Zephan stops by to provide a different way to look at the defense of our gun rights. He requested his sources be listed along with the article. We appreciate his effort to be accurate and precise with his information.
Gun owner or not, it is hard to deny the robust gun culture that permeates the American Republic. From organizations like the Boy Scouts to first-person shooter video games to gun clubs, it is clear that Americans from childhood to retirement have been exposed to “gun culture” in one way or another. But what is gun culture exactly?
In brief, it is the affinity for the practical or recreational use of firearms, which includes: hunting, collecting, open or concealed carry, or just going to the range every once in a while; all of these activities would fall under the scope of gun culture. This concept of a "gun culture" blends into our daily lives, some of which would concur with the old Mandalorian saying that "weapons are part of my religion."
Gun advocates argue that the right to self-preservation is a God-given right that predates government and that any regulation on that liberty is an infringement on fundamental human rights. This reality spurs the gun community into action. The NRA boasts approximately five million members, and other groups such as Gun Owners of America and the Firearms Policy Coalition also foster an immense amount of support. However, increasingly, the mainstream American culture has made it socially taboo to be a gun owner. If it happens to come up in conversation that you own a tool to defend yourself and your family, people look at you as though you could be the next mass shooter.
On the issue of mass shootings, many argue that gun culture is directly responsible for this phenomenon. Some say that if fewer families had access to firearms that Americans would be safer from mass shootings. The reality is those mass shootings are so rare that they are barely worth a national conversation, and the American gun culture makes violence much less likely to occur. To further the first point, since Columbine, there have been 10 mass shootings in schools. 81 people have been killed, and of that, 64 have been students. Annually, on average, that is about four deaths per year or three deaths for students. To put that into perspective, playground equipment, especially swing sets, kill about 20 people a year. Instead of focusing on a phenomenon that kills about 5x more people on average than mass shootings in schools, the media decides to vilify gun owners. According to a study conducted on the media's coverage of mass shootings, the media is "largely responsible for providing the model to imitate." While decrying, rightfully so, the horror and senseless violence of mass shootings, they are simultaneously providing the strongest incentive for them to continue.
According to the CDC, guns are used defensively about 500,000 to 3 million times per year. Additionally, 98% of all mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. Finally, studies show that concealed carry permit holders are more abiding than police officers! If we believe that mass shootings are worth addressing, the goal should not be to combat gun culture but rather embrace it. If this data translates to real life, teachers trained to legally open, or concealed carry should do so. Consequently, we could see mass shootings become a thing of the past. By all available metrics, as a responsible gun owner, I am much more likely to stop the next mass shooting than partake in it.
A gun culture as robust as the United States can also result in a lower risk of institutional violence. The culture of "Don't Tread on Me" has resulted in a government that has been uniquely afraid to systematically kill off segments of its population on a genocidal scale. Meanwhile, internationally democide, or death by government, was the leading cause of death in the 20th century, responsible for 262 million deaths globally. The two most common practices a pre genocidal state institutes is removing speech rights and confiscating guns. I do not think I need to explain why. American gun culture has put the state's natural tyrannical urge at bay since 1776 and continues to do so as long as it is preserved.
With great power comes great responsibility. Gun culture has made it clear that safety is a top priority of gun ownership. The four rules of gun safety are ubiquitous with gun culture. Those being, Rule #1 All guns are ALWAYS loaded, #2 Never let the muzzle cover anything which you are not willing to destroy, #3 Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target, and #4 Always be sure of your target. A violation of any of these rules will result in decreased safety and an increased likelihood of getting chewed out by the range officer and any other valiant defender of gun culture.
With an estimated 2.5 million new gun owners since the onset of Covid-19, it looks as though the gun community may have a chance to rebound and take back the culture. With essential items continuing to disappear off shelves and riots continuing to ensue in our streets, the American people realize that they are the only ones responsible for their own (and their family's) safety on an individual level. Additionally, Americans are responsible for serving as another check and balance against the mob on a societal level. So, while the mainstream media tries to continue to de-normalize gun culture by replacing the classic firearms of Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd instead to carry knives and scythes (so less gruesome), gun owners must fight back and continue to shape the culture. I implore anyone reading this to be open and honest with their views to others around them. Now is the opportune time to show that gun owners are everyday people who make insightful and practical contributions daily. Invite your friends to the range, start a local gun rights chapter, or heck, buy one more gun! Many folks state, "that politics is downstream from culture." Hence, if the Anti-Gun movement effectively eliminates gun culture from American public life, how long will it take for guns to be removed entirely from the American public? ~ Zephan
Zephan is a student of Political Science at the California State University Stanislaus with the plan of continuing his education into law school. Zephan’s political passions include gun rights, free speech, and limited government. He specializes in constitutional law and finance. If you are interested in having him write an article for you on constitutional law, finance, or any other topic, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.