Yes, I cheerfully refer to myself as a gun nut. Because after I've done that myself, idiots can't bash me with the phrase. Since it doesn't take most people very long to notice that I am not in fact crazy, this maneuver has the effect of discrediting the idiots.

I've taken some public flak in the hacker community for vocally supporting firearms rights — and received a lot of private support. It's all about freedom. It's all about keeping the power to defend yourself, the power to revolt, the power to say no in the hands of individuals. No hacker should have any trouble understanding this.

You can read my personal story of how I got involved with guns here. Or you can read about my first IPSCC match. Or about my shooting rig. Or, read the entertaining Parable of the Sheep for an explanation of how gun owners feel about their guns so simple that even a child can understand it.

Finally, and most importantly, my essay Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun: What Bearing Weapons Teaches About the Good Life

Scholarly Studies

Many well-intentioned Americans have been propagandized into believing a collection of myths that paint guns as intrinsically evil and demonize gun owners. Fortunately, sociological and criminological research of very high quality is now available to refute these myths. Here are some of my favorite items:

The Heartland Institute paper Taking Aim At Gun Control does an excellent job of debunking the myths "everybody knows" about guns and gun control.

Gun Control: A Realistic Assessment is a thoroughly scholarly but devastating critique of partisanship and methodological errors in many commonly-cited anti-gun sources.

Renowned criminologist Gary Kleck is a card-carrying ACLU member and liberal Democrat. Unfortunately for left-liberal orthodoxy, he is also willing to follow the facts wherever they lead. His book "Point Blank: Guns and Violence In America" became the starting point for all serious scholarly discussion of its topic soon after it came out in 1991. You can read Kleck's summary of the book here.

The direction of recent research on this topic is well represented by a 1996 paper from the University of Chicago; Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns. Only an early draft is available here; Lott has since expanded this study into an even more compelling book, "More Guns,Less Crime:" (University of Chicago Press, 1998, ISBN 0-226-49363-6). (Some articles by Lott are available on the web; Gun Control Advocates Purvey Deadly Myths is particularly telling, as is his description of international rises in crime rates following gun bans.)

These three papers should convince anyone with a respect for genuine scientific inquiry that most of what politicians and the media tell us to believe about ``gun control'' is wrong. (This should be hardly surprising given both groups' well-earned reputations for sloppiness and mendacity in other areas.)

Many more good pointers to high-quality research are available at the CDN-Firearms research page.

Legal Scholarship

Many good resources are collected at GunCite. I recommend the article A Critical Guide to the Second Amendment, an excellent introduction to the topic.

Advocacy and Politics

The founders of the United States (among others) had some pointed things to say about civilian arms. You can read some of my favorite quotes on this topic here.

For an excellent discussion of the ethics of gun defense, see A Nation Of Cowards. The author contends that is not only the right but the duty of free people to be armed and willing to use lethal force in defense of life and liberty. Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln would have agreed. So do I.

My own favorite argument is here.

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