Re: Gun Owner/Extropians census (was:Re: look out! long-haired gun loon!)

Kyle L. Webb (
Sun, 14 Dec 1997 17:37:30 -0700 (MST)

> OK, Then, so far, including myself, I've counted four gun owners just in
> responses to the original post, and including Anton. We can do a little
> census right here.
> All subscribers to the list, please respond as to whether you own a gun.
> Of course, privacy rights would allow anyone to not respond, for fear of
> being labelled a gun toting nut by the more politically sensitive here,
> or if their local jurisdiction puts a crimp on the subscriber publicly
> acknowledging ownership (a human rights violation if ever I have seen
> one). You may also contact me privately by email if you wish.

Yes, I'm a gun owner.
I was rather surprised by the vehemence of the reaction from some here on
the list. Ah well, tis the sad truth that not everyone will agree with you in
this world. :-)
I think my reasons for having the weapons I do are pretty reasonable. I don't
foresee getting any others. I think the reasons I have them are somewhat
instructive in this discussion.

The three I have are:

A shotgun, that I keep because it's the only thing I have that belonged to
my paternal grandfather who died in an auto wreck shortly after I was born.

A Russian Tokarev pistol that was brought back from World War 2 by my father
(a medic) after he won it playing chess against an SS Major while the war was
still going on. (Now there's a treasured family story for you. :-)
(I'd not like to give up either of them. Too much sentiment value for me.)

The last one would come perhaps closest to being "reprehensible" in the eyes
of some here.

A 25 auto, that I got while I was in the army. I was a radioteletype operator
and as such worked in a metal radio shack on the back of a pickup truck.
There was just too little space for the M16 I was issued to be useable there,
either if someone yanked open the door, or if I had to abandon the shelter in
a hurry and had no time to fumble with the weapons rack for the rifle on the
way out. (My opinion still is that a 45 or 9mm would be a more appropriate
weapon to issue for that job). I wanted something I could easily conceal in
a pocket or some such, and would give me a small chance in a bad situation.
I was stationed with front line infantry and artillery battalions then, and
was in Korea when both the KAL shootdown, and much more ominously, the
bombing by North Korean agents that killed several members of the South Korean
cabinet (1983-1984) on a diplomatic visit by Chun Doo Hwan to Rangoon. We
(the people with me in the 2nd Infantry Division) were very worried that
war was iminent. The ROK military fully deployed to the border, and the
sentiment among much of the Korean government was to strike. Thankfully, it
didn't happen. Not only were there US forces in the south, but Russian advisors
stationed with the forces in the north, so it would have immediately involved
forces from two superpowers. Scary.
So that purchase wasn't motivated by paranoia IMHO. But a considerable
concern for my own life in a war.

The only thing I've done with them for years is to check on them once a
year or so to renew the coat of oil on them.
Now I agree, there's no real reason of utility (at least any more) for having
even one of them, let alone all three. But I have them, and they'll likely stay
locked up where they are. The chances of them getting stolen are quite small,
and I've never been arrested (and to my feeble recollection not been in a fight
since the 8th grade or so), so I don't rate them a major hazard to me or
society. The high voltage power supplies, and lasers I work with when doing
research are much more of a threat to my safety. Though I try to be careful,
and haven't been in an accident since I was 23 (12 years), I'm sure driving
my car is a far greater threat to my neighbors than they are.
I don't think that makes me some sort of gun wacko, tho I'll be happy to
entertain comment otherwise. If the laws were changed to make having them
illegal, I'd likely give them up, or send them to a member of the family
that lived somewhere they weren't illegal. (As to whether I think the gummint
would be right in doing that is immaterial. I'll use legal means in my disputes
with it, thank you.)
I will conceed that I have in the past known a gun owner that scared the
living daylights out of me (A former Earth First type who then joined up with
the NRA, and was working on a PhD in physics. Go figure). But I'd rate that
was a problem with the man, not the guns per se.

Kyle L. Webb Dept. of Physics + Astronomy University of New Mexico