Why do Americans love guns?Yet another shooting spree. Yet another crazy person who had very easy access to cheap, high-powered weaponry. And still Americans insist guns are the ultimate...

Why do Americans love guns?

Yet another shooting spree. Yet another crazy person who had very easy access to cheap, high-powered weaponry. And still Americans insist guns are the ultimate expression of civic freedom and are 'good'.

It would seem that no matter how many dead bodies fill our school canteens, post offices and other public spaces, Americas love affair with the gun will never grow stale.

I simply do NOT understand it. Why would anyone want to live in a heavily-armed society? 

Asked on by beefheart

6 Answers

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

A lot of people think that gun ownership is an American tradition.  The right to bear arms was included in the constitution because the Founding Fathers though it was important enough to include in the Bill of Rights.  Many argue that if Americans had not been allowed to carry guns, the revolution would never have been successful.  For a long time when our country was young it was downright necessary for most Americans to carry a gun.  Pioneers needed them to hunt and for defense.  Now that gun ownership is not really a part of life for most of us any more, some feel that guns make us less safe.

larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree that Hollywood has been a major factor in our fascination with guns. I grew up in the fifties, when most programs on television were westerns in which everyone, good guys and bad, carried a gun on the hip, almost as a means of identification. Kids grew up playing "cowboys and Indians." It apparently is a throwback to the frontier mentality when guns were necessary for survival. Sadly, it has been morphed into some sort of "right," (and I believe the Supreme Court has misinterpreted the Second Amendment). Guns are not made for fun; they are made for killing things, including other people. Those shooting at targets, be they clay pigeons or tin cans, are merely substituting the one for the other.

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I would argue that Hollywood has been a pretty large influence on America (much of the globe, really) in the area of several things that can be taken both positively and negatively (beauty, for example, violence, another).

Video games are probably another prominent influence.  Like a PP stated, guns are considered fun, especially when cool people who kids look up to are shooting them and flipping around and flying through the air and blowing things up and the consequences of their actions are shown as nothing but heroic.


lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I am not sure why there are so many people that desire the automatic weapons that seem to be so popular. When I was growing up it was not uncommon for most everyone to have several guns. Most all of them were used for hunting. Most were single shot shotguns and automatic 22 caliber rifles. This seems to be a thing of the past.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Lots of possible answers here.

First, I would point out that guns are fun.  I remember the first time by grandpa let me shoot a can filled with water with a rifle.  They hydrostatic pressure blew the thing up and I thought it was the coolest thing.  Then you go from there to the satisfaction you get from being able to hit a target (whether it be a clay pigeon or a real elk) well -- there's a certain pleasure in getting to be good at something.

Of course,that that pleasure has to be balanced against the danger of having guns out there when they can be used to kill people.  That's a question that does need to be answered.  But as far as your question -- that's one of the reasons why people like guns -- they're fun when used the way they're supposed to be.