Enlarge / Glocks as far as the eye can see. (credit: Getty | Anadolu Agency)
In the wake of a mass shooting or fresh data on gun violence, pundits and the media often blame the US’ high rate of gun ownership and deaths on a deeply rooted “gun culture.” For many—particularly advertisers—this culture conjures ideas of morally strong, empowered, self-reliant, American patriots bearing arms. And it grazes notions of masculine heroes, protectors, and providers.
But it’s difficult to define a single culture behind gun ownership and the opposition to gun control legislation that sometimes accompanies that. More importantly, blaming something as vague as “culture” isn’t exactly helpful for identifying ways to reduce the US’ high death toll.
Aiming for more useful data, researchers tried to hit on factors behind why people own guns and their attachments to them. Who owns guns and how do they feel about their possessions? And how do those feelings affect their stances on gun policies?
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