66 thoughts on “Do you own a gun?

  1. MeL

    Yeah. It went about like I expected it would. Guns are basically a religious debate for most people, and it seems to take a cataclysmic event to change someone’s mind one way or the other once they’ve made it up. Oy. I predict this will generate more heat than the circumcision question in all the surrounding comments…. (By the way, just so we’re clear: I said Yes to circumcision. I say No to guns. So there’s that.) :)

  2. Kimberly*

    No guns here. I don’t even let my boys have toy guns. If they want to pretend kill each other, they have to use their imaginations. That seems fair.

  3. Cee

    As a Canadian who has never even seen a gun in real life (beyond police officers), Dana always scares me a little bit when I watch these videos. Southern Christian gun-carrying Republican…she’s like every American stereotype wrapped up in a pretty package.

  4. Daffodil Campbell

    I have to say leading into this video with the commercial featuring a man with a huge target on his head and then a series of other targets, was *very* apropos. And eerie.

  5. kate

    As a woman whose father was shot to death when I was 16, I have always been rabidly anti-gun. I haven’t eaten meat in 20 years, I have always been against hunting…if I find a wasp or spider in my home, I set them free outside.

    And then…I married a man who, in addition to being a very liberal, highly educated Russian-opera aficionado, is a gun enthusiast. We now have a gun in our bedroom (I literally NEVER thought I would say that), in a child-proof wall-safe. It is there ONLY in the event that an intruder threatened our daughter or us. It oddly gives me piece of mind knowing that it is there, and yet, I would do everything possible to avoid using it.

    While I respect the viewpoints of Karen and Rebecca, I do not believe that that “leverage”, a “lower center of gravity” or hand-to-hand combat is going to be an effective defense against a man who has come into your home with the intent of doing harm to you or your child(ren). There is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my daughter.

  6. Al

    There are always the horror stories from people who know a child who accidentally fired a gun or something went wrong. The homes that happens in are simply put dangerously irresponsible homes. I grew up with guns in my home, and would have never touched it if my mother or father weren’t with me. In fact, until I got my hunter’s safety card, I was not allowed to touch a gun even with supervision. I was taught that you respect those weapons, they aren’t toys, and they can kill. They were locked up in a gun safe and if by some miracle I found out how to open it, I still knew that it was dangerous and stupid for me to treat it like a toy. Toy guns in my book are the most ridiculous thing ever made.

    Even those who are 100% against guns, need to be smart and educate their children. There are always idiots out there that treat weapons (not only guns) as toys. Cars are weapons that can kill and people treat carelessly (how many of you have talked on your phone while operating that weapon?). You still teach your child to look before crossing and to hold your hand when they cross, even though you don’t plan on them having a run in with one of those idiots.

  7. Kris

    I really think the line of division will fall between those who grew up with guns and those who didn’t. This may be a regional difference as well. I fall into the latter group and I’m anti gun and all for gun control. Had I grown up with them, and they were part of my culture, I might feel differently. I have never seen a gun in person, never touched one, never took a shooting class. Guns terrify me. Part of that fear may be because I have no idea how to handle one (except for what I have seen on tv). I live in an area where guns are not part of our lives. The only people who seem to have them are the police, the gangs and the rare hunter (hunting is not popular in this area). I will never own a gun. I don’t think it’s necessary for self defense.

  8. Michelle

    There’s really no such thing as the American Stereotype, well, our media uses it conveniently when they’re trying to move an agenda.
    I’m a liberal and constitutionalist (my religion) – I would rather have the guns. I feel safer with a society that can raise up and protect if necessary.

  9. Jamie

    I grew up in a house very familiar with guns and how to safely handle and operate them. However they weren’t for hunting, they are antique revolvers from the early 1800’s. I own several lovely engraved guns BUT… no ammo. They are in their pretty display cases with nothing to shoot. Some of them are so old they probably don’t even operate so to me that is different than keeping a handgun around for protection.

    I do have to say- when we lived in a very dangerous part of downtown a few years ago I did seriously consider getting my conceal & carry permit after I watched my neighbor get shot outside our door at 5pm. But we didn’t have kids at the time and instead we just moved.

  10. Jamila

    I think it is crazy to have a gun in the house. I would rather use knife or pepper spray to protect myself.
    There is no war in the U.S., no political turmoil to have the need to protect your family from somebody who tries to come to YOUR house to Kill you or your kids. And as if you are really gonna protect yourself from some crazy maniac who probably carries the gun as well.He will probably shoot you before you even get to your gun. I mean, seriously, what is a probability of something like that happening in the U.S. On another hand, the probability of some unstable teenager getting the gun and shooting other people is getting high here, in the U.S.
    When I was a teenager, I remember there was a moment when Talibans fought really hard on our border. If they succeeded, it would’ve taken them only 6 hrs to get to my city, before they could start raping the girls and killing men. Even then, we didn’t rush to the store to buy the gun. There really was not point.

