It’s a rare day indeed that I don’t see multiple articles decrying the “gun culture” and the horrors for which it is responsible. Consider this article title from the New York Daily News: “America’s Gun Culture Madness,” this “photo essay” from Time Magazine titled “Gun Culture U.S.A.”, or this headline from The Guardian: “Hillary Clinton says US must rein in gun culture.” On the rational side of the debate is a recent article by Rachel Lu, who teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas . . .

Her article tells the story of her journey from a traditionally gun-fearing home to that of a gun owner. It’s proof that all philosophers aren’t navel-gazing elitists. She writes:

“We just became a Second Amendment family. For the first time in my life, my home contains an object that is, by the manufacturer’s intent, a deadly weapon. [skip]

The thing is, I don’t come from a gun-happy culture. Apart from my husband, I doubt any of my near relations have experience with firearms. Mind you, I was raised by conservatives, but Mormons trend towards a communitarian, good-government brand of conservatism. They’re rarely drawn to the more suspicious and individualistic culture of the N.R.A. If my parents had any gun-owning friends when I was growing up, I wasn’t aware.”

Lu acknowledges the idea of a “gun culture”:

“Liberals hate this phrase. They’ve spilled buckets of ink trying to dismiss it. But their arguments aren’t effective, because they make the mistake of assuming that gun supporters are using the expression as a verbal weapon, flippantly shrugging off responsibility for their firearms and their vicious, destructive ‘gun culture.’”

Lu also understands reasonable responses to real threats:

“But gun culture at its best is rooted in a desire to protect, and especially to protect the people we love.”

The advocates of liberty often fail to understand that words have power, something that anti-freedom forces understand very well. In some situations, the pen can be mightier than the sword. Accordingly, they routinely strive to be the first to label people and ideas with which they disagree, knowing that if those labels stick, they’ve defined the terms of the debate, a substantial inherent advantage.

Thus do we quietly accept the idea of “gun violence,” or “assault weapons,” and argue about “common sense” gun regulation. Thus do we accept the idea of a “gun culture.” But does such a thing actually exist?

Merriam Webster defines culture as:

cul·ture noun \ˈkəl-chər\

: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time

: a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.”

What actually defines a culture? At one time, American culture was symbolized by e pluribus unum: “out of many, one.” People of distinct cultures from around the world did whatever was necessary to come to America and assimilate, to become, culturally, Americans. Even so, there have always been distinct and recognizable sub-cultures, usually revealed by their customs, foods, languages, and to a lesser degree, traditional modes of dress.

Residents of New York City often identify themselves with some degree of pride as “New Yorkers,” but there are distinct neighborhoods and cultures encompassing the Chinese and Italians, for example, and Harlem, which is identified as “Black” or “African American” culture.

Gun ownership, however, crosses all cultural boundaries. Usually, one of the few things people of distinct cultures have in common is gun ownership. They may own a single handgun, or an extensive collection of a variety of firearm types. And while some portion of gun owners share—more or less—a common vocabulary and jargon, this is not exclusive to gun owners, nor does using certain specific terms identify membership in a gun culture. Many people pick up firearm terminology from movies and television.

Firearms are essentially tools, and because there are a wide variety of different uses for firearms, there are a wide variety of different firearms to meet those needs. Tools are generally owned with no regard to the conventions of a broader culture, the Amish being an exception, though even they use a wide variety of tools.

One may argue that because they are weapons, firearms are not in the same category as tools, but this does not stand up to the most minimal scrutiny. A wide variety of common tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, saws and chisels, can also be employed as weapons, and have been. In the late 1800s, cowboys often used the butts of their Colt Single Action .45s in a pinch to hammer staples as they strung barbed wire.

The ownership of a single article, or even many examples of such articles, does not a culture make. Many gun owners also own a variety of knives, often more knives than guns, but no one argues they are members of an evil and destructive “knife culture.”

While I own more firearms than I need but not as many as I’d like, and doubtless share certain attitudes and interests with many others that happen to own guns, there is no question that we are culturally more different than alike. For example, I am a fencer and have studied European and Japanese fencing for many years. Am I therefore a member of a “sword culture?” Considering that most of my “swords” are sport swords and not actual live blades, I think not. My study of French and Italian fencing techniques, though reflective of long-established, unique cultures, does not make me French or Italian, nor do I have much else in common with those cultures.

