How Can You Love Guns Knowing They Kill So Many People?

John B. Fischer over at The Atlantic wants to explore the question "Is it morally acceptable to love machine guns?"

He wonders, how can one love guns knowing they kill people in this "era of mass violence"?

Fischer asks this question while visiting and participating in Oklahoma's Full Auto Shoot and Trade Show (OFASTS).

I came here to answer a question: Why do people find it fun to attend a festival where they can shoot the country’s most powerful civilian weaponry during a time of mass violence? In many people’s view, gun ownership is integral to America’s cultural identity. But guns also cause a significant number of preventable deaths every year. So OFASTS offers a distinctive combination of recreation and regulation: Fans of automatic weapons have the chance to use some of the most heavily tracked armaments in the country, in an environment akin to a county fair.

The answer to that question, as Fischer finds out, is because it is fun. Or as he describes, "Plus, as I discovered, shooting was a genuine thrill—not unlike the adrenaline rush of driving a car at illegally high speeds."

The folks at the OFASTS event were kind and accommodating to this New York writer, despite the fact that the mainstream media doesn't treat gun owners fairly. Some people at the show were "wary" of him after learning who he is.

Fischer does a good job of explaining the regulation of machine guns, something the media crowd rarely understand or care to educate themselves about.

That’s because these weapons are now considerably rare: The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 banned the sale of newly manufactured automatic weapons to civilians. Guns produced before the ban are individually monitored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and they command premium prices. An AK-47 might cost a collector upwards of $15,000, Stover said; a .50-caliber Browning M2 could easily run to $80,000. Some people buy them exclusively as an investment, Stover told me.

He also explains that automatic weapons aren't used in "gun violence." And rarely, for that matter, are semi-automatic rifles. Why doesn't he follow that fact to its logical conclusion and ask why there is so much emphasis on banning semi-automatic firearms like the AR15 when rifles are so rarely used in homicides? Habit?