First, I want to be clear, I am NOT calling for a ban on firearms. I'm simply saying that when a firearm is around, I'm more careful, due to a rational fear. I'm also more careful to watch for cars when crossing the street than when on a sidewalk, due to a rational fear of getting hit by a car.
That said, I am also against calls for increasing the amount of firearms present in public places, particularly schools and hospitals. These are both places where people's judgement may be poor (due to either youth or stress) and as a result the risks of a firearm are disproportionate to those in a private home or a shooting range.
Wrong, and here's why:
1.) All people who own guns own a gun, and nearly all own ammunition. This means that simply being around a gun owner or at a gun owner's house I am dramatically more likely to get shot accidentally. This is perhaps not so much a fear of the gun owner as it is fear of the gun itself.
This would only be true if said gun owner started taking his firearms out and handling them carelessly, which is so rare that you stand a better chance (by at least an order of magnitude) of being hit by a car driven recklessly (yet for some odd reason, no one is calling for a ban on automobiles.)
Again, not calling for a ban on guns. Just saying that I'm more careful when I know one is around. I'm really more concerned about children or teenagers mishandling the gun than I am about the owner or myself. Kids can be pretty crafty. If a toddler can climb on top of my refrigerator then a teenager can potentially find a way into a gun safe.
2.) MANY gun owners believe in using their gun for self-defense. This also increases my likelihood of being shot around a gun owner because the gun owner may mistake me for an intruder.
If you break into my house, yes - expect to be shot if it's dark, and held at gunpoint if it's daylight. If you are not an intruder, you have nothing to worry about. Under what condition do you expect to be mistaken for an intruder, anyway?
The situation is if I knock on your door at 2am because my car broke down and my cell battery is dead. Another potential situation would be if my teenage son is sneaking, invited by your daughter, into your daughter's bedroom (see point #5, below.)
HARDLY ANY gun owners (and this includes police officers and members of the military) are sufficiently skilled to discharge a firearm in a crowded indoor situation with multiple panicked people and possibly a few assailants in such a way that they correctly identify and harm the assailants but do not harm the bystanders. If an individual has multiple years of experience working as a military sniper they probably fall into this group, but even then they may not fall into this group when using a handgun.
Hardly any human being is sufficiently skilled to safely land a crippled airliner - and yet the odds of either happening are roughly the same, if not slightly in favor of the crippled airliner. Your point?
This point really had to be taken in context with the point after it, about more people thinking they can than actually can. I know several gun owners who when they hear about things like Columbine say that "If I had been there I would have put a stop to that." I don't see a lot of people making similar boasts when a plane crashes. My point is that such situations are not nearly as simple as they might seem. Moreover, I've seen trained police officers take defensive action (ducking and throwing another person to the ground, not brandishing a firearm) on things that turned out to be innocuous.
My overall point was twofold (and my original wording tried to reflect this, though perhaps unsuccessfully): 1.) If such a situation were to occur, the average gun owner shooting back would likely make things worse, not better. 2.) The person who thinks they can shoot in a situation like this is probably more likely to think they are in a situation like this than they are to actually be in one. I'm willing to concede the second point simply because I'm not sure if the accidental shooting statistics would support me or not.
5.) SOME gun owners believe guns are a good way to solve interpersonal problems besides those involving self-defense. These people WANT their ownership of a gun to be a form of intimidation to some individuals. I rationally consider these people to be a danger to everyone.
Such people are promptly arrested/convicted for assault, brandishing a firearm, etc. They are only a danger once, and once only. After that they are, as convicted felons, no longer allowed to own such things.
I'm not talking gang members here (though they might fit,) I'm talking about people who say "if my wife was cheating I would take my gun and kill the guy." This kind of talk won't get you put in jail (obviously going through with it will), but it is using a firearm as a form of intimidation. Someone owning a firearm who makes such threats might be willing to use the firearm in other circumstances as well.
Meanwhile, how many people commit DUI, reckless driving, blatant disregard for life/limb in their automobiles (see also the almost-daily police chases in LA), and assorted road rage incidents? Do you therefore also fear automobiles under the rational banner, or is it just that you fear something you have no familiarity with (considering that owning and using a firearm is replete with enforced gun safety demands at the gun range, classes required for hunting, classes/certifications required for concealed-carry permits, etc?)
Hunter safety is actually a good example of my overall point. When you go hunting you KNOW there are firearms around, and they will be discharged. As a result, you take precautions to ensure that a.) You don't shoot anyone else. and b.) Nobody shoots you. All I'm saying is that the presence of guns in other settings can also result in increased safety risks. I agree with another poster that I don't understand why this concept is so controversial.
Another poster made the herd immunity argument, and in a sense they are right. I'm probably safest if people who I don't happen to be around have guns, and as a result potential intruders are wary because I MIGHT have a gun. This happens to describe my situation most of the time, so lucky me, I get the best of both worlds.