an interesting topic, especially when conducted in a respectful, grown up manner.

    1. I forgot to mention, in my previous post—as if it wasn’t long enough—that I am afraid of what is yet to come for future generations. Thankfully, we have open-minded people willing to make a change. I rally for change because I do think it is necessary for the video-gamers that seem to exhibit a desensitized future. It’s been proven, those that played “Grand theft auto” weren’t shaken—showed compassion—after viewing pictures of battered women compared to those that played a non-violent game where women weren’t objectified . Now, AT THIS MOMENT—it’s not just the objectification of women, it’s the objectification of a human life.

      My mother has adopted four foster kids, and taken care of many, let me tell you, bad Parents, Parents that have sexually and physically abused their children is pretty high up there. Parents that neglect and selfishly use drugs, it is up there. These kids need foster parents that can show them what pure love is. Unfortunately, You will also hear about some foster dads, foster uncles, etc end up sexually abusing these kids as well. There needs to be a change in the way we raise kids because the future has many kids feeling neglected, angry and uncaring. Many are afraid and when they gain courage, it is to conduct such horrid actions.

  82. My husband is a law enforcement officer and competitive shooter. We have lots of guns in our house in a safe with gun locks. We follow and practice safe gun handling. My husband is a hunter safety instructor and firearms instructor. The most civil discussion/blog post I have read is Brene Brown . She has said everything I would say in a much kinder matter than I would. I think more people perhaps should could consider her point of view. Because I also exist in the crowd between no guns and everyone should have a gun.

  83. My mom (an immigrant) and I got into a really heated debate about guns recently. And while I disagree often with her politics, she said something that stuck with me – and definitely took some air out of my bubble. Before I repeat what she said, mind you I was raised in a house with ZERO guns and my mom was very anti-violence and anti-gun. She said “you east coasters – you take your freedom for granted. Do you think for one second the iron curtain would have stayed down on Eastern Europe if their citizens had the right to guns? They would have fought for freedom. Do you think the people of China at Tiananmen Square might have had a different outcome? Governments across the world take away guns to take away power from people. There is a reason governments are toppled by military coups – those with guns have power. Those without do not.” Sure I argued again this too, but man did I feel deflated after that.

  84. Thank you for starting this conversation, Emily. As a non gun owner and advocate of stricter gun laws I too am so curious what gun owners/lovers have to say.

    I have a question for all the folks who say they have guns for protection in their homes (reasonable) and that the guns are locked up very securely (responsible) SO what happens if you are suddenly awoken in the middle of the night by someone breaking into your home – do you really have the time and wherewithal to get to the place the gun is securely locked, get it out, load it (or is it already loaded?), and successfully shoot the intruder? And how often has this scenario actually ever played out with you or someone you know? Please know, as a non gun owner I am coming from a place of pure curiosity and ignorance (of guns, that is) and not snark.

    I will say, i don’t think anyone- gun owner/lover or not could EVER convince me that AR-15s should be accessible to civilians. Even if we only get a fraction of these weapons off the street and it prevents one mass shooting then it’s worth it.

    1. Marie,
      You’re right–a gun that isn’t ready to be fired would be useless. Some are just collection items that stay in a safe and can be stored separately from ammunition. Many people have a small safe next to their beds (which should also have a flashlight in the same location). If you need it, you enter a code or the safe reads your fingerprints, and the door opens.

      This also applies to how we carry them in a holster on our body. The gun is loaded and ready to fire. Modern handguns are made with several internal “safeties” that make it drop safe; you can’t shake a gun hard and make it go off. The trigger being pulled is the only thing that causes it to fire. So as long as it’s in a good fitting holster that completely guards the trigger, it’s safe to the person carrying it and safe to the public. (rifles are a little different.) So if it’s not on the carrier’s body, it needs to be in a locking safe that kids aren’t given the code.

  85. I live in TN but did not grow up around guns. My family didn’t have them, not in an anti – gun way, my parents just didn’t see a need for them, though I know my dad had them around when he grew up on a farm in WI.

    My husband, on the other hand, grew up around guns and knows how to handle them responsibly, for hunting mostly. He’s never wanted one in our house and we are both very much against them now and huge proponents for stronger gun control.

    His family, though (who live in MS) love their guns, in spite of the fact that my BIL was killed at 21 years old from being accidentally shot in the face while playing with a loaded gun at a party. That’s serious conviction…or denial, I’m not sure which.

  86. Hey, so I’m totally not political but I do have an opinion on this one. I was at Trolley Square in SLC hours before the shooting about 10 years ago. That day changed my thoughts on guns. That was the day my husband decided to get a gun. I was nervous but supportive. As a protector he would have felt completely helpless trying to protect our family without a firearm. We would have been like lambs to the slaughter. People who shoot people aren’t law keepers. They will find means to hurt people. They will get guns illegally. I understand that some of the shooters got guns leagally but I’m not convinced that they wouldn’t get them if they had to do it ileagally. Sure, the they should tighten up the background checks and make it harder. Do a physc eval. I think the real conversation we should be having is about mental illness. My husband is an ER doctor. He lets people leave the ER almost every shift that have threatened to kill other people, even him. Since “insane asylums” have been put out to pasture there is not a place for these people. He gets return customers all the time because the ER is one of the only places that will take them. Sure they get a psych evaluation but most are back out within hours or days. We need to figure out an answer for these people. A lot of them don’t have a place to go that is safe for them or the people around them.

  87. I just read this post on my phone and the imbedded ads are for two different companies/organizations dealing with concealed weapons permits and equipment for carrying them. Ugh. I realize that data mining will result in different ads, but while I have read a great deal of articles about gun-control lately, it saddens me that someone in the ether has tied them to marketing of this variety. Boo!

  88. It should be illegal for a politician to accept any money from the NRA. There goes their power. pffft!

  89. I resonate with a lot of the comments already made here so I’m not sure how much I’d actually be adding, but here goes!

    I grew up in Texas where owning and shooting guns is very normal and a way of life. My dad is actually from Pennsylvania and comes from generations of gun lovers. We actually have a rifle that my great-grandpa built. But I honestly grew up only shooting guns with my dad present and on our land (still weirds me out to think of shooting at a range with a bunch of strangers here in LA where I currently live). My dad has been a member of the NRA for ages, but I know that he supports waiting periods, background checks and other laws that would help to deter nonresponsible gun ownership. He used to also teach gun safety at our local preschool (small town) so that kids would learn to respect guns and what to do if they ever encountered one. I also had a reverent fear of guns. I grew up respecting them and the danger can impose.

    My husband currently owns a pistol and did tons of research before buying it. It’s mainly for sport – going to the range. And for the VERY small chance that would we actually need it for home protection, although it’s safely locked away (we have an almost 2-year-old). The gun laws in CA seemed pretty ridiculous to us coming from Texas, but we’re not against making it a little more difficult to legally get your hands on one.

    As for the AR-15, I think, like others have stated, there are a lot of misconceptions with that particular gun/style. This was a great article to help explain more about gun laws and the AR-15 (although I don’t agree with everything he says):

    I think they mainly look scarier than they’re actually capable of. They’re not actually automatic weapons like many people think they are. The article above also does a great job of explaining what a semi-automatic weapon actually is and the purpose of them. (Semi-automatic sounds much scarier than it actually is.)

    I think this is way more complex than just gun-control though. Obviously mental illness is a factor. And the fact that the FBI was aware of all three of the latest Florida mass shooters and didn’t properly act on those tips/interviews. AND almost more importantly our culture is a HUGE factor in how our minds and children are shaped – what’s normalized. Out of the top 10 grossing movies in 2017 only ONE (1.5 if you count despicable me 3) was not a violent/action film. I understand talking to politicians and to NRA, but who is talking to Hollywood? Who is making BILLIONS of dollars off of violence and use of guns. Growing up, the most violent video game out there was Nintendo duck shooter with the laughing dog. Now Kids can play war games with chainsaw machine guns. Not only can you shoot a ridiculous amount of rounds, but then you can saw your opponent in half! That’s likely not helping the minds of kids OR adults.

  90. Can I just say Emily, I live in Australia and as you probably are aware we have a very different view on gun laws and ownership. I agree to everything you said in this post about it been a personal choice for each individual…. But according to our news you have had 8 school shooting since January….8? How many children have to die before something substantial is done? Honestly, and I’m NOT passing judgement on anyone or taking a moral high ground and I have no idea about how your politicians work but we see this happening over there and are in disbelief. This is your country and we have no right to say what you can and can’t do, but it not only effects your country it reflects around the world. I find myself feeling so very sad for all the loss of innocent lives,

  91. Thank you Emily for addressing a critical conversation. My husband is a fifth generation Oregonian. We have shotguns in the house, always have, he hunts pheasant Chukkar and quail. We are 10000% (is that a thing?) for common sense gun restrictions. We are for banning of assault weapons, and education and licensing of gun owners. We drive cars, they are lethal weapons, we teach our citizens how to drive and if they can pass the test they get a license. Same should hold true for every single gun owner. Domestic abusers, people with violent felony convictions, stalkers, troubled teens, should not own guns. Period. My husband taught each one of our kids how to shoot, care for, clean, our shotguns, they also took a gun safety course when they were 12. My 94 year old mother is advocating a nationwide school walk-out to demonstrate how serious this is to all of us normal people. I have to agree with her. I am absolutely done with these insane school shootings. Other countries have ended them, we can too.

  92. Hi Emily,

    I read somewhere that a problem cannot be solved at the same level as that where it was created. To me, what we are really discussing is fear, hate and love. To no longer feel fear in the world is to have a view that is beyond fear.

    No matter how many guns are destroyed, we cannot legislate love and peace.

    Man is simply a creature who requires love and care. This is where our focus must be. When humans are not healthy, they use weapons of every sort, bombs, knives, drugs, alcohol and the like to express their pain. Therefore, our focus must be on healing and love for one another. There must be education and support and mental health for our society. After all, we’re all in this together…….and we need to solve this together. As long as we blame someone else for our woes, we excuse ourselves. We all must support each other and that means we start with the health of the family.

  93. I grew up in a home in New York where my father had a shot gun and a rifle purely for recreational hunting (turkey, deer, pheasant) . It was something he did once in a while and I would by no means say it was a main focus of his life or our family’s growing up.

    While I support the right to own a gun, I ABSOLUTELY believe in strict regulation, training and registration. There is no need for high powered weapons in hunting. In my opinion, only trained law enforcement should have access to those types of guns.

    Do I think gun violence will completely go away with stricter regulation? No. But I do think it will have an impact which is reason enough to enact meaningful law changes. I’d rather inconvenience some for a chance at stopping another violent act before it happens.

  94. We own guns for both protection and recreation. My biggest problem with “gun control” is how nebulous it is. You can’t legislate nuance. Virtually all of the proposed regulations I’ve seen either already exist or they wouldn’t have stopped the majority, if any, of the shooters in recent history from obtaining weapons.

    The biggest commonality has been mental instability and psychotropic drugs. I find it so strange that instead of putting a microscope on the pharmaceuticals, we look at the weapons as if there’s some causal relationship THERE instead. That’s like blaming your fork for giving your diarrhea even if it only happens when you eat at a certain restaurant. But even if we settle on mental illness being a major cofactor, are we then going to go after people with mental illness? And what does that translate into? If you’ve ever been prescribed anything for anxiety or depression you can never own a gun? Do I forfeit the right to protect myself in my home for the crime of being plagued with anxiety? So how do you write that law? At what level does someone become too unstable to own a gun and who is making those decisions? It gets messy real fast.

    Guns are not new. And not only are they not new but they have become MORE regulated over the years. And yet these mass shootings ARE new and are becoming more frequent. I think everyone is asking the wrong questions. I think guns are just an easy scapegoat for people to gain some sense of mental security and to satiate that “do something” urge when something chaotic happens. Clearly the problem runs much deeper.

    We are doing SOMETHING wrong as a society. But no one wants to talk about that because it’s harder.

    Do I want to keep guns out of the hands of the “bad guys?” Obviously. Literally everyone does. I think that’s why it’s so hard for some to conceptualize why anyone would be against “gun control.” Ultimately I just don’t think our government officials are capable of doing that without causing more problems than they fix. I don’t think that answer to this problem can be a top down solution without causing so much collateral damage it provides zero net benefit.

    1. Yes! This is wise. We think gun control is the only answer. But like many others have said, look at the violent video games kids and adults play, look at Hollywood and entertainment. We have normalized and glorified horrific things, and then we wonder where people get the ideas from and exclaim in horror how someone could have thought of something like this?!

      1. As someone who favors stricter gun regulations in the name of gun safety (and think the Heller decision which significantly expanded the scope of the second amendment was wrongly decided), I do not think gun control is the only answer or that guns are our only problem. I do, however, think that stricter gun regulations, including banning bump stocks, increasing age limits for purchase, increasing or creating waiting periods for gun purchases and creating more comprehensive registries, and limits on the number of guns an individual can own are changes we can and should make now (and frankly should have made in the past). Do I think these changes would solve our entire problem? No! But I would rather solve part of the problem than none of it and I think the other issues mentioned – greater attention to mental healthcare and a societal shift away from violent video games and entertainment – could be even more difficult to address than gun safety. I appreciate the open dialogue here on this site regarding the various viewpoints on the whether there is a need for gun ownership and for increased gun safety regulations and value this dialogue so please understand that my response is meant to be part of that dialogue.

    2. Yes, please let’s talk about the fact that most/all of the shooters are on psychotropic medication and that many of these medications are well known to cause homicidal ideation (i.e. thoughts of killing people!) If not with guns, it will be with something else . . .

  95. Thank you, Emily!

    The posts have been so interesting and illuminating. Thanks everyone.

    I, like you, Emily, am not a gun owner. I grew up in Hollywood with Jazz musician parents. There was no owning of guns, no discussion of guns, no need for guns. It just wasn’t part of my life at all. And since I am in California, I am in that same bubble. It’s really interesting to read that so many readers own guns and grew up with guns. And even with that, so many are for more gun restriction. Not what I would have expected.

    I think there are so many levels to the gun topic. Peoples’ upbringing and culture, for protection? for sport.? Does regulating them really guarantee people not being able to get guns? Drugs were mentioned. The drug war has not stopped people from getting them. The people who want them will find them. Is there a mental health issue here where mass shootings are concerned? Can we solve this with just regulation and more laws? Do we need to put money into the health care system (for mental care) so that we can help those who could turn a corner and go off the deep end. Is it the need for attention?

    I used to work for a local conservative talk radio host. I was one of his personal assistants. I was not really political, so the fact that he was conservative didn’t bother me then. I took what I liked and left the rest. He did a movie to counter Michael Moore’s gun movie, Bowling for Columbine, about the gun lobby etc…
    My bosses movie, countered everything Moore said. (He hates Michael Moore lol). One of the points he kept trying to make was “How many lives are saved by guns each year?” I forget the number, but it was an interesting question. Part of the answer is that it’s impossible to know exactly.

    All this to say is that the topic has so many levels and I don’t think there is one solution.
    My opinion is that as long as so much money goes to political campaigns from the NRA, it’s likely that nothing will change quickly on the regulation end.

    Thank you for the platform. I am not hugely political and it’s rare that I try to write something that touches the political arena.

  96. Em – I’m a fan of yours who lives in LA with my hubby and daughters. Originally from oklahoma I’ve resided in left leaning cities with strict gun policies my entire adult life. I’d be happy to have a one on one on or off the record conversation with you about all of this. In fact, that’s what I do for a living.

    As a mom it is my number one priority to keep my precious girls safe. When my husband is away for work and the LAPD response time is 7 minutes if someone broke into my home I don’t give a shit that I have motion lights, a gate and an alarm. They’ve passed that, they won’t get past me if I have my glock.

    California, unfortunately is a prime example of how incredibly strict gun laws don’t work. Messed up men, gangs, dealers, depressed people still find ways to end life. Having friends in Nice and NYC where terrorists used trucks and knives to kill is further proof removing all guns doesn’t work. Here in California we’ve had in recent years (the past 5) the San Bernardino attack, UC Santa Barbara and Santa Monica College. All situations in the most gun controlled state in the country.

    Additionally, military guns are illegal already. They have been for almost 3 decades (forgive me for not knowing exactly, I can google and get back to you.) the AR looks like a fancy military grade weapon but it isn’t. And, handguns are used in more deadly shootings in the United States every year than ARs. There are after market items that can be added and built but no gun on the market today is a military grade weapon.

    Another reason I own a gun is because I don’t want history to repeat itself. Having had friends who were Korean kids during the LA riots, whose parents defended their stores and their livelihoods with guns… having friends whose ancestors were killed by Nazis, whose grandparents fled communism, whose Christianity was attacked in Egypt by radical islam… who have fled the corruption and violence of Brazil… etc. I take it very seriously that I should be able to protect myself, my family, my friends, and my nation if this kind of evil history has seen were to repeat itself.

    I could go on all day with statistics, reasons, etc but read this and let me know if you want to continue the dialogue.

    1. Well said IMO. I’d love to hear a gun control proponent’s reaction to your thoughtful comment just so you do further the communication.

    2. Yes. Wonderful comment. Others have said what I think in better more concise thoughts so I’ll just add my personal experience.

      I live in nice suburban California and am 34 with two kids. My dad owned a business on Wilshire during the LA riots and when things were safe he brought me down to see the Korean grocery next door being successfully protected by the owners with their guns on the roof. My best friend did ministry in New Orleans after Katrina and came back with stories about the things happening there to defenseless people. My sister in law was nonfatally shot years ago in a school shooting here in CA – she and her husband own a gun now. And as for me and my husband, a crazy screaming man (turned out to be high) tried really hard to break down our nice suburban door one night when we were newlyweds. The police took about 7 minutes to get there and thank God the guy did not think of breaking through the window. Without home defense weapons, what on earth do anti gun people actually plan to do when a criminal gets in their house?

      1. Our plan for when a criminal enters our home (or attempts to) is to flee as fast as possible. The numbers say that it’s basically a fantasy that you’re going to have an armed standoff with an intruder and win.

    3. Just read this piece and thought some of you might find it interesting/helpful.

      1. Also this from David French arguing for use of GRVOs, “it appears the FBI received exactly the kind of information that would justify granting a GVRO.