Few gun owners likely consider themselves members of a monolithic, easily identified gun culture, and would be hard-pressed to explain what the gun culture to which they supposedly belong believes or how a member could be identified. For that, we must turn to those who live to destroy their own gun culture creation.

President Obama, during his first presidential campaign, committed a gaffe–he accidently told the truth–in a speech to a group of what he thought were true believers. He said: 

“It’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.”

He was referring to rural Pennsylvanians but by implication, to all residents of fly-over country, that vast cultural wasteland between the east and west coasts over which the elite must occasionally travel. He soon was forced to issue one of his patented faux-apologies, but the God and gun clinger epithet stuck and became part of the gun culture slur.

Yet, even that is hardly universally accepted by gun owners. When I mentioned the place of God in a natural rights argument for self-defense in a TTAG article titled “Why It’s So Hard To Discuss Guns Rationally With Some People.”  That article engendered more than 350 comments, neatly burying any idea of unanimity of thought on firearms issues between gun owners.

Even for those that so casually—though purposely–use the term, defining it precisely is difficult. It’s like Supreme Court Potter Stewart who, speaking about pornography, noted that it was hard to define, but “I know it when I see it.”

For those seeking to destroy the Second Amendment, some characteristics of the gun culture are generally agreed: membership in the NRA, ownership of guns, conservative or Republican political philosophy, belief in God, and an unreasonable and stubborn belief that the Second Amendment bestows an individual right to keep and bear arms which may not be infringed. Some also hold that gun owners have low intelligence, tend to marry close relatives, are poorly educated and have no idea of the arts, and are almost always blue collar white males that hunt, drink massive amounts of beer, drive pickup trucks, follow NASCAR, and embody virtually every other irrational, elitist stereotype one might imagine.

Gun owners are far, far more diverse, a quality many anti-freedom activists claim to prize. They are male and female, young and old, are religious, atheist, or something in between, are of every race and national origin and hold every imaginable political philosophy. They do, however, share a very few common beliefs and qualities: they tend to believe that the Second Amendment means precisely what it says and they tend to believe that everyone has an unalienable right to self-defense. Many may hold common cause with the NRA, at least on some issues, but the NRA has something more than 5 million members, and something more than half of American households own guns.

Gun culture? Hardly. The term is useful not in defining anyone or any coherent philosophy, but in slandering those that believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility. Words do matter. Perhaps it’s time to take some of them back. We begin by challenging–each and every time–the mere premise of “gun culture,” “common sense” gun regulation, “assault weapons,” and similarly weakly definable attempts to seize the rhetorical initiative.

In their place, exalt liberty, which has the very great advantage of being what is embodied in the Constitution. Let our opponents explain why they want to take away liberty and substitute their failed ideas. Put them on the defensive for a change.

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92 Responses to The Gun Culture Phantom

  1. Mike, you make an interesting point about the anti-2A camp. Many of its members appear to believe that, as you stated, pro-2A Americans hold “an unreasonable and stubborn belief that the Second Amendment bestows an individual right to keep and bear arms which may not be infringed”. Later, you contrasted that with the assertion that pro-2A Americans “tend to believe that everyone has an unalienable right to self-defense”.

    This distinction is critical for two reasons:

    1. Many pro-2A Americans rightly understand, and agree with the founders’ belief that the right to self-defense is both divinely bestowed, and unalienable.

    2.

  2. The Mormons I know are some of the most armed and well-prepped individuals I have ever met. I shudder to imagine how much more money I would have had for gun purchases if I hadn’t “wasted” so much cash on overpriced coffee, scotch, and chasing women.

  3. Most Mormons I know/ have met are preppers it’s a trait that seems unique to their “culture”. The one thing I don’t understand is why are non believers not allowed inside the Mormon temple? If we have any readers I the know I am very curious.

    • Not a Mormon, but I’ve got a lot of friends that are. I’ve been to church with them a few times. From what I understand, non-Mormons are not allowed in their temples because we are not living a holy life. You have to live a certain way and get approved by some church leaders. Even non-approved Mormons are not allowed in Mormon temples.

      They are beautiful though. When they build a new temple, everyone is allowed to go tour it before it is dedicated.

