Foreign (and Many Domestic) Minds Can’t Comprehend America’s Enduring Gun Culture

by Tommy Grant

Next Post Coming Soon…▶

The prevalence of the self-defense narrative is part of what sets apart the gun rights movement in the US from similar movements in places like Canada and Australia, according to Robert Spitzer, a professor at SUNY Cortland who studies the politics of gun control.

Self-defense has become by far the most prominent reason for gun ownership in the US today, eclipsing hunting, recreation, or owning guns because they’re antiques, heirlooms, or work-related. That’s also reflected in ballooning handgun sales, since the primary purpose of those guns isn’t recreational, but self-defense.

American gun culture “brings together the hunting-sporting tradition with the militia-frontier tradition, but in modern times the hunting element has been eclipsed by a heavily politicized notion that gun carrying is an expression of freedom, individuality, hostility to government, and personal self-protection,” Spitzer said.

That culture of gun ownership in the US has made it all the more difficult to explore serious policy solutions to gun violence after mass shootings. In high-income countries lacking that culture, mass shootings have historically galvanized public support behind gun control measures that would seem extreme by US standards.

By contrast, nearly a decade went by after the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before Congress passed a new gun control law. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the law passed in June 2022, was relatively limited: It incentivized states to pass red flag laws, enhanced background checks for gun buyers under 21, and closed the “boyfriend loophole,” which allowed some people with domestic violence convictions to purchase guns. But it did not ban any types of weapons, and certain studies suggest that even truly universal background checks may have limited effects on gun violence.

At the same time, many states have sought to expand gun ownership in recent years. At least 27 states have now passed laws allowing residents to carry a handgun without a permit and allow school staff and teachers to carry guns on campus.

, and  in America’s unique, enduring gun problem, explained

Next Post Coming Soon…▶

Read the full article here

Related Posts