Why do we have guns in space?

Updated
Courtesy: NASA
Courtesy: NASA

Apparently, there are guns in space.

Specifically, there are usually one or two handguns on board the International Space Station, NBC News Space Analyst Jim Oberg reports . The guns belong to the Russians, but “anybody has access to them,” Oberg said.

The guns are described as all-in-one weapons. They can fire rifle or shotgun ammo and simple flares. They have three barrels and a fold-out gadget that can double as a shovel or a machete. It’s kept in an unlocked survival kit.

Oberg reported back in 2008 that NASA keeps the whole gun thing very hush-hush. Back in 1965, Cosmonauts reported rough landings in which they encountered blood-thirsty bears. Apparently they needed the gun for crash landings.

That’s all very cool and interesting, but why do you need a gun in space? Beyond the fact that you’d have a hard time hitting your target, it seems excessive.

I only mention the existence of guns in space because it provides an interesting thought experiment about the larger gun control issue we have here on Earth. A gun on the Space Station could stop a crazed cosmonaut. But it could just as easily become the weapon of choice for that same crazed cosmonaut.

Here’s the test: If you’re isolated with just a handful of people, with no access to 9-1-1, who would you want to have access to a gun? Would it be better if NO ONE had a gun?

Do you really think guns are falling into the right hands when we arm teachers and administrators at elementary schools across the country? Is it worth the risk?