Sorry to be so long in replying, my wife's 2 sisters came to visit last friday, and I've been involved in more “Yes Dearing” than usual.
You raise a very interesting point. What would the US be like if ownership and competence with firearms ( Lets just include “Weapons”- I'm more likely to bayonet or “Butt-Stroke” an intruder than shoot him- in close quarter combat, give me a club every time ) were comparable to the ownership and competence with automobiles ?
The first thing that that would greatly limit would be the “Aura” of Macho Bullshit Power associated with guns by those who see them as some sort of magic wand to give them respect and command fear. When and where I grew up, guns were just another tool of civilization, like an axe, a car, or a hay baler. It's a tool. It punches holes in things from a distance. The things you punch holes in can range from paper and tin cans to woodchucks as pests or deer as food. You WILL NOT ever, ever, allow the muzzle of a gun to point at something that you do not intend to destroy, or at least that it would do minimal harm to if it were to go off ( eg, the ground- even there- it will ricochet off hard surface road). These are things I just absorbed.
I always was a bit of a “Gun Nut”, I enjoyed shooting, and shooting any exotic rifles or shotguns I could be allowed to – I handloaded my own ammo. I built Muzzle loading guns, and converted cartridge guns. I like them. I like the solidness of design and precision of machining. I also like cars . And computers. And Knives. And swords. All tools of civilization that give one control over his environment.
Can you be TOO “Gun Nuts?”. Not as such. Those who fantasize about macho exploitation of others with guns or knives or computers are better classified as “Power Nuts”. The actual agent will be determined by their experience and upbringing ( I'm sure Alexander the Great lusted after spears and swords) For people like me, the fascination is in the endless variations and permutations on a theme, much like sports car enthusiasts show- What will I DO with them? I haven't been shooting in years- I oil them and re familiarize myself with the mechanisms. Then I put them back, to await issue to my resistance fighters, comes the revolution.
AH! there's the rub! I'm planning to resist the government!
Not really. I really hope it never comes to that.
But as a free citizen, who grants “the Government” the authority to a limited use of force in maintaining peace and protecting our borders, I retain the ultimate discretionary RIGHT (Given by God if you will, given by my Warrior heritage, if you won't) of defending myself and my community from all dangers, including those put forth by a tyrannical government. Power/Right does NOT flow from the government to the citizen, as it does from government to a Subject, Power is in the hands of each member of a community by RIGHT. There is no other way to read our Constitution, and if you insist on interpreting it differently, then I respectfully decline to participate.
In the end, though, it isn't the weapon, it's the Attitude.
I KNOW that a community where it is taken for granted that each individual ( well, at the time boy) above the age 10 would not only have been trained in the safe handling and respect for firearms, but would also probably have his own BB gun or .22 to go on plinking expeditions, is as safe from “Aurora” type incidents as you can possibly be. For one thing, anyone who showed “horseplay with his gun was instantly “shunned” as too dangerous to have around. Indicating that you were thinking it might be “fun” to shoot someone would not only get you shunned, but probably reported to parents, scoutmaster, or teacher. ( All of our fathers had just been through WWII and had come back thoroughly of the opinion that “Shooting” people was not something to be proud of)
Would “universal gun training” be a good thing? I think so. It would demystify the Macho Power image. And, when everyone is just taken for granted to have guns and know how to use them, the question of registration lists becomes moot. Government officials and LEPers ( “Law Enforcement Professionals” as opposed to “Peace officers”- The Barney Fifes of the Cop world) just seem to automatically become more respectful.
The biggest gain would be in attitude. I don't really think that if the US dissolves into a civil war, that my being out there potting away with an AK-47 (NON ASSUALT Rifle – because Semi rather than full automatic) is going to make any difference to anyone except me and my wife when I am killed by return fire.
What an armed citizenry inculcates is the will and the attitude to resist unjust authority. Whether you do it with a rifle or with a good soldier Schwiek ( Schweik cheerful, feeble-minded character; the antithesis of German militarism. [Czech Lit.: The Good Soldier: Schweik, Magill IV, 390–392]
willingness to perform FUBAR as required, It all makes for the individual responsibility necessary to a true democracy.
PS before you excoriate me for my emphasis on “Individual Responsibility”, let me assure you that “Individual Responsibility” emphatically includes caring for those in your community who cannot care for themselves ( Vide – Christ)