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79 Responses

  1. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon September 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm |

    Well, I suppose if I wanted a gun, I’d go for a pink one. I’d want it all pink, though.

  2. Nahida
    Nahida September 11, 2011 at 8:24 pm |

    This reminds me of a thing Scholastic did where they had a book for boys that was blue and was all like ADVENTURE! and one for girls that was pink and was all like FRIENDSHIP!

    In this century, yes.

  3. Jackie
    Jackie September 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    Too bad Divine from John Waters’ films isn’t still with us. Can you imagine her holding that pink gun while wearing the dress from Pink Flamingo. Like, “Screw you, girls aren’t the only ones who like pink!”

  4. andie
    andie September 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm |

    So.. much… fail… pink.. guns… kids… GAHHHHHHHH.

  5. CassandraSays
    CassandraSays September 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm |

    This actually makes me even less interested in shooting than I was before. Congratulations on the brilliant marketing campaign, gun folks.

  6. William
    William September 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    Funny, I was out buying a shiny new rifle just this weekend and one of the things that both my wife and I noticed was the sheer number of pink guns. Not airguns, but actual rifles and shotguns. Pink wood stocks on a 420 gauge shotgun, pink synthetic stocks on an automatic .22lr, pink laminiate on a bolt action. Every single one was a youth model and they all looked like they could have had the “Barbie’s First Firearm” title. I get the idea of wanting to bring your kids into shooting sports early, but…pink?

    Seriously, folks, we have enough of a problem with fully grown adults wanting ridiculous colors in their guns we don’t need the next generation thinking this is OK.

  7. William
    William September 11, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  8. Adrian
    Adrian September 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm |

    Okay, it’s time to confess, I’ve wanted a pink gun for a long time. I feel like I’d be supporting the annoying “let’s make it pink so girls will buy it thing!” with my money if I purchase one though, although I myself am a dude.

  9. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 12, 2011 at 12:03 am |

    It’s not just toys for girls.

    They retain the theme for adults. Just Google “Smith & Wesson Pink Lady Smith” and look under Google’s ‘images’ tab.

    Those are stock revolvers offered by the manufacturer. I’m unsure about the other ones; they may be customized.

  10. karak
    karak September 12, 2011 at 12:11 am |

    Man, I had one of these guns as a kid! I had a regular wood-colored stock, though.

    On the other hand, my tool set DID come in pink, but it was REAL, grown-up sized tools, so it was okay. I asked my dad why mine is pink and his wasn’t, and my parents had a furious whispered conversation before my dad finally admitted that he didn’t WANT to get me the pink one, but it was the perfect beginner set and he wasn’t going to let the fact it was pink throw him off.

    My dad then proceeded to steal my hammer, as it was far superior to his, and carry it in his tool belt proudly. Nary a soul will mock someone with a giant hammer–even if it is pink.

  11. A1066
    A1066 September 12, 2011 at 1:40 am |

    I will actually admit, as a woman and as a butch lesbian, I bought a very similar pink bbgun for my girlfriend.

    There’s something sort of subversive and sexy about a femme with a pink bbgun and crack aim. People stop laughing to when they see the things she can do to pop cans.

  12. matlun
    matlun September 12, 2011 at 2:09 am |

    I can’t really decide: Is this more or less annoying than if they had just assumed that guns were only for boys?

  13. falnfenix
    falnfenix September 12, 2011 at 5:48 am |

    welcome to the big problem that bothers most of us lady shooters. it’s even worse when the guy behind the gun counter hands an adult woman a child-sized rifle just because it’s pink.

    listen, buddy, if i’m there about a specific rifle, and you hand me something entirely different because it’s pink and .22, you’ve lost my business.

  14. Wendy
    Wendy September 12, 2011 at 7:45 am |

    I take your point but I’d still buy the pink one… but then I happen to like pink a lot.

  15. Rich
    Rich September 12, 2011 at 9:17 am |

    Funny how the color of your gun says something about your status in society. No boy is allowed to have a pink gun cuz that’s just “gay”. Way to instill stupid gender distinctions in young males and females, Bass Pro Shop!

  16. Bushfire
    Bushfire September 12, 2011 at 9:27 am |

    Bass Pro Shop has a ton of stuff in pink. Last time I was there I was like “why would I need my fishing rod to be pink???”

  17. Icaarus
    Icaarus September 12, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    Hahaha this is funny. Guns and tools are the perfect examples of function over form. Why would you want either pink. Aside from training firearms(red or blue depending on type) and skyrise tools (yellow in case you drop one) why would anyone (man or woman) want any specific colour???

    Furthermore to the girl with the pink tool case, steal your hammer back. Dad should not be taking your tools.

  18. William
    William September 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |

    Guns and tools are the perfect examples of function over form. Why would you want either pink. Aside from training firearms(red or blue depending on type) and skyrise tools (yellow in case you drop one) why would anyone (man or woman) want any specific colour???

    Because wood or laminate stocks are beautiful and black synthetic is just plain ugly. When I was out this weekend I special ordered to have exactly the finish I wanted because, damnit, if I’m going to drop that kind of money it had better be sub-MOA and pretty.

  19. Tim
    Tim September 12, 2011 at 10:39 am |

    If it’s going to be pink, why not an actual Hello Kitty version? That I would buy!

  20. Hugo
    Hugo September 12, 2011 at 11:36 am |

    Tim:
    If it’s going to be pink, why not an actual Hello Kitty version? That I would buy!

    Tim, when I was in Israel last month, I saw an IDF soldier with a Hello Kitty sticker on his ammunition clip. He let me take a picture.

  21. chava
    chava September 12, 2011 at 11:39 am |

    QFT.

    William: Because wood or laminate stocks are beautiful and black synthetic is just plain ugly. When I was out this weekend I special ordered to have exactly the finish I wanted because, damnit, if I’m going to drop that kind of money it had better be sub-MOA and pretty.

  22. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin September 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |

    Yes, but clearly there is a need for accessories. Fashion clips, bullets, and perhaps even special pink clothing.

