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  • Buffy and guns

    I've been rewatching Season 3 and just watched "Earshot". It got me thinking about Buffy and guns. In the episode, when Buffy takes Jonathan's rifle, she very expertly unchambers the round. She is clearly comfortable with how to use the semi-automatic pistol she takes off one of the Watchers in "Who Are You?" (as Faith). In Season 8, she is (it's not big enough to bother spoiler-tagging) shown handling an automatic rifle she's found and looks reasonably familiar with it.

    I'm pretty sure I've seen her handle a firearm in some other context as well. It got me wondering, exactly what is her background with firearms? We know she doesn't believe in them as practical weapons for what she does. We never see her actively trained in them. So, do we infer that she had learned some time before Sunnydale? Does the Slayer have an instinctive comprehension of any weapon?
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  • #2
    It's a very good question. We know that buffy is against guns in general "these things? never helpful". I would probably assume that it's a little of the instinctive thing (after all she handles a rocket launcher with minimal training) and a little bit of know thy enemy training from giles.
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    • #3
      Jane Espenson mentions in the "Earshot" commentary that the original draft had Buffy 'using' the rifle to stop the lunch lady (although I doubt she meant in the obvious fashion), but that Joss didn't think they wanted to show the hero carrying a gun in school even in a heroic context.

      I get Slayers not using guns, but I always figured that it was more about keeping a low profile and the general ineffectiveness against many kinds of demons. I don't really embrace it as an anti-gun position. I just always thought it was fascinating that Buffy appears to be trained in their use. I definitely wonder why Xander never adopted Wesley's approach to the subject, unless we assume that as Buffy goes, so goes his nation.
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      • #4
        Wasn't there a reference at some point to Xander knowing how to use guns as part of his remembered military training from the Halloween adventure?
        "All I ask is that... that you try to see me."

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        • #5
          In "Innocence", Xander says he thinks he can "field-strip an M16 in 57 seconds", which would definitely constitute expertise, but they never show him actually handling a firearm other than in "Halloween" and "Innocence" (when he corrects the MP).

          Given his lack of superpowers, I was always surprised he never decided to go the route as Wesley.
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          • #6
            I imagine that part of her training was in guns. I can't imagine watchers would leave slayers without knowlage of one of the few weapons that just about anyone could do real damage to her with.

            Also, I imagine that as a slayer she would have an extraordinarily steady aim and also her strength would mean that there would be a limited about of recoil.

            I think that the main thing in the comics, the slayers not using guns thing, is because of the whole Warren shooting incident. Buffy doesn't want the slayers using weapons that they could easily (unintentionally) kill each other with and/or she and Willow are uneasy about guns in general now.
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            • #7
              I think Xander not using guns and Wesley using them (although not often) has more to do with the nature of the two shows. Buffy starts with a group pf highschool kids and even though they grow up, there is always the sense of youth about the show. Angel is a more mature, darker show. It takes place in a city where it would be unrealistic to not have criminals with guns.
              "All I ask is that... that you try to see me."

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              • #8
                I get Slayers not using guns, but I always figured that it was more about keeping a low profile and the general ineffectiveness against many kinds of demons. I don't really embrace it as an anti-gun position. I just always thought it was fascinating that Buffy appears to be trained in their use. I definitely wonder why Xander never adopted Wesley's approach to the subject, unless we assume that as Buffy goes, so goes his nation.
                Yeah, the "anti-gun" scenes can be boiled down to two reasons, none of which are political:

                1) in Season 6, major foreshadowing for Tara's death. Happened twice, once in Flooded, once in As You Were.
                2) Just general non-usefulness and need for stealth. I would have looked for attempt to mass-produce weapons (perhaps learn more about what exactly can kill vampires - wooden bullets in metal casing, or perhaps [this would be harder to make but nearly guaranteed to kill vampires if it worked] wooden bullets shot from pneumatic guns?) in the S8 comics now that the Slayer business has gone global, but from what Spidol, who has actually read the comics, said I guess that won't be happening anytime soon.

                It doesn't seem that the show overall has an anti-gun or pro-government-control message. In fact it seems quite the opposite from what I've seen of the Watchers' Council scenes, the Mayor, and the Initiative.

