President Obama’s largely symbolic executive action on background checks* for firearms purchases will likely have the unintended consequence of increased gun sales in 2016. People who are paranoid about the government seizing their weapons seem always to conclude that more guns is the answer to many of their problems real or imagined. But you are not going to shoot your way out of a disagreement with law enforcement and come out ahead. Your stretcher bearers will subsequently give testimony to that.

More than half of all gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides. The rest are attributed to homicides involving people who know each other, and accidents. A tiny fraction are attributed to armed robbery and home invasion type situations (the kind you imagine thwarting with armed defense when you purchased your weapon.) The ready availability of weapons drives this phenomena, it does not protect you from it. If you truly want to protect your family from gun violence, and you believe in this mysterious voodoo practice called statistics, then get the guns out of your house. Also, don’t diddle your neighbor’s wife. Even the Bible says that.

Those gun battles in the movies are made up. You know that, right? Your good man with a gun is going to be ‘lit up’ by the police when they arrive at this scene of mayhem. The scene in your imagination in which you can so easily cast yourself as the armed hero. In the movies, the cops don’t shoot the hero. They are in awe of him and his bullet-backed virility. It is very appealing, and I get that. But it is a fantasy. Can we please get a grip here?

We license drivers in this country. You have to demonstrate knowledge of road safety to legally operate a vehicle. Guns are for trained soldiers in situations of war. If you are telling me that more guns is the answer to public massacres then you are telling me you don’t want to have a life, you want to have a war. You can’t have both. War is the opposite of life. In the U.S. we have more weapons per capita than Yemen for crying out loud. Yemen is a country embroiled in civil war. We must be at war then. A paranoia fueled cold war with ourselves that is starting to heat up.

As of 2012, according to ATF data, there were 347,000,000 firearms in the U.S.

I am a former gun owner. I have owned a variety of semiautomatic handguns including a Smith and Wesson Model 915, a Beretta 9mm, a Smith .22 target pistol (semiauto with a long barrel), and a Ruger .22 pistol. The Beretta and the Smith .22 were stolen in a burglary and I ended up selling the other two. I understand the appeal of weapons. I’m a guy after all, and part of my brain is wired for survival. After reading up a bit, I also understand the comparative dangers. We need to try to think a little more critically. Until then, don’t shoot. I’m unarmed.

* In the future Foreground Checks will prevent all crime.