245: Gunners and Gamers

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Gunners and Gamers

Guns and games typically only come up in the same news story when it involves a horrific act of violence. But what about all the responsible enthusiasts out there who simply want to enjoy their favorite pastimes? Russ Pitts speaks with gamers and gun owners about their dual hobbies.

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Well, I own a bolt action Winchester 70 and a Webley VI revolver, so I suppose I fit that definition. I never really use them though.

The rifle is mostly for target shooting, but I stopped doing that ages ago, and the revolver is an old family heirloom, from my great-grandfathers IRA days.

I do think that you shouldn't go out and get a gun though, just because you like shooting guns in video games. It's not really the safest way to approach it.

In my opinion, the game that's best simulated firing an actual weapon is Red Orchestra. It gets the tracers, the bullet drop, the sights, the way you have to cycle the bolt manually, the way you have to change the barrel on Machine Guns if the barrel overheats and warps, it gets all that correct.

That and Americas Army.

I used to have a .22 and a shotgun. While the .22 was quite fun (I was a pretty good shot), I never really found shooting to be a terribly fascinating way to spend a day. Rather, I felt like an anachronism - why in today's age, in one of the world's richest, most peaceful and law abiding countries do I need to be shooting a gun.

Most people in the world, for whom a gun is a necessity would happily trade places with me for the simple cost of not having to ever use a gun again - yet some people in my country constantly complain about restrictions on firearms.

Sadly I live in the UK and civilian possession of firearms is pretty much a no-go. A shame, too; I'd be the kind of person who'd like to go down to a shooting range every now and then to squeeze off a couple of magazines. Well, I live in N.Ireland and the laws are a bit more lax here than in other parts of the UK, so perhaps at some point...

Interesting fact; In the UK, N. Ireland is the only area that accepts 'Self Defence' as a legitimate reason for gun ownership.

But in any case, I agree with one line in the article in particular; It's the CASUAL gun owners that you need to worry about, not the 'hardcore gun-nuts' because they're the ones who will know how to handle a firearm properly.

Case in point; that woman pictured for the article both has her finger inside the trigger-guard AND is aiming that weapon at her own head more or less. That's an accident waiting to happen. Also, I'm not sure, but are those machine-pistols/SMGs? Darwin Award waiting to happen if those things are loaded.

Also, dual-wielding? Seriously? All well and good if it's for a bit of fun, but if she was trying to look serious, she has failed miserably as far as I'm concerned.

That said though, sometimes dual-wielding can look very badass. Just don't try and do it as a serious thing.

I live in the UK... basically nobody has guns... can't really see the point.

I only know one guy who owns a gun (well, his parents do) and he's a nutter who told me about the time he practiced golf using myxomatosis rabbits. Yes live ones.

MGlBlaze:
Sadly I live in the UK and civilian possession of firearms is pretty much a no-go. A shame, too; I'd be the kind of person who'd like to go down to a shooting range every now and then to squeeze off a couple of magazines. Well, I live in N.Ireland and the laws are a bit more lax here than in other parts of the UK, so perhaps at some point...

Interesting fact; In the UK, N. Ireland is the only area that accepts 'Self Defence' as a legitimate reason for gun ownership.

But in any case, I agree with one line in the article in particular; It's the CASUAL gun owners that you need to worry about, not the 'hardcore gun-nuts' because they're the ones who will know how to handle a firearm properly.

Case in point; that woman pictured for the article both has her finger inside the trigger-guard AND is aiming that weapon at her own head more or less. That's an accident waiting to happen. Also, I'm not sure, but are those machine-pistols/SMGs? Darwin Award waiting to happen if those things are loaded.

Also, dual-wielding? Seriously? All well and good if it's for a bit of fun, but if she was trying to look serious, she has failed miserably as far as I'm concerned.

That said though, sometimes dual-wielding can look very badass. Just don't try and do it as a serious thing.

And amusingly, even with TWO, there's little to no muzzle climb. Instead, they're producing rearward thrust, much the same way as miniguns do.

Daveman:
I live in the UK... basically nobody has guns... can't really see the point.

I only know one guy who owns a gun (well, his parents do) and he's a nutter who told me about the time he practiced golf using myxomatosis rabbits. Yes live ones.

Then I'm glad it's his PARENT'S that own the gun, and not that idiot. Nothing wrong with gun ownership (dependin' on your reasons), but gun ownership, and animal cruelty do NOT go hand in hand, in any way shape or form.

That'd be like saying anime and rape are directly linked.

Or furries and beastiali- wait a minute...

