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Larks! – Guns

June 23, 2016

A gun is just a thing like a tomato, but with potential to destroy, and therein potential to be festishized by warrior societies. Guns were invented and designed for better killing. If you know guns, as I do, you know that because of their objective lethal power (one can kill simply by falling to the floor, or being touched by a curious toddler—they’re not very “forgiving,” they don’t leave much room for error) they have to be handled very carefully, by persons and by societies. The presence of a gun is the presence of death. Dear reader, handle death with care.

So, turning to Larks!, here is a page from last November, with links to pages about anarchy, pragmatic anarchy, and Larks!. And here is the first page, with links to following pages, from last October, of an (incomplete) episode about your narrator and guns.

There are guns in Larks!, and people enjoy firing them. People are completely free to own and bear arms in a well-regulated manner. But it almost never happens that someone is injured by someone firing a gun. Why is that?

For one thing, when there are not many guns around, there are few occasions when someone can be shot, accidentally or on purpose. But why are there so few guns in Larks!? And how did that come about?

The big picture (and it is hard to fully understand a single feature of Larks! outside the texture of a full day in the life of the community—but we can imagine that) is that there is such minimal hierarchy in private and public life that people rarely are stimulated to feel violent. To the contrary, conditions of life in homes and public spaces produce the nonviolent emotions that accompany the practice of wellbeing. People breathe easy and together. The general mindset is to promote and enjoy a peaceful and nourishing lifestyle. What little violence does arise subsides quickly, as energy is easily channeled into identifying the frustration and resolving it. The absence of hierarchy makes resolution of problems a mutual good, making resolution of problems easier, in addition to reducing the frequency and intensity of problems that typically result from ignorance, fear, or greed.

In short, all lives are highly prized, pragmatically. That’s the point. All life.

From the city ordinance:

Every citizen may obtain a permit to own any number of guns, and to carry and operate them as provided:

  1. all guns must be registered with the city;
  2. guns owned by private individuals shall be either disabled or stored at a business that is licensed for that purpose;
  3. the owner of a gun in storage shall have access to that gun, at any time that she or he provides the required identification as the owner, for public use on the property of a business, or for properly licensed private use (e.g. hunting outside the city limits);
  4. a gun user must be insured.

In practice most guns in the city are owned and rented by firing ranges—businesses that provide instruction in safe use of guns, and opportunities for recreational (including competitive) shooting at targets. Some people own gun collections, mostly specializing in antiques. Guns purchased privately at gun shops are either disabled by the shop for take-home or delivered by the shop directly to a storage business. Ammunition is sold only at firing ranges.

The thinking of the community was similar to the process presented in this article, “What a Public Health Approach to Gun Violence Would Look Like.”

As for how this came about, mostly it was just an evolution of common sense. Mainly, people lost interest.

Buffalo no longer were seen within the city limits, and rarely a bear. As in other American cities, it clearly was too dangerous to allow everyone to hunt squirrels, rabbits, or ducks in their yards—that was a “do unto others” kind of thing.

In the early days of the city, people fired their guns—(I actually remember my dad firing his “muzzle loader,” as recently as 1948)—on July 4; but later the fireworks displays created enough noise for celebration.

There weren’t any other occasions or reasons for shooting a gun in town, except at firing ranges, so people lost interest in owning one, except for the few collectors of antiques and oddities.

[Update 6-28-16:  Another reasonable article on the national problem and what to do about it.]

[Guns in Allswell]

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  1. Allswell: Guns | tomkoontz

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