Gun Topics on Trailspace

12:22 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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As many members know, Trailspace occasionally gets forum posts on taking guns, or other weapons, into the backcountry for self defense (for example: "Can/should I take my gun hiking? Can I bring a weapon backpacking in a National Park?") .

The subject of guns can be extremely controversial for all sides, and one we've tried to keep civil and on-topic when it comes up. Most gun threads, though not all, typically require a greater degree of moderator oversight, since they have the potential to blow up or go off-course quickly due to the subject matter and strength of opinions.

We've tried a number of tactics to handle them including:

a) let people discuss as long as it's on-topic for Trailspace (i.e. related to hiking, backpacking and other backcountry human-powered pursuits, but not hunting or general outdoor self defense) and it's not the same thread rehashed over and over.

b) an indefinite moratorium, enacted after several threads got messy and proceeded to go nowhere fast. We called it the cooling off period.

We've also played it by ear based on what was coming up in the forums and how well members handled it, which is tricky on its own. In any of these cases, the gun subject had to be specific to Trailspace's backcountry human-powered focus.

So, members, how do you think Trailspace should handle the subject?

Are guns in the backcountry ever a valid topic on Trailspace?

If so when? And do you think limits should be placed on the subject? How often brought up? By whom? In what context?

How would you want Trailspace to handle the topic?

Please feel free to voice your opinions below or send an email to feedback@trailspace.com to voice your opinion privately.

I'd like to get a gauge on our members' feelings.

2:36 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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I would enforce a weaponless rule on the forum. If somebody has question about his safety in concerning  where he's going, that person should contact the rangers/park services of that area. In any case I'd rather talk about boots and tents.

My two cents.

3:14 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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Alicia,

 Thank you for asking us all for our thoughts on the question. It is a testament to the positive motivations and objectives that you strive for in leading Trailspace.

Since the initial moratorium, it is possible that there have been comments moderated out that I am not aware of, though on the whole I think things have been quite civil. It has seemed that in threads where firearms have come up, the members have tended to self-enforce civility in the discussion and been quite respectful.

In general, the idea of a complete moratorium on the topic does not recommend itself positively to me. This is not because I have a particular desire to discuss firearms on TrailSpace, but because it would be tragic to limit free and intelligent discourse for all, due to the rash behavior of some.  It would be a shame to set the standards in correlation to the lowest common denominator, as it were.

However, I understand and relate to the dilemma. The vitriol and irrationality with which some on either side of the discussion often use is not desirable or conducive to the purpose of trailspace. There is also the likelihood that additional members who join over time will not always be as conscientious or respectful as most have lately been.

I find the most difficulty with the idea of a permanent moratorium in this: There resides the potentiality for other topics to be equally as volatile,  as has been demonstrated on the topic of "Dogs in the Backcounty." I think unless there is also a moratorium on all other topics that present the likelihood of sparking inflamed and disrespectful arguments, one for firearms would be intellectually inconsistent and stifling.

Some may misinterpret my thoughts above, but I hope most will understand. What I hope for is that we can be proactive in encouraging an increasingly positive direction intellectually and interpersonally, and think open yet respectful discussion is the key.   

3:42 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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I do not mind the topics of guns on the website as long as it pertains to hiking/backpacking. I know some areas of the world it is recommended you carry a firearm for your own/group safety. I believe higher parts of North American is an example. I would like to know which firearm would hold up in extreme cold conditions. The topic does not offend me. If a thread about firearms does not pertain to my needs, I just do not read it. This would be my recommendation to those that are offended. Just do not read the thread. For a more indepth discussion of firearms in general there could be a seperate forum category. Or, those interested in the topic can create their own website. I might even visit the site if the need comes up. Gun ownship is our right and part of our culture, and the topic will eventually come up. I must say that I believe in all our rights under the constitution, and proudly serve overseas the men and women who protect these rights. 

5:46 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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Unfortunately when the Federal government lifted restrictions on guns in National Parks, the subject of firearms became a topic that should be part of the forums. The subject does tend to go off track with opinions galore and counter opinions so I understand it does require a little extra attention from moderators.

Alicia, have you considered adding volunteer admins? I know there are a number make that few people :) on this forum who are level headed and have been around for quite some time that could be trusted with that authority/power. This might take some of the pressure off of you for having to closely monitor those types of threads. I realize the integrity of the site and quality of the forums is something you take very personally so this would probably be a big stretch for you to consider...

8:56 p.m. on February 10, 2011 (EST)
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Gonzan, if all those who start gun-themed threads displayed your level of eloquence and articulation, we wouldn't have a problem. I think a good portion of the problems arise when someone misinterprets another's message. To try to prevent these types of situations from occurring is nearly impossible, though perhaps with a more homogeneous community these issues will become less frequent.

I believe this type of community could be fostered though a sharper "focus" regarding the forums of Trailspace. I posit that people come to Trailspace.com and ask questions about guns in the backcountry because they don't know what the site is about. They see a plethora of tabs across the top and they think "with so many topics of conversation, one of them will fit my question!" They come from the hunting forums and from international hiking forums and from travel forums; perhaps we can all agree that when these people first get to Trailspace.com, they see a bootprint and think they're going to find information regarding hiking on trails. Which they find...along with forums on paddling, climbing, and a photo contest.

Better to have people know what the site is about before they get to it, no? I don't mean to uproot the entire fourm structure; just maybe apply a bit of "rebranding." I want to see Trailspace be THE resource for hikers and backpackers to consult before they go out on a big trip, like BPL, Whiteblaze, and Postholer almost are.

My motivations here are of course partially rooted in self-interest: I just want to see the community thrive, so I can have a dependable resource to go to with my questions and concerns. The situation is kinda like searching for a movie or music reviewer; you find someone that fits your personality, and you rely on that person from then on, because there is just too much crap out there to go through it all yourself. On the other hand, I think I could be that "reviewer" for other individuals as well, and want to try to ensure that the people looking for my perspective can find it.

I champion a proactive solution whereby gun threads don't even start in the first place, rather than trying to "shore up" all the errant threads which drift off topic as they so often do...

 

12:37 a.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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This is a tough nut to crack isn't it?

I have given this a lot of thought and basically I find that most people who object  do so because they are worried that improper handling of a firearm will result in themselves or someone else being harmed or killed in a situation where they feel a firearm was not needed to begin with. I can understand this, I love my family too.

I also find that some people wish to carry a firearm just because they feel safer with one, I mean just possessing it. They do not in many cases possess the training and experience to do anything other than that.

There are a lot of gun owners who do have the skill, experience, and ability to carry in a completely harmless way. This is easily accomplished by understanding the mechanics of firearms and being diligent in safe handling until you can do it in your sleep. There are also those who feel there is no real need to carry theirs in the backcountry.

But that's not really the question Alicia asks is it?

Are firearms threads disruptive to the point that they harm or thwart the intent of Trailspace? Are they in the long run bad for business?

If the subject keeps coming up, but it is not addressed because it is divisive are we really serving the well being of our fellow adventurers, many who are new to back country travel and have legitimate questions and concerns?

If they asked: "Should I carry a first aid kit just in case?" We would all agree, and say Yes!

First aid kits don't have the potential to harm anyone, as far as I know, they way a mishandled firearm does. Although not knowing first aid and simply possessing the kit is foolish.

I'm sure we have all seen the posts in threads where people cherry pick incidents to support their own beliefs or predispositions.

Hiker gets shot by stupid redneck hunter.....

Hiker gets mauled by wild dogs, no weapon carried...

Hiker carries 4 lb gun for years, just useless dead weight...

Bear attacks and kills 4 year old while family yells "Hey bear"...

All are true, have happened, and should be considered, but get tossed about without really changing anyone's mind who already has their mind made up.

So maybe the best way is to handle the topic is to find a way to answer questions on the subject by simply presenting some facts and statistics, along with the legalities of the matter instead of everyone posting their opinion as to whether or not it is the "right thing to do, or not do".