=p

MGlBlaze:

Case in point; that woman pictured for the article both has her finger inside the trigger-guard AND is aiming that weapon at her own head more or less. That's an accident waiting to happen. Also, I'm not sure, but are those machine-pistols/SMGs? Darwin Award waiting to happen if those things are loaded.

She's holding two plastic toys, I wouldn't be too concerned for her safety.

Excellent Article. Well written and researched, and great facts. As a person who has fired some rifles, but doesn't own any, I can totally respect others who take it seriously, and have the training needed to protect themselves and others.

Ah these big groups that protest things in the US are mostly all are just looking for the next, big thing to attack. If you live in the US than you probably remember how much people attacked GTA4 when it first came out. I, personally, thought it was just silly. The specific features they picked out of the game to attack have been in games for YEARS. GTA4 was just the one they heard about on the news, or whatever.

I've practiced martial arts for most of my life and, needless to say, I have a pretty hefty arsenal of melee weapons and such. Now, I live in a very, VERY, christian, rural community and these people just seemed to be terrified of me and my family from day one. The police are up at our house almost daily, and it's almost comical. My family and I practice martial arts so that we can free ourselves from things like hate and anger, but all these people seem to think we're murderous lunatics or something. I don't know how many times I've found myself wanting to strangle one of my younger siblings and, instead, went did pushups or hit the cutting board for an hour or so. I think, that, when you deprive someone of a primal need, like, bashing things or you know, sex, it makes them want it even more. However, these protesting groups in America, would have you believe that taking those things away is the answer.

I think it is short-sighted to call the shooters of Columbine "Pure Evil". It's the third of the things that always happen after a school shooting. First, blame the gun laws/ gun owners that didn't look after their guns (where I live it is pretty hard to get a gun). Second, blame music/games (Yes I listen to Slipknot and the likes while I exercise to blow off steam, and I'm currently stalking through Pripyat with my Heckler & Koch G36, still I'm a pacifist), and third, the shooters are characterized as evil lunatics. I guess, most of them have at least one psychological problem, and suffer from it. But most of them were in your class for years, and you said they were freaks, most of them were taught by teachers they might or might not eventually murder, and the teachers told them they were failures, most of them had parents that either didn't care or ignored the fact that they really needed help. Now, after the shooting, there's psychologists talking their heads off over the psychopath in one of the body bags, how about stepping in before? Most of them were "problem children" (Note: There are no problem children, only symptom bearers, that's what I think), you could see that most of them were "strange" before. Maybe it is time to take the "psycho" label off of people with issues and to work for a society in which psychological disorders such as depression, borderline and the likes are treated like other medical problems, instead of making helpless people ashamed of their helplessness. One third of us suffers a depression at least once in our lives... So it could be you. Or Me.

As for gun laws: I prefer to live in a country were mostly police and foresters have guns. I have never seen a gun in private possession, and I definitely don't want to buy one.

Daveman:
I live in the UK... basically nobody has guns... can't really see the point.

I only know one guy who owns a gun (well, his parents do) and he's a nutter who told me about the time he practiced golf using myxomatosis rabbits. Yes live ones.

Actually, that's kind of frightening. If you look up murders committed (at least, in the us) by kids under 18, you'll find that most stole their weapons from parents who simply thought they had been misplaced. Who are these people? If my hand-sword goes missing from the umbrella stand, I go on a rampage through the house, STARTING with those under 18 :P

I don't own any guns... yet.

I wouldn't mind keeping an M1911 (or similar .45 automatic), H&K 9mm and Garand for target practice, however. And just in case of zombies.

Interesting and well-written article, Russ.

I don't have enough time to write a whole spiel on school shootings (huge freakin subject).

I'll just relay my past experiences. I've practiced martial arts for several years at a time, know how to use firearms from shooting with my family and have gamed for all my life. The only people I've ever met who are fanatical about guns also have had diagnosed mental illness. Most of the people I've met who own multiple guns take them seriously, even if they are sometimes jovial on the range.

I'm also from the UK where no one owns guns, but cracking down on guns is a vote winner with the masses, so politicians do love to hate guns in front of the people...

Vek:
Interesting and well-written article, Russ.

I agree, but doesn't the picture surrounding it make light of the situation? The words "Zip those puppies up" do spring to mind.

The pictures that often get spread with guns are very much akin to the ones that used to be used with cigarettes, or Flakes, or six inch long sandwiches...

And perhaps that's what leads to problems like Columbine? Sexualisation of something that's really not sexual.

From a UK perspective, our knife crime is reaching US's gun crime standards; before we look into the bomb problems, which we've had for decades, but are now creeping across into the US.

"Monkey see monkey do"...

