Guns vs. free speech

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Would you feel that you could speak (or argue) freely with a person having his handgun displayed? I believe that I would be intimidated, so censoring my self-expression, by people (not of law enforcement) who use a handgun as a public warning of deadly force. Thus, most "self-deputized" citizens could suggest that their handgun trumps the voice of an individual unarmed.

By the way, one of my favorite sports has been target shooting, but I would never wear a (hand)gun.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I don't think you can really call being intimidating an infringement of others' free speech. People change what they say all the time, based on who they are speaking to.

If I'm talking to a 6'4 guy with tattoos covering his body who just got out of prison, I'll probably be censoring myself, but that doesn't mean he impeded my free speech.
 
  • #3
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Would you feel that you could speak (or argue) freely with a person having his handgun displayed? I believe that I would be intimidated, so censoring my self-expression, by people (not of law enforcement) who use a handgun as a public warning of deadly force. Thus, most "self-deputized" citizens could suggest that their handgun trumps the voice of an individual unarmed.

By the way, one of my favorite sports has been target shooting, but I would never wear a (hand)gun.
If you feel that, start to carry, and you'll be on equal ground again.
 
  • #4
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Would you feel that you could speak (or argue) freely with a person having his handgun displayed?
My own experience is to be careful with such a person, and to leave as soon as possible using pleasent exit words.
At one point I've had to say... "Hey, want some beer? I'll get some for us"
I never returned.
 
  • #5
If you feel that, start to carry, and you'll be on equal ground again.
Hear, hear!
 
  • #6
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It's all about power, whether the person means to display it or not (as per your criminal, they may be harmless, but you put them in power because of how they appear to you).

If you speak to someone you see as powerful, you speak differently to how you would someone you view as weak. A 4ft, scrawny runt of a mugger would probably be laughed at. Replace him with a 6ft6 body builder, built like a brick-privy, and suddenly it won't take much more than a stare to put you on edge.

Power grants the ability to impose a "do as I say" situation. It grants leverage to the person with it.

It is only when those involved are on equal ground that discussion can continue fairly and freely. Whether it's guns or otherwise, when a person if up against someone in power, to exercise free speech is a lot more difficult.
Person not in power (Mr. 4ft): you'd probably stand up to without much concern.
Person in power (Mr. 6ft6): you'd be a lot more cautious before you react.

To stand up to your neighbour (who is identical to you physically/mentally) and tell him exactly what you think of his late night parties might be easy. But put a gun in his hand and try it now. Suddenly not so easy. So yes, in that respect it can impact on free speech.
 
  • #7
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If you feel that, start to carry, and you'll be on equal ground again.
And so bigger guns are required....

You could just get rid of guns and solve that issue altogether. Everyone equal then. :wink: But we shan't stray down that alley.
 
  • #8
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You could just get rid of guns and solve that issue altogether. Everyone equal then. :wink: But we shan't stray down that alley.
Sure, we are all equals :P The 4ft man and the one over 6ft from your example are obviously equals. It's not that the bigger one would really need a hot weapon to break the midget like a twig.:devil:
 
  • #9
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Sure, we are all equals :P The 4ft man and the one over 6ft from your example are obviously equals. It's not that the bigger one would really need a hot weapon to break the midget like a twig.:devil:
Sorry, that's what the wink was for. The irony that no matter what you do it really doesn't make much difference and that at no point will everyone be equal. Even if physically identical, we just won't let that happen.

I think that final "don't stray" comment threw my point with its use. That was more aimed at us not having another gun debate.
 
  • #10
I am in favor of bows and arrows. Or a flamethrower! A lot of people would respect you if you carried a flamethrower.
 
  • #11
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I dare any of you armed wimps to disagree with my unarmed 5' tall wife. Go ahead, make my day.
 
  • #12
FlexGunship
Gold Member
369
8
And so bigger guns are required....

