Ok so I came in here a bit late. I try to stay out of this area as I don't like to get in pissing matches with people but, I decided this time I will bite. I am from the most back-woods redneck part of Florida. People here come out of the woods from hunting in the morning and go straight into class. Hell, when I was in high school in 2001, the senior parking lot had pickup trucks with filled rifle racks in the rear window. Actually, I do not know anyone who does not own a gun here. I was born and raised in this life style. I had a bb gun when I was 5 and my first rifle when I was 9. I was taught to hunt at a young age (hunting is another argument completely. I can go along with killing if you eat it and use the resource but, trophy hunting to make yourself feel more manly is just wrong). I served seven years in the Army and was giving classes on the use of our weapons when my platoon sergeant had noticed I knew far more about weapons than my squad leader did. I actually got a guy out of trouble who had an ND (negligent discharge [there is no more accidental discharge]) because I proved to our commander that the current policy of handling the M249 did not fit how the weapon operated, leaving people carrying a weapon they thought was on safe when it really was not. After the Army I went to Europe. I lived in England and Poland for a year. Not once did I ever hear of anyone getting shot. The ONLY time I even heard about a murder was a guy that got knifed. It seemed to me that people seemed to settle their differences on the weekend in the middle of the street outside the pub late at night with their fists. I was always a super duper anti-gun control person. However, when I came back to Florida, I could see how anybody ANYBODY can get a gun here. There has not been a single week gone by when I have not heard about someone getting shot. My own father scares the shit out of me when he is shooting in the back yard because of his unsafe practices. All of these things have led me to change my views. I believe that American should be able to own guns. I believe that to own a gun people need to be trained, tested, and pass a RIGOROUS background check before being allowed access to ANY firearm. The more "dangerous" (capable of mowing down a crowded mall before having to reload) a weapon is, the more hoops a person should have to jump through to prove they are capable of responibly owning and operating such a weapon. Weapon related crimes should be more harshly punished. Bootlegging (selling a gun to your neighbor without any legal transfer or registration) should be for more strictly regulated, investigated, and punished. I believe the most important things to be proper training and licensing. When I was in the army, there was a shooting range off base that was free to the public. Some guy went up there to teach his pre-teen daughter how to shoot and wound up shooting and killing her because he didn't know wtf he was doing. EDIT: My whole deal is I don't feel safe in this country anymore. Especially with a wife and a baby and us living in a not-so-great neighborhood. I feel like I need to have a gun in case I have to defend myself from all the dumbasses here who have free access to guns.