  11. karen

    I’m not particularly pro-gun, but we do own several rifles as my husband loves to hunt & shoot skeet. He grew up with them, is currently in the military and is an excellent shot to boot. There isn’t any ammo in the house and the guns are kept where our 9 mo old daughter can’t get to them. If my husband wants to go shoot, he picks up some ammo at the range. No big deal.

  12. misstraceynolan

    This is one of those times that I’m so grateful to be a Canadian in a city that does not have a big history of gun culture (because of hunting or whatever…) I understand the instinct to protect yourself and your family, but I cannot ever imagine keeping a gun in my house. I think it would be all I would think about. My whole life would become “there’s a gun in my house”. Kind of like when a man wears a bow tie. It seems like a good idea at the time and then it’s ALL about the bow tie, isn’t it?

  13. Maggeh Post author

    Cee, Dana really seems stereotypical to you? I find her very nuanced, though I’ve never met her in person, and I only really have the Momversation stuff to go by. I think the way she’s relating to an overwhelmingly liberal group of women on the show is more open minded than my mental stereotype of “die-hard Christian conservative.”

    She _is_ a pretty package though, I’ll give you that.

  14. Hope

    I hesitate to type anything b/c this discussion is so fraught, and rightly so, by emotion.

    On that disclaiming note, I would like to throw this into the ring. I completely respect someone’s right to choose NOT to own a gun. What Maggie said makes perfect sense. It is a cost/benefit analysis and with a child/ren in the house it makes a lot of sense not to own one. It also ups the ante towards having one.

    Because this is such a complex subject, I also believe in the right TO BE ABLE to own. It is all in the handling of that choice (as is having a car, painkillers in the cabinet, rat poison in the garage etc etc).

    As someone who’s socio/political beliefs run the gamut, calling gun owners “typical, gun totin’ Republicans” is unfair and divisive.

  15. Karen

    I didn’t grow up with guns in the house. My dad had a Civil War rifle and a bird gun (handed down from his dad) and I only found out about those one year when we had the carpets cleaned and the closets were all emptied. My dad was very anti-gun.

    My husband is anti gun, but NOT anti-protection. We have a bow and arrows (they are practice arrows, but when fired, can kill or hurt the target) in our bedroom. The bow isn’t lethal by itself. Our sons are allowed to handle it. The arrows are mounted up high where no kids can get them. Even if they DID somehow manage to get an arrow notched in the bow, the bow requires my husband’s manly strength to even pull and shoot the arrow. If they were carrying one of those practice arrows around, it would be no worse than walking around with a pencil.

    My husband is well trained with his bow and arrows. He’s shot rabid animals on our property, and has 20/20 eyesight. If our house alarm goes off, he can be there with the bow and arrow to stop an intruder.

    This is what works for our family. We are leery of guns only because of the danger with kids possibly getting a hold of them, and I’ve never really understood how one can have an unloaded gun, with the bullets locked up, and still expect to stop an intruder who’s waking you up in the middle of the night. Time would not be on my side if I had to be unlocking a safe and grabbing the bullets, and loading the gun.

    But I support the right of any responsible adult to have a gun in their home. It’s in the Constitution. And as pointed out by another poster, cars can be just as dangerous, and we let 16 year olds drive. And we drive our kids around in cars.

  16. Hillary

    I grew up in a household with guns. Deer meat was a major staple of our diet. I hope my son can go hunting with his grandpa someday, when he’s old enough. As poster #7, Kris said, my background completely informs my feelings on gun ownership. People should be able to own guns. However, I do not think people should be allowed to own guns that are used only to kill other people, like automatic assault rifles. And I do think every gun owner should have to complete educational requirements, so they know better than to keep a loaded weapon available to children.

  17. Nicole

    I did not grow up with guns at all, and am not a fan of them. My husband grew up in a family with a military officer for a grandpa, and said grandpa and his dad hunting and teaching him to hunt. Needless to say when we discussed marriage guns were an issue. I didn’t want anything to do with them, he wanted to be able to continue to hunt. At this point we do not have children, but I expect the rules we established to stay the same. All guns are locked in a fire proof combination safe that only my husband knows the combo for, and all ammunition (if there is any) must be in a separate locked box in a different location than the gun safe.

  18. a.g.h.

    I think this subject is definitely emotional for many people and I’m hesitant to post but here I go…

    Raised in a home with guns, educated about guns, taught how to use a gun in my late teens. My dad was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and always educated me on the burden and responsibility of owning and/or using a gun for any reason. I don’t think the argument of whether or not you keep a gun in the house is nearly as important as whether or not you believe you should BE ABLE to keep a gun in the house if you choose to.

    As far as actually using a gun… I was taught that it is always the absolute last resort in self-defense. If you can run… run. If you can defend yourself in any other way first… then it’s your responsibility to do that. And if all other options are exhausted and you do own a gun for this purpose… you should never ever even THINK about picking it up unless you know that you can use it. Otherwise, it is all the more dangerous for yourself and negates the purpose of owning one in the first place.