    • (Also not a Mormon)

      In addition to what David said, the idea of sacred, inviolable spaces exists in many religions. From the top of my head:
      Shintoism: The Ise Grand Shrine
      Hinduism: Major temples
      Islam: City of Mecca and the Nabawi Mosque in Medina
      Judaism: Anything past the the outer court (Court of the Gentiles) at the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) in Jerusalem.

    • I am a Mormon. And it’s the exact reasons that David and Alpo said. It is more sacred than our standard meeting buildings and you need to permission to enter from proper authority.

    • I am a Mormon and David did a good job explaining about the temples. We believe that they are very holy paces on earth so one must be living in such a way to be able to enter in them, such as following the commandments to the best of one’s ability. So some times some members have to fix their lives before they can enter.

  4. If there is a modern “gun culture,” the left created it.

    Through constant carping, attempts to marginalize gun owners, incessant anti-gun agitprop, billionaire egotism and faux-mom whining, the left has managed to galvanize gun owners. The left single-handedly expanded NRA membership by 25%. Overreach by the left in DC and IL led SCOTUS to finally put its foot down and enforce 2A against the Feds and the states.

    The backlash to the left’s high-handed, mean and vicious tactics goes on today. Unintended consequences indeed.

    • I agree with the Left expanding the NRA. I joined the NRA as a normal member just before Sandy Hook. The President and several members of Congress started to agitate about gun restrictions. Before that, I felt that the NRA did not represent my outlook as I am a liberal, atheist, well educated, white collar gun owner and collector. The words that the restrictionists were using to curtail my rights were aimed at my core beliefs. They counted ME as one of them because of my other viewpoints. I may never have joined the NRA otherwise.

      In response to the absurd suggestions after Sandy Hook, I started a spending campaign I have only just now paid off. I upped my membership in the NRA to Life and joined GOA. They started talking about more restrictions and re-implementing the assault weapons ban and I upped my membership in the NRA to Endowment and joined The Second Amendment Foundation as a Life member. They suggested a method to ban ownership of all “high capacity” magazines and I upped my NRA membership to Patron. They tried the Manchin-Toomey registration scheme and I upped my NRA membership to Benefactor. All the time that this was happening, I went to the State Capital and protested. I attended every rally. I was interviewed on TV seven times. I spoke with the State Senator from my district and, when he suggested that he would not vote for pro-gun legislation at the State level, I told him I would literally run against him in the next election (yes, that got his attention).

      When I ran out of “levels” of membership in the NRA, I gave away memberships to people I knew were pro gun but never joined. All total, I gave away 15, I think.

      What happened? Why did I become so “radicalized”? I was in college when the assault weapons ban was debated and I thought that there was NO WAY that it would pass. I was shocked. I could not believe that it could happen. I was pissed off at the NRA for not doing something until I realized that it was my fault and the fault of others like me. I recognized the rhetoric buildup this time and I stood up.

      It is funny to see the looks on people’s faces that I meet at protests and they want me to join their other groups; be it a Tea Party affiliate, anti-abortion group, Church or what have you. I tell them who I am and what I believe and they look at me as if I just grew three extra heads. They then look at my waist and see the gun on my hip and their head nearly explodes.

      The “gun culture” mythos “works” because some on both sides have bought in to it. By doing so, those on our side often alienate our natural allies. If we do nothing else, we need to stop this.

      • I was of the same mind. I purchased NRA life memberships for both my daughters (7 & 10 yo) and wife, and then duplicated it with the Second Amendment Foundation. GOA is my next goal. I assume that I’m now part of the “gun culture” as the family owns multiple firearms and both my wife and I carry daily. However, I see it as an investment in mine and my daughter’s futures. In much the same way we’ve put away money for their future educational endeavors, my wife and I see that we need to be able to secure their ability to enjoy their personal freedom in the future. I can’t see a better way to do it.

    • +100, but I get the feeling they don’t value consequences. At least not in the same way I do.

  5. The diversity of our “gun culture” can easily be seen by contributors (commenters).
    Target shooters, competitors, hunters, collectors, et al.

    There are some really intelligent people, opinionated people, stubborn people, and just plain people.

    Through comments, I see all walks of life here.

    If gun culture is such a thing, I am proud to be a part of it.

  6. Mike, you make an interesting point about the anti-2A camp. Many of its members appear to believe that, as you stated, pro-2A Americans hold “an unreasonable and stubborn belief that the Second Amendment bestows an individual right to keep and bear arms which may not be infringed”. Later, you contrasted that with the assertion that pro-2A Americans “tend to believe that everyone has an unalienable right to self-defense”.

