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Reply #96: I think that for the most part, it is. [View All]

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benEzra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-20-07 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #94
96. I think that for the most part, it is.
Edited on Fri Apr-20-07 09:06 PM by benEzra
I understand it better when you frame it in a martial arts aspect. I have never participated in that sport. It is my understanding that individuals who are practicing martial arts are also taught an inner-discipline as well? There are life lessons to be learned along with the physical aspect of the martial arts?

Yes. That is the essence of the concept of bushido, at least as I understand it.

I only wish the 'zen-like' quality would also be transferred to those participating within the gun culture.

I think to a large extent, it does. A lot of the non-gun-owner perception of the "gun culture" is merely what the MSM choose to portray as the "gun culture." Uneducated, mostly southern, "redneck," with a strong subtext of irresponsibility, dangerous but not particularly competent. In my opinion, that characterization is a false one, or is at least true of only a very small minority.

You may find the following High Road threads interesting with regard to media stereotypes. Certainly THR is not a perfectly representative sample, being composed more of gun enthusiasts than casual owners, but interesting nonetheless:

Guns and education level (poll)
Gun owner demographics - Who are we? (poll)

In my observation, at least in the portions of the "gun culture" with which I am acquainted, an American analogue of bushido does exist. There is a very strong emphasis on safety, with most gunnies following the Four Rules religiously, and those who don't are corrected or avoided. There is also a strong undercurrent of integrity and individual responsibility, in a good way.

For an interesting read on the subject, you might be able to get the following book via interlibrary loan. It was written by a grad student in anthropology, from a pronounced "outsider's" perspective.

Shooters: Myths and Realities of America's Gun Cultures

BTW, as to the zen aspect, to be a good shooter, you do have to take a zen approach. The best shooting advice I was ever given was, "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." Accurate shooting is 90% mental, like a good golf swing, I guess (I can't say for sure, because I suck at golf). It's all about being aware of your breathing and your surroundings, tensed and relaxed at the same time, and then for an instant, the front sight has to become your sole focus, while you load the trigger until the hammer falls. We humans are wired to flinch at bright flashes and loud noises, and the difference between a good shot and a lousy one might be only a few arcminutes. The media, again, have this picture of target shooting as being somehow a violent activity, the release of pent-up rage or whatever, which is way off the mark.

It is my feeling that you are a rare animal in the gun world.

On the analytical side, maybe (most shooters probably don't take a Palm with a ballistics calculator to the range with them, which makes me the nerd in the Wierd Al video). On the responsibility/safety side, I'm not unusual. What I know of that end of things, I learned from the broader gun community.

Do you use live ammunition or blanks?

Always live ammunition. Blanks make noise, but they're just firecrackers; you can't tell whether the shot would have been a bullseye or A-zone hit, or a clean miss. It would be like playing golf without a ball. Nor will blanks cycle an unmodified pistol or a self-loading rifle (movie guns are modified to cycle realistically with blanks, but unmodified real guns won't).

Now, I do occasionally practice at home with no ammunition at all, to practice sight alignment, trigger release, and reloading (always with a safe backstop, per Rule Two, usually either the safe, a good brick-backed exterior wall, or the fireplace), but shooting blanks would require a shooting range, and if you're on a range, then you might as well shoot ammunition that will actually make a hole in the paper.

How would you feel if you were required (if live ammuntion is used) to be able to purchase such ammunition ONLY at the gun range and make the sales of ammunition illegal?

I would very much oppose that, for numerous reasons. There is the self-defense aspect; the vast majority of gun owners do list defensive purposes as the #1 reason for said ownership, followed by recreational target shooting as #2 and hunting a rather distant third. There's also the fact that much target shooting is informal, rather than at formal ranges, and a lot of formal ranges don't have anyone there besides the shooters. Third, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of different calibers of ammunition, and no range could realistically stock them all. Two of my rifles (antiques), I actually have to mail-order ammunition for, because no one I know of within an hour's drive of my house sells it. And finally, a lot of gun enthusiasts load their own ammunition at home (Google "reloading") and a lot more would do so were ammunition availability curtailed.

My wife and I typically buy ammunition in bulk, as it's much cheaper that way. We both own carbines in 7.62x39mm and pistols in 9mm, plus a couple of antiques and a .223, so we probably have a couple thousand rounds total in the cabinet. We buy the 9mm target ammunition in 100-round boxes, and 7.62x39mm by the half-case (500 rounds). A typical range trip for me is probably 100 rounds of 9mm and 75-100 rounds of 7.62x39mm, so we go through it fairly quickly.

Would you feel uneasy at not being able to have a loaded gun in the home?

Right now, there are three loaded guns in the house: my S&W, my wife's Glock, and a carbine in the safe that has a magazine inserted but the chamber not loaded. All our guns, loaded or not, are kept in the safe when not being kept directly accessible, and we are very careful about not letting our children (8 and 6) have access.

I don't know that I'd be "uneasy" if I had no loaded guns, but I'd probably feel the same way I'd feel if I knew our fire extinguishers were empty; I'd definitely rather have the capability and not need it, than need it and not have it. And if I were not allowed to have loaded guns around, I would be very, very annoyed (and would probably keep one loaded in the safe anyway).

I have to do some long and hard thinking regarding those who hunt and how they can obtain ammunition but not be able to stockpile such or have loaded guns at home. This is a most difficult discussion - but I feel that the balance of power still resides on the side of public safety.

Only about 20% of gun owners hunt, and most types of hunting don't use much ammunition (a box or two of ammunition per year per hunter, I'd guess, except perhaps varmint hunting). However, American recreational target shooters go through several billion (yes, with a "b") rounds of ammunition in a given year. Some gun enthusiasts I know go through a thousand rounds a week (lucky individuals very close proximity to ranges). A violent criminal, on the other hand, could probably go his entire criminal career on a single box of ammunition (50 rounds). Any ammunition restrictions would hit us gunnies a lot harder than it would hit the criminals or nutcases, and smuggling from other countries would be sufficient to supply the criminal market; they could disguise imports as routine cocaine shipments.

I don't think you could do it from a pragmatic standpoint, either. You'd be telling ~80 million people of voting age that they are no longer allowed to own something they consider a basic right, and you'd get pretty much the same backlash at the polls as you would if you banned all guns (I wouldn't see the two scenarios as much different). Think of the backlash you'd get if you banned hunting, and multiply it by five.

Now, one thing you COULD do would be to put some sort of endorsement on the driver's license of people with clean records, I suppose (stores have to check your age anyway, since you have to be 18 to buy ammunition in most states, 21 to buy handgun ammunition). But given the billions of rounds of ammunition we already have stockpiled, I don't think that, or anything else short of summary execution for ammunition possession, would do anything to dry up the civilian ammunition supply.

BTW, thanks for the thoughtful responses.
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