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Old 12-20-2008, 07:29 AM
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Jason Jason is offline
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Default What happened to all those guns?

I was re-reading Urban Guerilla and was puzzled a lack of firearms in the hands of anti-New America militias. I think this was used as a plot device without thought of the huge number of firearms in the U.S. Estimates from the late 1990's indicate approximately 65 million handguns, 70 million rifles, and 49 million shotguns owned by private citizens. Not included in this figure are firearms issued by police and military, those held in reserve by our government, or those held illegally.

To put a little perspective on those numbers, I should point out that prior to the outbreak of WWIII 40% of American households contained firearms, constituting 25% of the adult population, though about 100 million of those guns were concentrated in the hands of ten million Americans.

The large number of civilian deaths has left over 200 million guns in the hands of approximately 135 million American survivors, only about half of whom are relatively fit adults. Today, no one dreams of traveling unarmed, and in many defensive co-operatives even young teenagers and the elderly carry at least a pistol, while proven marksmen who manage to stay cool under fire are soon equipped with superior weapons. The wealth of firearms is offset by the lack of ammunition motivating even enthusiastic gunsels to develop basic fire discipline.

Ammunition is the main limiting factor in T2K, with the more exotic calibers soon running dry. However, it would be a desperate co-op/militia that did not have a reserve of ammo to repulse a determined marauder attack. Americans who collect firearms often keep large lots of ammunition available, and some are accomplished re-loaders as well. Even with WWIII looming, military units in the U.S. would keep a reserve of ammunition, as would most major law enforcements agencies and police forces. For several years after the exchange, a shrinking number of survivors will posses an ever increasing stockpile of firearms, while urgently searching the ruins for ammo.

What this means in my U.S. campaign is the average militia-person will be carrying a pistol and either a rifle or a shotgun. He or she will usually be a civilian with some experience guarding and patrolling their community. Many militias employ experienced hunters whose superiour marksmanship suits them in their role of sniper. Perhaps one in ten militia members is a former law enforcement officer or National Guardsman with a "military" type weapon capable of full-automatic fire. Only defensive co-ops with military units stationed within will be armed with heavy weapons. Defensive co-ops are just that. They were formed with the specific intent to protect a farmstead/village/town etc. Some co-ops send out small patrols if they detect a group approaching, others simply raise an alarm that commits every armed person to a defensive position or strong point.

The average marauder is different; many of these semi-nomadic predators are former criminals who carry a pistol and either a rifle, shotgun, or "military" grade weapon. I class illegally converted sub-machine guns like Uzi's and Mac-10's in addition to AK-47's and the more common M231's and M16/M16EZ's as "military" grade. The core of most respectable marauder groups consists of individuals who were well armed before the bombs fell, and whether it is a former street or biker gang, organized crime associates, a cohort of drug dealers, or a rogue military unit, these groups typically turned on their neighbors within days and weeks of the bombs dropping. A few of the most organized gangs had plans in place for major social collapse; pawn shops, gun stores, and pharmacies were robbed and burglarized by well-armed looters before the first mushroom clouds dissipated. Many of these criminal groups lived outside conventional social boundaries prior to nuclear war, and were accustomed to victimizing and exploiting weaker members of society even when doing so carried significant risk; the falling of the bombs and the associated disappearance of all social and legal consequences has only given greater reign to their savage and sadistic natures. The abundance of firearms in the hands of such brutal thugs makes living in the T2K U.S. very dangerous.

Last edited by kato13; 02-17-2010 at 06:45 AM.
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