English on the Internet - English Magazine


May 31, 2000

We Americans cannot imagine why it all seems strange to foreigners. The subject even got me into a rather heated debate with a roommate while I was traveling in Argentina. You might find the subject interesting, too. What subject am I speaking of? It is American gun ownership, of course.

Americans have always owned a lot of guns of all shapes and sizes. Our citizens even own more guns than they do automobiles- and that is a lot! Let me see, how many guns do I own? There is a rifle and a pistol in my kitchen for shooting small animal pests in the yard. In my bedroom, I have 9mm, 357 magnum, and 45 Colt pistols. There is an antique revolver of my grandfather's. I also have one European air pistol in the closet, but I think it is broken. Oh, I almost forgot! I have an old pistol in my desk at my dental office. I guess that is a total of 8 guns I own. Is it too many? You know, I really would like a new 40 caliber automatic with a laser sight…

Not everyone in the USA owns guns. I can hardly believe it, but some people have none. Women do not own as often as men. Many people in the Southern states own more guns than I do. People in some Northwestern states like Montana own many guns, and carry one with them in their vehicles wherever they go.

Early Americans thought that the right to own guns was an important freedom, and included it in the second amendment to our precious Constitution. Our ancestors believed that if most citizens owned guns, it would be possible to overthrow a government that became oppressive. It is no coincidence that brutal dictatorships, whether Communist or not, always want to take guns away from the population.

So we keep our guns, but there are more restrictions now. We must have criminal background checks before we can buy another gun. Quite often we must wait several days while this is done to pick up our new guns.

Critics blame our high crime rate on the large number of guns in the United States. It is true there is a lot of violent crime in the US. Much of it involves guns. But there has always been a lot of guns in the United States, and it was a lot easier to buy them before than now. The US only began having a lot of violent crime in the 1960s. Why is that? I blame the breakdown of families, children watching violent television and movies, and listening to Rap music glorifying violent crime. Most misuse of guns for criminal purposes comes from a very small percentage of our population. These people are the most dangerous and irresponsible underclass I have ever encountered in all my travels.

Our politicians try to do all sorts of things to lessen the amount of guns in the US. Their latest brilliant idea is to pay people $50 for each gun they give to the police. This makes politicians feel good, but it really does not work! Poor people can turn in old guns that do not work, get the money, and buy nice guns that do work.

Every time our politicians talk about restricting gun ownership, Americans get scared and buy more guns. Most Americans feel so strongly about gun ownership, they would never give up their weapons, even if owning them could be made illegal. I doubt there will ever be a time when Americans do not own guns. So I am just grateful that when I must walk in a dangerous neighborhood, I may carry the protection of a pistol underneath my jacket.

Here is a picture of me, with some of my weapons. Don't worry, they are not loaded!

Guns & me

by Kim Henry - USA, writes a lot of political and social commentary

© May 2000 English on the Internet www.aj.cz