    This distinction is critical for two reasons:

    1. Many pro-2A Americans rightly understand, and agree with the founders’ belief that the right to self-defense is both divinely bestowed, and unalienable. They also correctly understand that the 2nd Amendment merely serves as a statement recognizing the existence of that divine right.

    2. Some among us, unfortunately, miss that critical element, and mistakenly believe that it is the document itself, and the mere existence of the 2nd Amendment, from which that right flows. Their fear, understandably, is that if the Amendment is lost, that right is also lost.

    It is this mistaken second construct that many anti-2A commenters rely on: that the right flows from the document itself. That erroneous interpretation also fits hand-in-glove with another of their common arguments: that the Constitution is a “living” document that may and should be altered in both content and interpretation to suit the tastes and beliefs of successive generations. This argument undergirds their position that if the 2nd Amendment may be voted out of the Constitution, the underlying right may be thereby circumscribed.

    In the ongoing effort to bring clarity to the terms of this debate, and to illuminate and undermine the use of language by the anti-2A camp to influence public opinion, the divine source of our right to self defense is an essential point that must remain at the forefront of our efforts.

    • But that’s not an unreasonable fear, that the loss of the words of the 2A would mean the loss of that right. Now, it is true that the RKBA and the right of armed self-defense is a fundamental human right; everyone here knows that. However, just because something is a natural right doesn’t mean it’s somehow physically impossible to infringe upon it. The antis don’t recognize that fundamental right of armed self-defense, which means that for them, the words of the 2A are the only real constitutional impediment.

      I see this sentient from the POTG all the time, and it’s actually irrelevant. See, when discussing rights as lofty philosophical concepts, it’s an important distinction. But in practical terms? Totally irrelevant. So, yes, the fear that the loss of the 2nd Amendment equals the loss of the (legal) RKBA is a valid one. In that event, folks would still have the basic human right, but the law wouldn’t recognize it. So, they wouldn’t be violating universal laws that can only be expressed as theoretical, but they would be violating the (far more relevant) legal laws, which would have massive ramifications for them.

      • Jake, point taken, and thank you. I agree fully that the 2A is critically important for the reasons that you stated. The sole point that I was trying, clumsily, to make is that in framing the terms of the debate, it’s vital to distinguish that the right does not flow from the fact that it is enumerated in the Constitution, but from, as Mr. Burke noted, the fact that one is an individual.

    • As an agnostic, I’m unable to verify that Second Amendment rights are divinely bestowed, but I certainly see them as inalienable. Individual rights belong to everyone, whether they want them or not. And the disdain of others for theirs does not mean more for me. Their rights are theirs, whether they treasure them or not.

      • William, in referring to the divine origin of our rights, I was merely drawing from the language of the Declaration, to-wit: “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”. It was not my intent to assert a particular meaning for the word “divine”; rather, my purpose was to support the position that these “unalienable” rights are ours solely because we are human. It is the fact of our humanity that imparts to us these rights. While we all have particular ideas as to how we came to be created, I think that the majority of us would agree with the proposition that it is the very fact of our existence that carries with it the right to effective means to defend ourselves.

  7. You say nobody complains about a “knife culture”, but you’re wrong. Any time a stabbing makes the news in the UK their news is inundated by articles decrying the “knife culture” in England. It’s really kind of pathetic.

    Of course the culture that should concern us is the loud, fanatical victimhood culture that seeks to disarm the law-abiding and ensure that only violent criminals and the government can have weapons.

    • General Zod,

      We’ve got “knife culture” here in the UK because it’s difficult (not impossible, but risky and expensive) for criminals to get hold of working firearms: so the Press generally has to panic about knives instead. Every now and then we get a “gun murder” and the shrieks go up about “it should be illegal for criminals to have guns!”, until someone patiently points out *again* that it already is extremely illegal and the criminals don’t seem to be particularly deterred…

      If we waved the magic ‘knife control’ wand, and somehow made criminal use of sharp pointy knives as scarce as working guns with functional ammunition currently are, we’d next be onto “stick culture” or “rock-in-a-sock culture” or some other urgent moral panic that was overwhelming society (indeed, we get occasional efforts to spark off a Great Terror about dangerous dogs…). The requirement for a shrieking moralistic panic is there regardless, it’s just looking for a convenient lightning rod.