    Just what I was taught growing up and has had a relatively large impact on the way I view gun ownership today.

    (Yes, we own a gun.)

  19. Dangercat166

    I’m a cop. So, of course I own a gun. I was raised by Buddhists that would NEVER own or shoot a gun.

    I am one of the statistically few cops that has actually been forced (Yes, I said forced) to discharge my weapon at another human being. I can tell you that it leaves an indelible mark on your psyche and that it does not come easily. This despite training untold hours for many, many years.

    Several times I have encountered sad and dangerous situations where guns have been in households with children. I have been alerted by a smart child to the presence of a loaded gun that had been thrown in to tall grass by
    a fleeing felon. The NRA Safety Courses that child’s mother and father attended with their children saved that child and others from becoming victims.

    I am leery of persons buying guns to defend themselves. If they are going to go to the lengths to become proficient with one, they will likely be sure to keep them secure. But far too many buy guns based upon a moment in their life when they were scared and/or victimized. Then they have a gun that is as useful around the house for defense as an ironing board and as dangerous as a, … well a loaded gun.

    I am convinced the words “children and guns” should not be uttered in a sentence unless it ends with “taught the dangers of.”

    The right to bear is an argument that I won’t enter in to (I have an unfair and biased position). As the right currently exists, I am obligated to uphold that right. I also would be a liar were I to say I would give mine up without consternation.

    I think, like so many other issues, it is a matter of personal rights and choices. I only wish (speaking from numerous sad on the job experiences) more persons would learn to be safer with firearms.

    As to the self-defense by hand versus gun argument: As a cop I was trained, and believe, that the aggressor sets the level of force I respond with. In addition, I am convinced that self-defense, martial arts, a knife, or pepper spray are all options that MAY work. I have seen them all fail, and seen the weapons used against the person initially attempting to use them.

    Ultimately, I believe that if you never go where you don’t need a gun, you won’t need a gun where you go. Wisdom is knowing when danger is mounting and leaving before it comes to be.

  20. Laura

    I read the comments before I watched the video so I wasn’t sure if you were being sarcastic about everyone being sane in presenting their arguments, Maggie. But they were! Really, you’re all lovely packages and very thoughtful women and I almost always enjoy these videos (even though I’m not a mom).

    I also like seeing this particular conversation take place, among women especially. I agree that what one grew up with has an awful lot to do with how one feels about gun ownership, gun control, etc. I grew up in the South (live in the Bay Area now), am extremely socially liberal, had very well educated, politically and culturally sensitive and sophisticated parents, and grew up with guns.

    Both my parents had guns for sport, sentiment (family heirlooms) and defense. My sisters and I learned to handle and shoot guns when we were teenagers and practiced target shooting for sport a couple of times a year. One sister owns a handgun now, the other one and I do not at this time. I strongly believe in the right to own and bear arms. However, I also feel strongly that automatic assault weapons should not be available to anyone outside of a military context. Also, extensive education is of the utmost importance.

    Thanks for presenting the opportunity for this important discussion.

  21. Betsey

    I live in the south in a home with a child and a gun. Am I a raging republican? Nope. Do I believe in securing the weapon and ammo separatly? Yep! Is it anyone else’s business? Nope! That’s the great thing about this… We all have the right to do so unless you’re a convicted felon. I just hate how southerner’s are all grouped into the uneducated hillbilly category. We’re not all halfwits due to geographic location folks!

  22. Jen

    I guess the thing that I don’t understand is where this threat of intruders who mean your family harm comes from? Does that happen in numbers that justify arming yourself in that way?

    As I try to write this comment, the words that keep coming into my mind are fear and escalation. To me, those don’t seem like good drivers for living in the world.

  23. Stephanie

    Great topic.
    I agree, guns and ammo should be properly stored (locked securely away) in any home with children.

    Just finished reading Joe Bageant’s Deer Hunting With Jesus. There’s a chapter in there on this topic, or on the false stereotype that all American gun owners/enthusiasts are Republican Southerners (or liberals are anti-gun.)
    Guns aren’t the problem. And gun laws won’t prevent determined criminals/predators from abusing them. A responsible gun handler knows the number one rule: muzzle control. Also, fear of the object is more dangerous than the object itself.

  24. Jasie VanGesen

    This is such a freakishly sensitive subject. I honestly don’t know where I stand. We had a gun in the house when I was a kid, but I never saw it, didn’t know where it was (and trust me, I was SUPER SNOOPY), and so it must have been stored VERY well. My dad is a huge animal lover who hasn’t been hunting in his life. Fast forward to me pushing 30 with a son in third grade… it’s complicated. I’ve never held a gun or owned a gun, so no, we don’t have one in the house. But my other half for the past 4 years got a rifle for his 10th birthday. He was raised in the woods with guns…. he’s never been hunting or killed so much as a rabbit, but he’s shot guns A LOT. I doubt we’ll ever have one in the house.

