Gun Owners: I Have Just One Question

Periodically I break one of my content rules when I just can’t get the topic out of my head. Now is one of those times. After the latest school shooting in which 17 young people were deprived of their Constitutional right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, I have a question for gun owners.

Reasons for Ownership

I Love Guns, I Heart Guns, Gun OwnersNo, I’m not asking why you have guns. I understand that some people like to hunt and they put meat in freezer to feed their families and maybe some other folk as well. To you I wish a good hunt and a clean quick kill. I have eaten elk, deer, bison and alligator. I do not judge. (If you hunt for trophies, that’s a whole different subject and I have nothing to say to you at all.)

Some people like to shoot at targets. I understand that this is a sport and a skill. We live close enough to a gun range for us to hear the shots popping off on a pretty regular basis, especially on a summer night. Some people go skeet shooting. If you like shooting at targets and increasing your skill level, enjoy it.

In Defense of Life and Property

Other folk feel they need their guns for self-defense, whether from humans or predators. Got that, too. If I lived far out on a ranch or farm, I might do the same. Having lost three cats to coyotes, I comprehend why a farmer needs to protect his chickens or other livestock. And there are places in the world where you would be crazy to go out unarmed and risk encountering bear, big cats, or other critters that would consider you dinner.

This house is protected by the Good Lord and a gunUrban self-defense, doesn’t’ appear so obvious to me because the police have you covered—ideally—but that also strikes me as a valid reason. In some places, it can take the police a long time to respond, if they come at all. And some folks distrust their own elected government and believe that the men in black helicopters are going to come down any day now and impose a tyrannical regime. That one I could argue for days but I get that they consider it a valid reason to own guns.

And then there’s the zombie apocalypse but I have to admit that guns don’t seem like the best weapon to use against targets that are already dead.

And the Question Is . . .

Having said that, what I want to understand is this:

Why do you love your guns?

Whatever your reason for owning guns, it doesn’t explain the emotional connection many people have to them. At least, not to me because I can’t imagine forming an emotional connection to a weapon. Reasons are logical; love is emotional.

Guns and Emotional Bonds

Gun Family, Gun Owners, love gunsI love paintings I have bought because they are one-of-a-kind works of art, expressions of creativity and creation. They add beauty to my life. Guns are simply mass-produced objects.

If I were fortunate enough to drive a fast, high-performance driving machine I might love that, too. I used to have an Audi TT Quattro. I loved that car because it made driving fun and exciting. Also, I customized it to be the automobile I wanted. (The car I have now gets me from place to place safely but it elicits no joy.)

Guns look like guns. With the exception of premium and collectible long guns, you can’t order them in the color of your choice, customize them with swooshes or flames, or get one with a stock covered in fine Corinthian leather. One AR-15 looks pretty much like another AR-15 of the same make and model.

My neighbors love their dogs as we loved our cat. Those dogs love them back, greet them when they come home, fetch when asked, and would alert them to smoke in the house or defend them from an intruder. Dogs love humans and give back to humans in return for care and affection. Guns are inert objects. They give no love, express no feelings, do not rejoice when you come home, warn you of nothing.

So why do you love them?

A Very Serious Question for Gun Owners

This is a serious question for me. I am not being snarky or superior. I want to understand an emotional bond that is beyond my comprehension. And I’m making a thoughtful attempt to learn.

I heart my AR-15, gun owners, love my gunsIf you are a gun owner please let me know your answer to my question. If you know a gun owner, pass this along.

Please don’t rattle on about how you use your guns. As stated above, I understand the reasons even if I don’t share them. Don’t tell me why or when it’s necessary for you to have a gun. I get that, too. Just tell me why you love your gun(s).

I will publish serious comments on the blog so you can share your feelings and, perhaps, educate other readers. Comments that include hateful statements, name-calling, profanity, vulgarity, death threats, and other trollish things will not be published. Choose your words.

This is your chance to explain what you feel. Go for it.

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

2 thoughts on “Gun Owners: I Have Just One Question

  1. And I literally just remembered the existence of these quotes:

    “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

    — George Orwell

    A man with a gun is a citizen; a man without is a subject.

