Why people shouldn't have guns?

Please note that this question is being asked to support a supposition (i.e. the assumption is that guns should not be possessed). Please include only those answers which support this opinion. Answers which support the opposite opinion should go in a question focused on that viewpoint. This is NOT the place to have a debate over the "correctness" of the question itself.

Here are some reasons why private possession (i.e. ownership/use of guns not by specially designated agents of the government) is not a good idea:

  • Civilians are not well-trained in the use of deadly force. They do not have the legal background to understand the full ramifications and proper usage of firearms in common situations. They are thus prone to using them incorrectly (in a legal/social sense).
  • Similarly, civilians do not have the extensive training required to reliably use firearms EVEN when they properly chose the circumstances in which to use the weapon. That is, even if the civilian makes the proper choice that use of a firearm is appropriate, they have a very poor track-record of using that weapon appropriately in the situation (i.e. they shoot at the wrong people, aim very badly, etc.). In fact, even highly-trained police have a below-average record for proper use.
  • Firearm possession leads to all sorts of predictable accidents, mostly due to carelessness of handling and storage. Reducing this accident rate seems to be very difficult.
  • Ready availability of firearms means a higher rate of suicide attempts, and a MUCH higher rate of successful suicides than in places where firearms aren't available.
  • Firearms lead to rapid conflict escalation - that is, if there is a gun available in any sort of conflict, there is a very high likelihood that it will be employed. This increases the overall incidence of violence in a society.
  • Making firearms available for private ownership greatly increases their prevalence in criminal use, as the criminals now have a common and simple way to obtain firearms. If firearms are available only to a very small section of highly restricted government groups, then obtaining a firearm by a criminal becomes radically much more difficult.

See the related question "Why people shouldn't carry guns?" for more reasons why public carry of firearms is a bad idea, many of which also apply to general private ownership.