  25. latenac

    Dana – “I think that owning a firearm is the ultimate feminist statement”

    Seriously? She has to be kidding, right? Sorry I just found all of Dana’s arguments to be straight from the NRA which I think is mostly a fear mongering organization. And all of Dana’s arguments were exactly that, fear based. I’ve lived in NYC, Chicago, Vermont, NJ and Indiana. I’ve lived in safe neighborhoods and sketchy ones. I’ve done stupid, not very safe things. But I can think of no instance when having a gun would have made me safer.

    I can at least respect the hunting argument and agree with it if you’re hunting for food. But really any other guns, I just see contributing to a culture of fear and paranoia we have in this country where we trust no one, don’t know our neighbors and think everyone is out to get us. I think Dana made the argument for me, personally.

    And no I don’t own a gun.

  26. Jan

    I’m a retired cop (hello, Dangercat166). When my nephew and niece were really small, I used to hide my guns on top of a very tall bookshelf when they came over, where they were invisible even to an adult. The first time, though, I saw my nephew start stacking things up to climb like kids do, I stopped keeping them loaded when they were in the house. Other than that, I went 20 years where I >always< had a gun on or near me.

    My sister and her husband tried to keep the kids from playing with toy guns but that’s a losing proposition in most cases. When my nephew was about 8, with their permission and with my sister in the room, I showed him my (unloaded) gun. The objective was to make him understand how hard it can be to tell the difference between a real gun and a toy, and it WORKED. He also asked if he could hold it (Answer: No.)

    I think a gun gives some people a false sense of security. If you aren’t used to handling it, and you suddenly wake up to find The Intruder in your home, you are going to be so flooded with fear and adrenaline that you may not respond like you think you will. So, if you’re going to keep a gun in your home for protection, USE THE THING. Find a range and practice regularly. Get so familiar with it that you don’t have to think about it. Don’t be lulled by its mere presence.

    Of course, having children in the house colors that decision, and I won’t presume to try to influence anyone on that. Previous commenters have made good points on both sides. When I was little, my dad had a .22 revolver — frame in one place, everything else somewhere else I never found. Not that I would have known how to put the thing together if I’d found the rest of it, but I did look, even though it was forbidden.

    On the idea of the less-than-lethal self-defense techniques such as leverage and so on: My personal opinion is that they give too many women an unwarranted feeling of security. You have to remember that, for them to work, your assailant has to come at you (1) when you KNOW IT’S COMING like you do in the classes, and (2) when you’re ready – in the right position, feet planted just so, arms at a prescribed position, weight distributed, etc. IN REAL LIFE, IT WON’T HAPPEN LIKE THAT. Take those classes if you want, but be ready to just plain street-fight if you’re ever assaulted for real.

  27. Becky

    I haven’t read all the comments in this section, but my viewpoint is from being a nanny and sitter in many households, and with many different families, with different views. I think it’s important to teach every single child about gun safety. I think it is reasonable to teach our children that guns are real and dangerous. I would hope that every parent, regardless if they have guns in their home or not, will take the opportunity to have the discussion (and even demonstration, at the gun range or whatever) with their children. Ignoring or fearing the issue is not making us any safer. I think it is important to communicate to our children the realities of this life.

    Personally, I’ve been fearful of guns most my life. I didn’t like being around them, I had fear of even bb-guns since as long as I can remember. And 24 years later …. after learning how to arm a gun, aim, shoot and safely handle it at the range this past week, I feel safer around them. It gives me peace of mind knowing the scope of the weapon in my hand – how loud it is, what the bullets look like, how it feels, and the power it holds. I’d say I have a much better understanding of the power a firearm has now, and how to handle the responsibility should I ever have to hold a gun again.

    I think it’s a good idea to take kids, at a reasonable age, out to a well-equipped & safety-minded range so that they get the supervised teaching under their belt. It will probably scare some sense into them, as well.

  28. Cee

    Maggie, believe me…people like Dana are why a lot of Canadians think Americans are batshit crazy. I agree with latenac.

  29. Me

    I am with Ce. Also a Canadian and this whole debate shocks me. Children in the house! So different we Canadians are from you.

  30. Mabel

    Another Canadian, so I freely admit that my cultural bias is anti-gun. I, also, have never actually seen a hand gun in real life. However, I also acknowledge that I live in an extremely safe neighbourhood where the the extent of the crime I am exposed to is pesky teenagers breaking into unlocked cars (yeah, we often don’t lock our cars around here). Violent crime is non-existent in my community. I may feel differently if I lived in a higher crime area. Still…I find it hard to believe I’d have a gun in the house. A dog or pepper spray? Sure. But a gun? I don’t think so. I can’t even imagine that scenario. I’m pretty damn lucky.