What may be the best thing for you may not be the best thing for me, for example there have been thousands of meth labs found in National Forests in the past few years here in the Southeast. This is one of the things people often consider, while others suggest that if you're scared you should just stay home.

I have to trust that people, for the most part,  can decide for themselves what is right for them if they have the facts. They may have little or no need at all to carry a weapon where they live.

Is there a way to just present the facts on Trailspace?

Then we can just argue about those. Haha.

 

 

 

 

 

12:45 a.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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Why do I do this to myself?

7:39 a.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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I see no harm in discusing firearms on the trail. But a topic like this, and taxes is a time bomb. If one joins into the conversation they should pick their words carefully. I think overall we have treated the subject, and each other, with  respect.

8:25 a.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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Why do I do this to myself?

 Haha! I Know what you mean, Trout.

Me, and those bunnies, too ;) 

9:23 a.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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The way I see it the constitution says you have the right to keep and bear arms. You have a right to freedom of the press. Trailspace can handle the firearms issue any way they want and I will support their decisions.

I vote for talking about firearms, knives, swords, machetes, pocket knives, hand grenades, flame throwers, daisy cutter's, etc. You have nothing to fear from talking about anything. It's called free speech for a reason. Americans fought and died for free speech. If you want to toss it in the gutter go ahead. It would detract from the website in my opinion.

Even if you’re adamantly opposed to guns, as many people are, you can at least let people know how you feel about them in a discussion rather than banning them for everyone.

I have never understood the calls for censorship versus open debate. I say throw it all out there, let the best argument be made, and let the people decide.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.  ~Voltaire

 

12:46 p.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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I have a lot of hesitation to chime in here because, first of all, a characteristic of the internet generally and all the associated "social networking" offshoots suffer from a fundamental flaw. They do not lend themselves to extended, rational discussions. (historical note - I played a small role in the development of the internet, since my grad school had one of the original Arpanet development sites, which I used - this was in the 1960s; plus Barb was a participant in one of the very early chat exchanges in 1970). Two contributors to this flaw - you see only the words, entered frequently in haste, with grammatical and spelling errors; and you do not have any of the non-verbal clues to communication (tone of voice, body language, etc) that make up some 80-90% of communication (according to the people who research such things). Add in the short attention span inherent in the web (people tend scan the first 140 characters quickly, perhaps skim half the rest, then react - the web is sometimes characterized as a prime example of ADD).

So I am quite sure that a certain number of readers will misunderstand what I am writing and where I come down on the "guns in the wilderness" question. Suffice it to say that I have traveled in certain areas where I was required by law to carry a gun.

Weapons generally and guns specifically are a religion and a political issue for a large fraction of the world's population, and especially in the US - on BOTH the pro-gun and the anti-gun side of the question. Combine that emotional involvement with the topic with the "sound bite" nature of the internet, and logical, rational discussions of "guns in the wilderness" becomes a non-starter, maybe even a non sequitur. That same flaw, of course, affects all discussions on the web, including questions of "which tent/boots/pack should I buy?" and "Where is the best place to go hiking/backpacking/climbing/backcountry skiing?" But few topics elicit the kind of emotional reaction and strong religious feelings that guns generally and guns in the wilderness specifically do.

Add into the mix that there are a large number of gun discussion websites, and a fair number that have extended discussions of guns in the wilderness. Thus, I come down to the conclusion that discussion of "guns in the wilderness" belongs elsewhere.

I disagree with DrReaper's characterization of deeming this (and other topics that are considered out of Trailspace's charter) as "censorship". Remember that several of the "rules" of Trailspace relate to respect for others and their opinions and the appropriate topics. There is no explicit list of "forbidden" topics.  But there are some topics that do belong elsewhere. You can easily find them using Google, Yahoo, Bing, or a dozen other search engines.

1:10 p.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for all the comments so far. I appreciate hearing everyone's opinions. I'm going to keep this thread open for a while, so we can hear from more members over a few weeks.

So, if you have an opinion on this topic, I urge you to speak up now either here or via email feedback@trailspace.com

I don't want to sway the comments, so I'll just clarify a few points.

@BigSmoke: We actually do have three moderators: f_klock, Tom D, and Bill S. Generally they delete those annoying spams or outright commercial posts and keep an eye out for trouble in the forums and let us know if we've missed something. So, thanks to our current moderators for their hard work!

@pillowthread: I hear your comments about focus and share your desire to have the community grow and thrive. What Trailspace is and how it serves its community is something we're thinking about a lot and will be putting more energy into this year.

On this guns topic, most of the time when a new member posts about whether to bring along a gun/weapon, they've come to Trailspace specifically because they want to ask their question of fellow hikers and backpackers (For example: "I want to start hiking with my significant other and my buddies say I should bring a gun. What do you think?")

So in this case, posters tend to have already identified Trailspace as a prime place to ask hiking and backpacking questions.

Here's some food for thought for anyone to consider:

  • If you're against any talk of guns/weapons on Trailspace, where would you want another (potentially armed) hiker or backpacker to ask those questions and get those answers?
  • If you support on-topic guns/weapons talk, where would you draw the line that it goes outside of Trailspace's focus and/or is a distraction?
  • If you're undecided or somewhere in the middle, feel free to talk about that too: what you would or wouldn't want to see on the site.

Thanks again for all of the thoughtful comments.

4:29 p.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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 I completely understand the explosive nature of "weapons in the wilderness" threads, it serves no useful  purpose to discuss the issue if  there is not a way to handle them in a manner that has a benefit to Trailspace members or visitors. There are, as Bill S.  points out, many other places to go discuss guns in forums that deal with hunting or gun ownership.

I don't see a moratorium as a squelching of anyone's right to free speech, there is a time and place for all things. Along with our rights comes responsibilities. We do have the responsibility to consider other peoples feelings and use moderation or even abstinence from discussion that has harmful or disruptive effects on the overall task at hand.

I hold strong views on the matter, but those are my views and I am civil and open minded enough to put my personal views on the back burner in order to be a useful member of Trailspace.

I'm fine with a moratorium on gun threads if it serves Trailspace the best.

As I mentioned above it would also be nice if these types of questions could be redirected to a page that gave basic facts and legalities concerning carrying guns or a link where that info is found.

I do think debating the matter on an online forum is very difficult at best.

I'm fine with whatever Dave & Alicia decide is best, it is their website and I respect their right to run it as they see fit.

That is a right of private business owners, just as much as any other right we are guaranteed.

5:05 p.m. on February 11, 2011 (EST)
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I'm fine with whatever Dave & Alicia decide is best, it is their website and I respect their right to run it as they see fit.

That is a right of private business owners, just as much as any other right we are guaranteed.

 Agreed.

4:16 a.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
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I think it is bad form to discuss weapons here. Mentioning it is ok.

People take all kinds of drugs into the outdoors. Even if California completely legalized pot tomorrow, I wouldn't want to listen to someone talk about their enjoyment of it on a forum like this (and other minds may be easily influenced).

I think the topic is like drugs, sex and God: a private affair. Discussing it here would be (un)intentionally shitting where you eat (which is much worse than cooking where you sleep).

5:12 a.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
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I was thinking long and hard if I should express my opinion about guns in Trailpsace, being non-American (as most people in here are Americans), and thinking that maybe I am missing something – knowing that there is a bit of a culture different about guns. But maybe it's something to think about: I don't think that guns have anything to do with backcountry activities. People around the world don't usually carry a gun with them, unless they are going for a hunt, or will need to hunt for food as they go trekking for weeks. And also, do any of the outdoor shops are sell guns? REI, Backcountry.com etc? Nop…I agree with the posts above, stating that guns is like a religion, and it have little to do with Trailspace. It's a hard one, and I can only say that as for me, after 3 years in the military here in Israel, there is no way you will see me carrying a gun nowhere, and at the same time I wouldn't like to tell others if they should or shouldn’t do so. Maybe it's better to stick to "pure" outdoor subjects, base on what the outdoor industry is all about (as can be determine from outdoor gear-shops, magazines, the winter-show etc)?

