American Gun Culture

If you’re like most Americans, you’ve grown up on a combination of Hollywood movies and public education, which, to varying degrees of surreality, depict guns as either cartoonish props used by heroes and villains, or weapons of war abstracted away by the faceless masses of soldiers of allied and enemy nations. The truth – whether it be in the criminal deciding to commit armed robbery on your home – or a single mother trying to defend her home from a break-in – lies somewhere in between. To the politician, the truth does not matter – but to the average citizen – it very much does. Today we attempt to dispel some of the myth inherent in American gun culture, and ask questions about the future direction of our relationship with the 2nd amendment and each other.

— Timeline —

-1903- Civilian Marksmanship Program introduced
-1930-39- Great Depression, rise in gangsterism and violence partly as a result of Prohibition, the Great Depression
-1934- National Firearms Act passes
-1941-45- World War II ~25% of US men in military at various points
-1960-79- large scale civil disturbances, riots, Vietnam War, Black Nationalism, etc.
-1976- Kurt Saxon, Jeff Cooper popularize “survivalism”
-1977- NRA “hardliners” come to power
-1980s- cocaine trade in South Florida fuels violence, rise of the action movie
-1984-92- crack wars
-1988-92- George HW Bush signs a series of import bans
-1989- fall of Soviet Union creates large military hardware surplus
-1992- LA riots, Ruby Ridge
-1993- Waco, Brady Bill
-1994-2004 Assault Weapons Ban
-1995- Oklahoma City bombing
-2008-2016- Giffords, Aurora, Sandy Hook incidents, fear of Obama gun bans sparks panic buying

— References —

– The Gun Control Debate: A Culture-Theory Manifesto, Kahn (2003) –
– Scots-Irish Project: The Roots of America’s Gun Culture, Wallace (2013) –
– How Many Guns Are There in America?, Weingarten (2015) –
– Why Gun Control Can’t Be Solved in the USA, Adams (2016) –
– Gun inequality: US study charts rise of hardcore super owners, Beckett (2016) –


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