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?

Why do we have guns in space?

Updated