 

7:23 a.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
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If a OP asks " Should I carry.....?" I think the best way to respond is to state ones answers to the OP, and not get into a debate about it.

 Maybe a sticky about guns. We could all post our opinions, without debate, and that would be that. If someone starts a debate it should be understood that the post will be deleated.

We might not all agree, but this way a new person could best make up his/hers mind based  only on the knowledge of other backpackers. This is to important of an issue to sweep under a rug. I think we must address it in a fair way.

9:29 a.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
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As some already know, I do not shy from a good debate.  It should be no surprise then that I have participated in literally hundreds of gun debates over the years.  Basically this experience has taught me a few adults engaging in this debate are seeking technical information (e.g. how do you keep your powder dry in the tropics), but most already have a set opinion and are just seeking affirmation thereof or out trying to pick a fight. 

IMO those seeking technical information are probably best served going to a gun centric sight.  As for those seeking affirmation - or an argument - perhaps they should save their wind for fireside chats, as a consensus in such discourse occurs only when preaching to the choir, while most disagreements at best end in stalemates or dogmatic retorts stridently exchanged.  

Anyway, it is almost impossible to have an intelligent gun conversation, since so much of what passes as fact is mis or disinformation.  I have researched this topic under different circumstances, finding lots of declarations, yet find it extremely difficult to find scrupulous original back ground data that substantiates any given position.  Dig deep enough and you will be amazed how little published about this topic qualifies as reliable original data.  It seems everyone is referencing the same three studies.  This all is only made worse by the fact many completely misunderstand the data, and inadvertently cite something as supporting their stance when in fact it refutes their position.  Thus between the spin, the BS, PC psycho-babble, close mindedness, and ill-premised assertions, I found gun talk to be mostly an act of futility.  For what it is worth, far more people are accidentally shot in the backwoods than the number of critters shot by someone defending themselves.  I swear that is the truth, I read it somewhere on the internet…

Ed

1:14 p.m. on February 12, 2011 (EST)
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There are a lot of wild places people go backpacking. People are bound to have questions about firearms and protection. I don't think sending them off to a commercial hunting website is the best possible answer. I will more often then not advise someone to not carry a firearm or only as a backup in a dangerous area. 

If there is one thing I can't agree with its limiting speech.

For me if there is a topic I don't want to participate in I just skip it and I am off to the next one. I don't try to limit the freedom of others to participate in things. If everyone just ignored a topic they would just drop off the radar and that would be that.

I kind of like the idea of posting a position on firearms and being done with it. No debate, quick and to the point. Keeping it simple may be the best way to handle it.

12:37 a.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
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I do not really think issue has as much to do with speech as it does with moderation of topics and whether or not this topic belongs a forum with a generally narrow focus. That being said I also like the idea of a single, perhaps stickied, post where every member may make one post regarding their thoughts, ideas, and advice, as long as they do so without referencing another member or post, so that people can make up their own minds.

11:33 p.m. on February 13, 2011 (EST)
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I am with trouthunters  suggestion. I also think it's what is in the best interest of Dave and Alicia..I am just happy they have this site to get great info from all of you...

11:35 a.m. on February 15, 2011 (EST)
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You guys/gals are nutty, this discussion about not talking about guns gets longer everyday. I am not into modern weapons and modern hunting. I hunt with rocks and sticks, pre-stone age tools.

I read a story once about a tribe of indians that were discovered in the Rio Grande where the Big Bend Nat'l Park is now. They were found by the early spanish. They had no manmade/modified tools, they made no tools from rocks and stones, they made no pottery, didn't tan the hides of their game, didn't wear clothes or sandals. They were basically human animals. They hunted by running down their game and tearing them apart. They slept on the ground curled up like a dog. They didn't even have fire or knew how to make it.

Guns have made humans the worst threat to wildlife and making wars the worst inventions that we have ever come up with. But thats just my opinion.

 Tshirt I saw in Yosemite "Defend your right to arm bears"

11:13 p.m. on February 15, 2011 (EST)
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You guys/gals are nutty...

Hey Gary, tell us what you really think!  I don't know about the others, but I do fit your description.

Ed

4:29 a.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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(Sigh!)... I'm not sure if I should step into this as it may be difficult to clean off my boots later, but, I'm not certain a topic should be off limits just because it may prove controversial.

There are plenty of subjects that have the potential to inflame passions and spark heated discussions. The politics of the outdoors, taxes vs. fees vs. tresspass, comes to mind as an example. There are legitimate aspects to consider and/or debate but should the topic be completely avoided just because some individuals are incapable of conducting a civil, rational conversation?

A legitimate search for knowledge should not be thwarted simply because some people may be uncomfortable with the subject matter. A thorough, rational, CIVIL discussion benefits the entire community with each individual being able to come to their own conclusions based upon the merits of the arguements.

I will support and abide by whatever Dave and Alicia ultimately decide.

I will now go and search for a large brush to tend my boots.

1:18 p.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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 They were found by the early spanish. They had no manmade/modified tools, they made no tools from rocks and stones, they made no pottery, didn't tan the hides of their game, didn't wear clothes or sandals. They were basically human animals. They hunted by running down their game and tearing them apart. They slept on the ground curled up like a dog. They didn't even have fire or knew how to make it.

Without wanting to hijack the thread, Gary et al, the extinction of this group of 'wild humans' would have to be one of the best arguments for advanced defensive technology (medicine included) ever.

7:03 p.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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Yes, these poor early humans didn't fair well against the spanish seeking their seven cities of gold. It's too bad really how the dominate cultures of this world have overpowered the often less, tho seemingly smarter ones of history.

When our european ancestors came to this continent, I wish they could have fallen off the edge of that flat earth they thought they lived on. American man and woman had it made for millennia before the "White Man" got here.


Ascent_of_Man_3.jpg

10:43 p.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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I'm somewhat split on this topic.  Part of me dislikes the idea of any topic being "censored".  But, as has been mentioned here, restricting posts to topics relevant to the purpose of the forum isn't really censorship, though it may feel like it to those whose posts get rejected.

... and I'm split on it in a different way ... hunting, for example, clearly isn't in the charter of Trailspace.com.  But a discussion of the merits (or not) of carrying "protection" while in the wilds does seem to fit.

To me, if it's being disallowed because it's too controversial, or unpopular, that smacks of censorship.  If it's disallowed because it doesn't fit the spirit of the forum, then it's just good forum management.  If specific threads get "out of hand" (e.g. abusive, or hostile), then closing down the thread in question is good forum management.

I guess it comes down to the intent of the moderation, and how involved the forum owners & moderators wish to be in "managing" discussions.  After all, while it's really nice that we the users are being asked our opinion, ultimately it's their decision, since they're the ones who need to manage it.

 

 

11:01 p.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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Hear, hear!

11:26 p.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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I have traveled in certain areas where I was required by law to carry a gun.

Out of curiosity, where is one required by law to carry a gun?

 

p.s. I don't know why each time I hit return I create a new text block... sorry for the formatting... I couldn't get the cursor to register below the quoted block.  I typed this reply using Firefox 4.0 Beta 11.  I could go into text mode to fix it, but figured better to leave it this way in case Dave wants to check it out...

8:00 a.m. on February 17, 2011 (EST)
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Discussing the philosophy of carrying a gun, whether in the backcountry or in a city, would not be useful and out of place for this website.  The political and emotional aspects become too divisive.  There are plenty of other venues for those discussions.

What I believe would be useful is to discuss and provide guidance/resources/discussions on the importance of proper training and legal issues. 

It is a topic that should not be ignored.  According to the NRA website, "There are well over 250 million privately-owned firearms in the U.S., including nearly 100 million handguns....".  Even if these statistics are on 50% accurate, it is still significant. 

So you can be assured there are a considerable number of people who carry a handgun in the backcountry.  I do.