Kinda like the whole thing with Tony Hawk and a wave of kids who got into skating because the game made it look easy and cool.

It's the same with alot of things that hold 'influence' over people - if properly put into context they can be very benifical.

Living in the UK and growing up in the 80s & 90s me & my brother were interested in American football & Basketball. Anyone in the UK will know that both are very hard to come by - and even harder to get information on back in the days before the internet. I remember doing PE lessons where the teacher would give me the basketball and go off for a smoke because I knew more about the sport than he did.

So where did I go to get information & game rules? Madden & NBA games!

Yes I know its not EVERYTHING you need to know, but it can make a huge difference between knowing how to make a jump shot correctly (or close enough) or trying to come up with a technique yourself and get it all wrong.

I have a similar interest in firearms, but not to the same stupid extent as the guy in the article (how did he think that the rifle would 'zoom for him?' - will it to zoom using the force or something??) - but put into the proper context in reality the basis of interest from video games can be very benificial and sometimes superiour than not having the video game at all (ie being able to understand battlefield tactics etc without getting shot :P)

"They used pipe bombs and other IED devices"

IED stand for Improvised Explosive Device... so they used improvised explosive device devices?
Anyway, I'm a pretty avid gamer and definitely an avid gun owner and I've never shot anybody... oh wait, I lied... I HAVE shot people but that was Iraq and they were littering (long story). So I guess my opinion is that someone exposed to real guns prior to those in video games are far less likely to use them irresponsibly. This really isn't the gaming community's fault, its society's for putting so many restrictions on firearms that fewer and fewer actually know how to handle one with safety and responsibility. Guns are merely a tool... say you have a 13 year old who has helped out with home improvement projects all his life, and another kid who has never touched a power tool in his life. Given a miter saw, which one would be most likely to cut his fingers off?

Been to the range a few times, while I enjoyed it I do hold a huge respect for guns, yesit is enjoyable but at the end of the day they are designed to kill people.

That guy who walked into the gun store is obviously a complete moron if thats the way he's going to approach firearms :/

Excellent article, pretty much sums me up perfecty, I have even used the same army simulators.Compare me, experiacned in firearm handling, avid airsofter and gamer, osscasional weed smoker to the guy at school who plays no videogames and has no idea about firearms.
Who would you trust with a loaded weapon in a crowded room? Me, as the first thing I would do would be to put the fucking safety catch on.

I only have 2 air rifles and a G3 airsoft rifle in my house. But fire 12 gauge, .22 and 5.56 with cadets every few months.

Can't own guns in The Netherlands as a normal citizen. Well, we have a few shooting ranges but restrictions are so though and for hand-guns only, forget about rifles or automatic's.
The article read more as a pro-gunownership article then an objective one. It doesn't forego the possible objections to gunownership but for a 5 page story about guns and gamers i found it rather lacking a bit. And that is a shame really. Writing a story about personal experiences and statistics makes for a good informative read, but i do think there is still more subject there. Could just be me, since i dont have hardly any real life experience with guns.
The respect a firearm needs and the possibility to disregard that entirely for a virtual one was a really good point to make.

I don't think comparing gun deaths and traffic accidents is fair, the clue being in the name.

Traffic ACCIDENTS.

Yes, there is always potential for accidental gun-related deaths as well, however the nature of a gun implies that for there to be a death, someone pulled the trigger with the intent to kill or injure. Noone wants to be in a traffic accident.

Another thing is that there are many more cars than guns per household, so after taking that into consideration the numbers would be considerably narrower.

On the topic of gamer and gun owners, the story about the Halo player does scare me but I'd like to think most gamers are responsible enough to both own a gun and play video games. As long as the person knows the difference between reality and fantasy then they should be fine.

Not that it matters in the UK anyway where guns are all banned. Guess I'll watch out for those fanatic MW2 knifers.

Russ Pitts:
Looking at statistics related to firearm-related deaths in the United States paints an even more interesting picture. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people killed in the U.S. by firearms in the year 2005 was 31,000, but the number of people killed in traffic accidents was 43,150, making driving in the U.S. almost 40 percent more dangerous than guns - a fact you don't hear a lot of talk about on Capitol Hill.

This comparison is absurd. How many people take part in traffic (something that is nescessary for living) and how many people shoot with guns (something that is not nescessary for living)? 31,000 deaths through a tool that is not nescessary to a society is very scary. especially when comparing it to something like traffic victims because traffic is something everybody is part of.

Guns don't kill people, Fox News kills people.

But seriously, I think it's more of a cultural/social issue. The US are not the country with the most armed population, so I don't think guns are the problem. (Even though I do believe there has to be limits to what an ordinary person can buy).