  23. chava
    chava September 12, 2011 at 11:43 am |

    I think I would rather there be some pink options that nothing at all remotely marketed towards (or marketed *against*) women. Of course, ideally you’d have gorgeous mother-of-pearl flower or bird inlays in a nice wood stock, but you have to start somewhere.

    Of course, there’s a whole heap of fail with the marketing solution of “let’s make guns more accessible to women=PINK!!!”

  24. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen September 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm |

    Bleeding hell, Tim, you beat me to the Hello Kitty reference! One of my students is currently looking for pink, Hello Kitty-themed HK416 rifles (basically modernised versions of the M4 rifles you always see in videogames) for a short film she’s doing. In her case though, the pink guns serve not as a reinforcement of gender norms, but as a subversion of masculinity in action films. If guns represent the masculinity of the characters using then, and the hero always has the longest, thickest gun… what does that say about heroes with hot-pink assault rifles? :-p

  25. Brittany-Ann
    Brittany-Ann September 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    Haha, yeah. This is not a new thing. When I went to purchase my Ruger LCP, there were pink ones. And this is a .380 pistol, mind. I was sorely tempted, because it was emblematic of the group Pink Pistols, a LGBT gun advocacy organization. However, it would make it harder to take seriously, since I can easily imagine someone taking it for a toy.

  26. Tony
    Tony September 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

    Brightly colored guns just look… ugly. Personally, if a color doesn’t look on a car, I wouldn’t want it on my gun.

  27. Brittany-Ann
    Brittany-Ann September 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    Caperton:
    I would love to have a Hello Kitty shotgun, just for the fun. The only problem for me is that we’re looking for home security, and one of the most important features of any such item is that it makes an intruder poop his/her pants immediately and you never have to get a shot off. I don’t know that I’d be taken seriously with something pink.

    That said, a good price on something that’s not fugly Realtree camo would be nice. I mean, ew.

    Oh god, I hate that shit. The only thing it’s missing is animal droppings. Big fat, juicy poop. Black and steel for me, please and thank you.

    I agree with you. With a pink gun or a hello kitty rifle, you’d probably have to take a warning shot to prove that, indeed, it is real. And um, avoiding having to shoot at all is the ideal. So it kind of defeats the point.

  28. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen September 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    Now, now, Tony, there are plenty of smart-looking little pink cars out there in the world. Example: http://www.smartusainsider.com/profile/SheilaV :-p

  29. Tony
    Tony September 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    Unfortunately that’s blocked by my work firewall, but I believe you :D

  30. William
    William September 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm |

    Chava

    I think I would rather there be some pink options that nothing at all remotely marketed towards (or marketed *against*) women. Of course, ideally you’d have gorgeous mother-of-pearl flower or bird inlays in a nice wood stock, but you have to start somewhere.

    If you can imagine it Hogue’s scrimshaw shop can probably pull it off for enough money.

    Caperton:

    I would love to have a Hello Kitty shotgun, just for the fun. The only problem for me is that we’re looking for home security, and one of the most important features of any such item is that it makes an intruder poop his/her pants immediately and you never have to get a shot off. I don’t know that I’d be taken seriously with something pink.

    That said, a good price on something that’s not fugly Realtree camo would be nice. I mean, ew.

    Doesn’t matter if the gun is pink, the sound of the pump chambering a slug should loosen all but the staunchest of bowels.

    Jokes aside, though, if all you want is a home defense shotgun the Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 both come in wood or black synthetic stocks and you can pick them up for around 300 bucks brand new (less if you don’t mind some dings and scratches from a used gun).

  31. Marlene
    Marlene September 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

    Why does it always have to be that same damn shade of pink?!

    My friend’s daughter saw one of the pink rifles at a gun show and said that she would rather have a black one with pink stars. Spraypaint and stickers can make miracles.

  32. karak
    karak September 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm |

    @ Bushfire: “why would I need my fishing rod to be pink???”

    I had a pink fishing rod that I loved and bought with my own money–because that way NO ONE could steal it or get it mixed up with their stuff. On the other hand, my tacklebox was completely neutral colored, but tackleboxes are special and easy to tell apart.

    You know, it’s not the fact that there’s a pink option that’s frustrating, it’s that the pink option is the GIRL option that only GIRLS should have and all GIRLS should use.

    It would be cool if they had a variety of colors with a variety of pictures on them.

  33. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm |

    Brittany-Ann:
    Haha, yeah. This is not a new thing. When I went to purchase my Ruger LCP, there were pink ones. And this is a .380 pistol, mind. I was sorely tempted, because it was emblematic of the group Pink Pistols, a LGBT gun advocacy organization. However, it would make it harder to take seriously, since I can easily imagine someone taking it for a toy.

    Why did you opt for a .380? That caliber might be extinct soon because they’re building 9mm handguns that are just as small. Not to mention .380 ammo is probably more expensive and harder to find than 9mm.

  34. Adrienne
    Adrienne September 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm |

    It seems like an easy way for kids to confuse guns for toys.

  35. William
    William September 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm |

    Marksman2000: .380 isn’t going away anytime soon. There are so many weapons chambered in it people will keep making ammo. I live in Chicago and I can still get Webley .455 in around an hour. Besides, a Ruger LCP is just a hair under 10 ounces unloaded, I can’t think of many 9mm pistols that light. If you’re looking for small, slim, portable, and light .380 is a better choice than 9mm.

  36. igglanova
    igglanova September 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm |

    Damn, all this talk about guns is making me want to go out and buy a gun.

  37. igglanova
    igglanova September 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm |

    Also, count me among the others who wonder why it’s always the same gross pepto-bismol shade of pink. Why not hot pink? At least that’s a vibrant, sassy colour. Not something with a deep psychological link to vomit and searing gas pain.

  38. Arakiba
    Arakiba September 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm |

    A pink gun? This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. Did Sarah Palin come up with it? Does she shoot wolves from a helicopter with a pink girlie gun?