        Just since 2015, the Charleston church shooter, the Orlando nightclub shooter, the Sutherland Springs church shooter, and the Parkland school shooter each happened after federal authorities missed chances to stop them. For those keeping score, that’s four horrific mass shootings in four years where federal systems failed, at a cost of more than 100 lives.”

    4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so clearly. An important point is that California has one of the lowest per capita rates of gun violence in the nation. There are approximately 7.7 gun deaths per 100,000 people, per CDC data. Only 7 states have a lower per capita rate, and they are all states with very strict gun control. Large states will have more incidents numerically, so it’s important to look at the per capita rates.

  97. Emily, I’ve read through only a small portion of the comments posted here and am moved by the thoughtful, honest, heart opening responses. I come from a similar background as you, I grew up in a liberal family, live in a liberal community and am aware that I live in a bubble. I also know that my feelings on guns are deeply impacted by my step fathers death almost a decade ago and that my earnest hopes that guns will be outright abolished are unrealistic. The comments to your post have shown me that we are much closer to compromise then our political leaders and the media would lead us to believe and that is a great comfort. Thank you for risking and publishing this post and thank you to all that have responded respectfully.

  98. I don’t have a gun. Nor should anyone else.

    1. Did you even read any of the other commenter’s posts? They have very valid things to say and you are dismissing them all, seemingly without consideration.

      Though I would die defending your right NOT to own a gun, your blanket immovable statement is what causes some of the polarization on this topic, and the polarization has gotten us NO WHERE.

      I am ready to vote a whole lot of Emily’s readers into congress! We can absolutely have civil conversations about this, and meet in the middle even if our personal preferences are as strong as yours.

  99. I do own a pistol for self protection and do agree with the second amendment guaranteeing the right to do so. I also STRONGLY agree that there is absolutely no need for people to own semi automatic weapons, or whatever name people want to attach to them, and that they should be banned. And that it’s time for people like us to be heard and action to be taken. It’s a deep stain on our country that it hasn’t happened already. One of the problems, in my view, is people wanting ALL guns to be banned. That’s what the gun toting folks think ANY gun control means; the first step in people trying to abolish the second amendment. The middle of the road people are often the unheard voices. The answer is in the middle. For me that means ban weapons capable of killing multiple people in seconds. You have to wonder how any rational person could disagree.

  100. Thank you for opening such an informative and measured debate, Emily. As a non-American, I can’t begin to imagine having to live with the possibility of a gunman walking into my child’s classroom. It’s just not a part of our reality over here; I live in a country where even the police don’t carry guns, and where gun crime is not non-existent, but is largely confined to organised criminal gangs shooting each other. There is a very limited range of hunting and sporting guns that are allowed to be owned by civilians, and the laws governing their use and storage are very strict. I don’t know anybody who owns a gun.

    And I realise, of course, that introducing gun control in the US is not immediately going to lead to an end to gun crime. But it’s equally disingenuous to claim that it’s not part of the solution. I refuse to believe that Americans are inherently more violent, more aggressive, more murderous than almost all other developed nations.

    The argument that taking guns away from law-abiding citizens just leaves them in the hands of the criminals ignores the fact that school shootings, for example, are usually carried out by disgruntled young men, not career criminals. Access to deadly weaponry is a huge trigger for the sorts of impulsive acts that they carry out. Reducing the total number of guns in circulation makes it much, much harder for this type of person to get their hands on one. Of course we should be addressing mental health problems, and the effects of family breakdown, and toxic masculinity – but none of those things can be ‘fixed’ quickly, or completely eliminated, and as a doctor I am sceptical that even the most thorough psych exam would ever be able to identify every single potentially dangerous individual.

    Anyway, sorry – those are just a few random thoughts from somebody who doesn’t have any personal skin in the game, but whose heart breaks with all of yours when one of these terrible tragedies hits the news. Constitutions aren’t infallible, and are a reflection of the times in which they were written. Sacrificing children to a two-hundred-year-old document is something I will never understand.

    1. My parents are immigrants from a European country that could be described like yours–gun access is highly regulated and limited to hunting and sport shooting activies, and gun crime is nearly nonexistent. I wholeheartedly agree with your comment, and I know they would, too. The problem isn’t that Americans are fundamentally worse than people of other countries, but that our access to guns is fundamentally broken.

  101. This discussion must begin and end at the importance of the second amendment: the right to bear arms is to resist tyranny of the state. The entire point is to be able to fight the government if needed. The military and virtually all police departments have semi automatic weapons. We the people MUST maintain this critical check on government no matter how uncomfortable it makes us or how much we wish the world was different, safer, more friendly, less violent. Gun control discussions are like free press or free speech discussions. We must protect our basic rights to discent! Freedom only exists when discention cannot be squashed by the majority or government. Anything else is not freedom. I’m sorry to be blunt but we must rephrase these discussions to address causes of violence and punishment for offenders because gun control of military style weapons defeats the point. It doesn’t matter if we all own revolvers and 22gauge hunting rifles while police use M4s. Please do not read this as a call to violence or support for those who use these weapons for evil. I am not discussing weapon use at all – simply trying to point out that the weaponry capable of resisting government tyranny are lawful protections at the core of ensuring freedom of thought, action, and independent thought remain in our country for all citizens of all backgrounds, thoughts, and creeds. You all might not agree with me…I’m sure you don’t!…but like Emily’s trump post illuminated after the election, the libertarian Midwest will always plan for the worst as a way to ensure we are free to seal the best. I am unapologetically pro assault rifle because this is how we the citizenry preserve the power to God willing never need to physically resist government or foreign oppression.

    1. This! I know that none of us want to believe that any of this crazy stuff could ever go down in America…but we also didn’t think Donald Trump could ever be president. I know that most European nations are currently working well without guns, but they ARE sitting ducks if their governments get corrupted ALA Handmaid’s Tale. Sincerely,
      A liberal who believes in the 2nd amendment and DESPERATELY wants to figure out ways to reduce this violence!

      1. If our government decided to attack its citizens, how do you imagine they will do it? Why would they limit themselves to semi-automatic weapons when they have automatic weapons and bombs and drones and ….. I could go on and on and on. I understand the original impulse of the Constitution, but the idea that any guns you can buy at the gun store is going to be able to stop a war from the most powerful military force the world has ever seen is ridiculous. And I don’t say that because I have blind faith in the government. I do have a lot of faith in the soldiers who would be asked to carry out orders against its citizens. I don’t believe they would.

        1. Yes, but would you rather try to stop them, or essentially just say “kill me”? Just because the US has sophisticated weapons, doesn’t mean that people would be defenseless against them with “only their guns”. Look at the guerilla warfare tactics that the Middle East and Vietnam used SUCCESSFULLY against the United States. Of course no one wants this to happen to the US but we would be foolish indeed to think that it couldn’t happen.

          1. Oh, I imagine if my government decided to come and try and kill me, I would fight back by any means necessary. I also just happen to know enough to realize that any weapon I could turn on my government is dwarfed so substantially by their capabilities, that the insistence on a semi-automatic weapon instead of a handgun or a rifle is pretty silly. My incredulity comes from the people saying, I need this gun so that when the ARMY comes for me, I can kill a handful of my fellow citizens before they kill me. It seems to me that if the big fear is of our government’s military power, maybe we ought to start fighting for our congress to lessen that power, rather than imagine some terrible B movie plot nonsense where we Red Dawn our way to victory against the most fearsome military power the world has ever seen. And… I’d also argue with your examples of “guerilla warfare tactics” in the Middle East and Vietnam. In both cases you have other powerful nations providing weaponry in deeply unpopular wars that the US is trying to commit slighter resources towards. To go back to the second amendment, and one of its goals of fighting tyranny at home, the Constitution doesn’t allow for a standing army at all. So maybe we should return to that as well?

        2. Reading through many of these comments the most common reasons for gun ownership seems to be self protection against your fellow citizens and against your own (elected by you) government. Really? Does this seem logical? I visit the States regularly and never feel unsafe – except for that one time I was in line in a Starbucks in Arizona and saw the (non law enforcement) gentleman in front of me had a gun on his hip. I could not get out of there fast enough.

      2. Natalee, I think you missed the point of The Handmaid’s Tale. This story is a warning of can happen when a large part of the population owns guns. The Gilead totalitarian society was able to separate from the rest of the United States because of like minded militias that came together. The first thing they did was to take away women’s rights. It is a frightening story, and is worth noting that no one, no matter how powerful, seems very happy or secure.

  102. I have been around guns since my parents decided to teach me about gun safety around 18. I still do not know where the safe in their home is located at 24. I now have an AR 15 of my own. I know that is not a popular choice, but as someone who has been highly educated and given opportunities to shoot many types of guns, and AR 15 felt like the safest choice to me, probably for the same reasons that it’s unpopular in the hands of someone mentally unstable. It offers virtually no kick and is extremely accurate. I feel safe knowing that if I am ever confronted in my home that I have a gun that I am 100% confident I could defend myself with. But I’m mentally stable, and while I know that, I dont that the rest of the country should take my word for it. There needs to be more extensive background checks and I believe that they should do background checks on the people living with the gun-seeker. The gun is technically my husband’s, and there was never a background check done on me in order for him to obtain it. I also would have no problem paying to take a mandatory, government enforced gun safety course.
    When it comes to school shooting, I often times think that maybe more guns might be the answer. I’m not political, and I have no idea how to enforce this, but if schools were armed then I think people would be more intimidated to choose them as a target. But I’ve only speculated on this because I’m just as desperate for answers as anyone in this country, and I see why those with liberal views want more restrictions. I truly do. I also know that laws only work for law abiding citizens, and if you take my semi automatic weapon away then I stand no chance against a criminal with a semi automatic weapon, and that scares me. I’d genuinely love feedback on these comments, and I hope they shed light on why someone might want to own an AR 15 without having ulterior motives.

    1. I totally agree with the desire to want to defend yourself. We have many guns that make me feel safer as a homeowner. I’ve not heard of an AR-15 as a defensive weapon, which probably shows my ignorance, but more as a recreational gun. What about a shotgun? That’s what my go-to would be if there was any type of home invasion.

      1. Actually, AR-15s are one of (if not THE) #1 guns bought for home defense. I know they look all military and “scary,” which causes a lot of non-gun people to jump to conclusions about them. I see a lot of people claiming that no citizen has the need for an AR-15, when really it’s excellent for defense! A shotgun would be a good choice as well, and is, in fact, probably what I would choose as well. It all comes down to what you’re comfortable using.

    2. As a Canadian I cannot understand why there is any debate. It is not acceptable that your children go to school and are taught a drill in case an “active shooter” gets access to their school! How have you allowed this to be the new normal? What does that do to your kids? I used to go to New York City twice a year, my parents had a home on the coast of Florida and I have travelled all over your magnificent country. When Trump was voted in I cancelled a house rental in North Carolina and I will not return until his racist, woman hating, butt is tossed! I read this article yesterday and I think is really good. Ride the wave that those brave kids in Florida are creating.

  103. This has been so helpful for me to read through – kudos to all those offering their perspective in a respectful way! I have always had a hard time understanding why anyone would feel the need to own a gun; it’s been a struggle for most of my adult life, as Columbine happened when I was a teenager and I was paralyzed with fear of going to my own high school afterwards. Fast forward to meeting and getting to know my brother in law several years ago. He had lived in a very rural part of NC most of his life. He owns many guns which I originally assumed were for hunting. But when he married my SIL and they moved to a *slightly* less rural but still very open area of the state to raise their children, (they have three young girls), he shared a very disturbing story that I’ve never been able to forget. A new neighbor of theirs, (a quarter of a mile away), was not respecting the property lines so my BIL paid him a visit. When the man opened his door he was holding some sort of gun. So my BIL just opened his jacket to show the man that he was not only carrying, but that his weapon was deadlier, (I don’t know what types of guns they each were holding). This story has always made me sick to my stomach; I realize that we live in a very different bubble. But the fact that it’s normal in vast areas of our country, for people to use the threat of gun violence against each other as a form of communication is wildly incomprehensible for me. So much so that we avoid visiting my BIL and SIL because we don’t feel safe. The irony I guess is they use their guns to feel safe. I would really like to ask him his views toward assault rifles and gun control. It’s easy for me to feel like HE is the outlier here, but I do think he represents a vast amount of people who we need to hear from and understand. Understanding doesn’t need to result in aggreeance, but it’s a gigantic step in coming up with real, logical solutions. Can’t thank you enough for starting this convo! You’ve inspired me to reach out to my BIL and ask his thoughts.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly that this has been a very helpful forum. Chelsea, thank you for sharing this story and perspective. It can be easy to forget that the experience of others can be so vastly different from our own. This kind of insight is illuminating.

  104. My dad was a PA state policeman for 37 years. He was one of the first people on site at the Shanksville crash on 9/11. We always had a gun in the house and he was serious about gun safety. It always made me feel safer knowing he knew how to use it. We have guns in my home now, and I don’t mind it. My family and extended family shoot them recreationally. We are serious about gun safety with our children. It still makes me feel safer at home. We do not conceal carry. I do not think we should ban guns or take away people’s guns. With that being said, I am 100% for some kind of reform-increasing the intensity of background checks, doing mental health checks, banning bump stocks, making safety requirements if there are people in your home with mental health issues, bans on guns for people with a history of domestic violence, etc. It’s just a matter of who would enforce these things? Who would agree to them? As for any civilian semi-automatic weapon…why? Why do we need to have these in our homes? On our streets? I feel like we should all be able to come together and say, “You know what, firing this semi-automatic weapon, sure it’s fun, but is it really worth it? Is it worth the risk?” I support the Second Amendment, but I also wonder about the “inalienable rights” of Life, liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness that are being diminished. Our day-to-day life is tainted by these shootings. Our children’s lives are being taken away. We have the RIGHT to sit in a movie theater, go to the mall, go to church, and not have to wonder if we might get shot, or to drop our children off at school and not have to wonder if we’re going to see them alive again. Our children have the RIGHT to go to school in safety. I know many people who have these thoughts. We have amended the Constitution in the past when society has needed it (hurray for the right to vote!). I think we need it and I’m no lawyer, but if most of the mass shooters are using assault-style rifles, I think I’d start there.

  105. For those who shoot or collect guns “for fun”….You know what else is intense…makes you feel powerful…and it’s fun?…

    SCUBA DIVING.

    You are BREATHING UNDERWATER.

    YOU HAVE ESSENTIALLY MORPHED YOURSELF INTO A FISH.

    YOU HAVE ENTERED AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT UNIVERSE.

    AND you could still die.
    Because your life or death still depends solely on a metal object.
    So technically there’s that rush too.

    Why not choose something else even MORE exhilarating and surround yourself with LIFE as a hobby?

    Just throwing that idea out there. Why not give it a shot? (Pun may or may not be intended)

    1. Lol!!

    2. I scuba dive too. 🙂 maybe you should try target shooting?

      1. No thanks.

        Zero desire to shoot at anything.

        I prefer blowing bubbles over blowing things away for no good reason.

        1. Don’t knock it till you try it. Target shooting requires good eye-hand coordination, breath and muscle control. It trains in discipline and patience.

          It also doesn’t “blow things away”. It puts little holes into paper.

          Oh and some of my scuba friends use spearguns to hunt. I don’t approve of killing but at least they are eating what they catch.

          1. Being a fine artist requires all of those same things too.
            Again, no gun required.

             ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      2. LOL. Touche.

    3. This is pretty funny. My husband and I own guns AND scuba dive. Unfortunately, I don’t really see scuba as a viable replacement for shooting/hunting, because the shooting range and hunting lease is far more easy and practical to access than the nearest reef, and doesn’t require a plane ticket 🙂

      1. You can scuba dive in any body of water though.

        The funniest part is where you talk about how much easier, cheaper, and easily accessible your gun hobby is….which is kind of the point we’re all trying to make here.

        1. When I said “easy and practical to access” I was obviously referring to a physical location, not the weapon. And I never said my “gun hobby” is cheaper. Guns, ammo, and hunting leases are quite expensive, actually. I also didn’t think the “point we’re all trying to make here” is that hunting and target shooting is too accessible. I certainly haven’t killed anybody in the pursuit of these hobbies.

          Yes, you can scuba dive in any body of water. I’m not sure what the appeal of diving in a man-made lake with 1 foot of visibility would be, though. If I’m going to dive, it’s going to be in the Caribbean or South Pacific, neither of which I live in.

  106. A friend of mine just put up a post that I think helps put this whole conversation into context: “Hitting some big box stores today for some of life’s basics. I couldn’t help but feel the fear and visions creeping in: what if there was a shooter? The feelings, the fear, the straight up panic fear that we can only imagine, and even in the imagining is so crippling (and the thought of our children experiencing that fear is gut wrenching). THIS is what the government encouraged us to ignore after 9/11, not to let the terrorists win, by continuing to live as we always had. But the terrorists are our own, they are white boys raised with toxic masculinity, guns, violence, and no safe space for self expression. They are disappointed by the promise of what all those traits should get them, but they aren’t receiving. The government is complicit in these terrorists acts. And it is so clear that our boys are in pain.”

  107. Thank you so much for your willingness to provide a forum for this discussion, Emily, and thank you for the many posters who answered in an informative, open-minded way. I also live in a “liberal bubble” and am very interested in hearing the thoughts of those who feel differently than me. I learned a lot and what seems like the theme is that many gun owners would support gun control of some kind as long as it made sense, but they are afraid that it won’t make sense and will only increase the amount and types of guns purchased illegally. While I support stricter gun control 100%, I think that’s a valid concern and the reason we need to have this conversation. It’s much easier for people in positions of power in both political parties to cling to the second amendment or just shout about the need for gun control with no specifics, rather than take on the daunting task of actually working on some legislation that might make a difference. However, I do believe we need that legislation and the sooner we all agree on that, the sooner we can start working together to figure out what laws would make sense and be helpful. It won’t be perfect or stop all gun crime, just as being required to get a license to drive a car doesn’t stop all accidents or stop all unlicensed people from taking a joy ride, but I still feel safer knowing we have licensing and registration rules in place! Thanks again to Emily and all who posted for giving me a lot to think about and starting this very important conversation!

