Gun owners come in many shapes and sizes, both genders, from eight to eighty and all the other cliches. I think you can divide their reasons, philosophies if you will, into several different categories:
- Absolutist--all people should be able to own anything they can afford;
- Almost absolutist--law-abiding people should be able to own anything short of large weapon systems such as nukes and other such highly destructive items;
- Constitutional absolutist--the people are the militia and should be able to own any weapons that could be carried by an individual soldier;
- Neo-absolutist--the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but is subject to reasonable regulation such as keeping guns out of criminal hands;
- Fuddites--coined by Publicola, describes those who want to own guns to hunt, shoot skeet, etc., but would not oppose laws limiting gunowners to single shot bolt action rifle or break action shotgun, they are named after Elmer Fudd;
- Casual owners--these are people who bought a revolver on a whim or inherited a gun from Granddad and have not shot it in years and barely remember they have a gun.
Bill and I fall between the Constitutional absolutist and the Neo-absolutist. I believe that there can be some reasonable restrictions to firearm ownership. The Second Amendment calls for "A well-regulated militia..." and well-regulated can mean that the militia is well-trained and there are some guidelines to follow. The devil is in who defines restrictions. Some would restrict to the Fuddite level.
Bill is more absolutist than I am. He sees a slippery slope behind every regulation. The hell of it is, he is right. Look at San Francisco. Some of the city Supervisors are trying to pass a complete ban on handgun ownership and serious restrictions on other firearms. Democrats have been trying to shake the anti-gun label for several years now because they know it hurts them politically. Now the almost stereotypically Democrat city in America waves the flag and says, "See, we've been lying, we really do want to take your guns away!" And some people call the Republicans the stupid party. Indeed.