  39. pokethulhu
    pokethulhu September 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm |

    Well, I’m screwed if I want to get my daughter a blue bb gun, since pink is ONLY for girls and blue is OBVIOUSLY for boys. /sarcasm

  40. Katie
    Katie September 12, 2011 at 11:22 pm |

    William: Pink wood stocks on a 420 gauge shotgun, pink synthetic stocks on an automatic .22lr, pink laminiate on a bolt action. Every single one was a youth model and they all looked like they could have had the “Barbie’s First Firearm” title. I get the idea of wanting to bring your kids into shooting sports early, but…pink?

    William, part of me thinks that the hideous pink gun selection — and awful pink accessories (full sized adult case in pastel pink! Just what I need for a gun range or the woods, as they are the cleanest environments ever! I love trying to launder padded riffle cases, its a great use of my time!) — is responsible for my migraine, not horribly placed florescent lighting and fans. That was just sad.

    Adrienne: It seems like an easy way for kids to confuse guns for toys.

    If my last trip to the gun store is any indication, I’m sure they sell pink trigger locks & locking cases to go with it. Everyone knows girls don’t buy guns unless it AND all the accessories are the same sad not-quite-pastel-not-quite-bright-appeal-to-everyone pink.

  41. Brittany-Ann
    Brittany-Ann September 13, 2011 at 12:29 am |

    Marksman2010: Why did you opt for a .380? That caliber might be extinct soon because they’re building 9mm handguns that are just as small. Not to mention .380 ammo is probably more expensive and harder to find than 9mm.

    The caliber wasn’t the reason I chose the LCP. The reason I chose it was because it’s easily concealable on my small frame. Well, more easily, anyway, at least in the summer. No way I could conceal with a standard handgun. I only carry on my person–I don’t like the idea of carrying in a bag, since it’s not easily accessible if I need it, and a bag can be knocked away.

    It has its drawbacks, of course: a six round clip, the short barrel makes it kick like a motherfucker, and it’s only really good for short range shots, but it suits my purposes for the time being.

    Nothing keeping me from getting something with a little more umph later. …when I can afford it.

  42. jaq.
    jaq. September 13, 2011 at 12:29 am |

    I have a few guns, most of them, you know ‘gun metal gray’ & black. I wouldn’t mind finding a pink shot gun. Why not?
    Although it looks like theirs is a pale, ugly pink. Ew.
    Go pepto or go home!

    If it’s already got plastic casing, they should make all sorts of colors. Blue, green, red, purple.
    Ohh, see now I want a purple gun.

  43. peggyluwho
    peggyluwho September 13, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  44. jaq.
    jaq. September 13, 2011 at 12:37 am |

    William:
    Chava

    If you can imagine it Hogue’s scrimshaw shop can probably pull it off for enough money.

    Caperton:

    Doesn’t matter if the gun is pink, the sound of the pump chambering a slug should loosen all but the staunchest of bowels.

    Jokes aside, though, if all you want is a home defense shotgun the Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 both come in wood or black synthetic stocks and you can pick them up for around 300 bucks brand new (less if you don’t mind some dings and scratches from a used gun).

    Go for the Rem 870!
    I (and everyone I know) have one of those. You can drop the thing in a river and keep going. I’ve never had it jam or mis-fire.
    Plus it’s smooth and well made. Easy to disassemble (which I always think is important).

    I’d buy my Remington again!

    A shot gun for home security, in my opinion is the way to go. Don’t really have to load it to get the sound caulking it will make anyone think twice (we don’t have any ammo in the house, but still keep this one assembled and ready to intimidate!).

    If it is loaded, you don’t have to aim. Unlike a pistol or rifle, there is a spray effect with most ammunition, so you can shoot from the hip and still reach your target. Since the pieces are (generally) small, you don’t have to worry too much about the projectile going into another room or a neighbor’s home (if in close quarters). That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but less likely to happen.
    Also, when you want to go skeet shooting, ammo is CHEAP!

  45. Guns for girls | Critical Sass
    Guns for girls | Critical Sass September 13, 2011 at 1:50 am |

    [...] the author at Feministe put it: “Just can’t get Sally interested in firearms? Wondering why little Lisa doesn’t [...]

  46. Josselyn Berry
    Josselyn Berry September 13, 2011 at 3:14 am |

    I’m not a proponent for allowing children to play with firearms, but I find it interesting Bass Pro Shop would market this product to girls. It seems like it has traditionally been a past time for boys and their fathers. So I think in some manner it’s good they’re trying to sell to girls. However, they fail in making the gun pink and girl specific with the photo. Gender is immediately cemented, even before birth, with concepts such as pink is for girls and blue is for boys. People’s identities are never as black and white (or blue and pink) as this.

  47. What we missed
    What we missed September 13, 2011 at 8:02 am |

    [...] Pink guns!!?? Oh, wait, that sux. [...]

  48. William
    William September 13, 2011 at 8:37 am |

    I’m not a proponent for allowing children to play with firearms,

    If you’re in a house with guns its best that kids get acquainted with them and understand the rules for safely handling firearms as early as they are cognitively able. Ignorance about, and a lack of respect for, a weapon is what makes for accidents. There is nothing in the world better at teaching someone to be careful around guns than actually firing one, feeling how hard it kicks, and realizing that you’re basically dealing with a contained explosion. We might be a bunch of borderline anarchists, but gun safety is one of the things the gun community does really well.

    Pink guns aren’t for kids to play with, they’re for them to shoot. Good parenting can make that safe and fun.

  49. Andie
    Andie September 13, 2011 at 8:59 am |

    William:
    Pink guns aren’t for kids to play with, they’re for them to shoot. Good parenting can make that safe and fun.

    Which makes for another good reason that pink guns might be a bad idea.. do we really want to give people more reason to think of guns as a toy?

  50. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm |

    Brittany-Ann: The caliber wasn’t the reason I chose the LCP. The reason I chose it was because it’s easily concealable on my small frame. Well, more easily, anyway, at least in the summer. No way I could conceal with a standard handgun. I only carry on my person–I don’t like the idea of carrying in a bag, since it’s not easily accessible if I need it, and a bag can be knocked away.