  108. Thank you for wanting to learn and understand differing oponions. First of all I don’t like guns – but I do own one. The main reason is to give me at least some edge when confronted by someone wishing to do harm to me or my family. And do I think assault style weapons should be legal – no, but I have to ask would that have prevented this shooting, Las Vegas, Sandy Hood or any other mass murder? While banning the type of weapon used by the shooter may have reduced the fatalities at each one of those scenes, one person killed by a madman would be one person too many. So yes, laws would be tightened to close the loopholes and only the loopholes. Guns should not be banned because criminals, mentally ill people or individuals wanting to do harm to others or bring some notoriety to themselves will always find a way to get a gun or another weapon for that matter, legally or illegally. The real problem is not the gun – it is the person who pulls the trigger and the culture that has produced that individual. Until we face the reality that our culture has degraded, morals have declined to the point that it is “all about me” and a society has been created a that perpetuates poverty, making it ok for family units to be separate, not providing the right services or incentives to help people better their lives or get the mental health services that are so badly needed, nothing is going to change. I don’t want to be guilty of point fingers at “the other side” but from where I live and work every day in a service, helping industry and the real world of hurting people, I see so many failures that have resulted from more government, more laws or Federal programs that may have had the right intent when conceptualized, but at the end of the day, have been used to foster a culture of dependency. Why don’t we debate these issues and find meaningful solutions for the real root causes of the violence in our country rather than perpetuating a false narrative that if guns are banned, our problems will be fixed and there will be no more killing or mass shootings? Thank you for listening to an opinion different from your own. And I hope others reading this can read this post or those of others without throwing word daggers at the writers. Unfortunately, that is another thing that we have lost, even to the highest levels of our government, and that is the ability to have a civil discourse and debate to arrive at a compromise position somewhere I the middle.

    1. Great! Amen Sister

  109. Hi Emily! First – great post. I commend you for your open mindedness and your tone in the post. That is not an easy thing to achieve in this day and age of polarization, so great job.

    I’ll quickly answer your questions now. I am not a fan of guns, they are scary and kill people. They also save peoples lives and are a right given to us by our Constitution. So for me, Constitution and protection win, and I own a gun that I keep locked up safely in my home to use to protect myself. This year I hope to get a concealed carry permit to use if I feel the need. Second – I agree with the banning of AR-15’s, but I have to ask myself, ok, we ban those and then this problem keeps happening – what next? Ban all guns? Unfortunately guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and people with mental health issues will continue to find a way to kill people no matter what the government outlaws. Big issue here – mental health. Let’s deal with it! Because at the end of the day they are sick people that need help, and the only way from preventing them from doing harm on our kids, neighbors, family, coworkers, is to get them the help they need.

    I doubt you’ll ever read this, but great discussion Emily! XOXO

  110. Hi, Emily!
    Thanks for being kind and respectful to all sides in your post. I’m not an arguer or a person who debates and don’t like getting into comment wars. But just so you know who some of your readers are, I’m an NRA member, own an AR-15, carry a handgun every day to work (even to yoga class–discretely!), and I love Scandinavian design. 🙂

    I grew up in a family that feared guns so it was something I gained on my own about 10 years ago. (I’m now 40.) It wasn’t to feel “cool,” but it was due to a feeling of personal responsibility. I feel a duty to protect my family and the people around me. It’s just inside of me. I’ve spent many hours in training to be proficient in my rifle and pistol through the years–and yes, it’s also fun!

    Guns are already regulated with background checks (which also are involved at gun shows–the loophole is a myth… a reporter recently tried to prove the gun show loophole… and it just didn’t happen. No one would sell to him.) I don’t believe an AR15 should be regulated any differently than a pistol or “hunting rifle.” A 30 round magazine is a standard magazine. Calling it a high-capacity magazine is arbitrary. They work the same way. They are a tool, and actually better for home defense than a pistol because they are more precise, more quickly stop a threat, and though the bullet travels faster, it goes through less walls. So it literally is safer in a sense.

    Lastly, gun ownership is what makes us citizens instead of subjects. So I will always fight against more regulations–any gun law that democrats can suggest is chipping away at our right of self defense. There are other ways to protect children than gun control (which would never guarantee their safety anyway). But that’s for another post. Go to the NRA website for various solutions. We all want to keep our kids safe but just see different ways of making that happen and have different world views.

    Thanks Emily! I enjoy your work!

  111. There are two guns in my house: a shotgun and a rifle that my husband uses for hunting. I think it’s way too easy to get a gun. It should be the most pain in the ass, red tape, worse than the DMV experience of your life. They should be registered. We shouldn’t be able to sell them out of our trunk. A good friend of mine works at a gun counter and he describes his job as “selling guns to morons” and that makes me sick. He has to constantly ask people to not point the gun at him. He has people stockpiling. Gun culture is so out of control in this country.

  112. Hi Emily, great questions and I’m glad that you have actually shot a gun before making an opinion about it.

    I don’t own a gun but I do enjoy target and trap shooting sometimes.

    I am not in favor of gun bans. Some states such as California have gone way too far and are violating the Constitution and only keeping weapons out of the hands of law abiding citizens while doing nothing to stop criminals from getting weapons out of state. Some states such as Florida may not be doing enough to keep unqualified people from obtaining weapons.

    After tragedies like this I wish people would focus on violence-prevention in general because that’s where the real problem lies. There’s something wrong with our society that glorifies violence on TV (including police violence with these SWAT shows) and sicko horror movies (like your friend’s Saw movie). We need research and action on what makes people seek attention or revenge this way (mass shootings) and also on the far more common suicide or person-to-person violence that makes up most of the shootings.

    We need programs and a movement to address the simmering social problems that lead to violence (such as sexism that makes men act out to assert dominance or in poorer communities to protect their “honor”).

    In between tragedies who is speaking out for and funding violence prevention?

    Taking away guns won’t stop people from committing violence. The BBC reports that violence in the UK happens with knives “Across England and Wales an incident involving a blade or sharp object takes place, on average, every 14 minutes.” and we have seen nut-jobs attack people with cars and home-made bombs out of pressure cookers here in the US. Are people calling for bans on knives, cars, and pressure cookers?

    We need to spend more time talking to each other and finding common ground on preventing violence instead of standing off over one means of violence.

  113. I am a rifle owner, and although I do not own an AR-15 or similar rifle, I know a lot of people who do (including several family members). Like you, I live in California, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. I’m not opposed to the CA laws in general, but some of them are shockingly ineffective.

    Did you know that in California, as of the first of the year, AR-15s have to be modified so they aren’t “assault rifles?” Those modifications don’t change their basic capabilities at all, they just uncheck a few boxes that make something an “assault rifle”. Now that CA-legal AR-15s aren’t “assault rifles” they no longer require a device that makes it slower to change magazines. So the new law actually made it so AR-15s can fire *faster* than before. Totally counterproductive.

    I share that because I think it illustrates a frustration that I and many gun owners share, which is that many people who are opposed to certain types of guns – including those who write laws to regulate them – really don’t understand how they work. The effect of the new CA regulation was that all of the AR-15 owners I know, who are very committed to obeying gun laws, had to spend time and money modifying their rifles in a way that didn’t achieve any meaningful goal. This type of thing is part of the reason why gun owners are suspicious of new regulations.

    I don’t think AR-15s should be banned because I don’t think that’s a meaningful way to look at regulating rifles – you have to look at the actual capabilities of the rifle, regardless of how it looks or whether it’s a “military weapon” or an “assault weapon.” For example, if we want to try to limit how many rounds a rifle can fire or how quickly, that isn’t dependent on whether it’s an AR-15 or any other specific type of rifle.

    There are a lot of regulations that I think are totally reasonable. I think limiting the magazine capacity for any rifle to 10 rounds (as CA does) is reasonable. I think requiring devices to slow down magazine changes is reasonable. I also am 100% supportive of criminal background checks, sharing criminal records among states for background checks, closing all those loopholes for gun show and private party sales (as CA has done), and mandatory waiting periods. I think that along with that we need to have really good review/appeal processes to address the (probably overblown) concerns of some gun owners that they will be incorrectly flagged as not eligible to buy a firearm. I think it would be great if other states had some of the stricter regulations CA does so it’s not a race to the bottom.

    I’m open to just about any regulation that would significantly reduce gun violence, but honestly I don’t see how increasingly restricting lawful gun owners will accomplish that. Literally every AR-15 owner I know could “give them up” and it would make absolutely no difference in gun violence.

  114. What a great discussion and I am impressed by all of the respectful responses! I support the Constitution and agree with the 2nd amendment. I also believe that most people want a common sense approach to control to stop these violent incidents (THOROUGH background checks, close gun show loophole, increase wait periods, and frankly anything that makes it safer ). However, this is only part of the solution. Other factors to consider are removing the stigma on mental health. Letting families and teachers report observations/issues without retribution offering understanding and guidance instead. Mean it when you say if you see something, say something. Always being “politically correct” seems to be having a negative effect. Stop the hateful comments if your beliefs are different – we are not racists, deplorables, misogynists, etc. We are just like you and want the best for our families too! Maybe we should stop looking to the Hollywood elite, politicians, celebrities for guidance on many of these issues, it appears many of them subscribe to the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality.

  115. I grew up as a girl in a hunting family. I’ve rarely shot guns, but not in a hunting scenario – just at targets. My family hunts for two reasons: because we have dogs who are bred for it and it rewarding to watch the dogs work, and to eat what they shoot. There are lots of conversations with the kids as to what hunting is about, why our family does it, how to be safe, how to only take a shot you’re 99% sure is going to take down the animal swiftly. I take no issue with this, and know that for many families in my area, it’s important to hunt to feed their families. My husband owns a gun for hunting large game, one for small, and a hand gun that we keep under our bed in a locked case that we hope to never have a reason to use even as a frightening prop. He knows extensively how to use and care for each safely.

    That being said – I feel common sense as to who can and cannot own a gun really needs to come into the picture in America. I recently read something about what it takes to own a gun in Japan, and don’t quote me on this, but it’s something like: take a class, take a test and pass, get an evaluation by a doctor and mental health professional, pass, get a permit and get a gun that you register with law enforcement, tell said law enforcement where the gun is in your home and where the ammo is, take follow up classes and continue to pass every three years – and the only thing that seemed excessive to me was telling law enforcement specifically where the gun is in your home.

    Certainly, certainly no sane person wants another shooting. I hope change is coming soon.

  116. We do not own any guns, but a lot of friends and family do. And not just one or two guns, but lots of guns. Some have been passed down generations. I really don’t think guns are the issue. It’s the culture, it’s the sensationalism of violence. Decades ago almost every household had guns and you didn’t have this kind of behavior going on. Yes people were still maniacs, yes people still killed others in masses but there wasn’t kids shooting up schools because they were upset about something. You can’t go around calling everyone that does this type of thing mentally ill either.

    1. I agree with this in many ways. violence has absolutely become sensationalized. a friend of mine who is a hollywood writer proposed the idea to the WGA about changing the level of violence and how they talk about violence in films. it likely won’t happen, but i absolutely AGREE. I was raised so conservative with media and didn’t see a rated R movie til I was in college. I obviously thought this was lame and backwards, but of course now realize this is a good thing. violence, regardless of the age or the level of mental balance, isn’t good for the brain. Its just not.
      But making guns harder to get seems like a check in another good box. xx

      1. It might be another check, but it definitely is not a very effective check. This is interesting to me especially after you featured the beautiful home of your friend who did the Saw movies. I would be very interested to know his thoughts on what movies contribute to people in desensitizing us to horrific things, especially since it is a significant way he makes money. Gun control is only a part of the solution, and we all need to reconsider how we contribute to what is and isn’t acceptable in society.

  117. Hey Emily! I was so inspired by this post! I, myself, have had so many of the same questions. In my efforts to better understand the debate, I came across a few insights that I know you will appreciate. It is so confusing to try and research because the gun names and numbers sound so foreign so I legit opened a google drive file and took notes to keep track. I had to reference it a million times, haha.

    Ok, so the good news is that M16s are banned and so are all assault rifles. I was like, ‘um Google, what even is an assault rifle?’ The ATF (The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm, and Explosives) defines an assault rifle as a machine gun. So naturally, I still don’t get it and was like, ‘Google, what is a machine gun?’ A machine gun is an automatic weapon (this means it fires continuously when the trigger is pulled, and doesn’t stop until the trigger is released or the magazine is empty.) Believe it or not, the only assault rifles (or machine guns or automatic weapons, since they mean the same thing) legal to purchase were registered between 1934 and 1986, costs tons of money, and are purchased legally with a background check by serious wealthy collectors.

    More good news, you actually do have to have a background check to buy guns at gun shows! I totally had heard the term “gun show loophole” but this time, I googled it and tried to understand what it means. The “loophole” is that a regular guy (instead of a legit gun store) can sell his/her firearm to another regular guy. WHOA, that seems crazy unsafe but then I read that the gun still has to be sent to a legit gun store (probs local to the buyer) who then does a background check and handles the actual legal transfer to the new owner. OH.

    There’s always more to learn and I will continue to at least try and understand the debate. (Next, I’d like to understand exactly what a background check looks for!) I have no idea how to fix this (or maybe these?) problem/s and I don’t pretend to! It’s great to have a place to share, I really don’t think people know this, I sure didn’t! Thank you for providing a positive place to learn and discuss together!

    *Bonus lightbulb moment*
    I didn’t even know what AR-15 stood for, I totally thought it meant “Assault Rifle” but it’s named for “Arma-Lite” the company that invented and patented how it’s mechanics work. CRAZY but AR-15s aren’t Assault Rifles at all, because remember “Assault Rifles/Machine Guns/Automatic Weapons” are already illegal and the AR-15 happens to be semi-automatic, which I learned means that one bullet is fired when the trigger is pulled. (not saying anything good about AR-15s obviously, which I hardly know anything about, just explaining in case anyone else thought this!)

  118. I grew up in Australia where no one had guns, and now live in the rural Midwest where everyone has guns. I think the US absolutely needs stronger gun laws, but I don’t think the situation in Aus is really relevant. The population was less than 20 million (at the time) and being an island we have super strict border control. You can’t even sneak fruit or pets into the country, let alone guns.

    The concept of guns for protection is still super foreign after 6 years, but it seems to be so ingrained in the culture is going to take a long time to change. I just don’t know what the solution is.

    1. Also, to drive a car you need to pass a written and practical test. Then to need to register your car, including a license plate and VIN number. Surely this would be a reasonable first step in gun laws, even without banning certain guns (which I still think sound happen)

      1. Except that owning a gun is a constitutional right, not a privilege, like driving a car is. You can’t equate the 2 because they are fundamentally different.

  119. People commit these crimes (From my perspective) because they do not feel safe, loved, and/or did not grow up with understanding parents.

    I believe that there is no real way to prevent mass shootings, but I do believe that is people grew up in a more compassionate and loving environment, we could stop this.

    1. Not always true.

  120. As someone who lives in Australia where the gun laws were changed after just one mass shooting it is so hard to comprehend the value and culture attached to guns in America.
    From the outside it feels and looks like the system is broken. It feels like so many issues are linked to tragedies like this one. From healthcare not being available and children falling through the gaps, to the absurdly lax regulations around guns. However, every country has people who are mentally ill, but not every country has guns.
    As someone who isn’t American any doesn’t live in America I can’t imagine the fear that people in high crime cities must feel, or the fear of parents that their child might not come home from school.

  121. I grew up in Texas and in a family that has always owned guns, I value having handguns in the household for self-defense as well as recreational use (such as going to a gun range for practice or for hunting). I feel safer knowing that if someone were to break into my house, I would be able to defend myself and my family. I believe in gun control but only in certain areas such as using background checks or mental health assessments for potential purchasers. One thing that I always have to remind myself though is that while stricter gun control laws may keep dangerous people from buying guns in a short time frame; the true criminals and those who are really dedicated will not go through legal channels to purchase a weapon. So if gun control laws were more strict then it would be preventing those buying for justified reasons (such as self-protection or hunting) from actually being able to purchase weapons. There is a careful line between being overly controlled and regulated to being to lax in regulation, we just haven’t found that area yet.

  122. I shot my first gun (heavily supervised!) when I was five. So obviously I grew up with them, and we currently own guns. (They’re locked up because we also have kids.) Sometimes, for date night, my husband and I will go target shooting and then out to eat. It’s fun!

    But honestly, I have never, ever felt powerful holding a gun. I guess what I feel most is “extremely careful and focused,” probably because my parents did a good job of teaching gun safety. If holding one makes you feel powerful, you probably shouldn’t be holding one.

    As for my thoughts on gun control: mass shootings keep happening, and I am totally fed up with it. You should be able to feel safe going to schools/movies/concerts. At this point, if I have to moderate my 1st amendment rights in order to keep people (especially my kids) safe, I’m okay with that.

  123. I live in New Zealand and grew up with guns on our farm. I don’t have a problem with them – as long as they’re treated with respect and used with dignity.
    I’m horrified by the loose gun laws in the States. Do laws even exist?! While our system is probably far from perfect, gun owners in NZ must be police vetted and hold a licence. It’s not a big deal. We even have laws around safe gun storage, helping to ensure guns don’t get into the wrong hands. Like I said before, no big deal.
    Too often we wake to the horrific news of yet another mass shooting in the States. It seems too easy and too common.
    We’re never going to be able to prevent every tragedy but I do wonder how many people in your country would still be alive if your gun laws were tighter and a culture of greater respect for these weapons was fostered. But I guess that’s a discussion for Americans and it’s going to be up to you guys to make a choice to lobby your law-makers – or not.

