Why America Has a Gun Problem

Think back to some of the heroes of the Revolutionary War, the Minute Men. They were regular guys who owned guns, and they were one of the first people to defend America as it acquired freedom from the British. Everyone learns about them and their exploits in history class. They are heralded in history books as heroes, and that is why Americans glorify guns in their culture. Guns make you heroes, because they allow you to defend yourself when the government tries to clamp down on your rights.

That's why gun sales surge anytime there is any mention of possible gun control legislation. Owning guns means guaranteeing freedom. With that logic, gun control means putting limits on liberty. How do you expect gun proponents to get behind that? Add to that the irrational fear many Americans have about President Obama changing the fabric of America, and even with a tragedy like Sandy Hook, Aurora, or Chicago's 2012 homicide rate, gun control is a constant uphill battle much like that of Sysyphus.

I'm for gun control, but, first, I think America needs a culture revamp where owning a gun isn't equivalent to safeguarding liberty. Furthermore, there should be better gun education. People don't get trained on how to use a gun or on what happens when you pull the trigger.  When I was with the American Friends Service Committee, they had a video that showed the truth in military recruitment ads. There was a scene that showed a clip from an army recruitment video that said how cool it is to be in the military because it is one of the few jobs that pays you to fire guns. Right after that another clip was shown. This time it was of  a chaotic real-life scene where a family in a middle eastern country was pulling their injured daughter out of the rubble that the US military created proving guns aren't cool.

Americans consider people in the military heroes because they defend America's freedoms abroad through armed force. Once again, people with guns are equated to liberty. How can Americans ever stop viewing guns in a positive manner and regulate them, when they are constantly associated with positive things in their culture? Guns don't mean freedom. They mean fear. Fear of going to movie theaters. Fear of going to school. Fear of not being able to partake in all that America has to offer, because someone will ruin it with a gun. But Americans can't just lobby for gun control. They need to change the entire conversation about guns to one centered on tearing down the myth that owning a gun makes you a guardian of liberty instead of a threat to it.

Filed under: Violence

Tags: Gun Control, Newtown, Sandy Hook

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