      (Oh, and although our version of gun control has coincided passably well with low firearm crime in the UK, I wouldn’t recommend it for the US at all… a fair few reasons that would practically be a TTAG piece by themselves)

      • Gun control works to curb gun violence in the UK because there already was a low number of guns in the country so it was easy to clean most of them up. In the US, we have something like 300-500 million guns on the ground, legal and black market. They are never going anywhere, and each law that hinders law abiding citizens from having fire arms just increases the confidence of criminals. Furthermore, while it is true there are fewer murders in the UK, there are hundreds more violent assaults per 100k of population than we have in the US. Also, it is simply a fact that more homogeneous populations are less likely to kill each other.

      • Gun control works to curb gun violence in the UK because there already was a low number of guns in the country so it was easy to clean most of them up. In the US, we have something like 300-500 million guns on the ground, legal and black market. They are never going anywhere, and each law that hinders law abiding citizens from having fire arms just increases the confidence of criminals. Furthermore, while it is true there are fewer murders in the UK, there are hundreds more violent assaults per 100k of population than we have in the US. Also, it is simply a fact that more homogeneous populations are less likely to kill each other.

  8. “The term is useful not in defining anyone or any coherent philosophy, but in slandering those that believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility.

    EVERY new bone they find is some kind of potential sideways insult to white christian conservatives. Never mind the reality (of our actual demographics), if WCCs liked hybrids you can bet hybrids would be the cause of global warming, and Michael Moore would be driving around in a hummer.

    • EVERY new bone they find is some kind of potential sideways insult to white christian conservatives.

      You could drop off the word “conservatives” and still be right. You could change “Christian” to “Protestant” and be more right. The amount of anti-white and anti-Protestant hatred on the left is stunning, especially since many of the left leadership is both white and (nominally) Protestant. Frankly, I don’t get it. Do those people hate themselves?

      • I think a lot of it is a part of a severe guilt mentality for all of the “slavery and oppression” they have been told they as white protestants are responsible for. Ever hear the phrase, “If you aren’t part of the solution you are part of the problem?” Well a lot of people on the left truly believe that even though it isn’t true.

      • Yes; they do hate themselves. It is a symptom of the leftist/statist/ elitist mentality. For the left, they either believe that the “Great unwashed” needs to be controlled by themselves. the “educated elite”; or, they are the “great unwashed” believing they need to be controlled BY the “educated elite”.

        It is a mutually abusive codependent relationship; like two people in a sado-masochisitc relationship. One person needs to the dominatrix, the other needs to the dominated. Both roles filled by people that hate themselves and as a result, hates everyone else.

        And if you are not codependent like themselves; you are a threat to them in showing them for what they are.

      • In a manner of speaking, they certainly do. There is a kind of self-loathing that is a prerequisite of guilt. And guilt seems to be a powerful driving force.

      • These people didn’t grow up hating their own Christian religion.

        Their parents spent big money to send them to universities that indoctrinated then with the leftist ideology.

        A good portion of these leftists will spend the next 20-30 years unlearning the indoctrination as they get slapped in the face with reality, marriage, and kids.

  9. Is the military and police part of the same ” gun culture” that needs to be disbanded or disarmed?
    We just seen in the news a police man kill other police with gun and military man kill other military with gun so who is it that is supposed to not have guns and who is? Aren’t police and military just as much people as people? That doesn’t even make sense.
    Oh wait robots are supposed to have guns and not people.

  10. I have 3 degrees, I’m an educator, I’m more liberal than some of my friends, but more conservative than others, I go to church, I have a clean history, I don’t hunt, I do fish, and to feed my tools and toys of the type that go bang I require .22lr, .22 WMR, .32 S&W short, 9×18 Makarov, 9mm, .38 special,.40 S&W, .45 ACP, 7.62×39, 7.62x54r, and 12 gauge ammo. I have a special passion for CZ75s (3 so far) and 3rd gen S&Ws (4 so far), but I have a blast shooting my .22s (9 so far) with my kids (3 so far). I also believe mass shootings are a mental health issue and gun safety training is the ONE THING pro2A and “gun violence prevention groups” agree on.