2:38 p.m. on February 17, 2011 (EST)
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I have traveled in certain areas where I was required by law to carry a gun.

Out of curiosity, where is one required by law to carry a gun?

...

Some years ago, we were headed to northern Canada in our plane (Yukon and Northern Territories). When we were filing our flight plan, we were informed that since we were headed into "sparsely settled territory", we were required to have an emergency kit in the plane that included a rifle of specified type and a specified amount of ammunition (and sleeping bags, fishing gear, etc). That was safety regs, similar to what we encountered when flying the plane to the Bahamas (inflatable raft of size to hold as many passengers as seats in the plane, etc).

4:48 p.m. on February 17, 2011 (EST)
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I'm somewhat split on this topic.  Part of me dislikes the idea of any topic being "censored".  But, as has been mentioned here, restricting posts to topics relevant to the purpose of the forum isn't really censorship, though it may feel like it to those whose posts get rejected.

... and I'm split on it in a different way ... hunting, for example, clearly isn't in the charter of Trailspace.com.  But a discussion of the merits (or not) of carrying "protection" while in the wilds does seem to fit.

To me, if it's being disallowed because it's too controversial, or unpopular, that smacks of censorship.  If it's disallowed because it doesn't fit the spirit of the forum, then it's just good forum management.  If specific threads get "out of hand" (e.g. abusive, or hostile), then closing down the thread in question is good forum management.

I guess it comes down to the intent of the moderation, and how involved the forum owners & moderators wish to be in "managing" discussions.  After all, while it's really nice that we the users are being asked our opinion, ultimately it's their decision, since they're the ones who need to manage it.

 

 

 One thing everyone here needs to remember is that Trailspace, like the overwhelming majority of sites is a privately owned business and the owners can control the content any way they want. I'm not one of the owners, but the owners, because I've been around a long time, have given me permission to moderate the forums. Mostly it is just deleting spam, which I find annoying anyway, so it isn't exactly a big deal.  But, sometimes people do go over the line of what we (and there are several of us) consider inappropriate posts.  Some are obvious and some aren't removed until there is a discussion about them.

Sometimes people claim they have a First Amendment Right to say whatever they want on websites. Most of the time, that is not true because it only applies to government action, not private action.

btw, if you type "guns" and "forum" into Google, you get 67,700,000 hits, so it's not like there aren't places on net to talk about guns.

8:50 p.m. on February 18, 2011 (EST)
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Apparently "gun control" is one of the top reasons people un-friend others on Facebook.  Touche' :)

http://cnettv.cnet.com/top-5-most-anticipated-tech-gear-2011/9742-1_53-50100259.html?tag=ap

 

8:55 p.m. on February 18, 2011 (EST)
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I'm somewhat split on this topic.  Part of me dislikes the idea of any topic being "censored".  But, as has been mentioned here, restricting posts to topics relevant to the purpose of the forum isn't really censorship, though it may feel like it to those whose posts get rejected.

... and I'm split on it in a different way ... hunting, for example, clearly isn't in the charter of Trailspace.com.  But a discussion of the merits (or not) of carrying "protection" while in the wilds does seem to fit.

To me, if it's being disallowed because it's too controversial, or unpopular, that smacks of censorship.  If it's disallowed because it doesn't fit the spirit of the forum, then it's just good forum management.  If specific threads get "out of hand" (e.g. abusive, or hostile), then closing down the thread in question is good forum management.

I guess it comes down to the intent of the moderation, and how involved the forum owners & moderators wish to be in "managing" discussions.  After all, while it's really nice that we the users are being asked our opinion, ultimately it's their decision, since they're the ones who need to manage it.

 

 

 One thing everyone here needs to remember is that Trailspace, like the overwhelming majority of sites is a privately owned business and the owners can control the content any way they want.

Tom, pretty much what I was trying to say :).

 

12:56 a.m. on February 19, 2011 (EST)
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I waited to truly post about this topic. I have no issue with firearms first and formost. I own firearms and well qualified with them.But I have issue with this topic here and the only way to truly contain it is how Trouthunter described.

My reasoning for that is exactly every thing that can go wrong with the thread. I saw it last night on another forum.,

The OP was a 23 yr old who is not willing to compromise taking his firearm on a trail to shed weight. He has a concealed handgun license.This trail runs 14 states. He knows that carrying his firearm is a federal Offence without a license yet he is going to do it. Now that thread has spon to what Caliber of weapon to take to drop weight.What has more stopping power.

Can each and every poster explain the carrier laws in each state if your replying on the topic? The actual proper way a firearm must be transported?

These are just 2 questions. Iam asking and I can come up with 20.I can tell you how it must be transported.But I can't tell you what Maines laws are as an example. I also went outside to seek advise from a weapons specialist.His advice was the same as trouthunters don't touch it just have a thread stating the obvious of requirements. Because firearms are personal to the individual.

But if you all would like to discuss this I will support it.But I will choose not to participate. I created a mess of a thread before myself. I learned from watching it spin out of control and watched one a time before that I never post on. I just see this becomeing something we won't truly benefit from.

9:19 a.m. on February 19, 2011 (EST)
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The proposed forum should not open to discussing "gun control" or whether it is appropriate for someone to "carry" in the back country.  This is a personal choice and there are plenty of other venues to venture into these politically charged/emotional discussions. 

As I stated in my earlier post, this proposed forum would be an opportunity to discuss resources for firearm training or legal concerns.

For example, if someone hikes the PCT and will be carrying a weapon, they will be in 3 states with very different gun laws. It would be helpful to have a forum available to discuss this scenario and benefit from others expiriences.

While the mention of "Guns" will offend some individuals and cause them to attempt to convert others to their point of view, I believe there is a benefit for a discussion limited to training and legal issues.  Or, lets just stick our heads in the sand and pretend no one will have a gun in the backcountry.

11:37 a.m. on February 19, 2011 (EST)
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I know guns are a hot topic issue but I  think its good to have a discussion on guns as long as it relates to hiking /backpacking and people leave there political views out of it. If they dont like guns dont post but there are legitimate questions that peopel are seeking answers to. Also some of the back packers that use this forum are also hunters and may be able to share their knowledge with people that want protection but are not sure what what is out there and what is appropiate for the area they are going to. To me is like asking for help on which pack to use on the JMT.

It will need more moderation unfortunately but  The MANY should not suffer because of the few that can't have a rational discussion.

Ciscoblue22

12:42 a.m. on February 20, 2011 (EST)
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@ChiliDog, I think the aforementioned reference to "gun control" was really just an example ... not necessarily "gun control" per se, but that whole genre.  It was described in the vein of the things you don't bring up if you want a discussion to remain civil (e.g. religion, politics, guns...)

...

Now I'll go dust off the "Insured by Smith & Wesson" bumper sticker on my Jeep.    But before anyone gets all "up in arms" ... or all "fired up" ...  I'm kidding! :)

 

 

7:03 p.m. on February 23, 2011 (EST)
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It seems to me that if people want to have a discussion about which firearm is best for self protection on the trail, it would only get disruptive if anti-gun people joined in to cause a disruption.  Same would be true about hunting and backpacking.  Or just about any other topic about backpacking.

Would you ban topics about drying chicken for backpacking if vegans enter the discussion and cause a ruckus?  

Maybe the solution is to ban the disruptive people rather than stifling the exchange of information related to backpacking.

But No one is forced to read a thread about guns and backpacking.  No one is forced to reply to a post about guns and backing. 

Everyone should be capable of ignoring post they don't like.  So if I started a thread looking for suggestions about a good firearm for self-protection on the trail, or how to carry a hunting handgun while backpacking, and someone enter the discussion with a "disruptive" response, I'm adult ewnough to just ignore them and carry on the discussion with others.

Banning the topic is bowing to the disruptive people and those who simply can't control themselves.  

