I grew up in a culture where everybody who could afford one (more)
probably had one, and where keeping one in the glove-compartment wasn't in the least unusual. And where Saturday night homicides involving handguns were not unusual (major understatement) at least among the more rowdy elements.
Today I live in a culture where they're very heavily proscribed, where their possession isn't regarded as a basic right of citizenship, and where homicides involving firearms are still relatively rare. (They'd be a lot rarer, were it not for an entirely porous border with the country of my birth.)
If I find myself in a place where I really would be a lot safer if I had a handgun within easy reach, I find that that makes me very uncomfortable. I grew up being used to that, but have gotten unused to it, and really wouldn't want to get used to it again. (And this is not coming from an "Ooooh, gun's are scary" POV; I've owned at least a dozen serious handguns in my day, have depended on them for protection in situations where I had reason to think my life might potentially be at stake, know how they work and what they do.)
It is a HUGE civic luxury to be able to live without them and still feel generally secure. But you've got to experience it to appreciate it, and it takes a while to get used to. (And, also, I don't expect to see the situation in the States change; it's cultural as well as Constitutional, runs unusually deep, and I don't see any way to "fix" it.)
Posted on Jul 8, 2001, 12:07 PM from IP address 22.214.171.124