You could just get rid of guns and solve that issue altogether.
Wrong. A small hand gun makes a petite woman as strong as a huge man. Having firearms isn't about displaying power or threatening individuals. It's a fundamental question: are you allowed to use deadly force to protect your life? Don't try to make it more complicated than that; anything else is an argument from either ignorance or fear.

As far as displaying a firearm, I don't feel particularly threatened. I'm aware of it; that's for sure! But, in general, the folks displaying firearms are not the criminals. I have a friend who has an AR15, an H&K 9mm, and a concealed-carry permit. Ask me if I feel safer with him around or less safe. I hope the answer is obvious.

My friend is a good guy who has studied handgun law, home defense law, and who practices shooting almost every week, so why would I assume that every other person I run into with a firearm is an exception? In fact, most people carrying around firearms are very likely to be obsessed with personal freedom.

In New Hampshire we don't need permits or licenses to own handguns or rifles. Furthermore, you don't need anything more than a few references to get a concealed-carry permit. I think people who are frightened by the mere idea of a gun being near them are simply unexposed or ill-informed.

So, to the OP... no, a handgun would not deter me from speaking openly. In many cases (not all) it would incite me to speak more freely! And if the gentleman with the firearm were behaving belligerently, I would give him the same wide berth as if he were unarmed.
 
  • #13
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Wrong. A small hand gun makes a petite woman as strong as a huge man. Having firearms isn't about displaying power or threatening individuals. It's a fundamental question: are you allowed to use deadly force to protect your life? Don't try to make it more complicated than that; anything else is an argument from either ignorance or fear.
Why am I wrong exactly?

Huge man bullies woman, she gets a small handgun. Woman is now as 'strong' as the man. What does the man do? Get a bigger gun. You've all heard the cops talk about "They get pistols, criminals get SMG's. They get an SMG, the criminals get machine guns.".

When someone 'equalises' with you, and you want to regain your power over them you need to trump them.

Regarding the second statement of getting rid of guns, note the wink and explanation that follows in the latter post by myself. It wasn't meant as serious.

Having a firearm is about giving yourself power.

By carrying for self defence, you are attempting to give yourself the power to do defend yourself.
As far as displaying a firearm, I don't feel particularly threatened. I'm aware of it; that's for sure! But, in general, the folks displaying firearms are not the criminals. I have a friend who has an AR15, an H&K 9mm, and a concealed-carry permit. Ask me if I feel safer with him around or less safe. I hope the answer is obvious
Also, what you feel is irrelevant. I've still seen nothing to back up that being able to carry a firearm makes people safer. Especially women standing up to men who seem to keep popping up as the example of why people should be allowed to.
 
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  • #14
FlexGunship
Gold Member
369
8
Why am I wrong exactly?
The idea that "one-upping" happens in the real world is a myth that seems to be perpetuated by anti-gun activists. You just don't see it. When actual crimes are committed, they are committed with handguns and shotguns!

Also, your example seems to imply that there's a waiting arsenal nearby or something. A rapist confronted with a 9mm doesn't say: "wait, here, let me go get my..." He runs the f**k away and no rape happens. That's real life. If the rapist shows up with an SMG, then the situation is the same as if the woman were armed or not; she is over-powered.

Believe me, you only need to hear the phrase "thank god I had my gun, or he might have raped and beaten me to death" ONCE from a friend in order to understand the importance of having the right to use deadly force to preserve your own safety.
 
  • #15
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Pepper spray would be more effective to prevent a rape, than a gun.
 
  • #16
FlexGunship
Gold Member
369
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Pepper spray would be more effective to prevent a rape, than a gun.
I don't understand.
 
  • #17
DevilsAvocado
Gold Member
751
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Wrong. A small hand gun makes a petite woman as strong as a huge man. Having firearms isn't about displaying power or threatening individuals. It's a fundamental question: are you allowed to use deadly force to protect your life? Don't try to make it more complicated than that; anything else is an argument from either ignorance or fear.
Why am I wrong exactly?

