Let’s say we completely ban guns

Our country has a huge problem. Mass killings are disgusting and we need to investigate every possible solution to reversing what is a growing trend. According to some sources there have been over 300 mass killings in the last 300 days. In our great nation, innocent people should not be dying in their schools, movie theaters,  places of work or at their finish lines. That much is very simple and a fact on which we can all agree. It’s pathetic.

Let’s say we completely ban guns.

There are roughly 350 million legally owned guns in America today. No one really knows how many are owned illegally, but let’s say it’s half of one percent. Even 1.75 million illegal guns is a lot. I believe confiscating legal guns in this country is less plausible than building a wall across our Mexican border, or paying for everyone’s health care in our current system. In this country, we are never going to get rid of guns. An attempt to do so would trigger upwards of a civil war. Do you agree or do you see it differently?

While I understand why some people believe banning guns, some types of guns, black guns, or “assault rifles” would “fix” the problem, the issues filed under “gun” run much deeper. I believe the real problems are rooted in human dignity, self-reliance, self-worth, perceived opportunity, education and the family unit. There are people suffering or oppressed for countless reasons, many beyond our comprehension. How do we “fix” the problem of people wanting to kill other people?

The gun debate, and the conversation I hope to start here is a good and important one, not because we’re going to find the “fix,” but because people dying in mass shootings stains our very existence as bystanders. It’s unacceptable that we don’t have better answers. But, answers come through civil discourse and smart people putting their heads together, not through division. The left wing and right wing belong to the same bird.

I believe, broadly speaking, we spend on “fixes” in our country, rather than consistently investing in long-term solutions. Catchy proposals win elections, but cause losses that live forever. To me, the only sustaining solutions are longitudinal investments in education, health care, family units and economic development. They’re slow, complicated and expensive.

The very meaning of our daily work at Powderhook involves getting people away from urban areas and shooting some form of weapon. Looking around the world, I believe it’s evident that if someone wants to kill people they’re going to find a way to do it. Is easy access to legal guns making it more likely to happen? I’ve read dozens of positions from both the left and right and I don’t believe there is any unbiased evidence that it is or isn’t. More importantly, I think the whole train of thought amounts to focusing on a fix rather than investment in solutions.

About the author:
Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, an app built to help people hunt and fish more often. He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.


19 thoughts on “Let’s say we completely ban guns”

    1. People have been killing as long as their have been people My question is if you use a rock are they less dead ? Why must we blame guns for human behavior ?

  1. I completely agree, Eric. Malicious people will find a way to hurt others – whether it’s through a legal gun purchase or a homemade weapon. I would endorse strict background checks, and continuing education type courses for all gun owners.

    My personal opinions align with your, in the fact that we both believe that there are a series of life events and experiences that cause one to become a killer. The problem ultimately does not lie with whatever weapon is used to conduct a crime, but with the logic and inability for the individual carrying out the crime to understand the value of life.

  2. “More importantly, I think the whole train of thought amounts to focusing on a fix rather than investment in solutions.” I think you hit the target, so to speak, with that. Our society’s whole mind set is to treat a symptom rather than seek a cure. Doesn’t matter if its cancer, heart disease, violence, pollution… Curing the “gun problem” would require us to address a whole batch of our deepest problems. Lack of opportunity, inequality, hopelessness, and the natural anger that stems from those conditions. The way we stigmatize mental health issues rather than offer compassionate care. Mass media that survives through its ability to divide us and then feed the fires of hate and intolerance. All of those things, and many more, systematically devalue life. There will always be risk associated with being alive, but if we work to make it a positive experience for as many people as possible I have to believe the risk of being caught in a violent situation drops to something close to zero.

    1. With all the recent mass shooting events, I have heard many ignorant statements and positions on how to best handle the growing problem from both sides of the equation. It has been disheartening to see that little positive discussions are being made to begin solving the problem by looking at all factors objectivity. That is, until I read this article and some of the comments that have been posted here. This is the best starting point I have ever seen. I personally don’t believe that anyone can honestly say that there isn’t a problem but the fact remains that the root cause is much deeper than looking at the tool for these atrocities. I feel we need to start looking at the environmental factors that lead up to an individual making the conscious decision to end lives, regardless of the instrument in which the chose to do it. We as a society need to really look at our struggles to finding a place where life is precious and not to be taken for granted. This is a place where we can begin to objectively look at the solution (cure) and not a temporary fix (bandaid) to the endemic condition that is currently mass murders. I certainly appreciate the positivity and objectivity this post is creating to begin looking for a solution. Thank you.

  3. I completely agree with your thoughts. I also agree that if crazy people didn’t have access to such an effective tool, then they would have a harder time of killing as many people as quickly. One thing no one seems to be address though, is the FACT that technology is outpacing any form of gun control that could be enacted through legislation. On newegg.com I can buy a metal 3d printer for $1200. Within 10 years these printers will be consumer commonplace. Within 20 minutes, and a small amount of knowledge of searching the internet without goggle, I found a .cad file to print an assault rifle. A few more minutes for the files to print casings and bullets. Within 4 hours I can print an AR-15. No one will ever know that I did this. No form of gun control can stop me from doing this. What happens when everyone has this access. Why are we wasting time talking about irrelevant legislation to try to slow crazy people down, instead of trying to figure out what makes them crazy to begin with, and how to change their thinking to not want to murder people.