 

 

5:55 p.m. on February 24, 2011 (EST)
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Hi Alicia: Thank you for the opportunity to cover this topic. Gonzan has it right but in a wordy fashion. Keep it civil, keep it open, even on hot topics. thanks. richard riger

9:28 p.m. on February 24, 2011 (EST)
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It seems to me that if people want to have a discussion about which firearm is best for self protection on the trail, it would only get disruptive if anti-gun people joined in to cause a disruption.  Same would be true about hunting and backpacking.  Or just about any other topic about backpacking.

Would you ban topics about drying chicken for backpacking if vegans enter the discussion and cause a ruckus?  

Maybe the solution is to ban the disruptive people rather than stifling the exchange of information related to backpacking.

But No one is forced to read a thread about guns and backpacking.  No one is forced to reply to a post about guns and backing. 

Everyone should be capable of ignoring post they don't like.  So if I started a thread looking for suggestions about a good firearm for self-protection on the trail, or how to carry a hunting handgun while backpacking, and someone enter the discussion with a "disruptive" response, I'm adult ewnough to just ignore them and carry on the discussion with others.

Banning the topic is bowing to the disruptive people and those who simply can't control themselves.  

nogods said it better than I could have.  I don't want to discuss gun rights issues here but I would like to be able to talk about how to carry a gun in the woods.  I could ask the same questions on a gun forum but not get a backpackers point of view on the question.  I also agree that I have seen more inflammatory posts from the anti gun side than I have from the pro gun side.  It isn't my forum so it isn't my decision but I would let gun topics back on this board.  I would also ban people who can't be civil, whether they post regularly, post once in a blue moon, moderate here, etc.

8:17 p.m. on February 25, 2011 (EST)
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As a reader, I don't have an issue with the gun topic being in it's own area, particularly as it pertains to carrying for protection. While I personally have no interest in the topic, I could see how some hikers and hikers to some areas might and I wouldn't personally find it offensive to have it be part of this forum.

From a practical standpoint, I pity the moderator who will have to ride herd on any gun topics. Strings on politics or religion would probably be more even keeled.

I also wonder if it's worth the effort and would play to this sites strengths. There are already a number of very good topics on guns, hunting, etc. A parallel that comes to mind is the fact that I'm currently researching and plan to buy an SUV, primarily for use on backpacking and camping trips, as well as for towing a sailboat to area mountain lakes. Despite the fact that my use is tied to hiking, I wouldn't consider automotive review to be in the sweet spot of this site and there are already many other sites that have more content specific to that topic than I could ever read. Some folks may disagree, and to those I ask: Suburban or Explorer?

P.S. +1 on kudos to you for asking your users' opinions. Based on the fact that you even ask, I have a feeling you'll come up with a good solution.

1:04 a.m. on February 26, 2011 (EST)
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@richard riger: Welcome to Trailspace!! Yup, Gonzan's a talker; sometimes, I wish he'd add in some kind of "abstract" to the beginning of his longer tomes; he get's a pass though...he is an artist, after all...knows how to manipulate his medium...

10:58 a.m. on February 26, 2011 (EST)
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Haha, thanks for the, um...compliment?

;)

5:31 p.m. on February 28, 2011 (EST)
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Hi All: Especially Gonzan and Pillowhead. You both seem to prove what many have said: It is a topic that can be discussed civilly by intelligent people in a forum for out door use as opposed to regular NRA type of cites.

4:06 p.m. on March 2, 2011 (EST)
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I believe, as a Canadian, living in a statist nation that overly-controls both the right of it's citizens to keep and bear arms and our freedom of speech through appointed Human Rights Tribunals, that the single greatest aspect of the USA is "The Second Amendment".

I further believe that, any needless restriction on discussion of guns here would/will tend to weaken that superb protection of freedom and your American birthright....some here seem to fail to see just how threatened North American freedoms are now and not by the "Islamofascists", either.......

So, in a very rare disagreement with BillS, whom I greatly respect, I am strongly in favour of allowing gun discussions pertinent to self defence and protection while hiking. I have considerable personal knowledge in this respect and I enjoy sharing it with anyone interested.

BTW, the situation in the NWT and Yukon is different now and DO NOT attempt to enter Canada, with a firearm, unless you are aware of the regulatory situation you must comply with. There are scores of very choice guns confiscated and destroyed here every year now due to this, just a friendly warning for anyone contemplating a Canadian hiking trip.

10:29 p.m. on March 2, 2011 (EST)
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Dewey, You might not feel the same way if you lived here and saw how many people get killed every year with firearms. Not just the big stories, but the day to day shootings of every type-accidents, drive-bys, robberies, domestic violence, random murders. I live in Southern California where these stories are constantly in the news. Kids being shot in their yard by gangbangers shooting at each other, kids bringing guns to school and having them accidentally go off, you name it.  Not to mention all the guns being smuggled from the US into Mexico to fuel the gang wars.

I lived in NZ for a while. I would see hunters on occasion while hiking, but they have nowhere near the gun violence we do.

For example, I don't like the idea of guns in national parks. I don't want to go hiking and wonder if anyone I meet is carrying a handgun. I'm in the lower 48, so maybe I'd feel differently in AK, but the idea that I have to contend with some yahoo who thinks carrying a weapon makes him king of the forest is not my idea of a good time.

12:19 a.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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..the single greatest aspect of the USA is "The Second Amendment".

I further believe that, any needless restriction on discussion of guns here would/will tend to weaken that superb protection of freedom and your American birthright..

Dewy:

An individual’s right to control their property trumps the first and second amendment rights of others while they are on his property.  If you bring a gun onto my property against my consent or speak in a manner I find offensive, I have the right to eject you from my property.  I too love our freedoms.  The first and second amendments are some of them, but so is my right to own property and determine how my property gets used.  Trailspace is someone’s property, and they have the right to decide how this web site is used.  These are not the recent advents of gun control zealots or the thought police.  Wyatt Earp had the right to disarm patrons before they entered his Tombstone city saloon back in the old wild west – a prerogative that any property owner still has the right to exercise.  Certainly then the owners of Trailspace are not treading on anybody’s first or second amendment rights, should they decide to muzzle gun related topics.  It is after all their right to do so on this web site should they choose.

Ed 

12:20 a.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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Gang bangers in southern CA shooting at each other has nothing to do with this topic on Trailspace.  Guns being smuggled into Mexico inflaming gang wars?  Again, not related to the topics here and what you have read in the media wasn't entirely true either.  Concealed carry in National Parks?  Where is the bloodshed that everybody was predicting?

Those topics have more to do with your personal dislike of guns than whether or not gun topics are a legitimate Trailspace subject.  Please don't associate the actions of criminals or narco terrorists with people like me, honest citizens who also happen to own, use and carry guns. 

12:46 a.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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Don:

You are correct asserting purposeful use of guns to conduct crimes is irrelevant in this context; no one is proposing to use a gun to jump someone in the boonies.  But some of the examples Tom cites, such as gun handling accidents are relevant.  Certainly the person who requires a piece to feel secure in the back country also need a piece in a car camp ground for the same reasons.  And while many state they know the scenarios when it is acceptable to use their gun, they also state in the same breath that if they felt imperiled, their family’s safety trumps the saftey of all others.  Ergo is my concern regarding this topic.  You can’t recall a bullet once it passes its mark, and who really notices what is down range when a bear is charging up on their child in the dark?

Ed

4:54 a.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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I still think you cannot be certain how others, less discerning, will the 'take' the message conveyed when seeing Trailspace users discuss firearms. Idiots are very susceptible to unthinking imitation of groups they identify with and anyone thinking of using a firearm in the backcountry should have to make a serious effort to get to know other humans who practice the art of hunting and self-defence. This, to me, should mean more than turning on a computer and reading the experiences of people they want to identify with. Consumerism makes a lot of things very dangerous, IMO. Image and reality are easily confused but the consequences can be fatal, in every sense of that word.

