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.