    It has its drawbacks, of course: a six round clip, the short barrel makes it kick like a motherfucker, and it’s only really good for short range shots, but it suits my purposes for the time being.

    Nothing keeping me from getting something with a little more umph later. …when I can afford it.

    Well, as long as you’re pleased with your weapon–and it sounds like you are–then that’s all that matters. If you haven’t yet done so, go out and shoot the gun with the type of defensive ammo you plan on carrying. You don’t want to get a “hiccup” from your LCP when it matters most! Shoot it a lot; break it in. Certain guns don’t like certain types of ammo.

    And for the record, I like pocket guns, too. Although my primary carry piece is a Glock 27 (.40), I also carry a Kel-Tec P-32 (.32) in my pocket. That thing is FLAT, like a little cassette tape or something. It doesn’t “print” at all. And it holds 7+1 rounds! Since concealed carry has become adopted by so many states, it’s amazing how manufacturers have now managed to produce firearms that are so small and so lethal.

  51. groggette
    groggette September 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    Marksman2010: If you haven’t yet done so, go out and shoot the gun with the type of defensive ammo you plan on carrying. You don’t want to get a “hiccup” from your LCP when it matters most! Shoot it a lot; break it in. Certain guns don’t like certain types of ammo.

    Or you could maybe not assume that Brittany-Ann knows nothing about guns? Just a thought.

  52. Katie
    Katie September 13, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    Andie: Which makes for another good reason that pink guns might be a bad idea.. do we really want to give people more reason to think of guns as a toy?

    That’s why you teach your kids to shoot if you’re going to buy them their own gun (or really, if you’re going to keep guns and don’t have a series of locks you’re 100% sure aren’t pick-able). You can’t mistake a real gun for a toy gun after you’ve fired one a few times; they just don’t feel the same. The weight is heavier, the balance changes, and the materials are very different. And like William said, nothing re-enforces* that a gun is something you shouldn’t point at yourself or others like going to the range**, having to wear the stupid earplugs, smelling the gunpowder smell (yuck), feeling the recoil kick, and if its a manual setup range, watching EVERYONE have to stop shooting every single time a target is being set up, even if they are on the other side of the range from you, and then going home and learning how to clean the gun and getting yelled at for not continuing to treat the gun as if it might be loaded, even though you’d watched it be unloaded and you knew there was a snap cap in it. I knew better, and to this day I feel weird looking down the barrel of a dissembled gun.

    If a pink stock is all it takes for a kid to mistake the gun for a toy, or even think of the gun as a toy, there are much larger problems going on than a poor choice in firearms.

    *Re-enforces because nobody should be handling a gun, particularly a kid, without having learned basic gun safety first.

    **This experience also taught me that outdoor ranges are almost always too hot or too cold, sandwiches kept in a cooler always get gross, my brother will always try to take my orange crush, and babysitters club books were usually more interesting.

  53. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm |

    groggette: Or you could maybe not assume that Brittany-Ann knows nothing about guns? Just a thought.

    Here’s another thought.

    I’ve spoken with countless gun owners, male and female and old and young, who overlook certain things when choosing a weapon for self-protection. Firearms for self-defense is one of those topics you simply can’t know too much about. Thus, I’d rather tell Brittany-Ann something she may already know, than have her overlook something that could cost her dearly in a self-defense situation.

  54. groggette
    groggette September 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm |

    Really? Because I didn’t see you give William any common sense gun ownership advice.

  55. chava
    chava September 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    I’ve never been sanguine about the value of guns (pink or otherwise) for the boogeyman of home defense scenarios–night break-in with your family in the house. Unless you have had extensive training in how to clear a residence–at NIGHT–you’re generally in very deep trouble. Even if you have that training, there is a reason the military uses teams, never one person, to clear a residence–and a reason friendly fire is so common.

  56. AnonymousDog
    AnonymousDog September 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    Actually, I seem to remember some gunmaker or other having first made revolvers with pink anodized aluminum frames 40 or so years ago.

  57. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm |

    groggette:
    Really? Because I didn’t see you give William any common sense gun ownership advice.

    Yes. Really.

  58. William
    William September 13, 2011 at 9:30 pm |

    I’ve never been sanguine about the value of guns (pink or otherwise) for the boogeyman of home defense scenarios–night break-in with your family in the house. Unless you have had extensive training in how to clear a residence–at NIGHT–you’re generally in very deep trouble. Even if you have that training, there is a reason the military uses teams, never one person, to clear a residence–and a reason friendly fire is so common.

    I live less than a mile from the nearest police station in a city with a reasonable response time. My building has a high gate, my phone has shitty reception, and I’m on the second floor. I’ve been a victim a lot in my life and the two times I went to the police for help I was failed badly. I don’t have extensive training. I’ve had several attempts at mugging made on me. I live in a country where court precedent states that the police have no obligation to protect me. Maybe having a gun won’t help if the worst happens, but having the chance to defend myself in my own home is a basic human right. I’ll have a loaded gun in my home until the day I die, legal or not. When Illinois finally gets concealed carry I’ll carry for the same reason that the last two times someone asked for my wallet I told them to go fuck themselves and took a swing: I’m done with being a victim.

    We have a right to protect ourselves. Maybe we don’t have the best resources to do it, but there isn’t anyone who is going to do it for us. Even if you’re naive enough to believe that the government actually gives a shit about you, they likely aren’t going to get there in time.

  59. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 12:05 am |

    Basic right, yes. And useful in some scenarios. Doesn’t really negate the fact that clearing a residence, alone, at night, requires either training or (a lot of) luck.

    I’m generally pro-gun ownership with the caveat that I would like to see mandatory training & regular practice laws. You should need at least as much training to buy a gun as you do to drive a car, for pete’s sake. The *&^%! POLICE where I grew up were only required to practice once a year.

    As far as being a victim–hell yeah, not “taking a swing” in those scenarios can make anyone feel powerless/victimized. But I find it troubling to suggest that choosing to leave your house, throw your wallet & run, or generally get the hell out of Dodge and survive somehow makes anyone more of a victim than actively fighting back.