There was a serial shooting here in Cumbria UK, last year (Derrick Bird). We know some of the people involved in the aftermath. The morning of the killing spree, I remember looking up at the top shelf of magazines in the village shop (like you do) and wondering why there was no trail walking magazine still (I keep suggesting but business is slow); yet, there were 2 shooting magazines and there definitely aren't more farmers/hunters than walkers/climbers in the Lake District. Sometimes things that happen before an event only become salient afterwards, if you know what I mean.

8:28 a.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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A reminder: This thread is only for discussing the extent to which we should allow gun-related threads on Trailspace. It is not the place to debate the merits guns, gun laws, guns in the backcountry, or any topic other than stated above. Thanks.

9:45 a.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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That is what I was atrempting to do and I gave my opinion on the freedom you Americans have that I feel is fundamental to all others because I think that restriction of said freedom in any respect tends to imperil it and all others. I was not advocating that anyone carry or not carry and I did not attempt to debate the guns-backcountry issue.

I have recently posted my opinion on hikers carrying guns on an appropriate thread and also have posted my wilderness experience, including dealing with Grizzlies, here in order to demonstrate the basis for the opinions I hold on certain issues. So, I am not attempting to debate the issue in any respect and am merely stating that I feel that discussion of guns and hiking is a valid topic on Trailspace and I hope it will be allowed.

Sorry, for any misunderstanding.

10:05 a.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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Ed,

Discussing what might happen if you have to use a gun would be a valid topic since it is directly related to the four rules of gun safety. 

So, members, how do you think Trailspace should handle the subject?

Are guns in the backcountry ever a valid topic on Trailspace?

If so when? And do you think limits should be placed on the subject? How often brought up? By whom? In what context?

How would you want Trailspace to handle the topic?

Please feel free to voice your opinions below or send an email to feedback@trailspace.com to voice your opinion privately.

I'd like to get a gauge on our members' feelings.

Guns in the back country are a valid topic because it is perfectly legal to carry a gun in the back country.  People might be seeking information related to that just like they might be seeking info related to things such as pooping in the back country.  Others might not like that, if so they can opt to not participate in the thread. 

The limits ought to start with keeping the conversaitions related to the back country.  Gang bangers, drugs wars and kid's bringing guns to school aren't related to that and shouldn't be allowed, for example.

How often should it be brought up?  I don't think there ought to be a limit on that, just like there shouldn't be a limit on pooping in the woods threads.

Who can bring the topic up?  Members.  If the thread is not directly related to carrying in the woods, delete the thread.  If one particular person keeps derailing topics by bringing up things that aren't related to carrying in the woods, ban that member.  If somebody comes here and it is obvious their only intent is to debate gun rights, ban them.  If somebody can't keep their emotions in check and either opt out of the discussions or keep things rational and polite, ban that member.

The context?  I'm not sure what Alicea meant by that.  I'll default back to "guns in the back country" related. 

I also know that this is not my forum.  If the owners don't want to discuss this subject I'm perfectly fine with it.  I can go elsewhere to talk about guns.  I also understand that no matter how hard we all try some people are going to get wrapped around the axle about the subject. 

Don

2:11 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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This is turning out to be quite an interesting topic. It doesn't appear to be straying from the point and is civil and intelligent. I really wouldn't argue with anything that has been said. Would this thread be the place to cover the "bear sprays"  that have proven to be so effective, but non lethal ? While not gun related per se the comparisons might be very valid.

4:43 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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That is what I was atrempting to do.. ..Sorry, for any misunderstanding.

 Dewey:

You were right on topic, nothing out of place with your contributions here.  I think Dave was addressing me and a couple of others.  Sorry I got carried away Dave.

Ed

4:48 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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No worries, guys. Also, thanks to all who have shared their thoughts here. I appreciate the candor and ideas -- you're giving us a lot to think about.

7:41 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for all the comments so far. I've been following this thread closely, though staying out of it, and have been impressed by the level of civility and thoughtfulness.

Dave and I both appreciate all of the input and suggestions above and in emails and will try to find the best solution for the Trailspace community. Now we have the hard task of deciding exactly what those specifics will be.

Feel free to continue discussing this topic here, or send me an email if there's more you want to add in the meantime.

10:01 p.m. on March 3, 2011 (EST)
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The way I see it, a gun is a tool just like any other piece of gear you may carry.  Like any other piece of gear, sometimes it is extra weight that doesn't really have to be carried.  Like any other piece of gear, impropper use can have unintended consiquences.  I see no reason to treat firearms any differantly.  For someone planning a 30 day raft trip on the Noatak river in Ak, it would be a good tool to carry.  For other trips it may not be an issue. 

4:49 a.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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I never peruse the gun advice posts but Speacock's post in the "Adventure Camping Protection" thread in Backcountry has me wondering about the futility of promoting what might only be a metal security blanket. But who knows? Not me - excuse the ignorance.

Beyond that, if Trailspace is to promote 'gun talk' then there needs to be a relevant section in the Gear Reviews (or perhaps under the pre-existing Safety section) for people to share information on how and when their (death-giving) gear was useful, value for money etc. This would only be consistent and once 'gun talk' is allowed, anyone objecting to the inclusion of the aforementioned section would be without grounds.

So, can anyone link to a discussion on Trailspace talking about how carrying a weapon was useful for protection, beyond what other means are available to all ages, dispositions? Hunting is different and at the moment, no more relevant than horse riding or mountain biking, which also take place in the backcountry.

In short, I don't see how the gear establishes itself as a valid means to an end when included in the list of items necessary to enjoy the backcountry but if it does and I am mistaken, then there has to be provision for the collection of experienced opinion relevant to particular brands of weapon, wouldn't you say?

As far as I know, safety gear is used around the globe, is often tested by individual users and institutions in real life situations and has earned its place in the kit bag. It also causes no moral or emotional discomfort to other users but is instead a positive supplement to the outdoor experience. Indeed, it is life-giving.

There's the rub?

6:31 a.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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Pathloser makes a very good point. Are guns backbacking gear?

8:50 a.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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IMO, yes, they certainly CAN be and here in BC and other regions of Canada, frequently are just that and no more. One does not carry the same gear on different treks, due to ambient conditions and a gun can be an item of gear as much as a tent or tarp or bivy, all of which I have and do use at different times on different excursions.

The topic of self defence is, sadly, highly relevant in today's North American backpacking scene and this is not likely to change in the near future, due to our drug-infested culture and certain other causes.

The entire topic of large predators is often and deservedly a concern of backpackers and the whole firearms issue enters the realm of backpacking there for many among us. I would not even consider hiking in certain regions of BC at certain times of the year without "Thumper", my custom, purpose-built Grizzly-defence carbine and "spray" is NOT an acceptable substitute.

So, let the issue be discussed, this site tends to be more mature and friendly than other backpacking sites I have experienced and I think that we can have such an issue discussed here in a reponsible and productive fashion.

11:19 a.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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Pathloser is on to something here...even if I can't find the "safety" section, there should be one, and all topics on guns in the backcountry should go there. If the threads are started in other forums, the mods should immediately move them there. In this way the questioners will know where to go with their concerns, and their threads won't get hijacked by anyone that happens to stumble upon it while perusing within the "Backcountry" or "Gear Selection" forum and add their two cents.

2:05 p.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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Hi Dewey: I hope that I'm not out of line by asking why you state that "spray" (The general bear spray field) is not an option. A friend guides in AK every summer and carries no gun, only spray.  Some guides he knows carry Shot guns with slugs, but the only guide to need any self defense used the spray and said it worked very well.

1:15 p.m. on March 5, 2011 (EST)
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HI, I have posted extensively here concerning Grizzly defence and coping issues, techniques and "tools", I invite you to search for these posts to answer your query.

I think that the strict caution above by Dave precluded a  detailed reply on this thread, BUT, I did not say that spray ...is not an option..., I said that it is not a substitute for my specific working bear gun....not quite the same thing.

I won't take this any further as I do not want to inadvertantly break the rules here and there are other threads in which to discuss your concerns.