    — D. Michael Wiechman, May 14, 1996

  2. “Why do I love guns?”

    For the record, I used to be anti-gun – as in “ban them all” anti-gun. I changed my mind – which is a story in and of itself. (And a seminal, “milestone” moment in my general move from Cambridge MA liberal to hard core Conservative.)

    I don’t “love guns.” A gun is a tool, nothing more, just like a flag – technically – is just a piece of cloth. But just as I love what Old Glory represents far more than the cloth, though, I love what that tool, guns, represents.

    For me, personally, guns represent a way for me to defend myself and my family. I live remote – from the police station, even with sirens and lights, it’d be a good 10+ minutes to get here. There’s an expression among the pro-gun community: “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” I know, personally, two people who have used handguns to prevent crimes against them. (And Gary Kleck – who is a very nice guy from the communications I’ve had with him – did “seminal” research on defensive gun usage; his research showed that DGUs far outweigh crimes committed with guns. And for those who are open-minded, if you can find it, his book co-authored with Don Kates (with whom I’ve also corresponded), ARMED, is a great resource.)

    Add to that the legal doctrine that the police are under no obligation to protect you, specifically, and cannot be held liable if they fail to do so – as a responsible husband and father, I must take on that responsibility and not outsource it to people who, mostly, show up after a crime is over (no matter how much I generally respect the police and their efforts). (See the book “Dial 911 and Die” from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.)

    More broadly, however, guns represent my – and The People’s – ability to say NO to tyranny.

    Lest you laugh, thinking “That can’t happen here,” consider that Sarajevo had the Olympics; now how is it? Beirut was once the “Paris of the middle east”; now how is it? Iran and Afghanistan had women walking the streets in skirts, not tents; now how are they? The worm can turn, and quickly. I was just reading an article about the revolution in Iran, and just how rapidly – once the Ayatollah arrived and took over – things changed, and murderously so. And consider Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s quote:

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

    My own example? I’m Jewish; my family lost members in the Shoah. My great uncle, Chaim, was murdered in Auschwitz with his wife and son. And if you had gone to pre-WWI Europe and told them that within a generation, the Holocaust would happen, nobody would have guessed that the then-cosmopolitan, “civilized” Weimar Republic would be the one to do it. Walter Williams, whom I greatly respect, had a column that concluded – paraphrased from memory – “… no German who died in 1930 would have predicted the Holocaust.”

    In the woods of Pennsylvania, any hunting season, is a group of skilled riflemen to rival most armies. Add in every other state, and you have a force that outstrips the US military. And while they don’t have planes, or tanks, or such, those things need maintenance. Those things need fuel. Those things re-armament. The crews need food. All those things need to be trucked in. And there are people with guns who can shoot 1000+ yards, and we won’t just be going after soldiers, but politicians. Imagine any politician not being able to go outside without wondering if, in their next step, there will be one last sound they hear, from a place they cannot see. (A former Marine friend of mine can still do groups in the inches, from 200 yards; a former sniper friend of his can do similar groups from, well, a lot farther than that. So as an exercise, step outside your front door and look around. Would you be in range from someone like that?)

    Nor will the military be lockstep in enforcing such edicts. Just as with the oath I took when I worked for the Army, the oath contains the phrase “…enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC.” Abrogating the Second Amendment, which enumerates – not grants – my right to own a firearm, will trigger a civil war. (See Belling the Cat (search for those three words plus “Zelman partisans”) as just one article on that.)

    Not only does power corrupt, it attracts those that are corruptible. Government cannot, by definition, be trusted. It needs to have the knowledge that if they get too outrageous, there are lethal consequences. I look at Europe, and especially the unelected cabal in Brussels, imposing their will on the nations of the EU with virtually no recourse or possibility of rejection, and wonder when it will explode. (E.g., I remember the referendum in Ireland to join the EU; they said NO. So the EU corruptocrats said “Vote again until you get it right!” Also, witness Brexit; the people spoke, and the EU / Remainers are doing their best to draw it out, sabotage it, etc. Governmental power needs that final, last-resort check on its authority.)

    Lastly, I find it very ironic that in these days when people are, openly, saying that Trump is a nascent Hitler, they are so eager to take guns out of the hands of The People.

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