  124. There is no doubt that there are many people who are not responsible enough to own a gun. Whether that’s because they’re careless and don’t respect what a gun can do, or whether it’s because they’re unstable and want to abuse the gun’s power, lots of people shouldn’t own guns.
    However. Banning guns is not the answer. A good parallel here is drugs. This country has a huge drug problem – much bigger than the gun problem. Yet, the drugs causing this problem – they ARE illegal. Has that stopped people from getting them? Even getting them easily? You can buy drugs on any street in any town in America! And drugs (I’m talking about the illegal kind here) are something that are being used wrongfully in every, single situation that they’re obtained.
    The vast majority of gun owners are responsible. I think if you crunch the numbers it’s like 99.99% of gun owners will never commit a crime with their guns. Even if you’re talking about the AR-15s, a ton of people own those guns for harmless purposes and will never abuse them. So you’re going to take guns away from all those people, because of what the .001% do? And here’s something else: bad guys can always get guns. Always. Just like drugs. You make a law banning guns, guess who’s going to obey that law? Law-abiding citizens, the kind who would never shoot up a school to begin with. The people who WOULD murder, they’re the ones who are going to break that law and get that gun.
    Also, it kind of feels like we’re tiptoeing around the big issue here. By focusing the conversation on the GUN, we can shield ourselves from the elephant in the room. People have had guns for a long time. People have never shot up schools like they’re doing now. Have the guns changed? Sure, they’ve gotten more powerful, but back in the 1950s, if someone wanted to shoot up a school, they’d have done it with the gun they had. The difference is, nobody wanted to shoot up a school. So what changed? The people. That’s the issue America needs to deal with. What’s making people want to take innocent lives like that?
    The gun doesn’t control the person. The person controls the gun.
    One last thing, I would encourage people to do a little research into past countries (hint: Nazi Germany) that have started implementing gun control laws. That’s a slope we don’t want to start sliding down.
    America has literally always had guns. America has NEVER up till now had people shooting up high schools.

    1. Yes! 100% agree with this comment. I, too, encourage people to look at countries like Nazi Germany, Uganda under Idi Amin, I personally have a good Ugandan friend who was shot and left for dead by Amin’s government. You know what he wished for? A gun to protect his family as they killed his parents in front of him before turning the gun on him.

      And again, I feel like we can’t stress enough how much the people have changed. I feel like a very good place to start is what games and entertainment we watch. Yet somehow, no one seems to even consider this very seriously. California loves to talk about more gun control while their state benefits hugely from Hollywood by a large portion of their movies being extremely violent.

      1. Exactly. People want to think it will never happen here, it will never happen to them. But that’s what all those other citizens thought too when they let the government disarm them. Like it or not, citizens having guns creates a balance of power. It’s not that the government couldn’t “beat us” in an revolutionary war if they wanted to, but they won’t even have to if none of us have guns! History proves (over and over) that the first step towards setting up an all-powerful, oppressive government is disarming the people.
        Not to mention that I believe we as American citizens bear a responsibility for the safety of this nation against other governments. A Japanese Admiral once said, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
        He wasn’t talking about the military, btw.

  125. I would just like to start out by saying I really respect you for reaching out and genuinely trying to understand the opposing view point.

    I grew up in a home with guns. My family all hunted so my uncles and cousins all had guns. My dad never kept them in a safe and us kids knew we were not to touch them. We learned about gun safety and knew the dangers of misusing one. My dad was also a correctional officer at the local county jail. He saw the evils of this world first hand. He was all about us being aware of our surroundings and not to be too trusting of anyone. At one point we had a mugshot of a man on our fridge who was randomly showing up to judges and officers houses threatening them. I knew his face and knew not to answer the door if he ever showed up. Knowing there was a gun in my house made me feel safe. I wouldn’t say my dad made me paranoid but he definitely made me more suspicious of people’s intentions. My husband is a gown owner and never had a gun of my own until he bought me one. We own a few including the now controversial AR15. I love going to the range and I love shooting skeet. I feel empowered as a woman knowing how to use a gun to defend myself. My alarm is my first line of defense, my gun is my second. I hope I never have to use it but should someone break into my home I wouldn’t hesitate to protect myself and my family. I don’t think there should be a ban on AR15’s. It’s a rifle it just is scary looking with a scary sounding name. The same damage can be done with other rifles for me the real issue is the size of the magazine. I think there should be a limit on the size of them because in my opninion no one needs one that can hold 30+ rounds. I also think people don’t understand what semi automatic means. It just means when you pull the trigger another bullet is placed into the chamber. One trigger pull = 1 round fired. Except for bolt action rifles, pump action shotguns and revolvers everything else is semi automatic. Banning all semi automatic weapons is outrageous to me. I do believe there should be more regulations regarding mental health. Certain meds should be a red flag. If you have a history of domestic violence or currently have a protection or restraining order against you you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. I’m fine with gun show loopholes being closed. When it comes to schools I think we need to start by making them less vulnerable places. I think gunman know no one will be capable of stopping them. I’m not talking arming all of the teachers (although I’m not against concealed carry on campuses) but I do think schools should have armed security guards. I think retired cops or veterans in need of jobs would be great for this. I think schools should be better equipped with the budget to employ more Counselors who can help troubled children. I think the FBI should do their freaking job. The parkland shooter was on their radar 2 weeks before he did it and they did nothing to stop it. I think if people really want to hurt people they will find a way. But I firmly believe when someone is planning something like this there are clues. Someone somewhere knows something. With the parkland situation people were not surprised. If we see something we need to say something. People shouldn’t be afraid to get involved especially when it comes to the safety of other people and our children. Honestly I don’t know what the answer is but I don’t think it’s outright banning certain guns. I wish there was a compromise that made both sides happy and feeling safe. I really hope we get there someday.

  126. Thank you for opening this up to honest conversation despite your personal beliefs. I come from a hunting family, it is part of our family’s tradition and history. I actually don’t dislike that my children understand from an early age that a living thing has to die in order for them to eat meat. It makes us take our environment and our food much more seriously. That being said, I think gun ownership comes at a price. We risk the safety of our children keeping them in the house. As time goes on, I do ask myself if the price is worth the risk. That being said, I absolutely feel there should be required licenses to operate (not just own) a gun. Never should any kind of automatic or semi automatic weapons be legal. Ever. I think that has to be the first targeted policy change, as most gun owners will agree they are designed for nothing more than mass destruction. Second, there absolutely should be limits on the number of guns and ammunition any one person, or household, can poses or purchase. Third, we need better mental health care in this country. I know it is taking things off topic, but these two issues are absolutely linked. In the last decade it has become so incredibly cost prohibitive for the average wage-earning citizen to see a mental health professional due to decreased cooperation between insurance carriers and health care providers. Mental yeah care has become a luxury product, not the medical necessity it should be treated as.

    1. Gina I love your comment and totally agree. Just one thing though—almost all guns are semi-automatic. Unless you have bolt action rifles or single shot shotguns you are using semi-automatic guns. That term just meant that one squeeze of the trigger shoots one bullet. So it would be pretty hard to ban all semi-automatic sales. Automatic weapons are already illegal.

  127. I’m completely afraid of guns, myself. I do, however, respect anyone who chooses to own one for personal protection. It doesn’t take a “wild west shootout”, just one bad guy with intent to harm that makes most gun owners want one, in my opinion. And for hunting. Those are valid reasons to have a gun. I wouldn’t call that paranoia by any stretch, and I don’t believe that everyone pro-gun has the rationale you describe at all.

  128. Do I own a gun. I do, I grew up in a very rural area we ate what we shot and my Mother single with two girls always had one and several times in our lives it was good that she did .. bear in the yard trying to get in the house .. it scared him a way. A man on drugs threatening my sister … it scares him away …

    The AR15 question ….: no reason for them as a conservative I wish my fellow conservatives would simply concede there is no reason

    My two cents …. will it cure the problem …. no we have a mental health issue that isn’t caused by guns … we have too much finger pointing … this side that side …. all causing bigger divide leaving less and less room in minds and hearts to be open to true diversity of opinions … not enough room for real love as our world has more broken people than ever

  129. Dearest Emily,
    Thank you for taking this on. It is clear that it is not because we Americans are more violent, not because we have violent cartoons or movies, not because we are a diverse, heterogeneous people with a violent nature. The simple answer is that we have obscenely easy access to guns. That is the only thing that sets us apart. And this is where the answer lies.

  130. I’m Australian and thought it might be interesting to hear an outsider’s point of view. It is hard for us to understand the American culture towards guns. It just isn’t something that is part of the Australian culture. And yet we are similar in many other ways. Yes we are a small country but our kids and teenagers play the same video games, watch the same movies, we have mental health issues but we do not have mass shootings. After Australia’s worst ever mass shooting, a government buyback and strong gun control laws were enacted to stop it from ever happening again – and it has worked. And that policy was introduced by a conservative (that is, republican) prime minister (although in general our political parties are much more centre-right and centre-left than Republicans and Democrats). Yes, crazy people can kill people with their cars or with knives…but they don’t have the capacity to kill so many people so quickly. I have travelled to the US 5 or 6 times and love it there, but could never live there and be scared to send my kids to school. It is just not something we ever have to worry about here. People don’t need guns in Australia to protect themselves – a criminal breaking into our house would be very very unlikely to have a gun. I don’t know what the answer is – having the right to bear arms in the constitution makes it very hard to change a culture. But, this week after the latest school shooting in Florida, I did wonder what makes a teenager go to their old school and kill as many people as possible. Is there something in the school culture in America – the groups that split kids into cliques (e.g. cheerleaders, nerds etc) – that causes this isolation and then anger for some kids? We don’t have such division of kids at our schools. Anyway, thinking of you all during these terrible times and hoping politicians can one day stand up and do what’s right.

  131. Hi Emily! I really appreciate when you do these posts—I learned so much from the one you did on Trump. I own two guns: one 20-gauge shotgun and a 7mm .08 rifle. I’m 26, have no kids, and live in a rental house with 2 other women and still keep my guns broken down and locked up (separate from the ammo I have). I am a huge advocate for more gun regulation, including more required training for all gun owners. I also think we should completely outlaw assault rifles and magazines. I hunt, literally with the goal to kill, and I get two shots to hit a bird and one for an elk or deer. That’s plenty—there’s no reason anyone needs more. I work really hard to support gun restriction efforts, especially as a gun owner!

  132. My husband’s dad used to shoot sporting clays competitively. My husband joined him just to spend more time with his dad, and they spent years shooting competitively together. They went on trips to tournaments, etc together. My in laws even bought a ranch to host shoots. When I met my husband in college, he would have parties out at the ranch and give everyone a go with the shotgun. He had been taught and was always adamant with everyone that no one ever, ever joke around by aiming the guns at each other, etc.

    All that to say….my father-in-law isn’t able to shoot anymore because of his health but he still thinks of it as a bonding point between himself and my husband. So he bought my husband a lifelong NRA membership, gives him guns that have special meaning to him, and bought him an AR-15 for his birthday a few years back. My husband really doesn’t care about shooting anymore and really only did it to get to know his dad better, but with his dad in very poor health he thinks this is pointless to talk to him about now and I have to agree with him on that. His dad is old and very set in his ways and we don’t want any discord with him. My husband knows that I absolutely hate having the AR-15, even though it is in our safe unloaded and has never once been used (and probably never will be). We have two young girls (4 and 2) who do NOT know about the safe, guns, etc and I am kind of hoping they will disappear before we ever need to tell them. My husband has agreed to get rid of the guns after his father dies. He does want to keep only one for self defense and I’m not going to fight him on that, but it will be kept unloaded and out of sight/reach of our girls. Ugh. I hate all this and I want it to end.

  133. A lot of really great comments covered my feelings on gun control, but I do want to link a Twitter thread about Chris Kyle that I always, always think about when another mass shooting occurs, and I really hope some of you will read it:

  134. I am pro the second amendment.
    1. The biggest loophole that needs to change with access to guns is the private seller loophole, where a private person can buy a gun from another private person without any background checks. Other restrictions can constitutionally be made but it seems like all any anti-gun protesters want is complete gun bans.
    2. The 2nd amendment does not exist so that people can have guns for recreation or even home defense. It would be ignorant to believe that our nation is now immune to the same fate that every society has faced since the beginning of humanity: that the government will oppress the people. Eventually, is will happen. One preventative measure for oppression is by allowing citizens the power to own firearms, including “military grade” although that’s a term used mostly for rhetoric purposes so I hate using it.
    3. This is a discussion that can not be had in comments sections and posts. The reason we are not “getting anywhere” with this or any divide in our country is that people have stopped having reasoned arguments in person. Perhaps we have lost the art of conversation and the ability to civilly argue. Or the ability to disagree with someone without hating them.
    4. Tell me how a country would go about confiscating tens of millions of firearms from citizens? Practically speaking, how would that work without mutiny and bloodshed?

    1. Pro2nd,
      Thank you for your well-thought comments. think this discussion has been invaluable and, I think it’s a great place to start. Its unfortunate, but I can’t even tell you where I could go to meet and have in person conversations with so many fellow citizens outside of my bubble. So, it’s been a helpful start. I hope to meet you at the coffee shop or on the train platform sometime.
      – Amy

  135. We all know why politicians won’t change the laws – they are being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the NRA to essentially not regulate guns and vote pro-gun policy.

    Could you cite your source for this statement? Thank you.

    1. No reply here regarding source. Does that mean it is an inaccurate statement?

  136. I appreciate all the tempered, sincere and honest opinions expressed here in support of gun ownership, but it’s really depressing.

    Basically, children have to suffer being gunned down in their classrooms because a huge percentage of Americans are afraid of an ‘invasion’ by another country (who?) or their own Government turning on them. Both of these scenarios are completely ridiculous. Noone is invading the U.S. in our lifetime. The government is not coming to take away your belongings. The government wants you to keep shopping, paying taxes, and going to work – that’s all it cares about. Children are being murdered in their school classrooms – by their neighbors because of these absurd ideas.

    1. Yes, because the governments worked so well under Nazi Germany, and Amin’s Uganda, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and let’s not even begin to worry about Kim Jong Un in North Korea (and please pay attention to the fact that Nazi Germany was not a third world country like I feel someone would point out about the others), certainly nothing like a horrible government has happened “in our lifetime” so people should definitely not be worried about it happening in the US….yes, this is sarcastic, but the belief that something like this couldn’t happen in the US is absurd. And even if it didn’t happen in our lifetime, I would much rather give my guns to my responsibly raised kids about gun control to protect them in case of one of the above scenarios happens in their lifetime.

    2. “Completely ridiculous”? Tell that to the North Koreans nowadays or the Germans during the 1940s. Far from being ridiculous, it is a scenario that has played itself out over and over and over. To feel that it’s absurd to consider it happening here, is to me the height of complacency and even arrogance.

  137. Emily,
    I thank you for opening up this dialogue. I think we are very much of the same mind on this issue, but I have spent the day reading the comments and doing my best to understand both sides of this very divisive issue.
    I noticed a few patterns throughout these comments. First, many people who have commented are gun owners, but who support reasonable legislation on this issue. It is good to know there are those of you out there.
    There are those who don’t support this, claiming that they feel they need equal weapons to those of our military, should our government ever turn against it’s own people. This is a view point very different than mine–a fear and narrative I haven’t grown up with, and do not worry about. I am curious where this idea comes from. I would appreciate anyone who can expand on it.
    Secondly, the other pattern I noticed was that many people who stated they were gun owners made sure to explain that their guns are safely locked away from their children. Clearly guns shouldn’t be near children, so it seems so reasonable to regulate/ban the type of guns that cause such harm in the places our children learn. I understand there is a mental health issue as well, but removing the thing that causes such sweeping harm seems like a no-brainer to me.
    I know there are those that disagree, but if you have children and you are a gun owner, please talk to your children’s teachers. We love your kids. We want them to be safe. But we have training now that you would not imagine. I signed up to be a teacher-to teach reading and science and a love of learning-not to teach children how to hide in the dark, or run for it if I think they can. We are trained to lock our doors-even if we hear a child outside screaming for help and banging on the door to get in, so we can protect the other children we have in our classrooms. Please consider that for a moment. Like many teachers in these tragic events, I know I would stand between a shooter and my students-but I have two young boys of my own, and I never want to make that choice. I don’t want to be a hero. I want my students, and my children to be safe-to feel safe-to be part of a community that ensures the safety of all Americans-including out most vulnerable.

  138. This was hard to post because it just feels inadequate. I was still compelled to share it because I’m sure there are people like me who think that the division around the mass shooting issue is stopping necessary conversations from happening.
    As I dropped my daughter off at the mall tonight I almost didn’t let her get out of the car. I just couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of a shooter. When I got home I saw FB posts of all kinds- heavy heart, outraged and angry, blame mental illness, take the guns. Not much shared in the way of actual suggestions for plausible solutions. Gun control folks are so outraged that they can’t hear anything. And the gun people are just as resistant to hearing one word about more regulation. We gotta start somewhere.
    I believe that the answer to most problems is found in the middle so I’m attempting to put my thoughts into words to come up with some actionable ideas that are based in compromise from both sides of a very polarizing issue. Please read them and tell me what you think but keep in mind I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about gun laws however I do plan to learn…

    1. Every school employee, superintendent to janitor and all students should have training for what to do in an active shooter situation. Like for tornados and fires which have killed zero people in schools in years. Meanwhile we all have done so many fire drills, right? They are mandatory! The school is built with fire retardant materials, there are fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems in every hall but kids are getting gunned down now so… When I asked a few years back at my daughters school what they were doing for preparedness I was treated with complete contempt for asking. That is an unacceptable response in light of the frequency of these gun related incidents.

    2. Guidance counselors need retrained to increase their focus on kids that are on the edge of the school social scene. While it might be very rewarding spending school hours doting on the college prep kids and their ACT scores, there are kids in every single school who need the counselor more. These faculty members could be instrumental in identifying kids who are in trouble. Kids who are slipping further and further away from reality and into dark ideas. My child tells me that the kids who are most likely to be loners, who are ostracized and ignored by other kids are also for the most part neglected by teachers and staff. I don’t blame them- this is something we all struggle with. Reaching out to the untouchable is not easy but I believe this is a very crucial part of this problem.

    3. Kids have to feel that it is ok to talk about the actions or oddities of their peers. They have to feel comfortable being the one to raise the alarm that something isn’t right. Because of social media kids know a lot about their peers. There is a current trend where school kids are starting group chats where they target one person and they all gang up to virtually roast that one individual for their flaws. It is a cruel form of entertainment that has gotten very out of hand and could have dire consequences. In order to shut it down kids have to feel comfortable to talk about it to adults or it will continue unchecked.

    4. Put cops in schools. In a variety of ways and roles. I think this could be helpful in addressing multiple social issues right now.