  4. I disagree
    Human nature + easy access to guns = victims. It’s that simple. And I don’t believe it will ever change. Gun control does work look around the world. Taking guns of the streets saves live’s. I can understand that people are passionate about guns as a hobby or sport and they find it difficult to associate thier past time with barbaric mass killings and it would be a huge sacrifice to not have them for that reason. But steps need to be made in that direction. So to your original theory completely banning guns would undoubtedly stop mass shootings.

    1. @ajbaillie thanks for the comment. Do you think there is any chance this country ever completely bans guns? If so, do you think there is any likelihood of us getting rid of enough of the guns to where they wouldn’t be easily accessible to someone who really wanted one? Did you see the comment above about the 3D printing of guns… something that is already possible today? What then? Have you ever looked at what our national gun crime rate would be if we took the cities with the harshest guns laws out of the equation… Chicago, New York City, etc.?

      I agree with you that there are places in the world with fewer guns and tighter gun control laws that have lower incidence rates of gun related crimes. Did those countries have 350 million guns when they made those rules? Is it worth begrudging the fact that our variables are not the same?

      There are also places where getting a gun is incredibly burdensome financially and in some of those places the mass killings happen via other means.

      We are a country that celebrates individual freedom… the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and more. And, there are people who hate us because of that. Is that a gun problem… or a problem with what we’re doing at all? Or, is it a problem with how some people in this world view our way of life?

      Here is how I would redo your equation: human nature + any access to a means to inflict harm + conditioned hatred or resentment = victims


      1. Hi Eric
        Good work on the article, it really is a poignant debate that is highly needed. I did see the comment about 3d printing gun and as this technology develops regulations and control will have to keep up. I understand what you are saying about the current gun situation, it has become a intrinsic constitutional part of american culture to have the freedom to own firearms and because there are 350million? Guns, it can’t come undone overnight. But ignore history for a second and say there were no guns and they are illegal, and then someone suggests making them legal today I am sure they would be looked at as insane as it would be ridiculous.
        The point I am trying to make is regardless of how deeply embedded into the system it is, which you highlight, easy access to guns is wrong and it’s a huge battle but one we should fight one we should unite and one we should accept. But it requires gun lovers to look beyond their peaceful hobby and their local gun club that has probably never been a part of and probably never will be a part of any violent gun crimes. But beyond that the same constitutional system allows an individuals that are potentially mentally ill, resentful, violently conditioned or any contributing personality factors that can lead an individual to commit such an attack on humanity, gain readily access to weaponry almost instantly that is capable of killing large numbers. And I don’t think anyone is saying all guns gone. But the controls need to be SO SO tight that it thins out illegal activity.

        And I also believe the mental stability of humans to reach a point of committing mass murder is sadly not as far as people think and the signs are not always apparent. And it is really important to integrate societies and do more to create a fair equal world which will undeniable contribute to a balanced harmonious peaceful world, and I see part of that responsibility as a human on this planet in my short existence to reflect not the conditions or environments I am subjected to but the condition and environment I believe to be true in my heart and mind.


  5. I’am a law abidding person and never will give up my firearms in fear of history repeating it self again.It is that simple for me

  6. Guns or no guns. Humanity will find a way to destroy itself, if left without principle. The real issue is accountability, without it we stand no chance against ourselves. Political correctness is a disease that is stopping moral growth and accountability. We needn’t make sure that your “feelings” aren’t hurt and that you have everything handed to you. People have to be exposed to struggle and loss in order to combat it. Banning in-animate objects will lead to banning more in-animate objects. Be accountable, be disciplined, dont blame your problems on everyone else. Go to Church.

  7. Even if we could take away all the guns, people that want to inflict harm on a person or many people will find a way to do so. Bombs for instance look at what our soldiers deal with on a daily basis… Some homemade explosive device sure there’s guns but when a truly demented individual puts there mind to it they will find a way to inflict their devestation. I believe the problem stems from lack of family values self esteem issues and lack of other core human values. As a society we have become too self absorbed, not thinking about other people. What are the chances that if one person could have changed the outcome of a mass shooting just by saying I care about you. I’m sure that at some point all of the people that comitted these events showed some type of distress at school, work or some place or another. Sometimes to know someone cares is the best cure! Just like one person can kill, I think one person could stop it from happening! Open ur eyes and open ur heart!

  8. If you look at what happened in Boston, it shows that banning guns isn’t going to change a whole lot. We banned home made explosives long ago, it did not deter a bombing.
    I look at it this way. There are leopards and gazelle. A gazelle can defend itself if it is prepared by using its horns. The rationale of cutting the horns off the gazelle in an attempt of making the leopard not strike is ludicrous. The solution would be changing the behavior of the leopard, not punishing the gazelle.

  9. Unbelievable so disheartened by the responses to this article. I feel they are so naive. The narrative here is very similar that the problem is deeper than simply gun control. Which of course has an element of truth but the naive part is you can control guns, you can’t control human nature. I wonder if you are so conditioned that you are blinded from true progress. It sounds like people conveniently create their own validation for their actions.

    Humanity is as destructive as we are constructive if we work to improving tools for construction and remove tools for destruction we are heading in the right direction.

  10. Very thoughtful article. I’ve watched the development of the 3D guns since Cody Wilson first fired the 3D shot heard ’round the world. The legal ramifications are staggering, but then again, the fact is that Americans create technology much faster than lawmakers can regulate it. I wrote an blog post on just this subject recently: “For better or worse, 3D guns are here” and it’s true, you can get those 3D printers even from the behemoth Amazon. http://bit.ly/21HzRms

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