  31. Carly

    I’m testing for my black belt this month – it’s been DAMN hard work, but I have the security of knowing (funnily, short of someone pulling a gun on me) that I can sorta kinda most definitely hurt someone trying to hurt me. Badly. Should I need to. God I hope I never need to. I’m a lover, not a fighter – but knowing half a dozen choke holds and joint locks? Good for the peace of mind.

  32. Carly

    Also – I can do MAJOR damage with a bo staff. I’ll take a random broom or mop as a weapon ANY DAY. Purple ninja turtle style.

  33. Kim Smith

    I guess I must be a “Typical” gun toting, liberal, democrat, SUV driving, recycling, tree hugging, American.

    I own a gun. My husband owns a gun. And I’m a brown belt in Chinese Kenpo. I like to cover my personal protection bases

  34. BW

    I gave a good rant on the Momversation site, so I’ll spare you all. But…school shooting in Potrero Hill today. So, my opinion stands.

  35. stephanie

    I have to agree with Maggie about Dana. As someone who lives and grew up in the South, she is hardly the stereotypical “Southern Christian gun-carrying Republican.” I appreciate that she presents her beliefs in these videos in a way that isn’t designed to make people who do not agree with her seem wrong. I think she carries on a very respectful, open-minded dialogue, which generally is not the calling card of the Southern, Christian, gun-totin’ conservatives that I know.

    As for guns and children, I don’t have kids, but I don’t think guns mix well with me. Growing up, my father had a few rifles for hunting, an activity he gave up when I was pretty young because he decided he didn’t feel comfortable killing things anymore. I have held a real, unloaded gun once, and it creeped me out. I hope that I never feel as though I need to own a gun, but I respect people’s constitutional right to own guns. Hopefully, they’re smart about it.

  36. mindy

    1. I am beyond shocked that Karen didn’t mention that she is a lawyer – I have never seen a momversation (that I can recall) where she hasn’t woven it in there somewhere.

    2. I am always very interested to know from people who say “I don’t believe in killing, period” “I can’t even kill for food, or step on an ant” – what is their stance on abortion? Betcha dollars to donuts they are “pro-choice.”

  37. james

    Firearms are involved in 0.5% of accidental deaths nationally, compared to motor vehicles (37%), poisoning (22%), falls (17%), suffocation (5%), drowning (2.9%), fires (2.5%), medical mistakes (1.7%), environmental factors (1.3%), and pedal cycles (0.7%).

    Among children: motor vehicles (41%), suffocation (21%), drowning (15%), fires (8%), pedal cycles (2%), poisoning (2%), falls (1.9%), environmental factors (1.5%), firearms (1.1%) and medical mistakes (1%).

    (National Center for Health Statistics)

    That’s right… Guns are safer, statistically, than bicycles.

    I received careful training with all the power tools I grew up with. I also received formal training for the other tools I own: the guns.

  38. Karen

    I agree with Cee…what’s scarier than a nervous, hyperalert parent with a concealed weapon on the playground is knowing that I live less than a mile from her.

  39. Philly Mama

    My dad was a police officer, so having a gun in the house was par for the course. That said, to this day, I’ve still never seen his gun (and I’m 34). He took his responsibility of making sure his gun was safely stored away from kids very seriously.

    And for me, that’s what this debate comes down to. It’s not whether or not guns are good or bad, whether or not you should have one or not. It’s how responsible you are with the care and storage of your gun.

    I always thought I’d own a gun. But, I’ve never learned how to shoot, never taken a class in gun safety, and until I’ve done those things, it would be stupid for me to get a gun. Even if I had one, I hope I’d never have to shoot it. But I’m smart enough to know that even though I’m a self-defense instructor, that ain’t going to do squat if the other guy has a gun.

    Do I think we have a ways to go in terms of gun control? Absolutely. But I hope that responsible people will always be own one if they choose.

  40. Katie

    As Maggie said, I’ve always wondered about self defense considering you’re supposed to store guns and ammo separately and away from the children, and it seems like you wouldn’t have the time to get the gun to use on an intruder.

    I also believe that average people are much more likely to have their guns used against them.

    I believe in gun owners responsibility, responsible sales, and the limiting of what types of guns are available, but don’t really believe that most gun control measures have any effect on criminals anyway.

    All things considered, I think if I had a gun at all, it would be a shotgun–whatever type has the loading mechanism with the sound you can’t mistake for anything else. Or maybe just a really good recording of that sound.

  41. Jamie

    I had to come back and say that Karen, I found your comment a little funny. I’m being genuine and not trying to be a snarky jerk, but what use is a bow and arrow going to be in your bedroom “for protection”? It’s really more of a distance weapon… I would feel safer with a golf club or baseball bat. :)

  42. Kelly

    I grew up with a house full of guns, they were visible in my dad’s glass fronted gun safe in their bedroom. I shot BB guns as a child, and handguns as an adult – one of the few ways to spend time with my dad.