                The second issue of course is why Buffy seems to be so good with guns. I'm thinking pretty much what Dorian's Kitten posted, what with Xander eager to help the scoobies in any way he can with his military training, and Buffy's general background knowledge. Even never having touched a gun I still have a rough idea of how to unload the chamber of a semi-auto pistol.
                Last edited by redrevo; 14-06-07, 10:47 PM.
                Buffy: It sounds like it's difficult for you. Maybe your sister makes it hard for you to establish your own identity. You said she's controlling, she doesn't let you make your own decisions -
                Dawn: Yeah, and she borrows my clothes without asking.

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                • #9
                  I think that the main thing in the comics, the slayers not using guns thing, is because of the whole Warren shooting incident. Buffy doesn't want the slayers using weapons that they could easily (unintentionally) kill each other with and/or she and Willow are uneasy about guns in general now.
                  But why make a point of stressing it? As buffy seems to be going up against ar least some military types i think it migh be away to differentiate the white hats from the black.

                  I still think it goes deeper than just a warren thing. Has any other slayer ever used a gun?
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                  • #10
                    I've handled but never fired a semi-automatic -- they are both more and less complicated than a complete novice would expect. Maybe it's just one of those TV things, like how everyone on TV knows how to certain things.

                    I've thought of the wooden bullet idea before (a wood slug in a metal jacket makes the most sense), but I also think it would be very impractical. I would *love* to see them mass-producing stakes and things. It would be hilarious if the Watchers had a factory that they owned in Kentucky that bought Louisville Sluggers in bulk to re-cut as ash stakes.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dorian's Kitten View Post
                      I think Xander not using guns and Wesley using them (although not often) has more to do with the nature of the two shows. Buffy starts with a group pf highschool kids and even though they grow up, there is always the sense of youth about the show. Angel is a more mature, darker show. It takes place in a city where it would be unrealistic to not have criminals with guns.
                      And boy did Wes use them! It was like, in early season 3 in "That Old Gang of Mine" the writers mention int he commentary how alien guns are to ATS/BTVS and this whole demon world, and then next thing you know in season 4 starting with AN Wes uses guns ALL THE TIME! Seriously, when he pulled out those two guns, and then the huge rifle, it was like in Potter Puppet Pals when the trio pull out automatic rifles to kill Voldemort, lol (check otu "Trouble at Hogwarts if you've never seen it, it's hilarious! http://www.potterpuppetpals.com/ )--it's like, "Duh, why didn't we think fo this before?!" though it wasn't very effective...you'd think he would have figured that out! But Wes continues to use guns (and Lilah takes a page out of her lover's book and does the same with Angelus before she's killed), even in season 5, shooting the WH employee in the leg casually from his desk. I find it rather itneresting....
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                      • #12
                        In the season six episode As You Were Buffy shouts out to Riley "I don't do guns!" and fires randomly at the little (Suvalit?) demons. Riley tells her to aim high and not low if I remember but Buffy soon tosses the gun away when she realises she sucks at shooting it. So I wouldn't automatically assume Buffy is capable of using a gun because she so easily unchambers the round of Jonothan's rifle in Earshot.

                        I wouldn't say Buffy has a strong disagreement with guns because of her moral standards but then again I don't believe she'd exactly have no nancy feelings towards them either. I think the fact she doesn't use them stems from a number of things, as for example how ineffective they can be against many demons and vampires. She also doesn't appear to be as skilled at guns as she is on other weaponary.

                        I have a couple of theories but no real evidence to back them up. In season eight Issue 2 Andrew comes out pretty strongly against slayers ever using a gun to the slayer that suggests it. This could be because if slayers start using guns, then it is likely this would influence the weaponary used by vamps and demons. If they are being fired at by bullets why wouldn't they get their hands on some firearms and return the favour?

                        We also know that a slayer's essence came from a demon and we know demons don't care too much for guns. Is it possible a slayer has this underlying natural dislike for guns because of their demon heritage?

                        An out of verse reason for the scoobies never turning to guns was apparently because Joss never wanted to show high school kids packing guns in the show.

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                        • #13
                          It's fantasy, so I really don't expect it all to make much sense, In LA guns seem much more common, and I am still amazed more Vamps don't sure firearms. "It's called an Uzi chump, and it probably would have saved your ass right about now!" was a great line.

                          Though it's funny that we never saw Trick himself using firearms. So, who knows.

