I'm someone who grew up in a family without guns. Although my family wasn't politically active, they could be considered anti-gun. So with all that said, I grew up not caring for guns. I was misinformed about them, and probably a bit scarred too. So what's led me to this forum? Well simply enough, I took an unbiased look at the issue.
Whether or not we admit it, I think just about all of us live(or have lived) in our own little bubble. We live in relatively safe neighborhoods, and meet relatively safe people. Our friends' biggest problem may be replace that phone screen they broke. But for me, I've always wanted to understand the world. Really, I've always wanted to change the world! And that led me to buy a plane ticket to Brazil and go volunteer in the favelas of the country. No experience in my life could compare with what I found! I met many wonderful people, and gained an appreciation for what "having it rough" truly means. But I've also encountered dangers that I imagine only the veterans on here can relate with. I've walked up to a cartel and been surrounded by criminals holding automatic rifles(actually used to pass them everyday). I've had to duck into tiny corners to get off the road while they shot it out with the police(although the quiet moments were far more interesting. Slouching behind cars on my way back home because everything "seemed" alright, but you weren't quite sure). I've been in some rough places...and all without a gun.
Now I do want to add in, seeing this did not make me feel that everyone there was a criminal and awful. In contrast, it allowed me to see the moral character humans are capable of in the worst of circumstances. But that's a story for another time...
What I want to highlight here is something that crossed my mind then. I realized that my life was in the hands of other people - people I didn't trust. And having always made my own decisions, I found this very challenging to cope with. But time went on, and that thought stayed in the background of my mind. Eventually, I started researching guns on a whim. At first, it was just a fascination with something "taboo". But then came the question of "whether or not we're really better off without guns?" And that's where things got serious.
I've always considered myself a logical person and because of that I knew I must seek out the facts of the matter. For example, do guns laws impact violent crime? Do gun laws stop criminals from getting guns? Are guns like the AR-15 really necessary for everyday people? And believe me, I dug!(And am still digging.) I would not accept news articles, only stats. No YouTube videos, only stats. No "expert opinions", only stats. And what did I find?
1. States ranked as having the worst gun laws fell all over the violent crime ranking, indicating no correlation(Including Idaho have the near-lowest violent crime rate despite extremely loose gun laws).
2. 90% of prisoners who had guns did not get them from a gun store/show(FBI Study 2016)
3. The AR-15 has a practical purpose: It's more accurate than a handgun and in general better at defense(AKA if someone breaks in with a handgun, you have the upper hand instead of a 50-50 draw. P.S. 40.6% of robberies[all types] are armed - FBI 2017)
I additionally found that many anti-gun politicians were totally ignorant to guns laws and terms(I was too...but I wasn't making laws about them). I've heard so many speeches where "automatic" guns "need to be banned", or "semi-automatic" guns are the problem, that I truly am appalled by their basic lack of understanding. Additionally, I began to see how many anti-gun statistics were slanted. Gun crime goes down in states with stricter laws - but violent crime is as bad as ever. 40,000 people die each year by guns, but nearly 3/4 of the shot themselves, mishandled a gun, or were criminals threatening the police. Australia banned guns and homicides dropped - but they also dropped in basically every developed country(including ours)! Guns cause suicides, but countries with ultra-strict gun laws have higher suicide rates. (And just a little extra note here. If guns caused suicides, we would have long ago repealed the 2nd Amendment. After all, all the pro-gun people would have killed themselves!)
This all led to a very simple conclusion: guns are not the problem! And frankly, having been in situations where I faced real, life-threatening danger - I would like to be able to put up a fight!
You could say that my opinion has done a complete 180! Ironically, though, I have still never fired a gun(or even held one)! I have yet to return to the US, meaning I'm still somewhere that legally prohibits me from owning a firearm. However, it won't be too much longer until I'm back in the States, and I plan to apply for CCWP right away!
That's actually a big reason why I'm joining this forum. I would like to be able to get more information from people who know guns well. To be able to ask those complicated questions, and get some real, personal experience.
So that's my story! Congratulations if you made it to the end - I know it was a long one! But I'm looking forward to meeting you all and learning a thing or two!