So I’m Writing a Book About Guns

So I’m writing book about guns. For those just tuning in, a lot of my writing is for the tabletop roleplaying industry. That means weapons and violence are pretty much a default feature. When it’s archaic weapons like swords and such, I can lean into historical context. Futuristic weapons allow me to do some worldbuilding and comment on the cultures of the setting. When we get to guns and the modern-day real world, I begin to have some problems.

I feel that I need to make some sort of statement about gun violence. This is probably the most American concern ever. In the rest of the world, there’s really no debate over the right to own firearms and the necessity for gun control. You can have both, if you’re willing to not be a stubborn and selfish ass about it.

If I say nothing, each side of the “debate” will make assumptions. The pro-gun people will probably think I’m on their side, because, hey, it’s a gun book. Anti-gun people will think I’m pro-gun, because, again, gun book. Any sort of statement, no matter how thoughtful and measured I try to be, will be treated as taking an extreme political position. I.e, advocating for background checks equals wanting to take away all of your guns; defending responsible gun ownership means approving of mass shootings.

A Book About Guns

Finland has the 10th highest gun ownership per capita in the world. It also has one of lowest incidences of gun violence. Looking at statistics, there are about 2 to 3 deaths per 100,000 people per year. That’s well under 200 per year for the past 10 years. The number of those deaths that were homicides during that same period is less than 20 per year. Most gun deaths in Finland are suicides.

Somehow you can have a right to bear arms and still manage common sense gun control. It’s a matter of recognizing that rights come with responsibilities. If you own guns, you need to have a reasons and they need to be registered. Given that this country is largely rural, and we have bears, wolves, and moose, there are reasons. This is also a country with mandatory military service, so more people have training. It’s around the same level of responsibility and bureaucracy that comes with owning a car in the United States.

For the record, I have been a gun owner. I received training and certification on both rifles and pistols. There was a single year where I was even a member of the NRA, back when the focus was still on safety training, precisely so I could afford to get those lessons. There was even a period where I had a concealed carry permit, and utilized it. I am not a person that spews opinions yet knows nothing about firearms.

As a general rule, though, I do not like guns. They are weapons, and they are only designed to do one thing. There is a context in which they are useful and necessary; I maintain that this context is always an unfortunate situation. My preference would be for them to be rare things, only used as a last resort. When we casually normalize them, and even glamorize them, is when society starts to run into problems. Hence, my issue with writing a book about guns.

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4 Replies to “So I’m Writing a Book About Guns

    1. I went into grind mode and released a different book. Something went out and the rent’s going to get paid. Everything on my production schedule is getting reevaluated through the lens of my values and personal ethics.

  1. I am often amazed at the number of modern weapons books written for RPGS. Wouldn’t 2 pages of conversion guide and a copy of the shooter’s bible cover it? Some games seem to have more weapons supplements than core rules. Other than it’s a good way to make an extra dollar, I don’t see the point.

    1. For my tastes, I agree. I did not want to do a gun book. I wanted to put the method for statting firearms (a couple of pages) in a GM’s Manual and point people to Wikipedia for real-world data.

      Since the core book was released, though, people have asked for a gun book. With each new release in the line, where’s the gun book.

      To quote Dex Shepard’s character in Idiocracy, “I like money”. And immigration expenses have to be paid, and we need to move to a new apartment even if we stay in Finland.

      So now there’s a gun book.

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