    And I’m anti-gun and we will never own one.

    While I understand hunting as a sport, and I understand the utility of hunting as a population control method for animals – as long as they are used for food. I don’t really understand my dad’s need for handguns in the house or his concealed carry liscence. Or why he has disrespected me in my home by bringing his gun when he came to visit.

    I am another who had a friend actually shoot another friend in high school. It was dark and he pulled the trigger out of fear before he knew who he was aiming at. Another friend of my brother’s played Russian roulette as a child.

    My reasons are emotional, but I own them. As a DC resident I am saddened that I lost my chance to choose to live somewhere where guns were legally owned only by the good guys. I thought that made everything simpler… if someone had a gun and did not identify themselves as law enforcement = bad.

  43. Stephanie

    If you don’t believe that private gun ownership has anything to do with criminal behavior, just look at the crime rates of countries where they have banned (and even taken away) guns. People still kill people – they just have to be more creative about it. You cannot control people killing people by controlling guns.

    We have rifles, handguns, shotguns and an assault rifle safely stored away in a gun safe. We have fun with many of these guns, including the assault rifle, and we target shoot for sport. Through the Eddie Eagle program through the NRA, we are already teaching our five-year-old to be respectful of firearms and what she should do if she encounters a firearm without an adult around.

    I think it’s very interesting to see how many people are afraid of good people owning guns. And many people who don’t like guns have a “story” to back up the reason why they don’t have guns in their house. They are saying “I don’t like guns because a friend’s, former wive’s cousins friend once shot someone else. I honestly have more stories about how kids have badly hurt other kids with legos than I do about anyone hurting anyone else with a gun.

    It’s all about education, people.

  44. Karen


    We have a distance alarm that would alert us if any intruder broke into the first floor of the house. By the time that individual tried to make it up the stairs to the bedrooms, my husband would be in position, with enough distance, to shoot.

    Trust me, my husband is a well-trained bowman. He has 20/20 vision and incredible night vision. I’d trust him with a bow in any situation. And in a pinch, I can always use an arrow to stab an intruder. It’s my verion of the Louisville Slugger Home Protection System. :D

  45. Elise

    I second my Canadian sisters that Dana personifies the image of the self-righteous gun-toting American that so terrifies those of us north of the border.

  46. Anna

    Wow. I grew up shooting occasionally with my dad and grandfather, learning how to use a rifle and eventually a shotgun, on targets, skeet, sporting clays. And I agree with you, Maggie, I just don’t see a way to have a gun in the house that is both secured from children and available in an emergency.

    1) I don’t buy the argument that guns account for a statistically low number of accidental deaths: they are still preventable deaths.

    2) When I lived in bad neighborhoods, I did my best to keep my wits about me and be smart about where I went, when, and with whom. People don’t often attack randomly. To imagine that is going to happen to you is to indulge in paranoia. I’m not saying don’t keep a baseball bat by the bed, but I am saying you don’t need a semiautomatic in your dresser.

    3) That said, I also agree that if I had a stalker, violent ex, or other very specific situation that warranted a restraining order, I would think very long and hard about getting a license, a handgun, and some range time.

    4) A classmate of mine in high school was shot and killed accidentally by his best friend. I wish they’d both had gun safety education so that they knew it was not a toy, and contrary to an above post, NOT something to “have fun” with.

  47. Stephanie

    No. Straight up, NO to guns. Guns shouldn’t be near schools, children or in anyone else’s hands for that matter. What happened at Columbine and Virginia Tech could’ve easily been prevented with gun control. My neighbor (and college classmate) shot himself a couple of months ago. He would’ve graduated along with the rest of our class a couple of weeks ago.

    Again, no.

  48. Mary

    We do have guns (multiples!) in our house. I’m a bit amazed at the number of people who don’t (not that it’s bad). That said: we have several police officers in the family. Guns are part of our daily life, as are tasers, mace, and batons. But we don’t go running around the house with them and it’s not like I feel all warm and fuzzy when I hold one. They stay safely stowed in gun safes. I definintly wouldn’t mind having a concealed handgun license just so I would know more about how to use a gun if the need ever arose.
    More people are injured in their own homes by their own weapons at the hand of an intruder than intruders are injured by homeowners with weapons. If you are going to have a weapon, no matter what it is, you better know how to use it, even if it’s just a kitchen knife.
    And I find it ever amusing that people see Dana as scary. I must be the devil himself.

  49. Kay

    I’m a little too emotionally charged to comment coherently – this is my hot button topic.

    So I’ll keep it short and say thank you for speaking out. Too few women are willing to join the gun debate on the “pro” side.

    I was not raised around guns, NYC laws are quite strict. The only people that had them were cops and criminals. I was terrified of them, to put it mildly.