The_root_of_all_evil:

Vek:
Interesting and well-written article, Russ.

I agree, but doesn't the picture surrounding it make light of the situation? The words "Zip those puppies up" do spring to mind.

The pictures that often get spread with guns are very much akin to the ones that used to be used with cigarettes, or Flakes, or six inch long sandwiches...

And perhaps that's what leads to problems like Columbine? Sexualisation of something that's really not sexual.

From a UK perspective, our knife crime is reaching US's gun crime standards; before we look into the bomb problems, which we've had for decades, but are now creeping across into the US.

No. Putting pretty girls in adverts does not drive someone to shoot up a school. As someone pointed out, those boys wanted to do harm, plain and simple. They had access to guns, so they used guns. If all they'd had access to was pointed sticks, they'd have used them instead.

Marine Mike:
"They used pipe bombs and other IED devices"

IED stand for Improvised Explosive Device... so they used improvised explosive device devices?

Unless they got their hands on a standard issue, manufactured, and trademarked pipe bomb from somewhere, the pipe bombs would have been homebuilt out of various components which classifies them as IEDs. So yes, they did.

Vek:
Interesting and well-written article, Russ.

Indeed, thanks for writing a good, well thought out article regarding the topic. Most of the time you only hear from the extreme far left gun fearing liberals ("A gun by itself on a table will kill three babies and a kitten in less than twelve minutes!) and the extreme far right gun worshiping conservatives ("Molôn labe!"). Its good to hear from the rational middle ground, which is where many gun owners and gamers reside.

I think emphasis on proper approach to the hobby are important. Can you get hurt or hurt others if you don't know what you're doing, don't take safety classes, and go down to your local gun store to buy the biggest pistol you can get your hands on? Absolutely. You could also do the same if you threw yourself down the expert slope with no experience on a set of skis or snowboard or drove off in daddy's car without ever having learned how to drive.

I learned about firearms when I was young as a Boy Scout. Growing up, my dad owned (and still owns) over a dozen which I was exposed to, though they were always locked in a gun safe except when he pulled them out to show us in a controlled environment and taught us proper safety. I attended Basic Combat Training with the Army in 2007 where I learned even more about firearm safety and handeling of firearms (especially important as we were being trained to consistantly handle high power, loaded, automatic weapons). Even then, I still take safety / training courses as time and funds permit to keep up on my skills.

The individuals walking into a store to "get a sniper rifle" so they can "pwn noobs" are concerning. Though they also present an opportunity (if you know / meet that person) to get them into a firearm safety class (ideally one where they both learn safety skills and also get live fire time on a range) and change them from potentially worrisome overly enthusiastic hazards into responsible gun owners.

BishopOfBattle:

Marine Mike:
"They used pipe bombs and other IED devices"

IED stand for Improvised Explosive Device... so they used improvised explosive device devices?

Unless they got their hands on a standard issue, manufactured, and trademarked pipe bomb from somewhere, the pipe bombs would have been homebuilt out of various components which classifies them as IEDs. So yes, they did.

I was pointing out that part of IED is Device, so saying "IED devices" is redundant... Part of my demolitions training was how to make IED's and let me tell you, having a part of your brain that says "I can make that into a bomb, here's how" for just about anything you look at can earn you more than a few awkward stares if you bring it up in social situations.

Russ Pitts:
Gunners and Gamers

Guns and games typically only come up in the same news story when it involves a horrific act of violence. But what about all the responsible enthusiasts out there who simply want to enjoy their favorite pastimes? Russ Pitts speaks with gamers and gun owners about their dual hobbies.

Read Full Article

^ that article should be submitted to a major news organization.
Ive played video games and shot guns since I was a kid and have caught crap for both.
Thank YOU Mr. Pitts

BlueInkAlchemist:
I don't own any guns... yet.

I wouldn't mind keeping an M1911 (or similar .45 automatic), H&K 9mm and Garand for target practice, however. And just in case of zombies.

I help maintain 7 M1 Garands for military funerals.
If you have the chance pick one up. They are really great rifles.

Tarrker:
Ah these big groups that protest things in the US are mostly all are just looking for the next, big thing to attack. If you live in the US than you probably remember how much people attacked GTA4 when it first came out. I, personally, thought it was just silly. The specific features they picked out of the game to attack have been in games for YEARS. GTA4 was just the one they heard about on the news, or whatever.

