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Guest Thinkers

America’s “Gun Culture” Myth

The attack on gun culture is built on a deep suspicion of the motivations of ordinary citizens expressing political opinions, says American Studies professor Kevin Yuill.

Many identify gun culture with the prominence of firearms in U.S. history. The frontier ideal promulgated largely in the 1930s celebrated the gun as the chief tool used by settlers to tame the wilderness and Native Americans. It is true that the gun has played a much bigger role in the U.S. than in western Europe, but the true purpose of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, is to enable citizens to resist tyranny. It is about preserving the right of ordinary people to participate as equals in the political system.


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