  11. Speaking of putting the anti’s on the defensive, I kinda like it when they start talking about ‘common sense’ gun control laws. The response then should be, “Ok but first let’s discuss repealing gun control laws that defy common sense. Could we start a list of laws that should be repealed and post it somewhere on TTAG? For example:
    1. The law banning the carrying of firearms on US Post Office property.
    Next?

    • 2. Make suppressors and SBRs non NFA items. Suppressed firearms are generally still pretty loud. And who cares how short a rifle or a shotgun is, it’s still not as concealable as a pistol, and those are already legal.

  12. “’Liberals hate this phrase. They’ve spilled buckets of ink trying to dismiss it. But their arguments aren’t effective, because they make the mistake of assuming that gun supporters are using the expression as a verbal weapon, flippantly shrugging off responsibility for their firearms and their vicious, destructive “gun culture.”'”

    I can’t believe you would quote this passage without telling us the phrase to which Lu refers. What the heck?

    • It’s just the sort of thing that goes on with maddening regularity in the TTAG Stylebook. Not mentioning a vital fact, a disdain for the Five Ws and the inverted pyramid style, and so on.

  13. Let’s not forget the rebranding of “gun control” as “gun safety legislation” (hyphen possibly not omitted by mistake), “universal background checks” as “background checks,” and most recently, “confiscation” as “repossession.” It’s all embarrassingly obvious, but plenty of people buy it wholesale.

  14. “Do those people hate themselves?”

    Ralph, I think this is very close to the core problem. People who are willing to harm others, control them, own them, do not have a healthy self image, and in many cases have no respect for life itself – even their own. This is the effect (not the cause) of the insane altruism they’ve been indoctrinated with all of their lives.

  15. Culture is used so generally nowadays to describe any sort of social group, whether they’re uniform or not. You have cultures based around other objects, whether it’s collecting antique Japanese swords, classic cars, riding Harleys, etc.

    I think the beef most of us gun owners have is that the mainstream media’s attempts to describe “gun culture” nearly always default to the old, white, crazy redneck in the woods who hoards guns, ammo, and various stuffed animals. Modern gun culture in America is far more interesting and diverse than that the mainstream media would have you believe.

      • Ahhh, I believe it’s measured in the same way one person’s (or journalists) “arsenal” might be the paltry few firearms I decide to bring to the range on any particular day.

  16. All of us gun owners can agree we all have the right to own guns for our personal protection and the protection of our liberty. We need to band together to support that right. United we stand, divided we fall…

  17. “but no one argues they are members of an evil and destructive “knife culture.” ”

    That will come after guns are legislated away.

    And the second amendment does not bestow any rights, your birth did that. The 2nd only restricts government from interfering with it.

  18. I do have little use for “the arts”. OR perhaps it’s mostly for the useless degenerates that disseminate most of “the arts” today.

  19. Quote from the article;
    “Gun culture? Hardly. The term is useful not in defining anyone or any coherent philosophy, but in slandering those that believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility. Words do matter. Perhaps it’s time to take some of them back. We begin by challenging–each and every time–the mere premise of “gun culture,” “common sense” gun regulation, “assault weapons,” and similarly weakly definable attempts to seize the rhetorical initiative.

    In their place, exalt liberty, which has the very great advantage of being what is embodied in the Constitution. Let our opponents explain why they want to take away liberty and substitute their failed ideas. Put them on the defensive for a change.”

    Great point and the only way we will stop playing defense.. Let’s see if they get any traction in future interviews.

  20. Saying that gun owners are all conservative god-worshipers admits a “culture”. I am an atheist, and socially liberal on many issues. But I am ardently pro gun. And what about all the libertarian pro gun people? Or the gay gun supporters like Pink Pistols? We need to make the gun issue about individual right to self defense and show the fallacy of “gun free zones” and other such nonsense. But when you start mixing your religious delusions with firearms collections, you are more than likely going to make the case the anti gun people are looking for.

    • I’m of the mind that we the people need to mind our own dang business on most things in this country…

      • Well unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. We live in a demoCRAZY and all that matters is people’s opinions. They are polled in a voting booth, and the majority gets their way. Decisions are not usually informed, but, rather, emotional and rhetoric driven. The two party system is an illusion of control.