    5 Firearms should be classified. Like crimes and illness and drugs. The criteria and cost for each permit level would increase with the most advanced levels requiring a log book of accumulated hands on training hours. Like pilots, or truck drivers who control a potentially deadly machine must do. I think you even have to do this to drive a fork lift, right?

    6. All Firearm purchases should require an application. Part of the application would be to provide three references. Like when you go out and get a minimum wage job.

    7. Gun sellers should be required by law to run a thorough check of those references. If they don’t pan out – no purchase. Gun retailers should be fined and jailed for failure to comply.

    8. Guns more powerful than hunting class should require a considerable wait time.

    9. Guns should be priced to cover the necessary administrative expenses to provide extensive regulatory oversight.

    10. Persons who have been prescribed or consumed psychiatric drugs within the year of applying for a gun permit should be denied. Permits should be part of an ongoing personal record associated with social security number. Any violent infraction of the law or lapse in mental health that requires intervention should signal forfeiture of firearms and revocation of permit.

    11. High school diploma and gun safety training certification should be required for purchase of all firearms.

    12. Gun manufacturers and ammunition manufacturers would be taxed by goods sold in each state. Those tax dollars would be distributed based on population of counties to fund local police department programs which would cover the expenses of training and wages for police in school programs. These programs would be a part of curriculum. Internet safety, First Aid and emergency preparedness would be three areas of focus for police led in school activities. This would create meaningful interaction between young people and law enforcement.

    I hope more people will make suggestions … maybe we can come up with something that can help…

  139. Preface: my husband and I have kids, are both highly educated, stable, employed folks, and have very different views on gun-control from one another. In simple terms, he’s pro-gun and I’m anti-gun.

    -Why do you own a gun? He owns one. I hate it. He would rather get a divorce than get rid of that thing. He wants it for family protection, like if we had a home invasion, or needed to start a militia (as a check on governmental power, for example, or if our country were invaded). I pointed out that we’re far more likely to be fire victims and asked why we’ve never done a family fire drill. What he thinks isn’t logical to me, despite that he’s otherwise very ordinary.

    -As a gun owner do you think that there should be more restrictions and tighter gun laws? If not, why? He would say “NO!” He thinks there is already too much regulation on guns, and fears that any increase in regulation is a stepping stone to taking away guns entirely. Said another way, he thinks it’s a slippery slope.

    – Do you think that AR-15s should be legal for purchase? He would say “yes” even though he doesn’t have one or want one personally. He would say that the only difference in assault weapons and hunting weapons is appearance. Of the two people I personally know who do have AR-15s, both say they have them for protection. Both fear a sort of apocalyptic event (e.g. Russia invades) where they’d need to take their wives and go on the run (note: as far as I know, their wives don’t get it and are not prepping for such a thing). These are otherwise very ordinary guys. What I think is happening is that they do.not.feel.safe.at.home.without.these.guns.

  140. As an adult woman living in Marin county, California, I’m an unlikely candidate for gun ownership, but I own more than one gun. My husband, my dog, and myself took up bird hunting as a family activity which allows us to source non-commercially raised meat/game, and we own guns to hunt with (shotguns). I absolutely think we need more regulations and controls and education and testing and licensing associated with gun purchasing and ownership. Guns are easier than a driver’s license, but just as dangerous as a car. Do people drive without a license, of course, but there’s a course of action that can be taken when that happens. There’s no test or class or license requirement to purchase a gun, which is just crazy to me. We took classes and lessons for ourselves because we wanted to, obviously that’s not universal. The guns we own are designed for shooting game (food), but many guns are designed specifically for shooting at people (think anything the military uses) and these are not any different to own or purchase. Owning a gun designed to shoot a person is being prepared to shoot a person, and perhaps should be regulated further (along with all guns). There are a lot of steps we can take in the right direction, but people feel any movement will result in all guns being banned, I just don’t ever see that happening. I am a gun owner, and I’m for gun reform.

  141. My husband owns several guns (as do many extended family members). I don’t use them personally but my husband does, mostly for sport (hunting & skeet shooting). Our guns are locked in a safe in the garage and only the two of us know the code. I have two small children so we don’t keep them inside for protection. My husband is mostly a bow hunter and carries a handgun when he’s hunting alone because he’s had encounters with mountain lions. Despite being pro-gun, I absolutely think gun control is a must—whether that be increasing the age requirement, more background checks, waiting periods, more regulation on private sales etc.
    Simethings gotta give because this can’t keep happening.

  142. There were two times the FBI was ed about the said gun man. Many times the Police were called. See something say something is NOT WORKING! THE SYSTEM FAILED IN SO MANY WAYS.

  143. I live in Alabama and myself and my extended family all own countless numbers of guns. Most are ex military and compete in shooting competitions including with AR15s. From a young age I always learned about gun safety—how to store them, transport them, and use them. I don’t think restricting purchase of any particular gun makes sense, but I think there definitely believe there should be more regulations on guns in general. The best thing I can equate it to is driving a car. No one says you can’t drive your car, but in order to do so you need to take a written test, a driving test, a vision test, register your car annually, etc. You can lose your license if you do certain criminal acts or have a medical problem (like untreated seizures for example). AND there are cops enforcing all of those laws. You don’t hear people saying all of that regulation is bad! Why can’t it be the same for guns?

  144. I live in Alabama and myself and my extended family all own countless of guns. Most are ex military and compete in shooting competitions including with AR15s. From a young age I always learned about gun safety—how to store them, transport them, and use them. I don’t think restricting purchase of any particular gun makes sense, but I think there definitely believe there should be more regulations on guns in general. The best thing I can equate it to is driving a car. No one says you can’t drive your car, but in order to do so you need to take a written test, a driving test, a vision test, register your car annually, etc. You can lose your license if you do certain criminal acts or have a medical problem (like untreated seizures for example). AND there are cops enforcing all of those laws. You don’t hear people saying all of that regulation is bad! Why can’t it be the same for guns?

  145. I think this article highlights a SUPER important aspects to the school shooting issue that frustratingly, no one seems to be talking about:
    What if this issue has more to do with the 1st amendment than the 2nd amendment? I sat in a movie theater today and was horrified by a trailer for a movie called “Death Wish” that clearly demonstrated that our cultural imagination is waaaay too captivated with the power and glamour of gun violence.

    1. Thanks, that was a really interesting article.

    2. Just FYI, Death Wish is a remake of a 1974 movie of the same name.

  146. I come from a very long lineage of pacifists. Both of my parents were raised that way, my grandfather worked on farms rather than fighting during the war because of his religious pacifist beliefs. That being said, I’ve been shooting guns since I was 5 yrs old. Every time my brother and I were allowed to shoot we were given the full safety run-down (keep on safety till you’re ready to shoot, never aim your gun at a person whether loaded or not, always check what is in front/behind your target) – – He grew up hunting rabbits/squirrels/doves and now my brother and I hunt deer with him. We pray that is all we have to use guns for. (Sidenote: here in Texas we also use clay shoots – shooting clay discs with shotguns – as fundraisers for non-profits)

    Right before my mother and father were married, a man came into her home and raped her. Since then, I think my dad has regretted not being able to be there to protect her. He now has a license to carry and carries everywhere he goes in case there is a moment where anyone else who is helpless can be saved. His thought is that there’s no way to truly get guns from all the bad guys, so you’d better hope the good guys have them too.

    My mother on the other hand, sticks to her hardcore pacifism, even after being a victim. While I commend her, and would agree with her if I was the only potential victim, I can’t imagine being in a position in which someone else or my own kids were in danger and forgoing my right to carry. MANY hard decisions and responsibilities when deciding to carry.

    On a broader scope, I believe the issue is so much more than guns. It’s abandonment, absent parenting, technology, isolation, lack of nutrition, sleep, boundaries, lies being told to innocent children – these are feeding into the mental health issues. There is more to be done than JUST guns.

    Praying for solutions, but moreso praying for sweet kids in this country that need more from all of us.

  147. My husband and I were both raised with guns in the home, but we are also from families who hunted to eat. Like literally shoot a pheasant and that’s what was for dinner. Not bc we preferred that, but bc that’s all we had. Guns were handed down, or traded for. We also had a small farm so a gun was a necessity when a bear attacked a horse, a coyote came for chickens, or an animal was ill, it was put down. And again, all out of necessity. RESPECT is what we were taught growing up. Respect for nature and the food we were provided with. Respect for animals and you dont shoot what you don’t eat. Each life is sacred and guns take lives. We learned this early on. Our parents and grandparents, Aunts Uncles, friends, royal rangers groups. All taught this. We were taught respect. Period.
    Now, all that said. We as adults have guns in the home. We have rules and keep them locked and don’t glorify them. They are there for necessity. Kiddos will be taught how to shoot when they are ready, although I doubt we will hunt much… it’s not our life style anymore. But bc of how much disrespect society places on the value of a life. We feel it is an important lesson to learn. That honoring the power of a gun, and teaching respect for life is beyond valuable. So we will carry the traditions down to our children we’ve been taught. Someday they may need to fend for them selves for food or protect themselves from a too involved government or a radical overturn of our country. Someday they will have families to protect. And I hope they teach the same respect to their children. Guns have never been a joke to me or my family. We do not joke around or about them. We do not play video games with them. We do not watch unnecessary violence with them.
    Getting the government Invloved in regulating guns is not the answer. It won’t work. More live will be taken to make this happen. Cocaine is illegal, But does that stop anyone? Will a law banning AR’s stop someone who wants to get a gun to kill people? No.
    There should definitely be limits placed on permits for a gun, but again, if your out to kill someone or a lot of someone’s,, your not going to care about getting or having a permit or legally attaining a gun.
    I fully understand your upset. But the problem isn’t solved by getting govt involved. The problem will be solved when respect is taught. When bigotry and racism ends. When hate stops. Generations have to be taught love and respect. We have to teach our children the importance of a life. Any life.

    On another note, I would highly encourage to research both sides of the stories out our there when these shootings occur. And what bills and laws are passed when we’re being side tracked with shootings and ending violence. It’s eye opening and scary. I won’t get into it too much. And I promise you, I am far from being a red neck hick that’s out for conspiracy theories. I do however have to mention that there are a ton of discrepancies during these horrific times if you just look. We can’t belive everything the media, and polititions tell us… we should question it. Thats how we protect people. Protect the generations to come. Knowledge.

    Love following you! And love the new mountain home journey!! Fun to watch!!

  148. “When it’s a matter of seconds, the police are only minutes away.”

  149. How sad for you Americans. As an Australian, I read through the replies to your blog questions and I am amazed at the fear I am reading about. What a tragic legacy for your country. I read fear of intruders. Is it really that prevalent in the USA? I guess it must be.
    I read of fear of ‘the government taking my guns away’ which I had no understanding of at first. It just sounded childish, wah, wah, someone wants to take my things. Then I read further and understood this fear is actually based on a historic fear of the government!! How fascinating! This blows my mind – America does not trust their government!! I understand bring cynical about it or apathetic, but I can’t think of a single person who would fear the Aussie government. Mind you, Trump scares the hell out of me and everyone I know so may be there is something there. (He’s single handedly responsible for the lack of Aussie tourists in America at the moment, from my circle of friends anyway.)
    Thank you Emily, you have helped me understand a lot more about a lot of things that have puzzled me for years about the USA.
    Advice from across the Pacific, for what it’s worth: I really hope and pray that as at least one of these respondents said, that the younger generations will slowly bring a change of attitude. Keep on widely and wisely educating your kids, encourage them to travel and not be so parochial. And above all find ways to break that fear cycle.

  150. I own a gun and my husband owns multiple guns, including an AR 15. He bought one because his dad, his brother and his friend got one and they were fun to shoot at the outdoor range. Boys and their toys.

    BUT I asked him if he thought he should’ve been allowed to buy that and even he said NO. His words “there is no reason to have a gun like that other than to kill a large number of people. It’s not for hunting. There is no other purpose for it. It’s fun to shoot but it’s ridiculous, and I know that, but I bought it before they make it illegal.”

    After the school shooting that just happened, we talked about it again and I called those kind of guns “weapons of mass destruction” and even though he owns one, he agreed. He also told me that last time he went into the local range, they sell hand guns with silencers. I mean really?! What’s the point of that and why on earth is that legal?!

    It’s way too easy to buy any kind of gun but especially “machine gun” style weapons. They don’t check your mental status, there’s no test to pass to see if you’re capable of handling it physically or mentally… it’s pretty nuts how easy it is.

    Now why do I own a gun? I actually keep one in my car and have a concealed weapons permit so I can carry it with me if I wanted to. My husband got it for me so in case a lunatic with a gun starts shooting up a place where I am with our daughters, I could have the option to protect us. It’s a scary thing to have and to think about having to use. It’s sad that we have to be nervous to go to the movies, to school, to concerts, the mall, etc.

    So yes to more strict laws!
    No we shouldn’t be allowed to own guns that fire that many rounds so quickly. It’s gotta change!!

  151. While I love your thought provoking and open discussion forums like this, I was disappointed to see the graphic above and on your Instagram which crosses of thoughts and prayers as a legitimate response to tragedy. It is a both/and. Persons of faith can be intelligent activists for change also. To say prayer or faith is irrelevant is simply “faith shaming”. It is pronouncing a tolerance of all that is not a form of religion (which in itself is not tolerant). I am opposed to any rapid fire weapon in public hands but believe people have the right to protect themselves (though we choose not to have a gun in our home). I am grieving with the families in FL, praying for healing and wisdom for lawmakers to enact change, and will proudly be a voice for change in my town/state. I am saddened to see this harsh judgment towards people of faith on such a public forum.

    1. Hi there! Just wanted to chime in as a Canadian reader to say that I really appreciate your post on the subject, that I am very pro-gun control and am so grateful to be living in a country where I feel safe and am able to send my children to school without fearing for their safety. The answer just seems so obvious to me and that more control is an absolute must. It is infuriating. I do try to keep an open mind and see things from a new perspective so thanks for opening a conversation where we can learn from each other and plan the best step forward.

    2. Thanks for sharing your perspective on the image; it was one I hadn’t considered. I read the image as a statement on people (often politicians) who share words of comfort but don’t support their words with action, not as an indictment of faith – but I can see how it might read that way. I shared the image among family and friends and certainly did not intend for it to serve as judgement. I can’t speak for Emily, but given her last comments on faith and religion, I’d like to imagine she didn’t mean it that way either.

      Truly, we need all hands on deck: sincere thoughts and prayers AND decisive action and policy. Thank you for your efforts on all counts. I am trying to follow the same approach.

  152. I am perplexed by the people who think they can protect themselves from the U.S. Government with any kind or amount of guns. That might be in the Constitution, but at that time the government didn’t have tanks, or drones or any of the modern weapons that make that a ridiculously unfair fight. I think the right to go to school or to a concert or just out in public and be safe from mass shootings is far more important than the right to bare arms. I also think a lot of people who have guns wouldn’t be able to or would hesitate too long to shoot a real live person. My dad used to work with someone who had 100+ guns and was still buying more, because he liked them and for safety (against the government or some apocalyptic situation). He was also very religious and my dad asked him one day when they were carpooling if he really thought that if people broke into his house for supplies or whatever if he could kill them and it turned out that he didn’t think he could. So why have so many guns? My dad has always been more fond of a baseball bat for protection, he says no matter where you hit them it will hurt plenty. Obviously that won’t save you in every situation but I think I would be a lot more likely to swing a bat at someone who broke in than shoot them.

  153. You don’t know anyone that hunts, a law enforcement officer…anyone? I find that incredibly hard to believe. Our family lives in the PNW and we bow hunt, muzzle load hunt, and modern rifle hunt. We also own 22s and a few other semi fully automatic guns. Why? Again, because we hunt! We eat the elk and deer meat, package it ourselves and process it and we cherish hunting season because it is part of our livelyhood and also part of our family tradition. I don’t like that autmatics are available to purchase, and support stricter gun laws.

    Here is a thought- parents need to stop letting children have cell phones and play video games. Do whatever it takes to take away access to that crap for children. Numerous studies have shown that being on a cell and gaming cause detrimental damage and psychological trauma. How about we stop that shit from rotting our childrens and teens brains too!!

    1. Can you cite the studies you are refering to? Was the man that shot all those people in Las Vegas a gamer? My boyfriend loves playing games, he also has two BA degrees and works in a school and doesn’t own a gun. Games can be great at teaching skills like problem solving, creativity, working as a team ect. He also plays Virtual Reality games and they can provide a lot of exercise and a creative outlet.

  154. I grew up in a place where gang and drug wars reached a terrifying pitch when I was in my teens. I saw the horror of violence everywhere. There was a murder every day and several each weekend. There were drive-by shootings regularly. It didn’t matter what part of town you lived in. If didn’t matter if you had anything to do with drugs or gangs or not. Sometimes people were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Safety was not guaranteed, and, since then, I never assume it is. I think it’s a type of privilege to assume your safety is a right. I wish it were, and I’m honestly happy for people who’ve never had an experience to disprove that. But it’s not true for everyone everywhere. And sometimes it doesn’t matter how careful you are, which I am, bad stuff happens. I’ve been in a situation where I was afraid of being murdered. I have never felt more stupid, terrified, and regretful than I did standing on the side of an empty road, next to my broken down car and my husband, watching an obviously unstable man who had approached us work himself into a rage about nothing, until he made his first coherent statement, which was that his family owned the land around us and lots of people go missing and are never seen again. My husband and I both believed there was a decent chance we’d end up buried in a field that day. We were frantically thinking of makeshift weapons and strategies for using them because weren’t going down without a fight, but if I’d had a gun that day, it would have been in my hand at that point and the fight, had it occurred, would have been over a lot faster. I might not have even needed to fire it; just the presence of a gun can convince people to change their behavior. Fortunately, we were saved by a man driving by who thought the situation looked weird. But I learned my lesson: I’ve never again traveled without a gun. Or two.

    In fact, I carry a gun most every day. Either in my car or on my belt, depending on what I’m doing and where I’m going. If you met me, you’d have no idea. It’s not a power trip for me. I’m an optimist who sees potential everywhere. I love design, and jazz, and good food, and gracious hospitality is my love language. I’m liberal in a lot of matters. I consider myself a pragmatist about guns. I see how they’re useful, but I’m not an enthusiast. It’s a heavy responsibility to carry a deadly weapon. And my goal is to never have to use it. But it’s worth carrying it because, used correctly, a gun can quickly level a very unlevel playing field. Honestly, I consider it pretty darn feminist to carry a gun. I wish more women were less afraid of guns and were instead well-trained in using them. Not military style trained or anything, but just enough to be comfortable and not panic. Being defenseless is terrible.