    Anyway, long derail is deraily.

    William: I live less than a mile from the nearest police station in a city with a reasonable response time. My building has a high gate, my phone has shitty reception, and I’m on the second floor. I’ve been a victim a lot in my life and the two times I went to the police for help I was failed badly. I don’t have extensive training. I’ve had several attempts at mugging made on me. I live in a country where court precedent states that the police have no obligation to protect me. Maybe having a gun won’t help if the worst happens, but having the chance to defend myself in my own home is a basic human right. I’ll have a loaded gun in my home until the day I die, legal or not. When Illinois finally gets concealed carry I’ll carry for the same reason that the last two times someone asked for my wallet I told them to go fuck themselves and took a swing: I’m done with being a victim.

    We have a right to protect ourselves. Maybe we don’t have the best resources to do it, but there isn’t anyone who is going to do it for us. Even if you’re naive enough to believe that the government actually gives a shit about you, they likely aren’t going to get there in time.

  60. William
    William September 14, 2011 at 10:03 am |

    Doesn’t really negate the fact that clearing a residence, alone, at night, requires either training or (a lot of) luck.

    The police can clear the residence when/if they show up. Realistically, though, the sound of a shell being pumped into the chamber of an 870 is probably going to make clearing a formality rather than a necessity. In the mean time, if the sound isn’t enough to scare off someone who shouldn’t be there, a firearm is a pretty easy thing to defend yourself with. This isn’t Counterstrike and home defense isn’t about being your home’s own Navy SEAL, its about being able to protect yourself and your property.

    I’m generally pro-gun ownership with the caveat that I would like to see mandatory training & regular practice laws.

    Except those kinds of requirements are pretty regressive and serve, primarily, to keep guns out of the hands of low income people. The same goes with Saturday Night Special laws, the effect of these “common sense” ordinances is to keep guns in the hands of “the right kind of people.” In the US that means middle class white folks, and we’re the people least likely to need to protect ourselves.

    I live in Chicago. Right now if you want to get a gun in Chicago you need two permits, a training course, and a registration. One of those permits (the state level one) costs a little over $10 once you’ve factored in the price of a passport photo and a stamp and has a turn around time of about a month. The other (the Chicago Firearm Permit) costs $120, needs three passport photos, a stamp, and a training course. The training revolves around the laws in Illinois regarding self defense, basic gun safety, and a range component. It costs about $120 and takes up five or six hours of time. The city doesn’t have any legal ranges in it, so you have to drive a significant distance to get to the range. I’m aware of only one range near the city with public transportation access. After that you have to register your weapon at a cost of $15 per gun. When all is said and done you’re talking about registration, permits, and some very light training requirements costing $265 and eight hours of time before you can even consider buying a weapon. Even if you’re looking for an inexpensive handgun, many of the least expensive makes and models in the us are banned in the City of Chicago and Saturday Night Special bans effectively eliminate inexpensive foreign weapons. A cheap used pistol in Chicago is still going to run $300. That puts a constitutional and human right flat out of reach for many of the people most likely to need it. A lot of people might be able to scrape together $200 or $300 for a gun, but when that price rises to between $500 and $600 and a day of work…how many single parents working two jobs do you think will be able to swing that? How many poor people?

    More training increases those costs enormously in a city like Chicago. Not only do you have to pay money for the actual trainers (which aren’t cheap), there are range fees, ammo costs, and the time it takes to get to the few (and generally very remote) firing ranges available. Regular practice laws would have the same effect. What you’re saying is that, even though guns are actually pretty easy to use at the very close range scenarios likely in personal protection, you want more laws to make sure people are well trained and practiced. I get that from a pragmatic point of view. The other side of that, though, is that your desire is going to lead to large number of poor people, who will be disproportionately women, people of color, the disabled, and for those reasons at greater risk of being targeted for violence, who simply cannot afford the regulatory requirements of exercising a basic right.

    Strict training and practice requirements will have the final effect of making gun ownership primarily a hobby for white folks like me.

    You should need at least as much training to buy a gun as you do to drive a car, for pete’s sake.

    I have shitty hand eye coordination and a learning disability that impacts my spatial reasoning. I walk into door frames and walls often enough that I pretty much never have less than a couple of bruises. My training with handguns is limited to having some fun with a WWII era pistol. When I did my range portion for the Chicago Firearm Permit I exceeded the marksmanship requirements for the Chicago Police Department. Guns really aren’t that tough to use, thats why soldiers don’t carry bows or swords anymore, thats why untrained pesants were able to overthrow the Czar, take over China, and kick George out of New England. Especially at close range, firearms don’t require a lot of skill or training to be effective.

    But I find it troubling to suggest that choosing to leave your house, throw your wallet & run, or generally get the hell out of Dodge and survive somehow makes anyone more of a victim than actively fighting back.

    It doesn’t make anyone more of a victim, it makes me more of a victim. In my life, for my sense of self, given my experiences to do anything other than fight would be downright unacceptable because a long time ago I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t roll over again for reasons that are mine. I don’t think everyone should make the same decision, but I do think everyone should be able to if its right for them.

    Anyway, long derail is deraily.

    I’m not sure this is a derail. What we’re talking about who owns what guns under what circumstances and how gender plays into that. We’re talking about social and cultural perceptions and expectations around gun ownership. Pink guns for little girls and training laws for fully grown poor black women aren’t unrelated topics, they both occupy a discourse around who should have what guns under what circumstances and for what reasons. We didn’t get to this discussion accidentally.

  61. Brittany-Ann
    Brittany-Ann September 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm |

    Jesus, William, are you serious? I never cease to be amazed by the lengths that other states go to in order to “regulate” gun owners and carriers. Here in Kentucky, you’re 21, don’t have any felonies? Buy a pistol, you can open carry. We have to take a class with a range component to get our concealed carry permit though.

