Why Batman will never use guns (or at least, wouldn't circa 1993)

A couple months back, I got into yet another debate with someone about why I hated Batman using a gun in Final Crisis. At the time, I meant to post the following as a canonical response, but got distracted with IRL stuff and general geekery (we've got a li'l fanboy/girl on the way) at my Two-Face fanblog. Besides, I figured this might be controversial, since it's a controversial real-life topic combined with a controversial comic topic, taken from a comic that was deeply controversial at the time it was released: Batman: Seduction of the Gun.

B:SotG was an anti-gun one-shot published as a benefit issue for the John Reisenbach Foundation for gun-control education activities, a fact which wasn't revealed to readers until the end. DC was flooded with angry letters from gun owners and Second Amendment advocates, many of which were published in the early Knightfall issues. Many letters were along the lines of "My heart goes out to the Reisenbach family, what a tragedy, BUT STILL GUN CONTROL IS BAD I FEEL BETRAYED FOR ACCIDENTALLY DONATING MONEY TO THIS CAUSE." I could do a whole post about that comic and the response it got.

So it might be a bit unfair to use these pages as my reasoning why Batman would never use a gun, and would always find another way to save the day because he's frickin' Batman. It's a very biased perspective. But in this case, I believe it also entirely fits with Batman as a character, and how he's always reacted to guns and gun violence.

WARNING: this is the single most graphic description of exactly how the Waynes died.

First, some context: Hudson, a teenage friend of Tim's, decided to show off his father's gun to the guys. In classic After-School Special fashion, he started horsing around and it went off in the friend's living room. 

I think it's the first two panels on the last page that really make this, in that it shows how much Bruce elevates Thomas Wayne in memory. Never mind that Thomas was human, and could easily have been killed another way. The point is, that's just how ingrained this ideal is into Bruce's character.

That said, I'm sure there's a point to be made about how Final Crisis was so powerful because he managed to overcome his feelings to do the right thing, yadda yadda yadda. If the story worked for you, well, there's nothing I can say. But for me--and I suspect for many Batman readers--this is why we can never imagine Bruce pulling the trigger on anybody. I could sooner see him shoving the god-bullet into Darkseid by hand. Because he's the goddamn Batman, after all.
10 Comments Refresh
Posted by notoriousbcb

Love the panels.  I can remember reading Batman:Year Two and thinking that Bruce just didn't look right carrying a gun. . .
Totally agree with your points.

Posted by entropy_aegis
Right,now when was the last time bruce saved the multiverse prior to final crisis? 
and sorry to bust your bubble but he sniped gunhawk in detective comics 710 because had he not done that then gunhawk would have killed his target. 
he does'nt use guns but at that point inc FC there was no other way to stop darkseid.
Posted by junkmasterzero

Here's some from around that time, 1988, The Cult:

Of course those are Tranquilizers, but it does lead him to pick up a real gun along the way, with intent to KILL:
But eventually his Batmany ways win out and puts down the gun.  Although there is an issue where he is teaching Jason Todd to fire a gun because it needs to be in his skill set, I'll try to find it later.
Posted by cattlebattle

I've always thought that Batman is an idiot for this. The writers try to do these gritty stories, and these ultra-realistic understandings of why he doesn't use a gun. It's bologna, He constantly uses explosives and has missles in his jet..........what a hypocrite. 
Posted by ntb1124

Wow, forgot how weird he looks with a gun, just does not fit the character. 
@cattlebattle: yeah he uses those things, but in a non-lethal manner, it is difficult to use a gun in a non-lethal manner, unless you use rubber bullets.

Posted by Jotham

I'd never heard about that gun issue. That's incredibly lame.

Posted by junkmasterzero

Here is the Jason Todd pic.

 1987 Batman 410
Edited by nightwing91

Batman teaches all his robins how to use guns, its a required  skill, When Dick was  joiniing the bludhaven police department, it showed  his instructors opinion on him, and he was noted to be an amazing shot, but hesitant to use it. And Dick himself notes how Bruce kept guns in the caves to practice firing, and throwing  them for any situation. 

And he's not against using them for intimidation.,granted he'd never use them to kill, but he has no qualm to firing them.

Posted by junkmasterzero
@nightwing91: I almost posted that same scan.
Posted by Green Skin

I don't really view Batman as anti-gun, he's just anti-killing.  A gun is a tool like anything else in his arsenal and he uses them when the situation calls for it.