    As for the AR-15s, I can get why people think they’re terrifying. They are. I wrestled for a long time with whether or not they should be so available. I know a lot of people who have one, and they are all good, quiet, responsible people. I recently considered buying one myself. I live on the Gulf Coast, and after several major natural disasters, which leave areas, and some people, devastated and creepy AF, I’m starting to think a big terrifying gun is not a bad thing to have. To be clear: I don’t ever want to have to use it. But desperation makes people do terrible things, and I’d prefer people have to think twice about doing those terrible things to my family or my neighbors. I don’t want mentally unstable people to have guns. But I don’t want gun laws to be punitive to good people who want guns. I don’t know where the middle is. I’m sick about all the violence. I think it’s a symptom of a deeply unhealthy culture, and I don’t even know how to start figuring out what to do about it. Until we can, I’m pretty OK with good people who have guns watching out for our kids, so that the bad people with guns don’t have quite so much power.

    1. Wow! i literally had chills throughout my body reading your first paragraph!

      and your last couple sentences I just want to say AMEN AMEN AMEN

      what is wrong with us that so many of our kids are hurting so much they want to kill people? how can we help them??

  155. How the world would unite in peace if we could wake up one day and “thoughts and prayers”
    were being offered to the last generation of gun owners. As Americans broke free with a 3rd Ammendment – “STRICT GUNS LAWS”

  156. Hi, I hope someone gets to read this comment because there are so many I just gave up, but I read a lot of good stuff.

    I’m from a state that has been put down for clinging to guns and Bibles. I grew up in a family of hunters – all the males on my dad’s side were. My mom’s family has a connection to a famous “lawman” in the old Wild West. My husband technically owns a gun; it is a rifle left over from his boy scout days and it is kept at his parents’ house. So I say all that so you have some idea of my “history” with guns. I think they are scary but cool to put it very simply.

    I consider myself a conservative and I think the federal government has too much power. I don’t think it should be up to THEM to tell me what I can and cannot own. I think that’s one of the big issues. You say you also want to ban hand guns Emily but you are willing to just go for assault weapons because you know hand gun ban will never go through. hunting rifles can also be used in crimes of passion. And I think that right there is the reason why the discussion never leads to real change. Because conservatives (me) are afraid it will start with the big stuff (assault weapons) but then where will it end?
    I say all that but, I’d be fine with an assault weapons ban on the federal level.

    so let’s do that: ban assault weapons. it doesn’t get rid of the guns that are already out there. it just creates the black market and if you are intent on being able to kill a lot of people in a short amount of time you’re not worried about doing something illegal to get the tools you need. so apparently from the discussions you can already watch videos on how to make your own assault weapon. you can make your own bombs. these school shooters are just like terrorists in my mind. so i just don’t see how an assault weapons ban would be the end of this issue. the first school mass killing that occurs after legislation passed would be blamed on what? what would we go after as a “band aid” on the problem?

    Maybe this makes me a pessimist because i’m just not hopeful that a ban would stop the problem. Well i had to come on here and share because I couldn’t get to sleep from thinking about this problem. I hope I was clear. I just want to say again that I actually would be okay with legislation banning assault weapons. The only way it could “hurt” is leading to more legislation that I would be opposed to.

  157. I disagree. I think the politicians who are letting children be slaughtered and shutting their mouths to continue to have their pockets lined are indeed very bad people. They are making a choice…an unethical choice…to care about and protect only themselves. They need to be held responsible.

  158. I was just thinking about how you asked about Trump after the election. It was actually really helpful for me to hear someone genuinely interested in understanding! So thanks for that!

    We own guns. We live in Idaho. They are all locked up and ammunition is kept separately and also locked up. I don’t particularly find guns entertaining but my husband and boys do ( we have five boys!) They have all taken lots of classes (concealed weapon permit class etc) so they have a healthy respect for guns and the law.

    Here’s the thing I didn’t know until recently. Almost ALL guns owned by regular people are semi-automatic. Automatic guns shoot more than one bullet with each squeeze of the trigger. With Semi-automatic guns you have to squeeze the trigger for each bullet shot. Single shot guns have to be manually reloaded between every shot. So almost all hunting rifles are semi-automatic. Same with hand guns and even a lot of shot guns. AR-15 guns are just like a hunting rifle except that they have cosmetic stocks and/or scopes added that make them look like an automatic weapon. That’s why people like them. They look like the movies. But they are functionally no different than any other rifle. Except maybe they are easier to hold…

    So when people start saying “we have to ban all semi-automatic weapons” the gun owning community stops listening right then and starts freaking out. Because almost every gun owned is semi-automatic!

    It would seriously start a civil war if we went in and tried to forcefully remove guns from private citizens.

    It just would.

    I personally don’t think owning a gun is that important for safety. I really don’t think our government is going to go all crazy on us and start shooting everyone they disagree with like we’ve seen in many other countries. (Though the level of hate going on with some hard core liberals is kind of scary for me…there doesn’t seem to be any room for discussion about differing view points right now! And i don’t know who’s fault it is! The news seems to be really one sided. But they say there really only is one side to tell. I don’t know… it seems fishy to me that they can’t find even one timyvpositive thing to say about Trump. Not trust I like him. I think he acts like a despot but It seems Trump has triggered an anger that is seriously all encompassing for some people…) I don’t feel like we need an armed militia in every town but many people in my community are deeply connected to their not-so-distant- roots that did have to use weapons to protect their lives and liberties.

    Anyway—as a gun indifferent mom who is married to a gun enjoying husband and sons—if we want to actually have a conversation we have to stop using the words “ban all semi-automatic weapons” and start talking about some other safety factors.

    My suggestions:
    Mental health evaluations for all people regularly (they just had a mass stabbing in China… 😭) maybe in schools. A regular questionnaire and if you are in the ‘red’ zone who ask for help…?

    Current laws enforced with background checks, waiting periods etc—also no guns for no-fly listers, felony crime convictions or those convicted of domestic violence. (Though that last one could be tricky to define).

    And bump stocks (that make regular rifles fire rapidly like an automatic weapon) and high capacity magazines should be banned—in my opinion.

    But really—we all need to agree that we fundamentally have he same goals. No one wants children slaughtered. No one wants to have their homes and families controlled by another person. We all want to see all individuals achieve goals and dreams! If we can stop accusing each other of hate and bigotry then we can start talking. So good job with one step in the right direction… ❤️

  159. Hi everyone. This has been fascinating and insightful and thanks to everyone for their comments. I live in Canada, and I remember when the gun registry occurred. My dad was very paranoid that someone was coming to take his guns per distorted take some on history… in the end he relented, stating that no one kills food with a hand gun and how silly it is to own one. Automatic weapons were banned and the population adjusted which is what would likely happen if the USA did similar gun control. No one needs an auto or semi auto weapon, and it’s up to the government to act in the common interest. The fact that so much domestic terrorism occurs in both countries should instigate major policy changes as needed. Love to you, our neighbours. xoxo

  160. We own guns and have children. The guns we own are hunting rifles used for the specific purpose of hunting. We would like to get a handgun but have not because of the kids. My stepfather is an avid gun collector and has (locked) cabinets full of antique guns.

    This world is batshit crazy and I like the idea of being able to protect ourselves and our home. But I am strongly opposed to these high powered military weapons being in the everyday market. I do not see the purpose at all. Our state recently tried to rid of the concealed carry permit and I lost my mind. I wrote every lawmaker possible to vote against it. Guns should support safety and the two I mentioned above absolutely do not.

  161. I’m 100% for policy change.

    My husband owns one handgun and one shotgun. They are both unloaded and kept locked up. We take the guns to the range once in a while and that’s about it. We went through a conceal and carry course together to educate ourselves on gun safety – how to handle them, disarm them and the laws around personal defense. I hope we fall into the responsible owner group.

    I grew up around *hunting* guns. My dad is a pretty avid hunter and gun collector. We were also taught to not go within 10 feet of his locked safe.

    All that said, I do believe there needs to be stricter guidelines around guns and there is absolutely NO reason why an AR15 should be accessible to the general public.

    I think there should be an obscene tax and required insurance when purchasing a firearm. But how do you enforce that? I live in Missouri, which became an open carry state. Which means it’s no longer required to have a C&C to carry around a gun. It’s terrifying. And you know what has happened? A record number of gun related crimes and deaths.

  162. So I’m a Canadian that grew up on the border in British Columbia (could literally see it from my high school!). I can only speak to my personal experience as our two countries are often compared. Growing up my dad had a rifle in the house which he kept in a case under his bed and used for hunting. None of my friends families had guns and most would have been completely appalled to learn we had one. I never touched it and haven’t had a gun in my home since moving out on my own.

    My best friend was American (Washington State) – once I was looking for a pen in her living room I found a handgun in a holster under a sofa. I was shocked and maybe 13 or 14 at the time (she had two younger siblings) – I quickly put it back and never told anyone because I knew if I did, I’d never get to visit her house again. My first boyfriend was also American and his house had guns all over. He was 13 and had a gun in his bedside table. He didn’t show it off, it was just understood that this was normal. Both families saw it as basic safety, like securing your garbage cans so bears couldn’t get in them. I never touched the guns (even the holstered one, I only touched the holster).

    We grew up so close to each yet the view on gun ownership was completely different. All the guns I saw were completely legal to own in both countries. When these conversations come up, I always reflect on how immersive gun culture is in the United States. It’s not a simple black and white issue.

    1. I should say that none of my Canadian friends families had guns, obviously my American friends did. Ah, clarity after a night up with baby 🙄🙄

  163. My pro-gun spouse sent me this to backup his position. It is NOT how I feel about gun control, but it was an interesting window into how the other side thinks:

  164. I totally forgot about this, but there *WAS* an “assault weapons” ban from 1994 to 2004.

    I’m an NRA member so I’m posting that link, but one can do their own research if you don’t like that site. No big deal.

  165. I grew up in a family that had guns. Everyone had guns… both sets of grandparents, my father, my uncle and so on. My father hunted a lot and because there were guns around the house, I was taught to repect them. when my father taught me and my sister how to handle a gun he said never to point it at anything you didn’t want to kill. I own a gun my father gave me as a gift and it is supposed to be for protection. I don’t shoot my gun regularly and I hope I never use it. If I could give up my gun and that meant there would never be a school shooting again- I would. If it meant we could talk about change and gun control – I’d give up my gun. I do not see any reason the machine guns – only meant to kill men- should be accessible to the public. My husband is a teacher and my heart drops to my toes every time I hear of another school shooting. I joined Everytown in hopes of making a difference but like you I feel hopeless and helpless.

    I have no attachment to my gun so I’m not sure if I’m the demographic your are looking for. I agree- doing nothing different is not working.

    1. repect Should be respect… sorry about the typo

  166. I own guns and don’t love them. It’s a concession for my husband. We store them safely in a combination safe that takes about a minute to get into for an adult who knows the combination and how to enter it. Inside the safe is a combination of hunting rifles, competition rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and an AR15 purchased by my husband with the very small proceeds from his father’s estate.

    In the beginning of our marriage, the guns were a point of contention. I didn’t want them at all, and my husband wanted quick access to some of them in case of an intruder. After MANY fights, we’ve landed here. I finally convinced him that I was more afraid of an accidental shooting than a random intruder.

    As for gun control, we agree. We both want to see legislation that would keep someone like this shooter from legally purchasing a firearm, or at lleast a semiautomatic rifle.

    As for our AR, he regrets the purchase. We can never sell it for fear of someone killing with it. We don’t want to voluntarily relinquish it because it’s his only remaining reminder of his dad.

  167. Hello Emily, I read and write with the help of the google translator because I’m from Argentina and I barely understand English. I just want to tell you that I deeply admire that you are brave enough to generate such a respectful debate on this difficult topic in a decoration blog. All my Love for You

  168. I do not own a gun and never plan on owning one; however, I support gun rights. I don’t think taking away guns would work just like the war on drugs didn’t work. Guns have been around for a very long time but there weren’t mass school shootings until the last 20 years. I think there are two main reasons this is happening. Number one: the media. School shooters gain infamy and have their pictures and list of grievances aired all over the tv. Number two: violent movies and video games that desensitize people to murder (maybe not all people but definitely some people). I wish the media would stop airing the names and pictures of school shooters. Don’t give them the attention they want. Focus on the victims instead. I’m not sure how to reduce violent movies and video games. Hollywood obviously has a strong profit motive to continue making them and no moral conscience to stop. All I can do is not allow my children to play those games (and I don’t).

  169. Tougher laws/bans will NEVER stop mass shootings. What will stop mass shootings is parents,education and better mental health help. When you become a parent you don’t just take on a role of keeping them fed, sheltered and bathed. You take on the responsibility of instilling value, respect, compassion, and education just to name a few. Parents today are so “busy” working for that promotion, buying that bigger house, running in circles to keep up with the Jones that they don’t even “see” their kids. Who are they, where are they, who are they with and better yet, do you know your kids friends parents? Do you talk to your kids? My point is preventing a mass shooting starts at home. Bring a parent who is present is vital!
    Mental health side of this again if you’re present in your child’s life, you will know very early if there is a problem. And if so, get them help! Don’t hide them in shame, don’t assume it’s a faze, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed “Joey” isn’t perfect.
    Do I own guns? Yes
    Do I have kids? Yes, 2 and am proud of the young adults they have become.
    Did I raise them? Yes, every single day I was present, aware, involved, educating and guiding them.
    We are responsible gun owners who have taught our children both the value and dangers of gun ownership.
    Myself, husband and daughter all have our conceal carry permit. Our son is not old enough to get his or make his own decision to.
    Our guns are secure in our home at all times.
    Tougher laws? Tougher laws will not stop mass shootings. Is drugs being illegal slowing down the increase of addiction in this country? NO
    These mass shooters don’t get up and plan these acts in a morning over Cheerios or coffee. They plan for weeks or months, giving plenty of time to obtain a weapon whether legally or illegally.
    I do believe ammunition and weapons should not be allowed for purchase until 21.
    Parents be aware, neighbors know each other, teachers continue to educate and be aware. It’s a crazy world we are living in today and need to bring back our roots and core values!

    Praying for peace and unity,
    Mel

    And yes, we own an AR15.

    1. Yes, actually, it will. See Australia as an example

    2. The line of reasoning that ‘people will always find a way’ is specious. Yes, some of them will. Others will not. If you make something harder to obtain, a certain percentage of people won’t bother. People who have a harder time getting the means to suicide are more likely to live. Sure, there will be people who are downright determined and will make it happen no matter how much trouble they have to go through. But others will not. An earlier commenter noted that in Australia, a gun might cost between $10,000 and $60,000 on the black market. Not everyone has that kind of money and yes, I’m aware that a car is cheaper and the person hell-bent on destruction might use that method. But he might not.

      You say that tougher laws will not stop mass shootings. Just as an experiment, let’s try it and see what happens.

  170. I think, or I hope, that the way I feel about guns is among the majority of the US. I grew up in very conservative family. Both my parents spent over 20 years in the navy and my mom was even an MP for a time. Her father was a cop and my dad grew up on a ranch. Guns were very much a part of their daily lives. For me, I remember my dad teaching me to shoot a BB gun when I was 5 (all my sisters learned). I remember him cleaning his fathers guns at the kitchen table and I remember driving in my grandfathers truck with a rifle on the dashboard. But aside from that, guns weren’t really a part of my daily life. I don’t remember my parents ever sitting us down and talking to us about safety or anything. They might have, I just don’t remember it. Now, my mom is married to a man who owns many guns, including an AR-15. He makes sure that every time he gets a new gun that my sister and I know how to handle it (even though I’m now 31 and haven’t lived with them in 12 years). He’s a bit of a prepper and is expecting the world to go to hell soon. My mom just likes shooting guns.

    I’m the most liberal person in my family. My husbands family is extremely liberal. However, in my house, we have one gun (even though we own two…the other is at my in-laws). It’s a rifle. My husband enjoys shooting and, on occasion, so do I. I’m a pretty good shot and I’ll go to the shooting range occasionally since my stepdad likes to go with the whole family on his birthday.

    Personally, I would love it if guns just didn’t exist…but we don’t live in that world. Even if they were banned, family would NEVER give up their guns. I’d hate to see that stand-off go down. I think there should be strickter regulations on guns. If you want a gun, you should have to take a safety class, an exam, be evaluated by a psychologist, have a waiting period of at least three weeks, and be open to random checks by police to make sure you’re properly storing your guns. I also think you should have to retake the safety course and exam annually. When I told my stepdad these thoughts he was actually open to them and would agree to those conditions. Hopefully, this means we can some day come to a compromise.

  171. Honestly – there are so many thoughtful and well written comments on this that I will be unable to compete with. My husband has guns for hunting and home defense like many many more on this thread. I would say 95 percent of people commenting say they agree that there should be stricter gun laws with regard to who can acquire and when. I’m a 29 year old woman and I haven’t ever bought a gun (because frankly we have them already and I’m not all that interested in them) but apparently they’re handing them out like skittles. You should have to have a permit – take a class – wait times – background checks including mental illness. It’s crazy that I can just walk in somewhere and buy and gun with no training and walk out. I am typically moderate (I’m down for all the gay marriage and I’m down for people working hard and not taking advangtage of social systems) and I live in Texas so I’m surrounded by the “don’t take my guns situation.”

    We do need stricter laws. You should CERTAINLY have to be 21 to buy a gun if not older.
    I think law abiding citizens with guns should be able to keep them for sport or self defense.

  172. I think the most important and first thing that has to be recognized between pro-gun and anti-gun people is that we all actually want the same thing: to protect our children and our families. I think anti-gun people often demonize pro-gun people (“blood is on your hands” remarks) without this understanding, which shuts down any hope of a conversation. If we can start from that place and return to that mutual desire every time, we may actually be able to make some progress (which is what I think you’re doing and why I wanted to share my thoughts). Besides, if anti-gun people actually think pro-gun people feel anything but the same desperation and anger and pain when these things happen, they’re wrong. Pro-gun people feel the same things you do, but generally have different ideas in what will solve the problem.