    I agree with William on the purpose of these restrictions–the range tests are really simple. It’s to make sure you know which end the bullet comes out of more than anything else. (If I may say so, this is coming from someone who is a pretty good shot.) Along with, yes, making it more expensive and time consuming. I think many people who favor these classes and permits believe the training is on par with military or police training (and have really high expectations for what military and police training entail) and believe they’re only helping gun owners be safer and better trained. It’s not so. Not only is it to restrict, class-wise, who is able to access firearms, it’s also a way (via permits) for our Patriot Act government to keep a list of which citizens are armed.

    Chava, I appreciate you concern. I really do. I have, actually, had the opportunity to clear a residence at night. My residence. I’m not sure why you’re stuck on this scenario. If one if comfortable and confident with their weapon, this really isn’t an issue.

  62. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

    I’m not particularly “stuck” on it. I mentioned it because that particular scenario is what most people I know/the mass media get stuck on when they buy guns for self defense—what if someone were to break in at night?

    I think that’s a lot harder than people think it is, is all. People shoot their own family members, get their gun taken away from them, etc–because they AREN’T comfortable with their weapon. My father owns a .38 from Wallmart that he has never shot and keeps loaded. I’d rather no weapon in the house than that.

    Brittany-Ann:

    Chava, I appreciate you concern. I really do. I have, actually, had the opportunity to clear a residence at night. My residence. I’m not sure why you’re stuck on this scenario. If one if comfortable and confident with their weapon, this really isn’t an issue.

  63. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm |

    OK, I REALLY hope I got these blockquotes right.
    Apologies in advance.

    William: The police can clear the residence when/if they show up. Realistically, though, the sound of a shell being pumped into the chamber of an 870 is probably going to make clearing a formality rather than a necessity.

    Er, unless it scares them into shooting towards the noise.
    However, not everyone breaking into your home is going to be armed, true. Nonetheless, you should never expect that you won’t have to shoot someone/the noise will scare them off once a gun is brought into the situation

    In the mean time, if the sound isn’t enough to scare off someone who shouldn’t be there, a firearm is a pretty easy thing to defend yourself with. This isn’t Counterstrike and home defense isn’t about being your home’s own Navy SEAL, its about being able to protect yourself and your property.

    You know, half my family is military (No SEALS, fwiw), and my husband works in an inner city ER that sees plenty of GSWs every day, so that may be coloring my perspective on this. A firearm is “easy” to defend yourself with if you don’t care who else besides the guy you meant to shoot gets killed, sure. The last time a major shooting happened in my neighborhood, some guy tried to rob a theater. An ex-sheriff decided to “take him down.” Five people died in the shootout, and the thief got away. That’s what *happens* in a shootout. If you’re just talking about your home, fine, that’s a different scenario–but you mention concealed carry as well.

    Except those kinds of requirements are pretty regressive and serve, primarily, to keep guns out of the hands of low income people. The same goes with Saturday Night Special laws, the effect of these “common sense” ordinances is to keep guns in the hands of “the right kind of people.”

    So subsidize it. And where I grew up (rural AL) most people I knew had guns, poor or otherwise, so again, different perspective. [I will say, most people in Dora & Gadsden really, really, knew what they were doing and shot all the time, mostly hunting.]
    Regardless, I don’t think you should get to operate a deadly weapon (be it car or gun) without knowing how to operate it. That includes the police, who have a pitiful amount of training with firearms.

    What you’re saying is that, even though guns are actually pretty easy to use at the very close range scenarios likely in personal protection, you want more laws to make sure people are well trained and practiced.

    Look, maybe I just suck at shooting more than you and Brittany-Ann, but I couldn’t hit the back side of a barn door if I only shot once a year. The first gun course I took taught me that it was HARD to hit what you were aiming at, not easy. That could have been the weapon I was using, but that’s been my experience.

    I have shitty hand eye coordination and a learning disability that impacts my spatial reasoning. I walk into door frames and walls often enough that I pretty much never have less than a couple of bruises. My training with handguns is limited to having some fun with a WWII era pistol. When I did my range portion for the Chicago Firearm Permit I exceeded the marksmanship requirements for the Chicago Police Department.

    You want to use the Police Dep’t in Chicago as a standard for marksmanship? Really? In my city the police manage to accidentally kill a fair number of folks every year (and of course, get off scott free).

    Guns really aren’t that tough to use, thats why soldiers don’t carry bows or swords anymore, thats why untrained pesants were able to overthrow the Czar, take over China, and kick George out of New England. Especially at close range, firearms don’t require a lot of skill or training to be effective.

    Soldiers don’t carry swords or bows anymore because guns are vastly better at killing large numbers of people efficiently and with minimal training–and in war, that’s all you care about. Governments of nation-states don’t give a fuck about friendly fire as long as it isn’t high enough to impact winning. If you want to measure “effective” by number of people dead/ease of use, you’re absolutely right. That assumes you don’t care who ends up with a GSW.

    I’m a fan of women owning firearms. It’s one of the few things we can do to level the playing field. I’m not a fan of what I grew up with, which was keeping a gun loaded, with no gunsafe, for macho bullshit reasons of “protection” when you had no idea how to use it. My father owns a .38 he’s never shot, never took the family to shoot, and had it out where we could get it when we were small. My mother slept with a loaded .45 under her pillow while I was growing up. Niether of them knew what the hell they were doing, and frankly, they should never have been able to get those weapons.

  64. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm |

    William: I live less than a mile from the nearest police station in a city with a reasonable response time. My building has a high gate, my phone has shitty reception, and I’m on the second floor. I’ve been a victim a lot in my life and the two times I went to the police for help I was failed badly. I don’t have extensive training. I’ve had several attempts at mugging made on me. I live in a country where court precedent states that the police have no obligation to protect me. Maybe having a gun won’t help if the worst happens, but having the chance to defend myself in my own home is a basic human right. I’ll have a loaded gun in my home until the day I die, legal or not. When Illinois finally gets concealed carry I’ll carry for the same reason that the last two times someone asked for my wallet I told them to go fuck themselves and took a swing: I’m done with being a victim.

    We have a right to protect ourselves. Maybe we don’t have the best resources to do it, but there isn’t anyone who is going to do it for us. Even if you’re naive enough to believe that the government actually gives a shit about you, they likely aren’t going to get there in time.