6:09 a.m. on March 7, 2011 (EST)
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A reminder: This thread is only for discussing the extent to which we should allow gun-related threads on Trailspace. It is not the place to debate the merits guns, gun laws, guns in the backcountry, or any topic other than stated above. Thanks.

 

1:57 p.m. on March 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi Dewey: Can you please tell me where to find the info you refer to so that I don't stray from the theme. Thanks. rsr

12:41 a.m. on April 13, 2011 (EDT)
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So, members, how do you think Trailspace should handle the subject?

I belive that even though this might be a touchy subject we should treat it like any other subject  that has to do with backpacking/trecking/hiking/paddling/mountianbiking and or any other outdoor sport encompassed within the parameters of Trailspace.

Are guns in the backcountry ever a valid topic on Trailspace?

Yes, Since it is now legal to carry a firearm in the back country it has become a valid topic.  Were allowed to have a pet dog in the back country should it be a valid topic, I'd say so.

If so when? And do you think limits should be placed on the subject? How often brought up? By whom? In what context?

I think discution should reflect the topic of that the Traispace is dedicated to.  It's probably not necessary or desierable to be discussing ICBM'S, Air to air missiles or sub machine guns as these have nothing to do with the back county.  It should be about context  in relating to situations in  the back country not limited to amount of times.  It should be discussed by all those whom this topic affects.

How would you want Trailspace to handle the topic?

I seems to me that this is a trial period from what I've read.  I know I'm new hear but it seems to being handled so far with dignity and respect.

I think acutally that is important to talk about the carrying of and use of fire arms in this forum in the context of how it relates to each of use in the back country.  It is important for people who are considering this to hear all that people have to say (as long as it stays civil).  If it's not discussed here people who want information on the subjuct will most likey got go to a pro gun site, where all there likey to here is go for it and will not hear from the people who are most important in this topic, you and me.  We are the one's who will be in the back county with the people who "will" be packing.  I'm not sure that burying our heads in the sand is benificial in any way.  The isssue here is cencership which in this country has always proved to be counter productive and in fact some times harmful.  Not talking about this will not make it go away.  Knowledge is always better than lack of knowledge.  I so often hear, I wish we had talk about this earlier.  It is interesting that we are talking about censorship of two of our constituional rights.  The right to bear arms and ther right of free speech.  Please let's not through these rights out of the window.  This country only gets better with the exchanging of ideas.  

11:58 a.m. on April 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I would venture an opinion that all subjects related to the goal and focus of Trailspace should be open for discussion. However, like some subjects of debate, it comes down to civil and courteous respect to agree to disagree with those of opposite beliefs/ opinions.

I think everyone has a right to express themselves no matter the topic, up until the expression goes beyond the boundaries.

9:59 a.m. on April 18, 2011 (EDT)
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As long as the conversation stays civil, and is applicable to hiking/backpacking I don't have any issues with it being a topic of conversation.

Alicia, I am with you on the if they can't ask here where do they go?

I do think if it was given its own forum that would alleviate alot of potential disagreements. Those who want to engage in that type of conversation could do so and those who don't can disregard the posts. Maybe have the option/settings to make the threads from that forum "invisible" if the user chooses to do so(out of site, out of mind.)

I don't know. I am sure as with everything opinions will vary. That's one of the beautiful things about this world. Individuality. One may not necessarily agree with anothers opinions on a subject of conversation but at the same time even if it doesn't make sense I respect others opinions. Too many people spend time trying to force-feed what they think down anothers throat w/o explanation. When the message conveyed is not received well then all(you know what) hits the fan. Kinda funny in a way. 99% of the time if I just take a few extra seconds to explain why I feel the way I do towards a certain subject the individual I am speaking to has an "oh" moment. Argument avoided. :)

3:51 p.m. on May 5, 2011 (EDT)
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From a guy that started a recent gun (weapon) questionnaire thread.

Yes,

I stared a gun thread a little while ago and I hope most readers found it, civil. respectful, courteous, somewhat to the point of the questions asked and above all those, creating an informative thread to all, I am sure directly and indirectly. 

I do believe the thread went well and eventually, after some long replies, I got the information I was hoping for.  Invariably some reply posts, on such a topic, became more than a simple answer.  I did see the emotion in several replies with one simple fact of, when having clearly asked for a simple answer I often got much more.  I guess a simple answer is retrospective of each individuals personal definition of simple, with to the point and specifically an on topic answer to the questions.  As in my thread about guns it is very hard for some to write without length and or emotion.  This I understand, as I do appreciate the strong feelings that readers have, both for and against this topic of guns.  Understandably, this thread would have sent shivers up the spines' of some Trailspace members as they read the thread topic and or started reading though my original questionnaire post, then thread itself.  But again I am hoping all that read along could say in the end, it was OK.

A question of, should Trailspace allow threads on, and I believe the specific term here would be, "weapons" not just "guns". To this my answer is a, yes. I believe it is a necessary topic to post about and always good to post civilly on such topics.  Because concern for self preservation is important, as is the concern for other hikers and wildlife alike.  This, Trailspace, in my understanding is not a hunting forum but an,

"Trailspace is the backcountry gear guide dedicated to helping outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities -from trail novices to confirmed gearheads - select dependable outdoor gear that lets them get out and enjoy human-powered backcountry activities.

Trailspace publishes independent reviews, news, and discussions about thousands of outdoor products, helping hikers, backpackers, climbers, skiers, trail runners, paddlers, and other outdoor enthusiasts find dependable and appropriate gear for their adventures."

outdoor forum and self protection in the outdoors is warranted in my opinion.  Yes, it concerns and upsets me with discussions of indiscriminate killing of anything.  So I believe discussion on the preparedness on ones' self defense is definitely warranted.  Be that what ever weapon (not just a gun is a weapon) is proposed in these discussions of self defense. 

Oh number, Gun 8 is interesting.  Did you drive your car. LOL.

Oh also, Weapon 2 is interesting,  So if animals can have them why can't we ?  OK, again LOL.

Gun : 1. A weapon consisting of a metal tube from which a projectile is fired at high velocity into a relatively flat trajectory.

          2. A cannon with a long barrel and a relatively low angle of fire.

          3. A portable firearm, such as a rifle or revolver.

          4. A device resembling a firearm or cannon, as in its ability to project something, such as grease, under pressure or at great speed.

          5. A discharge of a firearm or cannon as a signal or salute.

          6. One, such as a hunter, who carries or uses a gun.

          7. a. A person skilled in the use of a gun.

              b. A professional killer: a hired gun.

          8. The throttle of an engine, as of an automobile.

Weapon :1. An instrument of attack or defense in combat, as a gun, missile, or sword.

                2. Zoology A part or organ, such as a claw or stinger, used by an animal in attack or defense.

                3. A means used to defend against or defeat another: Logic was her weapon.

I have been to many other gun forums, adventure forums, motorbike forums, hunting forums. Forums that somewhere along the line of the On-Topic Discussion Threads do at some time discuss guns and other weapons.  Here on Trailspace I was very pleased to get through the thread I started without personal attacks or innuendos that do and have lead to topics, threads, posts and or members being deleted and or cancelled.  I did want to discuss this point here on this forum / web site as to get yet another perspective from those that actually do venture into the great outdoors for the pleasure of experiencing the great "out side your front door" outdoors life that there is out there.

I watched a nice outdoor show once with a man named LaVern Beier.  He shot a bear on the show and was clearly not acting when he became very upset of the result of this action with the bear dieing, as I would too.  But, by him staying alive, rather than the bear, many other bears will now benefit.  He did not go looking for this to happen but was sensibly protected in the outdoors where bears are present.  He a bear expert takes a gun for protection.  Black Bears and Brown Bears have attacked humans at some stage of their species existence, seemingly unprovoked.

So after this long ass post by myself I thank all that posted to my past thread and as noted in my thread, again a bigger thanks to those that did not get emotional and run off rambling and just answered the questions more directly on this delicate discussion topic.

