Your point about the number of guns already in circulation is very interesting. I suppose one could argue that it is similar to the western worlds attitude to tobacco. Too many people have been smoking for too long to get away with banning smoking, but we all know its bad for us and it probably should be banned. Please don't think I'm some kind of hippy, I have been known to smoke on occasion. The only problem I see with your arguments, or rather your analogies, is that guns cannot drive you to work, or slice vegetables for your dinner (I guess you could shoot them up, but lets be reasonable here). If you want to you can kill people with all manner of frankly silly objects which are considered non-lethal and not even dangerous. Guns however have no other purpose than to kill things.
Also a good point. To me, and to countless others, the collection of firearms is not done with an intnent to procure "wepaons of murder", but to study and enjoy the mechanics and physics of historical items, or, in some cases, to compete or even to put food on the table. I know many people, especially in my original home of New Mexico, that feed themselves weekly using a rifle and a game permit. I personalyl don't believe in "recreational hunting" when there are Costco's, Safeways, and Kroger's around, but there are still those that hunt to survive and I support them.
As for handguns, it's sortof a catch-22. Handgun crime was not made prevelant in the 50's-70's, partially due to the fact that is wasn't nearly as rampant, and also due to the more conservative media of the time. Like I said, by the time handgun crime became a "front line problem" in the US in the mid-80's, the quantity of handguns in circulation far exceeded the ability to ban them.
If I am talking to someone "unreasonable", someone who would attack my personal views or call me a "murderer" simply for owning guns (and I have talked to many who feel that way about me without knowing me) I would fight wholeheartedly for unrestricted gun laws. Since folks here seem polite and sincere, I will admit that perhaps a broader inspection must be made in the licensing of handguns, one that perhaps requires a more in-depth check of the buyer. As it is, the check is purely superficial. I still stress, though, that we as a society should also understand WHY people get to the point where they feel it is acceptable to pick up a gun and go kill they fellow men for no just cause- GLOCK and CounterStrike are simply not to blame here, I'm afraid.
Also- one last point. AK-47 rifles available for general sale in the US are not "automatic". They fire one shot per pull of the trigger, or semi-automatic. Many fully-automatic "machineguns" used in crime (like those in the LA bank robberies) have been illegally modified using shop tools to fire fully auto. This isn't a problem with the gun- any semi-automatic military or hunting gun can be dangerously and illegally modified to fire in auto mode.
And HEY! Do you have a problem with me gardening my cucumbers with an M-16 ?
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