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Why Do So Many American's Have Guns?

Updated on January 7, 2012

Raw and Unedited

This hub is an answer to a question posted in the answers section, from a querent who wanted to know why so many U.S. Citizens own guns, when there are so many horrible things that happen involving gun violence.

I have decided to post my response in this hub, raw and unedited the way it came out. Not only because it was to much for a simple answer, but because I hope it answers this question thoroughly for anyone else who might have the same question.

Why do so many American's have guns?

First, I would like to say, that your dismissal of our constitution and the rights it protects for us, is part of the reason you don't understand. And you will not understand so long as you continue to be ignorant to our history, constitution and beliefs.

Secondly, you need to be careful about making generalizations. They trap you and give you a bad rapport with those you communicate with and seek answers from. Not everyone who owns a gun is going to be violent with it, or contribute to society in criminal ways.

Furthermore, it's not guns that cause problems, it's people who cause problems, and those problems will be caused with or without fire arms.

Thirdly, if you look up the statistics, although individuals in America own more personal guns by far then most other countries, the percentage of individual American's who actually own AND carry a gun are very low. Furthermore, most gun owners here in America, may own a gun, but it usually resides peacefully in their gun safe, gun cabinet or other secure place, because we are very aware of the potential hazards of projectile weapons.

Fourthly, the constitution matters to us, very much. The reason it was created, was to restrain the government from taking complete control over all of our rights, in order to create a tyranny, monarchy, patriarchy or other undemocratic form of depreciating and oppressing government rule.

The American constitution is the most unique constitutions in the world to date, and one of the only documents ever written to protect individual rights and natural freedoms, especially in relation to government over-control and guns. Part of what makes our constitution so unique, is the 2nd Amendment (which everyone should read).

The second amendment states that our government shall never have nor obtain the right to disarm us or take away our power to keep our ruling class in check, (except through due process), as is needed from time to time. This amendment is so powerful, that no other government in the world has granted it's citizens the same protections.

I hope you will pay attention to the "due process" part, because it is there to prevent sociopaths, criminals and other unfavorables from owning and using fire arms. We don't just allow "anyone" to own and carry a gun, but it is considered a natural right until the due process of law can prove that you are otherwise undeserving of that right, and are such a danger to yourself and others, that the right should be restricted, suspended or revoked.

For that matter, many American's are "disarmed" on a daily basis, without proper justification and cause, and many of them don't even want to own a gun, but they want to retain their right to own one, should they ever find it necessary.

The fact that this type of injustice happens on a regular basis, is one reason that nearly all American's continue to stand up for their 2nd Amendment protections, and feel the need to at least own a gun, even if it never comes out of the attic. Even still, many American's still do not even own a gun, but continue to willfully oppose any more restrictions on gun ownership and use then we already have. It is a part of our heritage, and a part of what makes us feel safe sleeping in our beds at night.

To add to that, most of the violence and horrifying incidents that arise from guns, is not from lawful, sensible, average everyday American gun owners. It comes from criminals and terrorists who would break the laws whether they are strong laws or not. Laws and rules don't stop criminals from doing what they please anyways. They do what they want, regardless of any laws.

This is clearly exemplified in other countries as well, where personal gun use is restricted or banned, there are still plenty of criminals and unfavorables who carry and use guns inappropriately. Essentially, the only thing gun laws do, or a lack of owning a gun does, is take away protection from those that would have lawfully and safely used their guns.

Our forefathers fought for their rights, and the rights of future generations (us), so that in the face of tyranny and in the face of no other options, we could protect ourselves with what Ben Franklin called "The Teeth of Liberty".

This is important, because having the ability to own, carry and use a gun to protect yourself against a tyrannical government, is one of the only things that keeps our government in check and our societies moderately peaceful.

That's right, the ability to own and use gun, keeps up more peaceful. You'll find this especially true when you look into other countries who do not have the same rights, who are currently rioting, destroying and blowing up things because they are being oppressed and there is nothing else they can do about it.

Compare that to what most upset, under-represented and oppressed American's are doing - peacefully protesting and occupying the land and attention of their government and fellow constituents. Even in the face of extreme brutality from law enforcement, we are able to stand proudly, peacefully and with unity, to protect ourselves from oppression.