    I don’t like anecdotal evidence, so I’m not using this as such, but rather as an example of what I mean when I say pro-gun people want to have the ability to protect their families, too. I have witnessed my own mother and my own father protect us as kids with a gun on two separate occasions. It’s not just a feeling of comfort, it’s a reality. The media and politicians often downplay personal gun use in self defense, seemingly mocking it. The statistics on personal handgun use in self defense are in the pro-gun believers favor anyway I believe, but those statistics don’t actually include instances where a shot was never fired (i.e. where a mother cocked a shot gun in her living room because two men broke in, her husband was out of town, and her two children were hiding in the back bedroom), so it is even more valuable than we can quantify.

    One other frustration of pro-gun people is that anti-gun people call for gun control, but no one really clearly states what that is. Also, they seem to be uniformed. Yes, the AR-15 looks scary. But it has mostly identical specifications as any other semi-automatic hunting rifle, and in fact uses smaller bullets. Larger hunting bullets in actually hit their target and expand, too, leaving behind more damage. The AR-15 firing rate is a little higher, but not significantly. Besides, we have made our students sitting ducks. That slight difference in rate of fire doesn’t make enough of a difference when we have unarmed targets held in confined spaces. So what does banning the AR-15 do specifically? I’m open to legislation to try and see if it makes even the slightest difference, but I don’t think gun legislation specifically is the answer. And I understand the fear of pro-gun people that if an inch is given, a mile will be taken, and we’ll end up in a country where only the bad guys have access to weapons.

    This is such a complex issue and so many things can be discussed, but I think my comment is already embarrassingly long 🙂 I did want to point something out, though. Australia’s gun ban has been praised and celebrated. “This doesn’t happen there. They’re laughing at us.” I agree. But what people rarely mention is that in the Australian gun buy back, only 1/3 of guns were actually turned in. 2/3 of Australian guns are still privately owned by its citizens. Also, our overall murder rate with guns has actually dropped more rapidly in recent years than in Australia. So no, mass shootings don’t happen there. But it’s not because they magically rounded up all the guns, because they didn’t. I think it would be valuable to examine what’s different about their culture to figure out why it happens here and not there.

    I’m glad you’re doing this. I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts, but social media has been a hostile place and I have avoided saying anything. It feels good to let it all out!

    1. Can you provide a link to the data that shows are murder rate has dropped in the US? Does this take in to account accidental discharges, suicide etc?

    2. Really liked your comment, Kelly. Definitely gave me something to consider.

    3. This is really interesting – I’ve seen a couple comments claiming that media is downplaying pro-gun news and views, and I am genuinely curious about why you think that would be the case? I understand the argument (whether correct or incorrect), that politicians are beholden to the NRA and gun lobbies because so much money is involved. I don’t understand what kind of nefarious reason there would be to downplay self-defense stories.

  173. Thank you for sharing your perspective! I am wondering this – at what point do our representatives (from both parties) have the moral obligation not just to follow the whims of their constituents, but to lead those in their districts, to appeal to the intellect, the better angels, and the capacity for good in all of us when those they lead are exhibiting signs of having been brainwashed by self-serving millionaires and fallen into a collective madness? The is the moment when bravery not cowardice is absolutely essential. To just accept the will of the mob seems like a kind of learned helplessness. I do believe that this fatalism underlies so many of the problems we have in this world including school shootings, terrorist attacks, cruelty in all its forms including viciousness and hostility toward immigrants, refugees, and all those in vulnerable and desperate sitations. It is heartbreaking that all of us do not expect more from ourselves and our fellow citizens.

    1. My comments were made in reply to anonymous, the one who works as a policy advisor for a Republican in congress!

  174. This video is helpful to me. I think it’s a matter of the good people being prepared and protecting themselves against a horrific situation like this because the bad people are going to find a way to get a hold of guns. The federal government has to do their job in order for background checks to be effective. There was very specific information/warning signs given to the federal government on the Parkland Florida shooter that they never even paid attention to so the saddest thing about it is that it could have been avoided. Thank you for being open to listening to other opinions.

  175. I think this whole issue of people not wanting to budge on their views comes down to what you acknowledged: bubbles. Your self described bubble sounds completely foreign to me – being surrounded by anti-gun people, having the resources for a high security system, not allowing your child to watch Kung Fu Panda based on the violence.
    In my bubble, my family and I just moved from the inner city to a farm (both places where all my neighbors own guns). Being able to shelter my kids from fighting play or guns in play? No way. Between the cousins who do this constantly and the nearby military base/hub, all of my kids’ friends are very aware of guns. I have seen nothing but the highest level of safety protocol around the use of firearms, but they exist nonetheless.
    The issue with these bubbles is that people in much more insulated and privileged circles make the rules for those of us in different places. If guns are taken away, you Emily will feel safer. Because your bubble is the next level down from the policy makers. If guns are taken away, I am now put in a position where my family is unarmed but everyone around me with ill intention is. The market is flooded with guns and no matter the regulations, people who want them will end up getting them.
    Should there be stricter policies for obtained guns? Sure. It could slow some things down. But we are not a small European nation where gun policies have been in place for decades. We are a huge nation with a saturated gun market. Our problems really don’t go away over night, no matter the policy.

    1. Anonymous, I am so glad that you shared your perspective. As person who spent the majority of my lilfe in large liberal cities (I have spent a much smaller amount of time living in rural areas) and grew up surrounded by Democrats, there have only been a few occasions in my life when I have even seen a firearm. It never occurs to me that I might encounter a gun in any home, store, office or apartment building I enter or on the person of anyone I see when I am out and about. So although firearms are much more central to your experience than mine, I think it is so important to acknowledge the distance between the economically privileged and the rest. According to research done at Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, the bottom 60% of Americans in the income distribution have minimal financial security! I do think that those that are in the top 40% are insulated from this fact because they do have financial security. By acknowledging and taking meaningful steps to address the fact that the majority do not have the resources they need to feel secure, I believe our elected officials could help us to unite as society a help people feel less powerless. The key is that we must believe things can be better and be willing to continously take steps (no matter how small) to reduce the level of violence in our society, even if the end goal take years to reach. Improvements in our quality of life over the centuries (modern medicine and increased life spans,, democratic accountability mechanisms, technological marvels of all kinds ,the abolishment of slavery and Jim Crow laws, etc) all came about in large part because individuals and communities believed things could and should be different. We cannot give up.

  176. Look, I have to be honest about this gun thing. I’M scared to death of guns, but.. We have the Constitution that we have to think about. There are those that say.. let’s add an ammendment… Well, that would be fine, but what would it say?

    In a few months I am going to buy a pistol. I am going to be out there living in an RV and I believe I will need it for my protection. I will be going to a firing range to learn to use it. I will have it in a lock box. It will be used only when needed. You know, like the spare tire we have in the trunk of our cars…

  177. My husband and I were both raised in Arkansas (and still live in Arkansas). There are a few guns in our household now (my husband’s), and we both grew up around guns, although for different reasons: His dad was an avid hunter, and he learned to shoot and hunt from an early age. My dad was a Vietnam veteran who had guns for hobby only–he was/is anti-hunting, and my brother and I were raised as strict vegetarians for health and compassion reasons. My family was pretty weird for the South. 😉 But still, we were taught to shoot as kids (tin cans and balloons, ha)…but also with a large dose of anti-violence lectures from my dad.

    So anyway, I am not anti-gun. But I am pro-change…and definitely pro- gun reform… And so is my family and my husband. No one needs assault weapons. As for the people here in the South that I have heard defending their right to own AR-15s…the closest I have heard to an actual “reason” (besides the ‘ol 2nd Amendment refrain) is because “an AR-15 is necessary for boar hunting.” And this reason is given with a straight face despite the never-ending tragic and insane shootings. Pig hunting!

  178. We live on a small working ranch but we also have full time professional jobs off the property in town.

    We use guns on the ranch weekly (on average). Our first night living on the property we had a rattle snake outside the back door. Used a gun to kill it. We’ve got two kids under the age of 3.

    Similarly, we use guns to kill other animals that destroy our crops or attack our live stock (we have sheep and cattle).

    Also since we live so remotely from town guns do provide us a sense of security. It isn’t like living in the city or suburbia. No one would hear you screaming for help if someone did attack you out here.

  179. I, too, am very appreciative that you’ve created a place for this conversation to be able to take place, Emily, and am glad for the thoughtful tone from commenters thus far.
    I live in Canada, and like other non-American commenters in this thread, I do find it hard to comprehend the depth of attachment to guns and the prevalence of gun culture in the US, especially in the face of repeated gun-related horrors. Having read many of the comments here, however, I appreciate that any potential solutions are fraught and complex. It cannot be as simple as an Australian-style buy-back or something similar.
    What stands out to me most here is the overwhelming but often non-specific sense of feeling threatened that is expressed by so many in this thread. I am curious about whether this level of fear comes from personal experience for most, or from living in dangerous areas, or from somewhere else. A few have specified, but it seems to be a very overarching sense that there is a faceless enemy out there who could, at any moment, burst through your door with a semi-automatic weapon, meaning that you have to be prepared to defend yourself with same or better. Are armed home invasions particularly prevalent in the US? I am genuinely curious about this motivation.
    My question is a ‘chicken-egg’ type question, I guess. Are people buying up guns because there is a level of legitimate daily threat to warrant personal, civilian ownership of semi-automatic weapons, or is there a high level of legitimate daily threat to the American people because so many already own semi-automatic weapons?

    1. I am American (and still live here), and I too wonder what this fear is all about. I try to make sense of it, and I can’t. But to answer your last question, unless you live in a very violent inner city there is absolutely not a high level of legitimate daily threat.

      1. Thanks, Liz, for responding.

    2. I am an American, college-educated, and we own guns for recreation (my husband and extended family like to shoot and hunt) and for safety purposes, but I don’t see the need for a semi-automatic weapon in those scenarios. I live in a small town that is relatively very safe, but even here, people have tried to break into homes just up the street from me, attempting to enter through my neighbor’s basement. With that being said, I would not want nor I think need an AR-15 to properly protect us from an intruder.

      1. Thanks, Meg, for your response. I also live in a fairly safe area, but break-and-entry crimes are not uncommon here. However, as suggested by an above commenter, such crimes are not usually violent- intruders are generally looking for cash or goods, not violence. I don’t feel fearful about the possibility of this happening to me in a way that would cause me to want to have a gun in my house, though I appreciate why people have them for recreation and safety. I would guess that this lack of fear on my part is partly because, when I imagine an intruder entering my house, the likelihood that he/she would have a gun is almost nil. And I’d guess that expectation is the opposite for many Americans.

  180. I grew up in a household full of guns. My dad is a machinist and when he was forced into retirement before he was 55 he started his own business. He build custom rifles for people. I took my hinter’s safety course when i was 6. I had to have an adult read the questions to me. My dad owns 2 AR-15s. I’ve shot them both and if i’m being honest, i loved it. it was fun and exciting. With all of that being said: i think owning a gun comes with a HUGE AND HEAVY responsibility. The hunter safety class i took as a child was required in order for me to go deer hunting with my dad. We were taught gun safety, how to care for your gun and most importantly what happens when you are safe. i believe education is key. i believe everyone that wants to own a gun should have to have stricter background checks, complete education, and a magazine limit should ben passed. as children we knew where all of our parents’ guns were because they always believed in full transparency. we never had the desire to show them off to our friends because they weren’t a mystery to us. do i think people should be able to own an AR-15? i don’t know the answer to that. i know that my dad is responsible and i know the people we surround ourselves with are responsible but i am also very much aware of the devistation they can cause in a short short amount of time. my worry, and most of my family’s is that by outlawing one particular type of gun you’re opening the door to outlawing all guns. do i believe in stricter gun laws YES, of course. do i believe in outlawing a type of gun? i honestly don’t know.

  181. Emily, I just wanted to thank you for your political post(s). They’re respectful and insightful and the dialogue they create is eye-opening. Thank you for being brave enough to use your platform (and business) for good!

  182. Guns in our family are for protection and food. Period! I don’t feel need to play with guns, hurting people or holding up. Business or other human beings.
    Using a gun for me as protection for my family is non negotiable. I don’t think I would shoot to kill but to stop a perp. I have never had to use but if need be yes.
    Food…is a necessity for all humans. I will use to feed my family and would use a gun to do so if need be. #1 it is my right according to the 2nd amendment to protect myself and family in a militia and or protection needed event.

  183. Would you describe things with AF after them when speaking to an 8 year old? This is the only bit I dislike on this site and 100% agree with your general rule. I do not see AF as rephrasing.

  184. You already have a ton of comments so I’ll try to keep it short.
    I jokingly call my husband a red neck. He hunts mostly deer as a hobby. We do process and eat the meat though. He sometimes hunts coyotes for local chicken farmers and that’s a help to our community but also a fun sport to him. His guns are locked up and he’s taught me, a non- shooter, about his guns and safety and even how to shoot so I could better understand what he does.
    BUT we are both against AR15s and any other similar weapons. It is simply unnecessary for regular citizens to own them. I’d say most of his hunting friends agree, but there are some 2nd amendment clingers who do not.

  185. I am german and for many years have lived in New Zealand. In neither of those countries does anyone I know own a gun, talk about owning guns or worries about home intrusions they have to defend themselves agains (which, if you keep your gun locked away seperately from the ammunition as you are supposed to do, is not really all that feasible).
    It completely baffles me that this whole discussion is even going on in the US. Looking at it from the outside it seems like its citizens have been completely brain washed!
    I hope things will change for the better for you guys because at the moment you seem to be going to hell in a handbasket.

    1. OMG. THIS! It is SOOOOO FRUSTRATING being in the middle of all this American craziness and KNOWING the entire world is looking at us wondering why we can’t see what’s going on, why we can’t sensibly solve our issues with gun violence. No one else IN THE WORLD has this issue, everyone else has figured it out. Just know that there are a TON of Americans that are as baffled by what’s going on as you are. I certainly am.

  186. In all of this discussion. One of the key points that has resonated for me (as a Portland liberal myself) is to reframe the conversation around “gun control” and change the narrative to “gun safety”. Liberals touting “control” is negative and dividing and fuels the fear of NRA supporters. “Safety” is a message folks from all walks of life can get behind. We need to shift the narrative and stop adding fuel to the fire.

    1. Good idea!

  187. We have hunting rifles in our household (properly stored and locked, with bullets locked and stored in a separate location). My husband hunts elk and deer and this is the (red) meat we eat at home during the year. We believe guns should be HIGHLY regulated and are willing to pay for permitting and training. We also believe semi-automatic and automatic weapons should not be legal for purchase outside of the military, police, and security officers.

  188. Not going to lie – I’m particularly grateful to be Canadian this last year. There’s no perfect answer, but this is an interesting perspective on how Canadian gun control laws might have impacted American shootings.

  189. My husband is an avid hunter. I NEVER thought I would be a gun owner, but I am by default. Also never thought I’d even date a hunter, much less marry one. But the more he taught me about it, the more I respected it. Now my sons hunt and handle firearms safely. Also never thought I’d allow that.
    Despite all stereotypes (that even I once believed ) hunting can be an amazingly rich and rewarding family past time . It gets kids outdoors exploring the world and has actually taught mine a deep respect for nature.
    Granted, my husband is a highly educated Christian man with a high moral compass and profound respect for the earth and all of creation, and he is passing that on. Obviously, not every family has that.
    As a gun owner and hunter’s wife, I strongly support every American’s right to bear arms. But we are not talking about responsible hunting. We are taking about the mentally ill having access to military style weapons. Therefore I also strongly support stricter laws and limited access. However we shouldn’t be naive in thinking that true criminals won’t be able to find a way to get guns. They will. The most recent incident could easily have been prevented with the right steps in place, but we should not take arms away completely from responsible Americans who have proven through the proper channels that they can use their weapons for sport and defense in the right way.
    And don’t even get me started on the hypocrisy of Hollywood and the gaming industry continuously profiting off of the glorification of violence and then turning around and crying out for stricter gun laws on their Twitter…

  190. Hi all – I’m a little late to jump in here … been busy with 3 kids & a full-time job & especially my full-time *volunteer* job as co-lead to the East LA chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. If you feel helpless & want to take ACTION please join us! There’s a big rally in downtown LA tomorrow (Pershing Square – 11am – 1pm) and we have a chapter meeting Tuesday night at 8pm in Silver Lake. Any & all welcome — you don’t have to be a mom even! If you plan to come to the Tuesday meeting please RSVP here: . Moms Demand Action has 4 million supporter in 5 years. The NRA has been around forever & has 5million supporters so we’re catching up fast! Please join our meeting Tuesday to find out what ACTION you can take to make a difference! And if you’re not in LA go to momsdemandaction.org to find a local group near you. If Congress won’t change we WILL change Congress!

  191. I think step one to getting gun regulation passed is changing the vocabulary to make sure safe, responsible gun owners aren’t afraid we’re going to take their guns. Personally i grew up in the north east and find guns horrifying but i try to keep my opinion out and look at it logically. It’s about Gun Safety— and if ANYONE should want that its someone who responsibly owns a firearm. Why oh why would Trump repeal the Obama-era amendment for stricter mental health background checks?!! Because the NRA gives him 30 million dollars, that’s why. Not to mention the sale of bump stocks becoming more readily available that’s to this administration; a device who’s ONLY USE is to make an automatic weapon. No one needs an assault rifle. Period. And when the second amendment was written our founding fathers didn’t anticipate that we’d have AR15s that can take down a crowd of people in seconds.
    Nothing is going to happen until the house is under the control of people who give a damn about real Americans and aren’t on the NRA payroll like the entire Republican Party. I try not to lose hope. But there’s so much hatred seeping out of the White House it takes everything in my power not to cry every day. Children are being shot down on their schools… how is this even a discussion.

  192. When someone is in a car crash and killed do you blame the car? The absurdity of blaming guns for deaths is the same. People cause these deaths. I own two guns. I have a CHL license. I also live in Texas. If teachers were allowed to carry there would be fewer of these massacres. It should have been put in place sooner. Texas and some other states is beginning this trend. I believe it will make a difference.