    Sounds like you’re past the point in the argument where people say, “Only the police and military should have guns.”

    That’s a joke, by the way.

    In all honesty, if the government doesn’t trust us with our guns (pink or otherwise), why should we trust them with theirs?

  65. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    Sorry Caperton, I didn’t see your comment in time.
    I totally agree that no-one smart would tell you to keep a weapon you aren’t comfortable with in your home. OTOH, I’ve seen a lot of people doing just that.

    RE: police clearing vs. home defense. You’ve got a point, although I submit that plenty of people think that they’ll suddenly go GI Joe and “smoke the fucker out.” OTOH, I think my grandparents may have purposefully beat me over the head with this sort of thing to keep me from doing anything stupid with the guns in the house.

    Caperton: I do get your concern, and it really is harder than people think. A lot of physiological processes make a difference between knowing how to take out an intruder and being able to when they’re actually in your house. One thing that makes it easier is that “clearing a room,” police-style, and “clearing a room,” home-defense style, are different activities. The police have rules and protocols, whereas home defense really only has one: get the intruder the hell out of the house before s/he hurts someone. As mentioned above, a pump-action shotgun can be effective for this because just the sound of chambering a slug can have a sufficiently fecalating effect as to convince an intruder to leave immediately. If that doesn’t work and you actually have to fire, a fairly wide shot spread means the intruder is more likely to be hit and incapacitated or further inclined to leave.

    The rest does come down to being comfortable with your weapon, and I don’t think anyone smart would tell you to keep any weapon for home defense that you aren’t comfortable using. It’s dangerous if you don’t know how to use it, and it’s dangerous if you and your family don’t know how to be safe around it. If your father keeps a loaded, unsecured gun that he doesn’t know how to use, you’re right–it would be better if he didn’t have one at all.

  66. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

    Caperton: I do get your concern, and it really is harder than people think. A lot of physiological processes make a difference between knowing how to take out an intruder and being able to when they’re actually in your house. One thing that makes it easier is that “clearing a room,” police-style, and “clearing a room,” home-defense style, are different activities. The police have rules and protocols, whereas home defense really only has one: get the intruder the hell out of the house before s/he hurts someone. As mentioned above, a pump-action shotgun can be effective for this because just the sound of chambering a slug can have a sufficiently fecalating effect as to convince an intruder to leave immediately. If that doesn’t work and you actually have to fire, a fairly wide shot spread means the intruder is more likely to be hit and incapacitated or further inclined to leave.

    The rest does come down to being comfortable with your weapon, and I don’t think anyone smart would tell you to keep any weapon for home defense that you aren’t comfortable using. It’s dangerous if you don’t know how to use it, and it’s dangerous if you and your family don’t know how to be safe around it. If your father keeps a loaded, unsecured gun that he doesn’t know how to use, you’re right–it would be better if he didn’t have one at all.

    Fecalating. Is that an actual word? Even if it’s not, I like when it’s paired together with the noun, ‘effect.’ The alliteration just works for me.

  67. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    See Dogma, vs. “The Fecalator.”

    Marksman2010: Fecalating. Is that an actual word? Even if it’s not, I like when it’s paired together with the noun, ‘effect.’ The alliteration just works for me.

  68. William
    William September 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm |

    Er, unless it scares them into shooting towards the noise.
    However, not everyone breaking into your home is going to be armed, true. Nonetheless, you should never expect that you won’t have to shoot someone/the noise will scare them off once a gun is brought into the situation

    The thing is, self defense is a series of scenarios and situations rather than one. I know that most people aren’t going to want to confront someone with a shotgun. Its scary, its dangerous, its startling easy to use, and its almost guaranteed to be more powerful in close quarters than anything a burglar might be carrying. That means that the simple action of pumping the gun is likely to deescalate the situation. If that doesn’t work, the next step is brandishing and assessing the situation. That doesn’t mean clearing the house military style because I know my house, I know all the angles, I know where things can be. Assessing just means moving a little bit and looking around. If seeing someone with a shotgun isn’t enough to deescalate, then maybe someone is going to get shot. I live in an apartment building so I’ve got my 870 loaded right now with home defense rounds that consist of #6 shot and a thing scored copper ring. If I miss the pieces are small and blow through their kinetic energy on drywall, if I hit the results are traumatic for soft tissue.

    The point is that I’m not planning on shooting someone anymore than I’m planning on scaring someone off with the scary sound of a pump action. Maybe your family scared you because they had guns around the house, maybe they did it because they didn’t know how to use them, maybe some innocent people will die if there aren’t stringent training and practice requirements for gun ownership. I don’t think any of that justifies putting a constitutional right out of the reach of people who need it most. I also don’t think that its in any way acceptable to put those kinds of burdens on human rights just as a basic principle. Thats what a right is, its something so damned important that we’re willing to accept the costs of not regulating it in the interests of preventing oppression.

    When you start talking about requirements you’re talking about restrictions. I know its not the most popular position, but I really don’t think any restrictions on gun ownership, possession, or carrying are acceptable outside of taking guns out of the hands of people with current protective orders against them, people with recent convictions for violent crimes, and people with domestic violence histories. Its a right, I’d be just as uncomfortable with demanding training before obtaining an abortion or publishing a book.

  69. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

    William:

    maybe some innocent people will die if there aren’t stringent training and practice requirements for gun ownership. I don’t think any of that justifies putting a constitutional right out of the reach of people who need it most. I also don’t think that its in any way acceptable to put those kinds of burdens on human rights just as a basic principle. Thats what a right is, its something so damned important that we’re willing to accept the costs of not regulating it in the interests of preventing oppression.

    Again, subsidize the training. You have a constitutional right to bear arms. You DON’T have a right to put everyone around you in danger through your incompetence.

    It’s not a question of “maybe innocent people will die.” Innocent people DO die from weapons bought for self-defense.

    Its a right, I’d be just as uncomfortable with demanding training before obtaining an abortion or publishing a book.