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                          • #14
                            It takes about 2 active braincells and a TV remote to unchamber a round from a single shot, bolt action 22. The TV remote would be for watching movies so you'd have some clue what a bullet actually is. From there I call it dumb luck. One active control, save for the trigger...well unless you get all picky and want to decock it. Never saw her do that.

                            For the rest of this I'd say that Buffy is among the completely clueless. Which is cool like that because she has no desire to be cluesome.

                            I AM a relative expert with small arms. I've shot IPSC just because it was something I could do in small town America that did not involve beer or country music. It takes a lot more skill than just being able to remove a round from a single shot 22 to be able to even do the basics with a handgun. There's a lot more little levers and switches. LOL Learning to instinctively ID your targets...more skill...shooting thumb high with scary accuracy...way more skill...

                            Stopped shooting myself because I injured my right wrist and never could get shooting left down. Still have a 1911A1 sitting in my room.

                            Yes, I know I'm scary...

                            Val

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                            • #15
                              There is a notable difference between the action itself being simple and the casualness with which one does it. Same as it's not 'difficult' to sharpen a knife, but it's also not something that people do very casually that have never done it.

                              I'm still left to assume that its something Buffy has either done before, or some quality of instinct for *any* weapon that comes with being the Slayer.
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                              • #16
                                There is a notable difference between the action itself being simple and the casualness with which one does it. Same as it's not 'difficult' to sharpen a knife, but it's also not something that people do very casually that have never done it.

                                I'm still left to assume that its something Buffy has either done before, or some quality of instinct for *any* weapon that comes with being the Slayer.
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                                • #17
                                  Seen I Spaghetti Western... If so you'd know exactly what was expected. It's not a hard trick.

                                  I don't find it that alarming. Now if she sat there and field stripped a 1911A1 and got the thing back together...let's say...ever... It'd make my jaw hit the floor.

                                  Valyssia

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                                  • #18
                                    Eh. I've never seen someone handle a firearm for the first time (unless they were deeply stupid) that wasn't holding it like it might go off from a stern glance. I don't buy that anybody with the level of care and experience Buffy has with weapons would rely on what they'd seen in a Western.

                                    I thought it was a very deliberate move to show her just quickly disarm it like she knew what she was doing. We've seen that also as a way to distinguish how much SuaveXander knew in "The Replacement", the way he effortlessly rolled the cylinder and unloaded Anya's gun. Also in "Lost", when (really trivial, but spoiler anyway)
                                    Spoiler:
                                    Kate pretends not to know how to unload the pistol she took from Sawyer in the pilot episode but very deftly does so anyway, just so the audience understands that she's faking.
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                                    • #19
                                      I'm still not all that bothered by it. It may have illustrated a change in show focus but it didn't cause me a moments pause. I actually like the fact that Buffy is anti-gun. I'm glad she didn't become some sort of Steven Seagal-ish small arms master. It would have cheapened the show. The anti-gun messages in Buffy caused me 0 upset as a gun owner.

                                      Yes...and say what you want about Steven Seagal...the man can shoot. In fact he shoots thumb-high...watch him...you'll understand.

                                      I'm actually anti-gun myself but I'm also a pragmatist...if we could by magick...pull all the guns out of everyone's hands here in the States...I'd be all about...go for it... Until then...well...I'll own guns...the whole disarming a well armed population thing...makes me a triffle nervous. It would be bloody.

                                      Yeah...so...simple hat tricks are not a reason to condemn. Still think it views just fine given the simplicity of the weapon and her focus on turning a bad situation around. I don't think she should have fumbled one bit. It's not hard to pull back a lever while rotating a cylinder. Pretty simple... I could train a monkey to do it with the same grace. Your average person would have to glance at it...

                                      Val

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                                      • #20
                                        Don't forget The I in Team. Buffy accepted the Initiative's military training and carried a gun in that episode. Buffy might have learned a few basic moves for handling both rifles and handguns.

                                        I also agree that it's not traditional for Slayers to use firearms, and, unlike her attitude toward so many other Slayer traditions, Buffy believes it's just as well to continue the tradition of not using them. After all, Slayers are supposed to be fighting vampires and demons rather than humans, and these creatures are often more easily killed with stakes, swords, and arrows rather than guns.
                                        "When you have an obsession you pretty much fit it into your schedule no matter what." --Cordelia

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