The Second Amendment: Gun Culture in the US (pt 5/9)

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting my research on the Second Amendment in several parts. Click here for part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

V. Gun Culture in the US

“The United States is the only modern industrial urban nation that persists in maintaining a gun culture. It is the only industrial nation in which the possession of rifles, shotguns, and handguns is lawfully prevalent among large numbers of its population. It is the only such nation that has been impelled in recent years to agonize at length about its own disposition toward violence and to set up a commission to examine it, the only nation so attached to the supposed ‘right’ to bear arms that its laws abet assassins, professional criminals, berserk murderers, and political terrorists at the expense of the orderly population – and yet it remains, and is apparently determined to remain, the most passive of all the major countries in the matter of gun control.”

This quote by Richard Hofstadter says everything about the gun culture in the United States. He states that because of the the gun culture in the US, it’s unlikely that an effective system of gun control can be achieved. There’s a lot of political, and powerful influences in this gun culture. People have learned to interpret the Second Amendment differently, making them think that bearing arms is actually a part of their cultural inheritage. But it’s not easy to pinpoint how much influence the gun culture truly has, but it’s apparent that towards the South it becomes more and more influential. Hofstadter later also explains, that “…[guns] in the United States in controlled by a chaotic jumble of 20’000 state and local laws…” which makes it harder to control, because of which a lot of illegal guns are left unnoticed. So then what’s the best way to limit gun violence? By organizing all of the laws within the state and the federal governments, making them cooperate for better outcomes, and then making them tougher – for better results.

Edward Paul Abbey was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. His work generally is followed by radicals, seeking for a drastic change in their political systems. According to him “When guns are outlawed, only the Government will have guns. The Government – and a few outlaws. If that happens, you can count me among the outlaws.” His very famous quote stands against gun rights, stating that only the government and the few will have guns if they become criminal, and that he himself would rather be a criminal than gunless in a gun-government. But he is an anarchist, he stands against any kind of law and order in his own political attitude. For him, the current system is broken and cannot simply be imposed or repaired but must be scrapped in favor of a new order. Thus, if it was for him – there would be now law, and with no law there’s only more trouble and crime.

Works Cited:

1. Hofstadter, Richard. America as a Gun Culture. New York.: American Heritage, 1970. Print.

2. Mongillo, John F. & Booth, Bibi (2001). “Edward Abbey: (1927-1989)”. Environmental activists. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 1

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