    The analogy might be closer to requiring someone performing an abortion to get some medical training before they pick up a scalpel. You have a right to the pursuit of happiness and consequently to pursue a career of your choosing. You DON’T have a right to harm others while you’re at it.

    In any case, I don’t think we’re going to agree on this one. I do see where you’re coming from, I just draw the line in a different place.

  70. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    And William, I know you like being a jerk for various ideological reasons*, but this:

    “Maybe your family scared you because they had guns around the house, maybe they did it because they didn’t know how to use them, maybe some innocent people will die if there aren’t stringent training and practice requirements for gun ownership.”

    was unnecessarily condescending. I haven’t talked down to you about how your life experiences shaped your attitude(s) towards firearms, please don’t do so to me. I only mentioned my experiences as anecdata and as a good-faith effort to show the potential faultlines in my own perspective.

    *I’m not sure if that is the exact word you’ve used, but I think it’s the same genre.

  71. William
    William September 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm |

    Again, subsidize the training.

    Except we won’t subsidize that training. Its not going to happen, there is no chance for it. The left will stand in the way of subsidizing training because they’re terrified of guns on general principle and the right will stand in the way of it because spending money on anything other than abstinence only education or corporate welfare isn’t sufficiently ‘Mercin. I’d like to subsidize training, but there isn’t the political will. There is the will for carry laws and castle doctrines. I believe we gotta work with what we have.

    And William, I know you like being a jerk for various ideological reasons*, but this…was unnecessarily condescending.

    I’m sorry. I was referencing that you’d said “I think my grandparents may have purposefully beat me over the head with this sort of thing to keep me from doing anything stupid with the guns in the house.” It sounds like you’ve got family who weren’t responsible owners and who might have freaked you out to keep you from playing with guns. I honestly do think that has a lot to do with your stance on training and how dangerous you seem to think guns are as a baseline. I apologize if what I said was condescending, but this is a tough argument to have over and over and over again with the end result being that, if I’m lucky, I might have convinced someone to be slightly less hostile to a human fucking right.

  72. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 September 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm |

    William may be right when he states the government won’t subsidize training. Hell, they barely subsidize reading and writing and basic arithmetic. In my opinion, it’s up to the gun owner to find out as much as s/he can about gun handling.

    No one will be surprised when I say that there’s an entire gun sub-culture out there. Many of these people are more than happy to help you for FREE. I’m not a neophyte, but I’ve had old timers approach me at the shooting range and give me tips. And many of the handguns I’ve purchased have pamphlets inside printed by the NRA that contain all the main rules of safe gun handling. Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, all guns are always loaded, never point the muzzle at anything you don’t want to destroy, etc.

    Sure, these aren’t instructions on how to “clear a house” at night, but they’ll save lives–if followed.

  73. Jennifer
    Jennifer September 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm |

    I am a Californian vacationing in Arizona (visiting ex-Californian friends) this week. Wow, it certainly is an education when it comes to guns. I have learned that my friend’s husband now carries all the time, and that everyone in the family loves to shoot, and they took me shooting. And I liked it. I don’t think I’d do it on a regular basis at home (at least, not alone, I know a few folks with guns I might join in with next time they drag me to the range), but hey, if I ever attracted a stalker or something I might want to own one, maybe come back here and take classes at the gun club. And I think it’s a darned good thing to educate yourself on guns if you plan on using ‘em.

    Anyway, since I have been here I have seen pink real guns (I am not kidding when I say that one of them was belonging to an 8-year-old shooting with her daddy on the range I went to), pink crossbows, pink knives, and pink camouflage Bibles. Here’s the shots of the crossbow (possibly a toy? Who knows, I found it at Cabela’s) and Bible:

    http://fullmoon.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c3d8153ef015435582aea970c-pi
    http://fullmoon.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c3d8153ef015435582b27970c-pi

    The whole “Chess for Girls!” pinkety pink thing keeps cracking me up. Unfortunately, yeah, if you make everything Pepto pink, it does look like a toy, whether it is or not.

  74. chava
    chava September 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm |

    I had the opposite education moving from the South to the East Coast. Suddenly everyone was simultaneously pearl-clutching about how awful owning a gun was–while never having shot or been around one in their life. Because the horror!

    It’s a class thing, and its an urban/rural thing.

    Jennifer:
    I am a Californian vacationing in Arizona (visiting ex-Californian friends) this week. Wow, it certainly is an education when it comes to guns. I have learned that my friend’s husband now carries all the time, and that everyone in the family loves to shoot, and they took me shooting. And I liked it. I don’t think I’d do it on a regular basis at home (at least, not alone, I know a few folks with guns I might join in with next time they drag me to the range), but hey, if I ever attracted a stalker or something I might want to own one, maybe come back here and take classes at the gun club. And I think it’s a darned good thing to educate yourself on guns if you plan on using ‘em.

    Anyway, since I have been here I have seen pink real guns (I am not kidding when I say that one of them was belonging to an 8-year-old shooting with her daddy on the range I went to), pink crossbows, pink knives, and pink camouflage Bibles. Here’s the shots of the crossbow (possibly a toy? Who knows, I found it at Cabela’s) and Bible:

    http://fullmoon.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c3d8153ef015435582aea970c-pi
    http://fullmoon.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c3d8153ef015435582b27970c-pi

    The whole “Chess for Girls!” pinkety pink thing keeps cracking me up. Unfortunately, yeah, if you make everything Pepto pink, it does look like a toy, whether it is or not.

  75. Rich
    Rich September 15, 2011 at 6:28 am |

    Echo Zen:
    Bleeding hell, Tim, you beat me to the Hello Kitty reference! One of my students is currently looking for pink, Hello Kitty-themed HK416 rifles (basically modernised versions of the M4 rifles you always see in videogames) for a short film she’s doing. In her case though, the pink guns serve not as a reinforcement of gender norms, but as a subversion of masculinity in action films. If guns represent the masculinity of the characters using then, and the hero always has the longest, thickest gun… what does that say about heroes with hot-pink assault rifles? :-p

    Ha ha, I never thought of that before! Great post….

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