I've practiced martial arts for most of my life and, needless to say, I have a pretty hefty arsenal of melee weapons and such. Now, I live in a very, VERY, christian, rural community and these people just seemed to be terrified of me and my family from day one. The police are up at our house almost daily, and it's almost comical. My family and I practice martial arts so that we can free ourselves from things like hate and anger, but all these people seem to think we're murderous lunatics or something. I don't know how many times I've found myself wanting to strangle one of my younger siblings and, instead, went did pushups or hit the cutting board for an hour or so. I think, that, when you deprive someone of a primal need, like, bashing things or you know, sex, it makes them want it even more. However, these protesting groups in America, would have you believe that taking those things away is the answer.

I still blame Elvis and that damn rock n' roll. but those groups exist in other places...like Europe. Much of it comes out of Europe, apparently Great Britain is still a little sore from that whole "Revolutionary War" thing :P (SARCASM)

I totally get what your coming from. Martial arts had been a part of my life just as long as games and firearms have. I get bitched at often for my beliefs but it hardly ever escalates to people showing up at my house... I wonder why? I think its because they lack the strength of their convictions, they are cowards and they want other people do do and believe what they do and believe. They don't understand that I believe in self preservation and my rights as a United States citizen.

"Looking at statistics related to firearm-related deaths in the United States paints an even more interesting picture. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people killed in the U.S. by firearms in the year 2005 was 31,000, but the number of people killed in traffic accidents was 43,150, making driving in the U.S. almost 40 percent more dangerous than guns - a fact you don't hear a lot of talk about on Capitol Hill."

Mr. Pitts, although I do not have a gun myself, I am not against a civilianīs right to own guns. In fact, I have been thinking in buying one for home protection for some years now.

Said that, I must say that the above comparison is not fair at all because you are comparing statistics using two largely different universes. It is quite clear that the number of people driving in 2005 is MUCH larger than the number of people shooting guns, donīt you think?

So you canīt compare those numbers like that...

Great article

I myself am a ''gunner and gamer.'' Thankfully, most people I know and surround myself with don't have a problem with guns or games, and even enjoy them. My 2 closest friends are as much into them as me, and when the weather permits often we can be found at the closest range having a blast (pun intended), then at night playing games haha. At first my mom was extremely opposed to guns, but when I turned 18 and bought my first rifle (A 1941 M91/30 Mosin Nagant) she got past her irrationality and was like "oh, it looks kind of beautiful." My mom now has regular conversations with her boss about my guns and stuff becasue it turns out he's into guns.

The media is to blame for why average americans are so weird about guns. People like the boys at Colombine use guns and the media blows them wayyy out of proportion, and they instilled an irrational fear of guns. My mom got over that when she saw that my rifle isn't going to jump up and start killing babys from 235 miles away. I think people just need to get exposed to them more, that's all.

I myself own the aforementioned M91/30 (Russian, Bolt-Action), a 1941 Lee-Enfield no.1 mk.III (British, bolt Action), a High Standard Sentinel 9-shot revolver in .22 (Extremely Rare), and a 1968 Charter Arms Undercover Special 5-shot revolver in .38 Special, and I am planning to get a new rifle this summer. I'm not a violent person, in fact people have commented about how calm I am, but I just love them becasue of their history, the mechanical aspects, and all around they are just really fun to shoot

Fantastic article Russ..

But you just gotta leave it to idiotic gamers to ruin firearms everywhere.

I don't how "universal" this is, as some states/provinces/what-have-you don't issue carry permits yet, but where I live in the Great Frozen North, you can get a permit to carry (often erroneously referred to as a "concealed carry" permit), but you have to go to a class first. The class costs 100 dollars, takes nine hours and you have to pass both a basic knowledge and a basic skills test, and that's just to get the paper that says you can apply for a permit. Applying for the permit also costs 100 dollars, you have to have a valid, and current, form of ID and pass a background check (i.e. if you beat your wife, you're not getting a gun) and it can still take up to a month for the thing to be issued. This might sound like a bit of hassle, and it is, but it's also a great motivator, because the permit supersedes the Brady law and all of the gun dealers I know around here won't sell to anyone who doesn't have the permit.

The moral of story being "no training, no weapon."

I've only ever fired a BB gun, even though I technically own all of the real guns in our household (dad's FOID card expired, but mine's still good). Most of them are antiques that I wouldn't fire on a bet and I don't even know where the bullets for most of them are. In video games, the closest facsimile to real gun fire is ironically Fallout 3, a game criticized for the way it handles shooting. Going into VATS is a more realistic representation of picking a shot, considering probability, slowly taking aim, and squeezing the trigger. The BB gun section at the beginning of the game felt very familiar. The video arcade part of game is the appeal, but in reality the experience of firing a weapon is more like that of using a tool and there's very little "fun" to be had. Shoot a BB gun at some cans for ten minutes and you'll get pretty bored pretty fast.

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