        • There should be less invasive laws, we the people should have more control of our own lives…

      • I’m not religious, I don’t have hostility towards those who are religious as long as they don’t have a problem with me not being religious. I’m still an upstanding citizen of this country. We have freedom of religion, to me that means I’m free to not have one, or be controlled by laws dictated by one specific faith…

        • Amen to that. The most frustrating thing about local politics here in UT county is that people forget that. They want their kids to grow up in an environment that embraces the values that they do, so they often end up trying to force it on everybody by legislative fiat. I don’t think that’s their intention, but it is often the result. I am an active Mormon, and very libertarian in thought. Around here I often get labeled as a Liberal because I’m not into forcing my morality on other people.

      • Not hostility… just a call for separation. To often, pro gun rhetoric goes hand in hand with anti abortion, anti gay, “in god we trust” rhetoric, all of which is religious based and does not map onto a secular government. I don’t want your religious veiws writing laws any more than I want big city cry baby liberal’s views taking away my self defensive rights.

  21. Thanks for the mention. So glad you enjoyed the piece. Since writing it several people have referred me to this blog and have been learning a lot. Keep up the good work!

  22. Gun rights supporters aren’t limited to conservatives and libertarians.
    Socialists and Communists have historically supported the rights of the workers to possess guns to defend themselves from oppression and to fight for liberation. The new trend of so-called “leftists” who oppose guns is counter-revolutionary and contrary to Marxism itself.
    The Socialist Gun Review supports the rights of blue collar working people to be armed.

    To check us out, go to: http://www.socialistgunreview.wordpress.com

    “The workers must be armed
    and organized…under no
    pretext should arms and
    ammunition be surrendered.
    Any attempt to disarm the workers
    must be frustrated, by force if necessary.”
    – Karl Marx

    • Marx and Engels were mental thugs who’s philosophy on human nature and the government/citizen (read: master/slave) relationship was borrowed and mangled from Hegel before them and more incisively understood by Nietzsche after them.

    • Uno capitalist pig, here and I just want to say ‘thank you’. I have oft said this to those friends of mine who I consider ‘soft-socialist/anarchist’ I know who deride the private ownership of arms and support government controls of weapons, but then blabber about the coming revolution while sipping their Starbucks’ latte.

      “Uh, ‘Comrade’, how are you planning on fighting against the ‘capitalist oppressor’ and ‘smashing the State’ if it’s only the State, Blackwater, inc and the police with guns? To quote a film, “what usually happens when people without guns stand up to people with guns?””

    • Armed and organized right up until the revolution is won and then it’s give us your gun, get in line and do what your told. Communist/ socialist liberty? Get real.

  23. Culture Wars & Kinetic Wars are about making certain people “other” — and then dehumanizing them — and then DESTROYING them. So clever ideologues and propagandists create a “Gun Culture” image that is basically KKK meets NRA.

  24. I am a young male.
    I am Caucasian.
    I am an artist.
    I am a college student.
    I am an atheist.
    I live in suburbia.
    I work two blue collar jobs.
    I drive a pickup.
    I am a gun owner.

  25. “Gun culture” is everything that runs in opposition to “victim culture” and “fascist culture.”

  26. I’ve always felt that a parent should just encourage their children’s interests. Attempting to raise a child in our own image creates a job for a psychiatrist. It came as a surprise to me that my 40 year-old daughter wanted to learn how to shoot. She told me she thought highly of me as she knew I was a gun collector. Suckered by an ego rise, I paid for the shooting session. We had a lot of fun. I thought my love of firearms was going to die with me. I am looking forward to more shooting outings with her.

  27. Gun Culture? “The term is useful not in defining anyone or any coherent philosophy, but in slandering those that believe in [this particular expression of] individual liberty and personal responsibility”
    [FIFY, that second-to-last paragraph.]

    I get it up to here with many people who identify as “left” of “liberal” who’ll say interest in guns is not a valid expression. I agree with them on many other things, and incidentally am frequently more “left” than they; perhaps similarly, I detest most of the supposed stances of what’s taken over the Repubs in all but their shallow bid for votes in supporting the 2A -though only in facile expression. These friends of the left persuasion are typically mostly ignorant of guns and cannot apparently see any reason they’d consider having one. Refreshingly, though scarce are the left-ist ones who do appreciate guns.
    My view of guns is informed by my views of social justice, and informs them.

    • Thank you! Many people fail to realize that it was armed blacks that helped the civil rights movement not be mowed down by police and lynch mobs. It has been armed members of the gay community keeping their venues safe from bashers and brutality from law enforcement. Armed indigenous people have protected themselves all over the world from occupiers and Imperialist expansion.

