Xiphias Gladius (xiphias) wrote,
Xiphias Gladius

A few just sort of random-ish thoughts about my relationship to firearms

I didn't grow up around guns all that much. My father and both grandfathers were drafted and served in the Army -- Vietnam, WWII, and Korea -- and all hated guns because of it.

I did fire a rifle a couple times when we were visiting a family friend's boyfriend in Vermont for the Fourth of July one year -- they were plinking at some cans and balloons and stuff, and let me try. It was pretty fun.

At one point, when I was being bullied at school, a friend gave me a revolver that would only fire blanks -- it was a .22 starter's pistol with a half-blocked chamber. So I carried a gun to school a couple times. Never showed it to anybody, but the idea was that, if someone started something, I probably could scare them off. Never came to that, though. I had it hid in my sock drawer, and my mother found it when doing laundry.

I'm not THAT stupid -- I usually did my own laundry, so I don't remember why she was looking through it. She wasn't snooping though, I don't think -- as far as I know, Mom didn't snoop a whole lot.

My wife and I got our licenses to carry some time ago, largely out of curiosity. We realized that we were generally anti-gun, but from a position of ignorance, so decided to take a firearms class, see what the process was to get a license in Massachusetts. We did so, discovered that handguns are fun, and that the Massachusetts process didn't strike us as either too onerous nor too easy. It's not perfect, though.

I never owned a firearm, and let my license expire, but recently re-upped it after Trump was elected, and bought a couple pistols. For fun -- I don't carry, and just keep them locked up except when going to the range.

I mentioned to my upstairs neighbor Ben that we live in the city in Eastern Massachusetts in which it is easiest to get a license. In this state, the decision to issue or not issue a license to carry is up to the local police chief, so it is incredibly variable how hard it is to get one. But in Melrose, their policy is that they will issue one unless they have a specific reason not to.

Leaving the decision to issue or not issue a license to the discretion of the local police chief has pluses and minuses. On the one hand, it lets the decision be made by people who really can take things like, "I dunno -- the boy just seems off, y'know?" into account. On the other hand, it lets the decision be made by people who can take their own prejudiced takes on "I dunno, that kind of person is usually pretty off, you know?" into it. It's highly flexible, highly adaptable to weeding out people who shouldn't have guns, and the most abuse-able system there is. Imagine that you've got a police chief who thinks that marching in support of the Confederate flag is a good thing, and marching in support of Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street is a bad thing.

That... probably didn't take all that much imagining, did it?

It does seem to do an okay job of keeping guns under control. Note that when we had a terrorist attack, it was done with firecrackers, pressure cookers, and ball bearings. Note also that it killed only three people. Injured and crippled tons more, of course. Many seriously. But that shows that guns are deadlier than other options.

Ben has decided to start collecting firearms. He used to collect hand-to-hand weapons, but these are way more moddable. Basically, he mentioned yesterday that this is scratching both his "collect shiny weapons" itch AND his "kit-bash and mod tech" itch. We've been trying to set up going to the range together once a week, and bringing as many other friends as possible as often as possible, just to get out of the house and be social. So, open invite to any of you guys who want to get together to shoot.

AR-15s are specifically illegal to buy and sell in Massachusetts. The law calls them out by name, as well as by characteristics. If they weren't, I would be looking to buy one, because they are super-popular not (primarily) because they are super-deadly, but because they're the Toyota Camry/Ford F-150 of rifles. Super-common, easy to find parts for, easy to repair, easy to modify, affordable, reliable, does everything you want without being fancy. The reason they're used in all the mass shootings is because they're used in EVERYTHING. They're just plain the most common rifle there is in the United States. If you don't have a reason to get something else, you get an AR-15.

Because AR-15s are specifically illegal in Massachusetts and some other states, gun manufacturers have made works-the-same-as-but-is-cosmetically-different versions for those states, and I have looked at some. It's annoying, because the cosmetically different ones are ten times the price for no increase in quality.

I don't know. Look -- we have actual Nazis marching in our streets. And I'd like those Nazis not to have AR-15s. On the other hand, I WOULD like people who AREN'T Nazis to have AR-15s, because the United States has such a weird law enforcement lack-of-system that it's pretty easy for Nazi sympathizers to become law enforcement in some places, get law-enforcement-restricted weapons, and hand 'em out to Nazis.

And, of course, while assault rifles are scary, we also have the much more significant issue of out-of-control handgun violence.

Things I AM sure of -- the NRA isn't helping. Blocking research into gun violence isn't helping.

Posted at https://xiphias.dreamwidth.org/802368.html; you can comment there or here. There are comment count unavailable comments over there.

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