Yes, it's true that a gun isn't going to escape from a locked cabinet and go on a killing rampage any more than a car is. The nub of their argument - that people do the killing - means that, surely, almost anything can be a weapon; a car, a baseball bat, a feather ... so do we ban everything?
Well, no. Of course not you gun-toting moron. The point you're conveniently avoiding is that a car is a mode of transport. A baseball bat is an item of sports equipment. A feather is a toy for saucy fun. Oh, and keeps a bird warm. A gun is ... what? Something you bang in nails with? Something you flip your eggs with? It's a killing machine. That's its function. It's what it does. Firing a gun is a lot easier than looking into someone's eyes as you plunge the knife in. It's impersonal. You can kill from a distance. Guns are designed to make killing a piece of piss. And, as technology has advanced, they've got even better at doing their job.
And don't give me any old shite about legitimate gun ownership for hunting or sport. I grew up with guns and have shot more animals than many of you have had hot dinners. And what I shot ended up as hot dinners, incidentally (see my recent blogpost here). We had guns in the house when I was growing up because we weren't rich and the game we shot provided us with delicious free food. But we weren't starving and we could have survived without the guns. They were simply part and parcel of the country lifestyle my dad and his forbears had grown up with. As time went on, we shot less and less. And then the guns went and gues what? We found we didn't miss them. I've also done my fair share of clay pigeon shooting. But I don't own my own gun. Why would I? The clay shoot has plenty I can hire.
As I say, I'm no stranger to guns. Here's a short video of me on a training shoot with a firearms instructor in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was still a cop when this was filmed (2004) and I'm firing a Glock; a pretty standard piece of police kit.
And here's my score ...Now look at that target and imagine it's a real person. Remember your school biology lessons? Think about what organs go where. Look at where my shots landed. In my police career I was shot at twice. thankfully they weren't as good a shot as me or I wouldn't be here now. I look at that target and imagine it was me. It doesn't bear thinking about.
Guns are horrible, hateful things. And there is absolutely no justification for anyone to own one any more. There really isn't. It's 2011 for goodness' sake. If you want to shoot, go to an organised shoot and use their guns. If you're so poor that you can't afford meat (my local butcher does a brace of pheasant for £6), then you can't afford a gun either. The sad fact is that most people own guns because of an over-inflated fear for their own safety. Many others own guns because they get a thrill from killing things.
Very few gun owners own one for purely practical reasons. Which, to my mind, means that everyone else should be automatically barred.