The phenomenon of gun culture in the U.S. is here to stay


Kennebec Journal

Second Amendment supports rally outside of the State House in Maine.

The United States has more guns than people with a rate of 1.2 guns per capita. This puts it at the highest of any country—not just more-developed countries. Statistics alone don’t speak for this fact; social media is rampant with posts that are supportive of the second amendment and gun ownership. Bumper stickers with the Michigan mitten holding a pistol frequent the roads.

Even so, Michigan is one of the states with a less severe obsession with guns. States such as Texas, Florida, and Virginia have the highest rates of gun ownership, and it is fairly evident based on the environment and voting tendencies of said states. Guns are more highly concentrated in rural areas as well, so cities tend not to have as many.

While there is great variation within gun ownership distribution in the U.S., the biggest difference is international. This is easy enough to say, but why is such a country with such recent history so drawn to firearms, even more so than the countries that invented them? 

If there is anything that the base of the U.S. rests on and the people float their pride on, it is independence. From the glorious days of winning the Revolutionary War to their solid stance regarding capitalism during the Cold War, Americans have always stood for personal freedom and independence. 

Gun ownership, whether false or not, puts people under the impression that they have personal control over their situation and safety. Despite the fact that the majority of gun-related deaths are due to attacks rather than defense, having a powerful weapon in its holster at all times empowers the wielder—for better or for worse.

Truly, there is still the patriotic sentiment throughout the U.S., even nearly 250 years after the war that granted Americans their freedom from British rule. Having faith and love in your country is, no doubt, a great thing, but trying to live by the past is a dangerous philosophy. Gone are the days when civilians are fighting a foreign government, so this particular instance does not need to be relived.

As the country has evolved, though, it is important to consider how this amendment can translate into today’s terms.

It is a less-than-ancient government creation in the U.S. that has sparked the savior for many gun owners: the Second Amendment. The right to bear arms is one that was, undoubtedly, crucial at the time of the Revolution as people had to personally protect themselves without an official independent government or military. 

As the country has evolved, though, it is important to consider how this amendment can translate into today’s terms. Some, however, prefer to take this very literally as a way of unlimited rights to guns.

So, there is a story behind the infatuation with the most powerful firearms possible within the United States. This sentiment is unlike any other country, and gun culture is a raging one, whether or not each person individually supports it.  

At this point in time, the majority of people believe that there should be safety and background checks when purchasing a firearm, but the chance that their numbers will severely drop and be outlawed on a larger scale is slim to none. 

Guns are an intrinsic part of American society—it’s a part of the country’s identity. Thirty-two percent of Americans personally own a gun while 44% live in a gun-owning household. Despite this, it is important to use common sense regardless of enthusiasm; safety should always come first.