Many people out there find this an uncomfortable topic. It's understandable that some are going to, given that many people's focus is on healing, peace, love, and global harmony. My focus is much the same, but this is a warrior's blog, and as such it only makes sense that my first real post be about weaponry. Many will disagree with my stance. That is fine. You're welcome to disagree, and I encourage to voice your disagreements (or agreements) in the comments section.
In the United States, we have a Constitutionally provided right to keep and bear arms under the second amendment. That sentence alone is enough to produce hours of heated argument and a profuse number of explicatives. With that in mind, I did some research to find some solid factual information on the subject to better understand my own opinion on the matter, and perhaps understand the opinions of those that disagreed with me as well. Note: Finding solid factual information on this subject is no small feat. Both sides of this debate like to cherry pick their numbers and skew facts at least a little bit. Finding non biased sources is doable, but not the easiest research project I've ever done. It's understandable that this is the case. Both sides believe that they're saving lives. For the purpose of presenting as non-biased and factual an argument as possible, I'll be citing data from both sides of this argument, supplemented with a bit of my own opinions where appropriate.
*Revision- I've spent the last few hours pouring through as much available data as possible on the subject with few objective conclusions to be drawn. This is going to be difficult lol.
As it is proving incredibly difficult to find credible and easily interpreted data on the subject in overview, I'm going to stick to what I know and use three different countries as examples for argument, namely Australia, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Statistical data has been difficult to find. Perhaps I'm searching in the wrong places, but given that lack of available data, I will be forced to rely on the work of others, namely the press.
*Secondary revision: Even press sources are hard to come by without significant biases represented. While that is to be expected to some degree, it baffles me that two opposing sides of an argument presented with the same data can simultaneously declare that the facts support their side and not the other side. Given this information, I am unable to present the hard data I would like in the quantities I had initially hoped for, so I'll do my best with what I have.
Australia and the UK are excellent examples of the effects of nation wide gun ownership restrictions. Both have banned civilian gun ownership on a nation wide level. Both seem to have seen significant increases in violent crime (Australia- http://www.gunsandcrime.org/auresult.html , http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17847 ; UK- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6960431.stm), however I found one report of note claiming that violent crime as a whole is showing a decreasing trend (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/crime-research/hosb1011/hosb1011?view=Binary). I am admittedly unsure of how to interpret this data. Make of it what you will. Switzerland, however falls at the opposite end of the spectrum, and is my biggest point of argument. Gun ownership in Switzerland is a part of Swiss heritage (http://www.guncite.com/swissgun-kopel.html). Swiss gun ownership rates per capita are among the highest in the world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_gun_ownership), and their gun crime rates are so low that they don't even keep statistics on file (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1566715.stm). Firearms are widely available and in many cases provided by the government, and training in their proper use and maintenance is mandatory for all Swiss men and encouraged for women.
My point is this: we all have our given paths. Some of us walk in the direction of peace, love, and harmony. Some of us walk the warrior's path towards discipline, sacrifice for the greater good, and the use of violence to defend against the darker elements in this world. A warrior's weapon is sacred. In older times, the warrior's weapon was the sword. In modern times, the warrior's weapon is the firearm. Both are to be treated with respect, as both can cause great harm in the hands of the foolish, but the weapon is not the enemy, nor is the warrior that wields it necessarily evil for doing so. Many of us take up arms and train out of love for our fellow men and women and do so to protect them from harm, if necessary at great personal cost. I advocate the right to take up arms in defense of ones home, life, and loved ones. I also advocate care, caution, respect, and constant training. In closing, I would like to point out a simple fact that to me was very profound. The Dalai Lama is a great teacher of compassion, non-violence, and universal love; possibly one of the kindest men on the planet. I doubt he would ever harm a soul, but wherever he goes, armed men are there protecting him so that he can continue to spread his message. That is the warrior's path as I understand it. Do not take our weapons from us.