->''"Guns don't kill people. People kill people."''
-->-- '''Billy Lee Black''' (in defence of his WeaponOfChoice), ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}''

In media in general, and media with children in the demographic in particular, ''nothing'' is more dangerous or deadly than an old-fashioned gun. Guns have {{Instant Death Bullet}}s, and those are the only things likely to cause instant death.

Knives, swords, arrows, and NoodleImplements can hit square-on but [[OnlyAFleshWound leave flesh wounds that cause little more trouble than paper cuts]]. Blunt weapons may just bruise, if that, even when they hit. Lasers are often FamilyFriendlyFirearms that just stun, or leave burns with little more effect than a burn from a hot stove. Bombs sometimes leave just a soot layer on their targets; more realistic works will still let a character OutrunTheFireball. If a building falls on top of a character, he may crawl out of the rubble with nothing more than a layer of gray dust -- yes, even in works that are superficially realistic. Tornadoes will just fling a character aside even if he [[DoNotTouchTheFunnelCloud does touch the funnel cloud]], and ConvectionSchmonvection gives enough protection from fire that almost anyone can escape it. Poisonous gas has antidotes, and the worst effects can be escaped if you hold your breath as soon as you know it's there. Even the radiation from a nuclear bomb, the other scariest weapon a character is likely to run into, sometimes causes [[ILoveNuclearPower beneficial mutations]]; even when it doesn't, it often leaves few side effects between the radiation poisoning and death.

But old-fashioned guns? If a bullet hits, even the overly minor flesh wounds are gonna hurt like mad. No one just shrugs off bullets. And if a bullet hits in a place that looks deadly, then it ''will'' kill, painfully. There may be time for a FinalSpeech, but usually not for an ambulance.

It is also easier to protect yourself from other weapons than from bullets. If armor blocks a physical blow, melee weapon, or arrow, there often will be no damage; in the case of the melee weapons, the character protected may be impacted so little that it violates Newton's Third Law. Gas masks let in all the oxygen and none of the gas. Bomb shelters protect against bombs so well that they never even lose their shape; tornado shelters never lose more than the entry door when the tornado passes over them. But, even given that {{Bulletproof Vest}}s are more effective in fiction than in RealLife, if it stops the bullet, then the bullet will ''still'' knock the character off his feet or even knock him out.

The characters are aware at some level that guns are the most dangerous weapons they can face. PunchPunchPunchUhOh can be played for laughs; but if a character is ImmuneToBullets, then only the WeaksauceWeakness will hurt him, and the opposing side will react accordingly. Only the best at their arts can deflect a bullet. And characters only willingly [[TakingTheBullet take bullets]] if they are [[ImmuneToBullets invulnerable to them,]] willing to die, or wearing a bulletproof vest.

Fortunately, in series where guns are common and are like this, [[InverseLawOfSharpnessAndAccuracy there are usually]] [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy few people good at aiming them]].

This trope happens for several reasons. For one thing, guns are extremely common in America, and not infrequently used here/there; even in RealLife, they can be dangerous. For another, should a child ever find an unattended gun, it's easier for them to inadvertently hurt someone with it than most other types of weapon. This trope takes the RealLife danger of guns and pushes it UpToEleven. Whether this effort to make guns [[ScareEmStraight scarier]] does what the MoralGuardians think it does is dubious, but hey...

Counterintuitively, BloodlessCarnage can make the impression more effective. In old movies, and some newer shows that retain the trope, it often appears that guns fire death itself rather than speedy bits of metal.

Averting this trope may be one reason to enforce FantasyGunControl, even though hand-held guns were significantly less effective weapons than bows in the Middle Ages and the Age of Discovery.

KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter can be a subtrope of this. Contrast GunsAreWorthless.
See also NonFatalExplosions.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'':
** One episode shows Ash and Pikachu frightened of a robber who brandishes a pistol. Pikachu can summon lightning, TeamRocket is always [[ATwinkleInTheSky blasting off]] after some Pokémon-related explosion hits, but bullets from a gun are apparently worse. (Luckily they have walked onto a movie set and it is a prop gun.)
** Subverted in another episode -- Ash is berated by his friends for sending Pikachu after a man with a gun, then another Pokémon takes him out.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Taken to an almost humorous extreme in ''ComicBook/{{Wanted}}'', where Wesley's skill with firearms is treated as an unstoppable trump card. At one point, as the BigBad urges his minions to "do something" about the oncoming AntiHero, Wesley muses to himself "like what? stop a bullet with their faces?" It seems to not occur to the writer that, in fact, many super villains are more than capable of exactly that.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Often averted in ''ComicStrip/ThePhantom''. In the finale of the second story arc of the serial strip, TheBaroness shoots him in the chest at point blank with what looks like a heavy-caliber pistol, and he doesn't raise an eyebrow. (Although this ''is'' treated as an extreme case; in context, it convinces the villainess he [[OurGhostsAreDifferent really is the Ghost Who Walks]], and when he sees a doctor about it later the man considers it a medical miracle he's alive, never mind up and running.)

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Going along with the main ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' series' premise (see the example above), firearms are by far the best sort of individual weaponry available during the ''Fanfic/PokeWars''. Almost nothing faced so far couldn't be killed by well-applied small arms fire.

* In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' book ''Discworld/MenAtArms'', the Gonne has a preternatural ability to make its wielders go DrunkWithPower, thanks to the ease, speed, and accuracy with which it can kill from a distance. This and the metaphysical power of its UniquenessValue make it more of an InUniverse threat than, say, the [[AllTrollsAreDifferent Troll]] Constable Detritus' handheld ballista that fires an incendiary javelin cloud.

* The characters in ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' never have realistic guns, but they do carry explosives, rocket launchers, lasers, swords, chainsaws and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking squid launchers.]] Possibly justified in that the characters are bio-mechanical constructs for which small arms are more likely to be largely ineffective.
** ''Franchise/{{LEGO}}'' as a whole for a long time had a strict no-guns policy, which was only repealed in the 1990s with the release of the Pirate and Western themes.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''Blood and Honor'', the rule for firearms is "if you're hit, you die." This is to provide a reason for player characters to oppose bringing firearms into Japan's wars, as Oda Nobunaga did historically - the idea is that they become lethal killing implements that even a peasant can use, as well as personally endangering the safety of [=PCs=].
* The sourcebook for ''TabletopGame/TheDresdenFiles'' RPG points out that while all weapons are dangerous, guns get peoples' (and non-peoples') attention:
-->''Remember: when a gun is drawn, itís a statement of intent to kill people. Even a great many supernatural creatures will take pause at the sight of a gun barrel pointed their way.''

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl'', Snake uses explosives instead of his guns for weaponry. In his original canon of ''Franchise/MetalGear'', he had a perfectly serviceable [[StunGuns tranquilizer gun]]. The [[WordOfGod stated]] reason he only uses explosives is because they're [[RuleOfCool cooler]] and [[RuleOfFunny funnier]] than just shooting people. Plus, it works better with the how the game works; sure, guns can hurt people, but can they send them flying off the stage like you're supposed to do in ''Smash''?
* Takaya's magnum revolver in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}''. despite the protagonists being shocked, stabbed, burned, frozen, and pierced, one shot from his gun [[spoiler: kills both Shinjiro and Junpei, only one of whom get better, though the former can be saved by a PocketProtector in [[UpdatedRerelease Persona 3 Portable]] if his Social Link is maxed out]]. Granted, it ''is'' a [[HandCannon high powered magnum]], but still. GameplayAndStorySegregation is at play here, too. When you fight him, his magnum doesn't do remarkable numbers.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Mocked in ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' in an AprilFoolsDay one-shot where his family of ninja (and gunslinging sidekick) are murdered by their only weakness: "Bullets... from a gun."