Huge man bullies woman, she gets a small handgun. Woman is now as 'strong' as the man. What does the man do? Get a bigger gun. You've all heard the cops talk about "They get pistols, criminals get SMG's. They get an SMG, the criminals get machine guns.".

I think I have the final solution to this problem, an amend in the constitution saying that citizens should have the right to their own nuclear-equipped AFV. Then it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, 4ft or 6ft6 tattooed gangsta rapper – one word wrong and the whole place is blown to pieces!

paintball_tank.jpg



:smile:
 
  • #18
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You're all missing the point. The question was whether or not the intimidation factor caused by displayed guns can be considered an infringement of one's free speech.
 
  • #19
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I don't understand.
To rape a woman, the man needs to come physically close to the woman. So the case of rape attack is different from robbery. After hit by a pepper spray, I don't think one would be interested in raping.
 
  • #20
Mech_Engineer
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,572
171
You're all missing the point. The question was whether or not the intimidation factor caused by displayed guns can be considered an infringement of one's free speech.
... and the answer should of course be no, unless the person directly says "if you say something I don't like, or disagree with me, I will shoot you." This would mean their actions are infringing on your right to free speech, rather than just the open carry of a gun.
 
  • #21
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... and the answer should of course be no, unless the person directly says "if you say something I don't like, or disagree with me, I will shoot you." This would mean their actions are infringing on your right to free speech, rather than just the open carry of a gun.
But surely intimidation would have the same effect? Just because someone doesn't say something it doesn't mean I won't assume it of them (rightly or wrongly).
 
  • #22
FlexGunship
Gold Member
369
8
... and the answer should of course be no, unless the person directly says "if you say something I don't like, or disagree with me, I will shoot you." This would mean their actions are infringing on your right to free speech, rather than just the open carry of a gun.
Bam. Nailed it.

But surely intimidation would have the same effect? Just because someone doesn't say something it doesn't mean I won't assume it of them (rightly or wrongly).
Why would having a gun be intimidation?
 
  • #23
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I can't find a scientific study of the gun = intimidation scenario.

There are a number of news media links showing that there is an intimidation factor.

I do know that several months ago a process server showed up at my door mistakenly. When I argued with him about his mistake he didn't hesitate to display a weapon by opening his jacket.

Shortly a vehicle pulled up and a second man, this one carrying open in a holster, and walked onto my property.

These guys carried an Identification badge that anyone could make on a computer.

Take my word for it I was intimidated. These jerks work for private companies not law enforcement.

Any unarmed person should feel intimidated when confronted by a stranger with a weapon. Its a part of the survival instinct.

I Know, I Know, guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people.

BTW I own two pistols two rifles and two shotguns.
 
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  • #24
Jasongreat
BTW I own two pistols two rifles and two shotguns.
I was going to reply, but I feel intimidated. :wink:


Why are we only discussing guns on their person? One could easily run home and return with a gun to make you pay for your comments, so are we next going to say we cant talk freely with our neighbor if he has a gun at home? I live in a town where pretty much everyone has atleast one gun, most have multiple guns and it never crosses my mind that I have to watch what I say to them, anymore than anyone else. Imo, one should always censor their own speech, to some extent, isnt that what being part of a society is all about, being polite?
 
  • #25
OK, this is the second vague/controversial thread by Loren Booda, (remember "right to be harmonius" ?!). Anyone get the feeling that you're performing for someone's entertainment, when that person seems to have no further interest in their threads?

Just a thought before you rehash this for the hundredth time in a slightly different setting. Is it worth the argument because someone presented you with a philosophical question of balance between major rights granted by the first two amendments to the uS constitution? I didn't realize we could start threads like: "Abortion vs. Elder Driving Rights", then walk away and leave the thing to go in a dozen directions at once... :rolleyes:
 

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