In American, we know we have other options because our country is driven by our consumption and participation in our system, so using guns is really a last option. A final effort to keep our delicate system in balance.

We have not yet gone all out in bloody riots, because we have other options and we know it. We know that by standing up for the protection of our natural right to bare arms, and by participating in our system, we can maintain our peace, keep our freedoms and continue to be one of the most unique countries in the world.

Why do so many American Citizens own guns?

1. It's our right, and one that is protected by our constitution.
2. Because when all else fails, you need a back up plan.
3. To maintain a balance of republican-democracy.
4. For Protection of life, liberty and property.
5. Because we can.

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.

Noah Webster


Submit a Comment
  • BizGenGirl profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Lake Stevens

    Those videos were great, lol.

    Especially in the contest of cultures who are pro-gun, lol.

    And on that note, I'd like to say "It's not guns that kill people, it's people who kill people."

  • Stephanie Bishop profile image

    Stephanie Bishop 

    7 years ago from Seattle, Washington

    Maybe Americans should look at other examples of small arms sales in other countries. Say maybe Pakistan where anyone can enter the country and purchase small arms.

    Or say maybe Dubai where you can gets a special pass to the trade show floor to purchase anything from missiles to tanks.

    Just thought the conversation needed some international perspective.... S

  • BizGenGirl profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Lake Stevens

    @Maddot, I don't know where you are from, though it seems like somewhere in the UK, a place I had previously assumed also followed the rules of good debate and information spreading, where it is considered a courtesy to cite your resources. =)

  • BizGenGirl profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Lake Stevens

    Okay Maddot, I think I understand your query more clearly.

    First of all, being patronizing isn't going to help your case. A little bit of humor goes a long way, but only in good taste.

    There's nothing wrong with mentioning hilter, he is a major historical figure who did nasty things that no one will ever forget. The problem is that it's just difficult to use an analogy that includes hilter vs. anything-else, because so many people have improperly used him as an analogy, or just used it too much because they feel it's a way to win a debate. It's considered uncreative and bad taste. EVERYTHING could be compared to hilter and the nazi's, in one way or another.

    Hilter also demanded that his people and the people he oppressed, were to have all guns registered and regulated, or to not have any at all. Which makes me curious.... what are the gun laws in your country?

    Also, in response to your further questions:

    what drives gun ownership in America are three things - 1. A pride in our national history

    2. For recreation

    3. For survival

    I'm not clear as to why you feel slavery has anything to do with guns, so I can't really answer that one for ya.

    As to your question "why is gun ownership such a big deal", I suggest you go back through my hub and actually read the whole thing and not just the very last part. I know it's a bit lengthy, but I assure you it will answer this question.

    As for people living in fear, what you don't understand, is most American's do not live in fear of criminals. Most American's live in fear of governments, and thanks to the government, many people now fear terrorism. A fear I don't share, but still it can't be denied that many people do have that fear now. It's not just those two things either, any number of natural or man-made disasters could come upon any country including ours, and make it so that a gun would be necessary or at least very useful for hunting and protecting shelter. It's just common sense.

    Do I ever wonder how gun violence in America came to be what it is today?

    No, I don't wonder. Gun violence has always been a side-effect of a species that has developed deadly projectile weapons. However, in America, gun violence truly took off after the prohibition of alcohol. They tried to squelch peoples rights to obtain and own guns, which only furthered the mafia's, gangs, mobs and corrupt corporations that were already dealing in illegal alcohol. They made more money by adding untraced fire arms to everyone, especially criminals, who used those guns to strengthen their malicious organizations into what they have become today.

    Of course, world wars 1 and 2, didn't help anything either, because they drove people to fear their survival even more than in the American revolution, and that brought gun ownership way up, as it always does when our country goes to war.

    Now that we've been through at least a dozen wars, two depressions and the increase of crime through the failed drug war/prohibition, we are on the brink of economic collapse because our government is corrupt, and our economy is in the tank, people are even more apt to own a fire-arm. It's the very thing the fore-fathers warned of - another reason we listen to those old out-dated dead guys. =)

    "What is causing the crime that makes you feel a need to own a gun to protect yourself?"