    Now? I own guns and I also have my CCW permit. No self defense classes are going to put me (at 5 foot tall and 120+ish lbs) on a level playing field with a 6 foot, 200 lb man. But my handgun? That gives me a fighting chance.

    Hopefully, I’ll never have to use it in self defense. But knowing I can gives me a peace of mind that a can of pepper spray can’t.

  50. amy

    Another Canadian who finds household guns perplexing. Sure, have known families that hunt game out in the boonies up North but a ‘family gun’? Pretty much unheard of here and I like it that way.

  51. Holly

    We have several guns in my house now because my husband is a police officer and we live in Alaska where there are many bears that want to eat me. But I grew up shooting and having guns in my house. Always unloaded and locked up. And we always knew, and my girls know, gun safety rules and that you never point a gun at something unless you want to kill it.

  52. Bree

    Guns terrify me and they always have. I hate the idea of anything being able to end a life so suddenly. If an intruder came into my home, I would first hide, then fight, and then die before ever even considering killing that person. I don’t even kill spiders.
    And yet, I sleep every night with a gun in my bedroom because my fiancee is in law enforcement. I hate it and I hate the idea of our future children living in a home with a gun. But I can’t quite make myself leave him over it. I will just have to drill it into the heads of my children that guns are not toys and are to never, ever be touched without their father’s supervision.

  53. james

    Anna – re #1 : all the car accidents are preventable deaths too. bicycle accidents are preventable as well.

    Stephanie – sorry for your loss, but gun control prevents nothing. Guns are tools — powerful tools, but are not the only way to kill people. And there’s a reason the right to keep and bear arms is only the second amendment.

    Bree – cars end lives quite abruptly too.

  54. Johanna

    Oh, Canadians… You need to realize there is a cultural difference between you and Americans. I should know- I’m a dual citizen myself, living in Canada, but born and raised in the states. My family has a long tradition of military service, and many have rifles and bows for hunting. Don’t fall into that comfortable Canadian habit of making sweeping generalities about “those Americans.” You know less about the culture and its subtleties than you think you do.

    And, yes, Canada has its share of gun-related violence.

  55. Amanda

    I own a gun and have a concealed carry permit. I also grew up around them and have a healthy respect of them–their danger, and their power.

    Getting rid of them doesn’t do anything–it just means that then the ONLY people in a country who have them are criminals. In Switzerland, where every adult male citizen has a gun and is trained on how to use it, the crime rate is about 400% less than in Great Britain, where guns are outlawed.

    That being said, I DO think that in America there could be more focus on gun education, especially for people who have CC permits.

    And to the people who question how often armed robberies occur in the US, I have to wonder what planet you are from. In Atlanta, where I live (in a decent neighborhood), there is at least a break-in a week (it has gotten worse since the economy tanked), and of the ones that have been recorded on camera (lots of people have surveillance because it’s becoming a bigger problem here), ALL of the robbers were armed. As a female who is home by herself often, I want to know that if someone broke in my house, I have the resources (gun) and the skill (practice and training) to eliminate the threat. And I’m sorry but a baseball bat, bow and arrow that I can’t physically shoot because the bow is too stiff, pepper spray, or self-defense courses just won’t provide that peace of mind.

    Also, we have actually been broken into twice, we just thankfully were not home. And yes, we do have an alarm system.

    We do not have kids yet, and when we do I’m not sure how we will then store the weapons (my husband has one too) such that they are easily reachable in emergencies but still kid-proof. That will require some thought.

    A further comment: things like Columbine and Virginia Tech would still have happened–remember, even if guns are banned, criminals will still find ways to obtain them. What might have helped those situations is if schools and colleges allowed those people who HAVE cc permits to actually carry in those places, the situations would likely have been stopped before they got to that level. As an engineering student at the time that VT happened, I remember thinking that maybe I would start carrying on campus anyway, in case something like that ever happened where I was. Personally, I’d rather be kicked out of school for having a concealed weapon (with a permit, but still not allowed at most schools) than dead because I didn’t have it and some crazy asshole decided it was ok to randomly kill people.

    Just my two cents. And yes, I’m southern, but no, I’m not religious nor conservative. I think that it is a CHOICE and I respect people’s decisions to choose. I do not, however, think that anyone has the right to tell me that owning a gun is no longer a choice for me.

  56. heather

    I really appreciate this smart, thoughtful and cool headed conversation over such a hot topic (and packed into such a short period of time, too). The hosts on The View should study these videos. Thanks for offering some middle ground.

  57. Stephanie

    Not in our city locale. It’s against the law and I hate the idea of handguns. They scare the bejeezus outta me. But my husband’s family owns a place out in the country and it’s generally assumed to be a good idea to have a shotgun on hand. Well locked up, of course. We have not followed through on the suggestion as of yet, but ever since we had our son a year and a half ago, my husband’s trigger finger has been getting mighty itchy. I suppose it is only a matter of time. The thought of it gives me something of a fever, but if it was secured, a la Fort Dix, I might be less likely to break out into a sweat.

