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We know that wizards in the Harry Potter universe are subject to regular physical harm (e.g. witness injuries from being hit by Bludgers or just colliding with things when playing Quidditch).

Therefore, it's almost a certainty that an average wizard would be vulnerable to, say, a bunch of bullets.

There may likely be spell(s) to protect from projectiles - witness Dumbledore's shield deployed when Voldemort sent a bunch of glass at him during the Duel in the Ministry Atrium at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (according to Wikia, possibly an unusually powerful Protego or the Silver shield).

But:

  • those spells obviously take effort/energy/time to cast (not everyone's Dumbledore)

  • AND more likely than not most Death Eaters wouldn't recognize a Muggle gun for a threat (or realize what kind of threat) till too late.

So, the guns should at best allow an over-matched OotP member (e.g. Harry or Hermione) to greatly equalize the power between any regular Death Eaters and themselves, and even perhaps help against Voldemort (who can't be killed with a bullet, but, at best, would need to expend magical energy and time into conjuring a shield, and, at worst, be stopped/interrupted/driven off).

So I'm looking for an explanation - ideally in-universe, but possibly just some statement by JKR - of why the Muggle-born OotP - who are likely very much at ease AND familiar with Muggle technology and live in the late 20th century - do not use guns. Or, for that matter, ANY Muggle technology of the late 20th century? Cue Arthur C. Clarke's "indistinguishable from magic" meme.

Even if they are on some kind of idiotic moral crusade to never kill their opponents (even the Jedi aren't this dumb), given the time-frame, non-lethal weapons would have already existed, such as rubber bullets and tasers.

NOTE: Please don't offer the "if they do it, Death Eaters would start using guns as well" theory. First, Death Eaters would have used the guns if they knew how to, anyway. Second, the guns, like any "secret weapon", could be reserved for strategic battles, say the defense of Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows.


The origin of the question stems from two things.

First, Harry's fascination with all things that are different in the magical world (e.g. moving photographs), based on his knowledge of the Muggle material world, as well as the somewhat amusing cluelessness of the "Muggle artifacts" expert, Mr. Weasley, regarding Muggle items and how they work.

Basically, from the books, it's clear that the Wizarding world wouldn't know details about guns or what they are for or how they work.

The second thing is it's clear, at least initially, that wizards are afraid of Muggles finding out about them. Hence all the efforts to cloak their society (basically, do you REALLY want every Muggle gunning for you, even with Magic)? The idea of how control over the Muggle world seems to be more indirect, by Death Eaters asserting mind-control over the government. This means there's an implicit understanding by Death Eaters that they don't stand a chance against armed Muggles even given the magical disparity.

Considering Harry and Hermione's overall adaptability and inventiveness (and brains in the latter case), it's mind-boggling that the idea of fighting Death Eaters with modern technology completely slipped their mind. I mean, it's a basic part of human myth (see Steel vs. Magic themes in Conan books, or Beowulf, or heck, A Yankee in King Arthur's Court). So it's not like the idea of using technology against magic would be impossible to come up with. The question begs itself - why not? Considering the fact that Rowling generally tried to be logical and consistent in building the HP universe, I feel like there must be some in-universe explanation for this that I just didn't notice.

(in-universe answers only unless there are some authoritative out-of-universe statements that are part of canon).

forget the wands, things just got real

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    That said: The mental image of Harry putting a 9mm up to Voldemort's forehead and uttering a certain line from Dirty Harry before blowing him away, is beyond enjoyable. – DampeS8N Mar 23 '11 at 11:28
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    @DampeS8n - I was going more for Trinity's "Dodge THIS" line in my head :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 23 '11 at 13:09
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    @DampeS8N - I have added the rationale behind my wanting to know the answer (short version: it's what I would think up FIRST if I was a weaker magic user up against the stronger one. And Hermione is SMART. She shoulda thunk of it too. Remember that HP is basically, like any fiction, supposed to have the reader identify with the character(s). And this one basically is so out-of-character that it completely ruins my immersion of identifying myself with HP or more likely Hermione, being a former know-it-all "or worse... EXPELLED" kinda pupil). – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 23 '11 at 13:09
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    I cannot recommend "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" strongly enough. – Beta Jul 27 '13 at 4:03
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    Just a guess, but we're mainly located in the UK, which has very extensive gun control. – Sidney Jan 18 '16 at 16:49

31 Answers 31

-5

We don't know how fast wizards move when they duel, this is a magical world so real world physics are not necessarily present, a wizard could easily make a potion that grants them superior reflexes and speed to counter any muggle task-force. The ministry of magic could mass produce potions and hand them out to every wizard in a thousand miles, that grants the wizard the ability to move and counter at speeds faster than any bullet.

Wizards can easily enchant clothing to be bullet proof.

People say that spells can easily be dodged and that spells can't go through solid objects, both are true but we don't know how fast the witches and wizards are really moving when they dodge them. for all we know they could be a blur to any muggles.

Then you have to take into account that the magical community could also make magical bombs, in a war against the muggles the wizards would win.

I do not care what JK Rowling herself said, she is wrong.

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    Most of the points in this answer are not supported by anything in canon at all. – Gallifreyan Jun 8 '17 at 9:05
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    "i do not care what JK rowlings herself said, she is wrong" I'm afraid that's not how canon works. – F1Krazy Jun 8 '17 at 9:54
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    We do, however, care about proper capitalisation. Care to edit your answer to correct that? – SQB Jun 8 '17 at 11:04
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    F1krazy"A narrator should not supply interpretations of his work; otherwise he would not have written a novel, which is a machine for generating interpretations." — Umberto Eco, postscript to The Name of the Rose Death of the Author is a concept from literary criticism; it holds that an author's intentions and biographical facts (the author's politics, religion, etc) should hold no weight in regards to an interpretation of their writing. In other words, a writer's interpretation of his own work is no more or less valid than the interpretations of any given reader. – actionrandell Jun 16 '17 at 9:00
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    I'll play the devil's advocate (because I try to not be a devil) and pretend that wizards could indeed create bullet proof clothing/armour/whatever. And I'll pretend that there are magical bombs too (one could argue that AoE spells are but more like a similar affect). Right? Okay but the question is: did they? It's not suggested in the slightest. Furthermore - and more importantly - what does this have to do with Muggles fighting the Death Eaters? Muggle-born doesn't mean Muggles last I knew... Or is this one of those things that Rowling is wrong with too? :) – Pryftan Apr 2 '18 at 0:58

protected by DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 19 '12 at 20:40

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