      Those with power seek to disarm, so they can subjugate. This is why the right to arms is a human right that must be protected, less the weak and disadvantage fall victim to those who hold power.

  28. The truth is not what is but what “they” say it is.
    They? That would be them roundly condemning firearms.
    Ignorant, pandering to the equally ignorant of the facts minority, whilst surrounding themselves with armed guards.

    Gun Crime is bad in the UK but is seldom reported as it’s been proven again and again that taking the weapons off the law abiding just leaves the same as reactive targets for the criminals and police to practice on.
    All in all a political disaster YET the truth is largely suppressed.
    True British style. Something fails, sweep it under the carpet.

    America is right to fight for the right to defend itself.
    Of course this has a tie in on your constitutional rights BUT the bottom line is if you disarm the population, people die. Simple as that.

  29. It’s hard to know even where to begin–other than thumbsupping Rachel Lu.

    But really, Hillary Clinton said that “the US” “must rein in gun culture” (Guardian UK headline)????

    Not anywhere I could see in the story linked above. She was quoted as saying a lot of other egregious things, however. Leave it to GUK to spin the story in a significantly Redcoat manner. To wit, who is “the US” that it “must” do anything?

    On a related issue, photographer Kyle Cassidy’s video study of American firearms owners, Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes, is still available. I buy it by the half dozen copies when they show up on remainder on Amazon or elsewhere. That way any time someone sees it at my home and wants it, they can take it with them.

    http://www.armedamerica.org/

    If you read it cover to cover, you’ll be able to answer the quiz question: which of the gun owners shown in the collage on that page has a dog named Leeloo Dallas MultiPass?

    See also from 2008:
    http://armedamerica.livejournal.com/

  30. I am an atheist. I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I don’t trust any political party or our corrupt political system. Anyone relying on votes for a job is trying to sell something. What I am is a person who believes in natural rights and the supremacy of individual liberty and freedom. That necessarily includes the right to own guns.

  31. Quoting DTAL above: “Gun culture” is everything that runs in opposition to “victim culture” and “fascist culture.”

    This.

    There is, indeed, a “gun culture”, which is none of the things the anti’s attach to it.

    The “gun culture” is one of competence, self-reliance, and often mournful personal responsibility. It is a culture of “not in the reach of my arm.” In the world as it stands, with natural threats and bad actors, “gun culture” is the culture of accepting and mastering a terrible power, to be able to do right in the world.

    “Gun culture” is of a piece with learning a trade that you might support yourself. With learning CPR or first aid, because it could happen, then what will you do if you haven’t schooled yourself? Of a piece with getting your shots because you can, and infecting others when you could do otherwise is reprehensible. “Gun culture” is the culture of keeping yourself functional, fit, competent and aware, that you may act in the world at need, to own your own life and make a better world, a piece at a time with you own hands.

    And “Gun Culture” is the culture of feeling the joy of living in the world, and being able to act in it. Gun culture is the culture of “how cool is that?”

    Tactically, responding to the multitude of slurs is a losing game, a distraction, and an enervating burden. This is their game. Keep the other guys (in this case, us) on the defensive, so they can’t state their case.

    Tactically, we need to make our case, and ignore the rest. When they troll by some nonsense claim like bitterly clinging or it must be religious, ignore the bait and make our case. No, in rural PA, along with teaching responsibility and acting in the world, guns put food on the table.

    In rural PA, hunting and marksmanship constitute something generations do together, and frankly because we (I used to live there) live closer to the land, a gun is also simply a tool, as Michelle Obama remarked when she saw rural living up close (out West somewhere.) It makes sense. You don’t want to wrestle the racoon, possum, skunk in your trash, but you do want to get rid of it. So, you have a gun. Holding back the groundhog hordes was a task I took on after too many times fixing pipes in the dead of winter, pipes that froze because the ground-pigs dug an auxiliary den under the footers, letting the freezing air in. That and the garden. Sorry, guys, my garden.

    And yes, if need be, you can shoot a marauding human, although that doesn’t happen much.

    The casual fire, fronting off, macho posturing, and so on is the antithesis of “Gun Culture.” We should own our sober use of dangerous tools, leaving the twin misapprehensions of reactionary nostalgia, and thug culture to others. We don’t own that. They do.

    Not that I have an opinion.

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