  58. Aimee

    I think there are really good arguments on both sides of this issue, but I have to point out a few bad arguments that are really bugging me.

    1. “Cars kill more people than guns” or “cars are weapons” is a bankrupt argument, and I’m actually really surprised that adults are using this argument. Cars aren’t for killing people, they are for driving around. Any mechanical object has a plus/minus like that: its danger vs its utility. Cars are clearly extremely useful, and in many places 100% necessary. The usefulness of cars clearly outweighs their danger. The only useful purpose of a concealed handgun is to kill someone or threaten to kill someone. Their danger IS their utility. Obviously they are extremely dangerous, and the more useful they are, i.e. the more available in an emergency, the more dangerous they become.

    Second silly argument: “Guns kill fewer people than Thing A, therefore guns are less dangerous than Thing A.” Come on, people. You can’t compare dangers that way: all of these factors (illness, car accidents, etc) have varying degrees of preventability, and it doesn’t make sense to compare them. Statistically, very few people die from falling off balconies, but that doesn’t mean I’ll neglect to put a railing on my deck.

  59. Dangercat166

    If we are going to toss around statistical and/or empirical data, I will add this:

    In the last thirty years in the city I am employed to protect and serve (Pop. 20,000) There has been three firearm related deaths that were not suicides (one a homicide, one an accidental shooting by a family member, and one a defensive act by a peace officer [me]. In that same period of time there have been six fatal stabbings and 31 deaths related to unarmed fights.

    Most common of the causes of these “fisticuffs” related deaths was the head injury resulting from a fall after being struck. The morbid adage, “It was a two hit fight, he hit him, and he hit the floor” says it all.

    So guns were least deadly. A fist most deadly. Death was no less sudden or less horrible than a gun shot injury.

    As to the concept of self-defense being helpful, I would only state that despite my training a minimum of 6 hours a week for the last 28 years, I sometimes get hurt when I have to break up fights, arrest resisting criminals, and deal with violent criminals. I cannot begin to relate to anyone but another cop what a truly frightening experience it is to go in to a home that is the scene of an on-going domestic violence situation.

    We cannot assume we are invincible because we carry a gun or study a martial art. What keeps us safest is keeping our wits, being sensible about who we interact with, where we go, and what we do. If you carry a gun, practice ju-jitsu, kung fu, kenpo, whatever keep up and improve your proficiency. If not then be more cautious.

    Oh I am tired of this. Maggie, please bring on more happy mom stuff.

  60. Edwin Allen

    The gun question operates on a couple of different levels. The question about personal gun ownership seems to be the place where the gun question gets bottlenecked because, really, the greater concern than law abiding citizens owning guns is both urban gun crime and the illegal but quite easy exportation of guns (semi and kit autos)to Mexico which has in turned been a major fuel on the fire of drug crime.
    The personal question is one we all have to answer (duh) personally, but there is a trade off between less guns in society and less gun options for the individual. A waiting period, no semis, no easy conversion kits for full auto at guns shows, no gun show loopholes, stricter control on handguns, a ban on assault weapons (really? why is this controversial?), etc.
    Just like cigarettes, alcohol, and other potential social ills, guns should be regulated (in my opinion) to ameliorate these larger social issues. Or something.

  61. Franca Bollo

    People, if you’re going to site statistics please make note of the PER CAPITA number. Almost every child has easy access to a bike but very few have similiar access to a gun. Comparing bicycle-related deaths to gun-related deaths does not work in favor of a gun’s safety and it is completely disingenuous. “Susie, I know you asked for bike for your birthday but they’re too dangerous so I bought you this cute little handgun instead!”

    For the record, I was raised in one of the reddest counties in California, with shotguns and ammo is the garage. I owned a BB gun which I played with, a lot, and enjoyed it. I only “killed” cans, bottle, telephone wire insulators and fence posts with it.

    And a few closing points:

    – If you keep a gun on your person, in your car or in your house, please let me know if I come in proximity to it. Like an STD, I need to protect myself from you.

    – Oh, Canadians, I love you and agree with you, for the most part, regarding Dana. I think she’s intelligent, witty and articulate but her views paint her as paranoid, an “us against them” sort which I find emotionally unhealthy. Whether it’s her encouraging her boys to duke it out on the playground, keeping them from public school (so supportive of the constitution’s right to bear arms but does not support public education which is a cornerstone of democracy?), forcing them to clean their plate or they’ll be facing it every day until it rots … her view seems anything but nuanced. I think her gray areas cover a very small percentage of the spectrum in comparison to her blacks and whites. Having said all that … like she, herself, says, I’m judging her by these three minute videos. But, they do add up.

    – Can we at least have longer waiting periods prior to purchase and a complete ban on assault weapons?

    – Maggie, I hope you’re enjoying this fantastic weather we’ve been having here in SF!

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