    First of all, the only guns I own are air-rifles for the pleasure of shooting empty soda cans with my sons. Though I am obviously a supporter of the right to own fire arms. I have considered putting one away in the attic several times, but it's not a pressure or urgent matter in my mind, so I haven't. Crime is really not that bad here in Seattle, and most people here don't possess guns. That being said, there are plenty of states, cities and towns that do have very high crime rates, and they see it as necessary to keep a gun in the home to protect themselves. Most of them do so lawfully, and those that are creating "gun violence" are doing so illegally, and they would do so whether American's were pro-gun or not.

    "Is it because you don't have an equitable spread of wealth and opportuntities so the "have nots" feel they have no option but to go out and take it at gunpoint?"

    This might be one perspective potentially covering the criminals who feel they need to lie, cheat, steal and kill to get what they want. As for the 90%, most of them own guns for recreation, protection and preparation, as said above.

    As for those who would shoot a trespasser, that is not my own feeling, though that is their right. In America, if you are criminally trespassing and are clearly a danger, then the owner of the property has all rights to shoot you. Though that doesn't exclude the shooter from due process, to prove that he or she had just cause to shoot the trespasser.

    As for the person who said there would be "no crime" if every person owned a gun. There is an old American proverb that goes something like this

    "An Armed Society is a Polite Society."

    It's not that crime would stop or cease to exist if we all owned, it's that criminals feel more powerful when they know their victims are not armed as well as they are. The idea is that if every adult was trained in the safety and operation of fire arms, that people would be more polite, because an argument, scuffle or criminal act could turn out very badly if everyone were equally armed.

    As for there still being a high crime rate with 90% of American's owning a gun, do you really think that all crime would stop if there were no guns or less guns, that crime would completely stop? That's pretty idealistic. Crime will always be around in one form or another. If not by a name we know it by, then by a name we don't know. Personally, I'd rather know it by name, then to not.

    For that matter, as I said before, 90% of Americans may own guns, but only %75 have ever used them, and mostly just for sport.

    I am curious Maddot, what country do you live in that only has 15 guns per to every hundred people?

    As for allowing the police to deal with robbers and allowing them to take what they wanted, that is understandably a good plan for anyone not prepared to protect themselves. Though let me ask you something...

    What would happen if the police were all occupied protecting your city from a bigger threat, or a natural disaster occurred and there was no way for the police to save you, and you had a mob of crazy marauders going around killing your neighbors and coming towards your home to take what you have and kill you just to save from having to deal with you knowing who they are?

    You can't always rely on the police, at least not here in America. We are a people who very much believes in taking care of ourselves, and not being "nannied" by the police state or government. It's a mentality you'd have to live to understand.

    That being said, there are more then plenty of people who do stand back and allow the police to handle criminal activities. I mean, we do pay taxes for them to do that, so we might as well.

    As for yourself and your sister being accosted by criminals who didn't have guns, feel lucky. Just because you didn't run into the criminal with the gun, doesn't mean they aren't in your country to. Furthermore, American's are a lot tougher than that, without guns having anything to do with it.

    Someone tried to mug me once, and I kicked him in the groin. He was probably two feet taller than I am, and he deserved what he got.

    My friend recently dealt with a guy who tried to mug her, and she kicked his butt. Neither incident dealt with guns either.

    There are lots of factors here you will probably never understand, because they are cultural differences. However, your understanding could expand if you opened your mind. You're only seeing things from your small corner of the world. You asked for an answer, and several have been given, yet because they are not your way of thinking, you dismiss them.

    Try putting yourself in someone else's shoes for once.

  • maddot profile image


    7 years ago from Northern NSW, Australia

    Every year just over 30,000 people die in the US from gunshot wounds. Every two years more US citizens are killed by gunshot wounds than were lost in the entire Vietnam war.

    Lets look at this another way. With a population of 310 million and an annual death rate of 8.3/1000 , we can calculate that 2,573,000 people die in the US each year.

    Of which 30,000 die of Gun Shot - so if you live in the US you have a 1.166% chance that you will die of Gun Shot wound. The rate of gunshot deaths is about 8 times that of economically comparable nations.