4:29 p.m. on May 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I have to say Callanhan you handled the thread quit well and I may have seemed the most anti firearms to you..I am not. I own forearms and I pretty much sent my concerns to Dave and Alecia and they were. That I was afraid that a member would interperate opinion for fact and insense get themselves in trouble. I also looked at quit possibly they being held responcible some how and liabel..When I kept at you that there were better site's for the information you were seeking. Is because at the time I read your post's and that of other members I was texting a certified LFO and gunsmith..He's qualified in domestic as well  as international weapons and has been doing it over 25 yrs..I was getting all recomendations from them...I do appoligise to you if I seemed way hessitant and I do appreciate your point of view and always will. I would also like to keep people from making mistakes with the firearm  laws which will keep the right to bear arms open like it should..Again I appoligise if at anytime I seemed less than thrilled at your thread and yes it was a learning curve...You were in no way trying to decieve anyone with your intents like Trouthunter stated in the thread. It was pure intellectual insight ..

10:57 p.m. on May 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Dennis,

Your apology here has made me go back and read the thread, at least your posts and a couple of other near to yours, i.e. on the screen at the same time, once again.

Apology accepted though not necessary.  I enjoyed your posts on the thread.  A simmering Devils Advocate, not a flaming one, is often a good source for constructive thinking.  Your posts not only raised a few points that I had not considered but also assisted me in not posting back some of my thoughts that you so conveniently revised to the readers.

Yes, I have learnt a 44 magnum revolver is better than a Glock(10mm)20, which is better than a 45 Pistol.  The Glock 20 with hot rounds is one of the highest powered pistols there is and with 10 rounds (maximum for California) it does offer more chances of success in target acquisition than 5 or six in a pistol.  There are other consideration too.

I have not yet bought a sidearm for wilderness (see if that word tricks/trips a few people up again) protection.  I have chosen what I feel is best, I bet you can guess which one, at least for me suiting choice and wishes.

4:23 p.m. on May 7, 2011 (EDT)
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When one bases his life on principle, 99 percent of his decisions are already made.

3:59 a.m. on May 8, 2011 (EDT)
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N2DaWild said:

When one bases his life on principle, 99 percent of his decisions are already made.

Nevertheless two nagging eternal choices remain:

Do I go with the African or European swallow?

And

Should I fish or cut bait?

Ed

11:28 a.m. on May 8, 2011 (EDT)
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hahaha.................way to go whomeworry. lol.

12:40 p.m. on May 8, 2011 (EDT)
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N2DaWild said:

When one bases his life on principle, 99 percent of his decisions are already made.

 +1

8:51 p.m. on May 8, 2011 (EDT)
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N2DaWild said:

When one bases his life on principle, 99 percent of his decisions are already made.

 +1 also

Is that +2?

Whomeworry, the West African Swallow or the South African Swallow?

I'm not that smart, but I did Google it.

1:03 a.m. on May 9, 2011 (EDT)
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I would have to say that Im sitting right on top of the fence on this one. I am a gun owner and have done my share of hunting. I also do my share of hiking and packing. Sometimes I carry and sometimes I dont. But since the general public has such varying opinions on guns, I choose to not put it right out in the open for all to see.

That being said,  I think its all about choices.  If we choose to we can read and contribute to topics that intrest us. We can also choose to skip topics that dont. For example, I hav never even looked at the forums on Climbing or Paddling. Its nothing pesonal against those who due, its just not my thing. I dont believe I could add anything of intrest to those discusions.  I think if there was a forum pertaining to guns it would be the same for most here, you could partake or skip it. As for moderating it, I think you would have your hands full at times, but most people seem to remain civil here. (seems to be pretty good folks here)

Now for my final balancing act,

I truely appreciate the fact that your asking  OUR OPINION. It is just that, ours.  TS is YOUR site that you choose to share with us. For that I am gratefull and will respect your decision one way or the other.

Thanks for all you do and keep up the good work 

9:24 a.m. on May 9, 2011 (EDT)
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azrhino: good point.

Choices and choices, which is right or which one is wrong. Usually all are right - within context.

9:45 a.m. on May 9, 2011 (EDT)
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azrhino-very good points that are well stated.

7:30 p.m. on May 22, 2011 (EDT)
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This has been a very elegant thread on a very difficult subject. Having said that, I would suggest that some thought should be given to the additional burden discussions of guns places on the moderators.

It's not impossible to avoid raging political/emotional discussions. And I daresay that if a thread on guns turned into a debate over trigger pull weight, it could be redirected elsewhere. What concerns me are those who mean no harm but who post insane ideas. For example, back when the net was full of discussion groups, one general discussion group to which I belonged often had gun threads. Most were at least civil and when a thread got tangled up in lengthy, hotly contested arguments over things like whether a particular gun MOA results were fantasy or real, the thread was sent off to a gun group.

However, there were some dangerous posts made. Some were obvious -- one person suggested carrying a long gun to shoot into canyons in which poisonous snakes lived. That was blatantly bad thinking. Some were just as dangerous but required more knowledge to see the inherent danger in some ideas: one person said one should always keep guns chambered while in the National Parks or wilderness in general. He then asserted that the HK P7M8 was *the* gun to carry stuffed into one's waistband, below the hipbelt. That all sounds good until you realize that the HK's safety was released as soon as weight was placed around its handle. That meant one slip and fall could leave you with a live gun in your pants.

The point of this extremely long-winded post is that I wonder if we are not asking too much of the mods and admins by tasking them with policing this board for posts such as the ones by the HK guy.  I think we are.

I'm not taking a stance on whether guns are good or bad, evil or sad or anything else. Rather I'm talking about some possible pitfalls of even the most civil discussions.

derjoser

--

"We have met the enemy and he is us."

 

8:44 a.m. on May 25, 2011 (EDT)
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After reading all of the posts on this topic I think the most helpful so far have been the (actual) opinions of Trouthunter, Gonzan, and something Alicia said.  If we are to be in the backcountry with people who do carry or want to carry guns, wouldn't it be nice to have them ask a community such as ours on Trailspace before they go out packing like Rambo?  Afterall the Trailspace community is the most knowledgable and intelligent community in regards to an outdoor site that I have ever read from, therefore making it the most opportune place for a "new to the outdoors" or just "uniformed" person to come and seek advice.

Secondly, a heated topic is a heated topic regardless of what it is about.....look at the camp kitchen section, meat vs. no-meat is something that could erupt into a huge issue.  So long as the thread stays RELATED to carrying in the outdoors, not why "GUNS ARE GOOD/BAD" then I think the site should allow intelligent discussion.

I personally am a gun enthusiast, however I rarely take them out in the backcountry.  If I stumble upon a thread that is talking about what gear I take with me and mention that I take a pistol, should I be chastised for this?  I just answered the question of "What is in your pack?".  Not that we are all mature 100% of the time, but if someone who is against guns stumbles upon the mention of them, rather than adding to the thread as to why they are so dangerous and that in the CITY I live in so many people die each year....just don't respond to the post.  When I come across something I don't like, guess what....I don't read it or respond, I know, I know that just seems to easy.

Either way, I think there have been some good and some completely not useful points brought up here, but in the end, it is up to Alicia and Dave.

3:02 a.m. on May 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Well stated D&G.

7:14 p.m. on May 26, 2011 (EDT)
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Yup, very well said and I am happy with the way this has turned out. There really are situations here in the remote and even settled regions of Canada, where an appropriate gun IS a very useful piece of backpacking gear and I like to be able to offer my assistance with this to anyone seeking help with selecting the appropriate tool for the job. Now, I can and will and with both restraint and appreciation for the gang here, who make this site so enjoyable.

9:39 p.m. on May 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Thank you guys.

1:59 p.m. on May 30, 2011 (EDT)
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So far I have stayed out, but I will say this.....No one will know if I have a piece or not until it's time to use it to save someone else or myself.

2:32 p.m. on June 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice one D&G

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