The Bog of Lost Scholars

March 9, 2004

On Handguns

Filed under: People, Culture, and Society — castiron @ 6:55 pm

My fence-sitting view on handguns was solidified the year I lived in an apartment complex on the wrong side of the Astrodome in Houston. During that year, there were two murders in the complex. I don’t know how many robberies or burglaries there were, but one woman was mugged right outside my door.

And one day, I came home to find an apologetic note on my door. My upstairs neighbor had been cleaning her gun while it was still loaded, and she accidentally shot a hole through the ceiling. Fortunately there was no major damage; my cat was fine, and the center of the floor was clear, so all I had to do was vaccuum up plaster dust and call maintenance to fix the ceiling.

Should she have had the right to own that gun? Yes, says the person who could have been sitting in that bullet’s path. (Would I still say that if I’d been home at the time, or if I’d come home to find a cat corpse and feline blood all over my bedroom? I have no idea, but I suspect yes; I think I should have the right to own a handgun, and I can’t think of a way to 100% idiot-proof gun ownership without saying “nobody has the right to own a gun”.)

Should she have gotten a decent training course before taking it home? Hell yes, says tPWCHBSitBP. (Come on, even I know that you should unload your gun before cleaning it, and I have no gun experience whatsoever!)

Rights and responsibilities, folks. You have the right to defend yourself; you have the responsibility to keep the collateral damage down. I may eventually buy a gun myself, but whenever I do, it will be at a time when I can afford the gun safety course, a good safe, and at least an hour a week at the range practicing.

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