Why do you need a gun? Edited.

In the wake of the shootings of television reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Andy Ward by some asshole, there has been a renewed vigor to the gun control safety debate.

I have been taking advantage of this by asking people on Facebook (an excellent venue for thoughtful discussion, btw) why they need a gun. I can imagine why they want a gun, but I am curious as to why they feel they need one.

Some people may legitimately fear for their safety, because of where they live, or because of something that may have happened to a friend or neighbor, or because of someone they know. But there are always other steps that can be taken to help, besides (or instead of) getting a gun.

I hope those people know this, and can see a way out of their troubles. Getting a gun would be a last resort to me. After all, it can only do one thing.

I don’t know if I’ll get any insight, if I do I’ll report back.


It’s been a year. I got busy. I did get responses, and the most thoughtful ones came down to one thing: fear. Guns, for these people, are a security blanket against an unpredictable world, whether statistically sound or not. Since I posted this, we’ve also had additional mass shootings. But there is one fact that I ate across in the last year that really surprised me, and crystallized my concerns about guns.

In 2016 so far, there have been 328 mass shootings, with 426 people killed and another 1,238 wounded. Mass shootings are often blamed on guns, but also on mental health care, particular circumstances, the shooters themselves, etc. (Source: massshootingtracker.org)

In 2016 so far, there have been 9,908 gun deaths in America, with another 20,646 injured. These aren’t just mass shootings, these are murders, suicides, accidents, etc. These are incidents caused by a myriad of conditions, from depression to stupidity to abuse, to yes, mental health. (Source: gunviolencearchive.org)

But it is clear to me, from this, that guns are the problem.