    Approximately 8,000 homicides annually occur with gunshot wounds. About 16,000 commit suicide with handguns. Nearly 1,000 die in gun related accidents each year. The number of persons shot by police is slightly elusive.

    UK gun shot deaths 2008 = 42

    The number of deaths in Britain from gunshot wounds has fallen to a 20-year low despite concerns about levels of violent crime.

    Most of the 42 gun-related deaths last year took place in London, the West Midlands, Manchester or Merseyside, with swathes of the country recording no homicides, suicides or accidental deaths from firearms.

  • daleamy profile image


    7 years ago from Spring Hill, TN

    Clear reasoning and well worded. I especially like that you summed up your thoughts with numbered points at the end. I'd be interested in seeing statistics on how many crimes involving firearms are committed by people illegally carrying guns, rather than by law abiding citizens lawfully carrying guns.

  • Benoitsmidget profile image


    7 years ago from Boston

    Amen! Beautiful hub and great points to back it up! I don't believe Maddot needs to apologize for mentioning Hitler as he is a part of history. He was a reality. And it's because of things such as Hitler did that proves once again why we need to embrace all of our individual rights under the Constitution. Way to go!!

  • maddot profile image


    7 years ago from Northern NSW, Australia Godwin's Law..take your point. I fell upon Hitler as a second choice to make my point as my first choice, a person who also had a back up plan and did it because "he could" would probably send you into a frenzy if I had named him. I believed Hitler was a choice less likley to offend US sensibilities. Apologies for mentioning Hitler.

    Using the Hitler comparison was in no way an attempt to end the debate but to make a point that a back up plan which is about shooting some one does not sound like a very good plan to me.

    What I cannot understand about the the vehement belief in gun ownership is that it stems from a group of men who wrote something several hundred years ago when they landed in America. Different times, different situation. You also had slavery but decided that was not such a good idea and got rid of it so why is gun ownership such a big deal? Many that have commented sound like they are living in fear and I'm not surprised when i hear of the shootings that take place. But do you ever wonder how it got to this? What is causing the crime that makes you feel a need to own a gun to protect yourself? Is it because you don't have an equitable spread of wealth and opportuntities so the "have nots" feel they have no option but to go out and take it at gunpoint? Comments have been made that if anyone tried to take something from them , they'd not hesitate to shoot the offender. One person said that if every one in America had a gun there would be no crime because all the criminals would be scared of being shot. Well 90 percent of Americans own a gun but your crime rate has not fallen by 90 per cent,

    I live in in a country with very low gun ownership ( 15 guns to every 100 people). Any robber here can be pretty confident that the house he plans rob will not have a gun and therefore he does not need a gun to carry out his crime. If i found a robber in my house I would let him take what he wanted rather than be hurt or harm him. The police and the law will deal with him.

    I have been robbed in my home and and my sister has been mugged. Friends have been robbed. None of these crimes involved a gun and consequently no one was hurt. In most cases the criminal was caught and jailed.

    Sure no one likes to be robbed or violated but i can't see that owning a gun is going to reduce the crime rate..just make it worse with people being hurt and/or killed.

  • BizGenGirl profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Lake Stevens

    Thank you for the supportive comments SubRon and Poetvix.

    @Maddot, you might considering reading about "Godwin's Law". From it, you might find, especially in human culture, that anytime a person uses the "nazi" defense/offense in an argument, that it only devalues the person using that defense/offense and show a lack of anything intelligent to say or use as a rebuttal.

  • SubRon7 profile image

    James W. Nelson 

    7 years ago from eastern North Dakota

    Thank you for a great hub, BizGenGirl. You too, Poetvix, for your comment. Sorry, maddot, since you can't get your head around this common sense hub I'm not going to waste my time reading your hub.

  • maddot profile image


    7 years ago from Northern NSW, Australia

    I've written a hub in response to the comments on my question.

  • poetvix profile image


    7 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

    I commend you! I agree with you. Awesome doesn't begin to cover this.

  • maddot profile image


    7 years ago from Northern NSW, Australia

    "Because when all else fails you need a back up plan"??????????

    "Because we can"?????

    Sorry..just can't get my head around this..Hitler had a back up plan; called it a concentration camp!: He probably also invaded Poland, France etc using the rationale "We invade because we can".


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