    1. So, are you saying we should do away with car registrations and inspections and allow people without licenses to drive?

    2. Teachers can’t even afford the markers and printer ink they have to buy for themselves, since the schools have no budget. You want them to buy Glocks?

      1. And turn schools into war zones? Really? Sometimes, the solution to guns is not more guns but fewer. And I think they have no place whatsoever in a school.

  193. Emily — Right now, I don’t have time to read the hundreds of responses this post generated (but I will)……I do NOT own a gun and never will, and I did NOT vote for Trump (though I was desperately unhappy with many parts of the Clinton campaign) but I just want to thank you for doing what almost NO ONE else in the country has been able to do thus far. And that is to 1) to admit that the responses you received to the Trump vote were an eye opener for you (thank you for that open minded honesty!); and 2) you have been able to generate what seems to be an overwhelmingly OPEN AND HONEST exchange of ideas. My God we are starving for this, as a nation! I think back to the post 911 days, when we put so many differences to the side and pretty much responded to the need to unite as one strong and compassionate people. Imagine how far we have descended if I am feeling nostalgic for THOSE hellish days (and I live in the NY suburbs). I blame this partly on political correctness……though OF COURSE I find many opinions to be offensive, when we simply shut them down, without an attempt to make a thoughtful and open response, what we are really shutting down is any possibility of dialogue. So all of our thoughts end up remaining in isolation and no real ideas are discussed. I am going to assume that most of your readers are women — ladies, we are the mothers and grandmothers and aunts and caretakers of most of the children in this country. Please let’s continue what we have hopefully started here: an end to this madness. I LOVE you all for having such concern for our babies and most of all Emily — love you for opening this forum. Let’s hope that we create a “new nostalgia” to look back on soon.

    1. Second this

  194. We own guns, a 9mm handgun and about 5 hunting rifles/shotguns. I was opposed to the handgun purchase, but my husband bought it to take out west for protection against mountain lions while archery hunting elk. My husband has also been in the military for 20 + years (mechanized infantry, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan) and has been a high school principal for 9 years and is in his first year as a school superintendent. We both identify as republican and I can honestly tell you that my husband (I feel he has a little more weight to this opinion considering his military background) feels there is no need for for private ownership of assault weapons. My husband has had ALICE training (Active Shooter Response Training) as well. After the FL shooting, my husband commented that he has had students in his office who are potentially concerning and he treats them very carefully. I think some people equate guns with power and others like my husband, don’t need a gun to feel powerful, but can appreciate a good rifle when hunting.

    1. Rebecca, your husband has a very compelling perspective on this issue, given his military background and experience in education. And you translated his perspective very well with clarity and compassion. I found myself wanting to hear more. If you were ever to write a longer piece on this topic, I feel like i would learn a lot from it. Thank you for sharing.

  195. I do not own a gun but I grew up in a home where my brother in law owned a couple. He taught me, my sister and my niece how to use it, how to properly turn on/off the safety, and when to use it and when to not. He educated us on the subject very well, kept it in a safe with a finger print code and two keys which he gave to me and my sister. I did feel safe so when I hear of people taking advantage of a weapon like that it breaks my heart. Owning and using a gun isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. I remember my brother had to wait a year before getting his CC (conceal and carry), take a course on the subject, and then submit to a thorough background. That’s here in CA. I honestly don’t know how to change our nations current state or even where to start but I believe we need to research why in the last X-amount of years has school/public area shootings are happening but we need to get to the bottom of why. I believe schools need to have better security systems. I don’t know if this helps or is contributing at all, I didn’t proofread this. Bottom line I think there should be the same overarcher regulations and rules for all states.

  196. I grew up in rural Montana and now live on a small farm near Fort Worth Texas. We own guns. I have my CHL. The main reason I have guns is because I have animals. If my horse has a life ending injury I do not want to wait for a vet to euthanize it. Same for dogs. I want to put its symuffering to an end quickly. Second reason is security. Our home has been invaded once. My best friend was shot at in her own home by a thief ( who clearly was high). I think the AR guns are scary and ridiculous. I know many people (mostly men) who have them and none have a very good reason why. I think they should be banned. I err on the conservative side politically but the gun thing needs to change. I believe we have a culture problem and that that is the primary reason for these shootings, but it shouldn’t be so dang easy for anyone to just go buy a gun.

  197. I have shot guns (rifle as a young teenager with a trusted adult and with the FBI as part of its citizens academy) and found it both terrifying and fun. However, as much as I read these comments I still can’t understand the ingrained gun culture of many other Americans.

    From my perspective:
    – it seems like fear trumps statistics that show that a gun in the home increases the likelihood of murder, suicide or accidental shooting. Lots of people are posting that they’ve taught their children a reverence and respect for guns. But how many times do you hear parents say “I had no idea he was using drugs” or “how did she get pregnant? We talked about this and she knew she could come to me if she needed to.” Your perfect babies will grow up to hopefully continue to be respectful, conscientious young adults but there is no guarantee that they won’t decide to show off to a friend or accidentally tell someone how to access the guns in your home. The Parkland shooter was on a school rifle team that no doubt taught a reverence and respect for guns and Adam Lanza’s mom took her sons to shoot frequently. While this may have never happened before, what if someone in your home with gun access gets drunk and angry, are you really safe? I also don’t understand how one keeps a gun safely in their home but expects to access it in the case of a home intrusion. If it’s locked up, unloaded how do you access it? I’ve genuinely never understood how that works and am curious.

    – if the government implodes and decides to attack its citizens, they have weapons far greater and more efficient than any home stockpile of guns. This is such a remote possibility and in the meantime guns are killing innocent people daily.

    – some argue that guns have been around for a long time but we’re seeing this problem now so clearly it’s a society problem. But guns with this amount of destructive force haven’t been around forever. And yes, while bad people will always find a way to cause harm, they shouldn’t legally have a right to purchase something thats only purpose is to allow them to kill dozens in rapid succession.

    -I’ve seen many argue that if we make laws against certain guns, the bad guys will still have them. But, if we ban high powered military- grade weapons or parts that turn regular guns into these (excuse my lack of terminology), then factories will stop making them or only make them for military sale. Combined with a buy-back program, this would reduce the number of guns. Yes, there will always be guns on the black market but then the cost will go up and a disenfranchised, angry person won’t as easily be able to find one.

    My preference would be to allow hunting rifles but aside from that, one would have to go to a secure shooting range to enjoy the use of anything else. Guns are meant to kill and prioritizing your enjoyment/constitutional right/ fear of a highly unlikely situation over the safety and security of your fellow citizens seems, to me, really selfish.

    Lastly I do want to say that I think the media and our need for constant information is to blame in a lot of this. While I am immediately curious about the shooter after every incident is reported, it does not help me to know the name of the shooter or what he looks like. When we turn these killers into celebrities, it makes it appealing to an angry person who feels like no one notices them. After the incident in Santa Barbara, it was discovers that there were numerous posts online by angry white young men, glorifying this type of action. My husband recently told me that in his native country they no longer report the name of he perpetrator or show a photo, not because it’s law, but because it’s ethically the right thing to do. I applaud this.

  198. Emily–I love you. Seriously.

    I am a conservative mother and, for me, it’s exactly like you say: I want more gun laws. I even want them to be stricter and more difficult to get than you are even proposing here. I want psych exams! And I know this is not radical because agencies like CPS put good people through the ringer to foster kids all the time. So it CAN be done to scale if we want it.

    I also completely understand the radical pro-gun views and arguments foreword and backwards because I was one of those people and 85% of my s are those people. My dear friends are those people. My family members are those people.

    Here is the truth: belief is emotion. We believe, we choose, we act all on emotion. It’s just a psychological truth. It’s why reasoning with someone who doesn’t see the world as you do it SO. HARD.

    The belief that guns are necessary and needed is not logical. It is a feeling people have and then they use logic to support those feelings. And the same goes for people who are anti-gun. It’s why so few mothers would actually not support more gun laws.

    So, I think it is important to understand what is driving these feelings. I can at least speak for the prevailing feeling in places like Utah, Idaho, AZ and NV. Mormons largely settled these areas when they left the Midwest. Without going into too much historical detail, for right or wrong, they were treated horribly by the US government and citizen militias. There was even a law on the books in one state that you could shoot a Mormon in the back upon seeing one. So they left and made their families walk through winter across some horrible terrain to find a safe place to live. And they continued to settle terrible places where no one else wanted to live! Like, who wanted to settle AZ?! Ugh.

    Well people living in these areas who are most pro-gun are descended from those settlers. Totally anecdotal here, but the people I know who own the most guns have the strongest and most direct ties to that family history.

    The emotions from this sort of trauma don’t die. They are passed from generation to generation. Hey! It’s generational trauma! We all know that buzzword… So anyway, it’s EXACTLY as you say. Guns make you feel powerful. They also make you feel safe. And because of how these places came to be, the prevailing zeitgeist is that we are in some eminent danger and need to protect ourselves from the government and others who will seek to harm us.

    So how do you change the way people feel? Idk.

  199. I’m from Belgium and I’ve never owned or held a gun. Don’t think I have ever seen one up close for that matter. I read that most people who own a gun have it for protection, but I would feel very unsafe to know that one of my neighbours would own a gun. Just like they are scared from the ‘bad guys’ or their own goverment (?), I would be afraid of them. But maybe that’s their goal, I don’t know.

    It’s a delicate matter for sure and I, as an outsider, just don’t understand the ongoing obsession Americans have with their constatution. How can a 230 year old piece of paper be so important and be so untouchable in this vast changing world? It’s certainly a unique phenonmen.

    I truly hope you can find a solution as a nation for this immense problem. The world is watching.

  200. I’m from Belgium and I’ve never owned or held a gun. Don’t think I have ever seen one up close for that matter. I read that most people who own a gun have it for protection, but I would feel very unsafe to know that one of my neighbors would own a gun. Just like they are scared from the ‘bad guys’ or their own government (?), I would be afraid of them. But maybe that’s their goal, I don’t know.

    It’s a delicate matter for sure and I, as an outsider, just don’t understand the ongoing obsession Americans have with their constitution. How can a 230 year old piece of paper be so important and especially be so untouchable in this vast changing world? It’s certainly a unique phenomenon.

    I truly hope you can find a solution as a nation for this immense problem. The world is watching.

  201. Another Northern neighbour here, with a few thoughts about this enlightening discussion. I’m politically far left, even by Canadian standards, and also a vegetarian, but I live in a fairly pro-gun area of Western Canada. Hunting and target sports are robust, and most non-urban people I know have guns for controlling invasive varmints. The RCMP carry guns and my community has a gun range and an annual gun show. Despite that, we have very low incidence of gun violence. I worked in a busy, inner-city ER for a decade and saw exactly one GSW (it was self-inflicted). Far from being banned, I have friends who own hand guns, but they keep them in little lockers at the range, much like you might store your racquet at the squash club. Gun storage at home is regulated as well, so you can’t just stroll into a house and reach under a random pillow to obtain a loaded gun (please excuse my hyperbole). I never understood having a gun for “protection” for this reason (weapon locked up separate from ammo, etc.) but the fingerprint safe some have mentioned does make for an intriguing angle. All of this is to say, that I do think gun regulations can make an impact. Even if criminals will obtain guns illegally, it is more challenging to steal one or more expensive to buy one.

    This article from the National Post outlines how some regulations could potentially stem mass shootings:

    Please note that a kind of snarky video may play at the link. The text article itself has many interesting points.

  202. Thank you so much Emily for bringing this subject up on your blog! I read an article recently, written by a man that was injured in the Vegas shooting. He told the whole story… I felt so ill after reading it.. I can’t imagine the fear these people who have experienced one of these shootings must live in afterwords. I am fearful, but also live in a bubble where I don’t like to think about it.. which is probably not the best either. When I do read the stories and hear about them it makes me so, so sick. So, yes, I am completely with you that we need to find something to try to prevent this from happening! I would say I am conservative, but not full fledged conservative. My husband owns many guns and I have shot guns at targets before. We live in a very rural area and deer hunting is popular here. I would say the majority of people in our area own guns, because hunting is so big here. Also, we live in a place that is kind of remote and we have very long winters where we don’t see the sun a lot. I think that our area has a lot of mental illness.. a lot of depression. And being that we live in a small town, with “nothing to do”, there is also a lot of drug use. It’s pretty terrifying to come in with someone on drugs, and that’s what scares me the most. I am not usually a fearful person, but I am fearful of what someone could do when they are not in their right mind. So, we do keep guns in our house for protection. Guns are very serious and we don’t take them lightly. I DO think it should be more difficult for people to get them like everyone else is saying, for sure! I don’t think the answer is to take guns away completely. Like others have said, the crazies will still find a way to get them and we will have no way to protect ourselves. So, yes, we need to make it harder for people to get, but one of the bigger things is mental illness and drugs. NO person in their right mind would ever intentionally shoot up a school! A lot of people have depression or stuff from their upbringing that make them turn to drugs. It is so sad, and I have no idea how we can stop that cycle, but I think if we tried to be a little more aware and push treatments for mental illness it could help even a little. Our local judge said that if there were no drugs or alcohol in our area, he wouldn’t have a job. Every. Single. Case. has to do with drugs or alcohol. It all stems from drugs and being brought up in a house with drugs, or being severely depressed or bipolar or some other mental illness and not getting help. I wish I knew the answer.. but I don’t..

  203. Thank you Emily for addressing the subject in such a civilized and personal way. ~ Truly.

  204. First of all, thank you for creating this space for people to comment. I’ve been really impressed by the comments I’ve read and how respectful everyone is being.

    My husband is a cop, and has to wear a bullet proof vest to work everyday, which is not a great feeling knowing he could interact with a crazy with a gun at any point. That said however, we do plan on getting a handgun soon for our home. Because he is a cop, that sadly makes us a target, and a gun would make me feel safer while my husband is out working overnight.

    Even though we do plan on buying a handgun, I don’t think any civilian needs an assault rifle. I also agree that there should be way more restrictions and barriers to purchase a gun legally. In fact, I am in favor on more restrictions for many issues all around – I think they should check IDs when we vote, I think they should drug test for food stamps and welfare, etc. I think this country has a lot of issues that many people feel strongly about that need to be better regulated.

    I can see the other viewpoint on the issue, people are afraid if the government takes away one right, it will snowball into others. I don’t think the government needs to repossess those guns that have already been legally purchased, but stop the sales of assault rifles going forward.

    The other part of me worries that even if these weapons are illegal, people will still find a way to get their hands on them. Heroin is illegal, and right now in Massachusetts, we are seeing probably the worst epidemic of deaths from this drug.

    I don’t have an answer for what should be done, but in the meantime, we need to teach our children kindness. I don’t know if any of these shootings could have prevented with the outreach of friends. at school or feeling more included, or better resources for those who need mental health help. I truly don’t know, but more kindness can’t hurt.

  205. Not a gun owner but am an independent that has compassion for both sides of the debate. My only question for those that think gun control is the end all be all answer to the problem: How do you think places like San Salvador, one of the biggest murder capitals in Central/South America get their guns? More than 90% of them are purchased ILLEGALLY. People that want to commit a crime like mass shootings WILL purchase a gun illegally if they really want to. They dont just wake up one day and decide to go mass murder people. There will always be a black market to obtain theor weapon pf choice. Its a false sense of security to think this will solve the problem. Sure, one can try enacting stricter laws but other things need to change as well and quite frankly I dont think our society here in America is mature enough to handle change for the better. People (parents) are more and more self absorbed in their world of get more/need more/work more, technology/social media/selfie addicted-leaving children more vulnerable than ever to the evils of society. Its not just about shielding our kids from what we percieve as bad. Its about showing/practicing presence, reapect for others that have different opinions, love one another. If we are not present for them, how will they be present for others and open to others ideas? Emily, I really commend you for this post. Unlike so many other celebrities/bloggers who just vent/rant and cast judgement in all that think differently than them, you are demonstrating the change that needs to happen. Listening and just trying for a second to understand someone elses opinions/beliefs respectfully is what we need more of in this country.

  206. My husband and I own guns and we enjoy target practice.It’s not a matter of feeling power. We shoot for accuracy and compete against each other.
    Growing up my family hunted every season and we did consume the meat that was harvested. And for those who have problems with this, is it any worse than raising animals for slaughter?
    We also have a very good security system. The technician who installed our system explained everything to us, finally telling us that during a power outage our backup battery only lasts two hours. Having a gun for personal protection makes us feel more secure.
    Our son in particular, when young, played video games with friends for hours on end. He also at age 5 had a set of cards identifying all the types of military planes and could recite the stats for each one including what weapons they carried. (My husband spent 28 years in the military). He has grown into a young man who would never think of owning an actual gun. Airsoft however is very popular with he and his friends. So I am not sure to what extent video games makes a person vio!ent. IMO, some people are born with serious psychological problems,, and the fact that the latest shooter was report to have tortured small animals(signs of a sociopath) makes him more prone to violence. Social media is used as a weapon by one child against another with constant criticism and hate. Children/teens are vulnerable and unsure about body image, forming friendships, belonging. I read frequently of children killing themselves and others because of internet harassment. I never hear of anyone wanting to outlaw the internet.Yes, making guns illegal would limit the number killed by someone like the latest killer, but what about other devices of violence? Knives could kil a number of people before the person is disarmed, bombs/ explosives are fairly easy to assemble and have killed large numbers of people. No one ever talks about making components of bombs illegal.
    Lastly, we firmly believe that the right to bear arms(legally) is a privilege of the citizen. Please keep in mind that the overwhelming numbers of gun owners are responsible and would never use a gun to commit harm against another.

  207. It will be so interesting to me as a happy very proud 🇨🇦🇨🇦To read the “pro comments” – -because for the life of me and my grown children who NEVER EVER had to know “what to do in the event of a shooter coming into their school” I cannot fathom people
    Owning
    Military guns! Shit I couldn’t live in your country for this very reason! Your 2nd amendment hasn’t seen an amendment since people carried Muskats! For God’s sake I also can’t believe Government Elected People are “allowed” to take $$ and lots of it from the NRA AND that is Bribery as it’s best! What the hell is the matter with all of you?
    Please enlighten me because clearly I’m
    Not living on the same planet as these gun loving/toting people. Children in your country are being massacred. What wil