Guns and gun control have dominated the media and politics. Gun control laws have become a heated topic that brings into question the constitution. Many politicians have used guns within their campaign to promote the second amendment (citizens right to bear arms). We recently saw in class Will Brooke’s campaign ad which highlights the idea that guns are an American right. Jeb Bush also recently highlighted that guns are an American right within his campaign. On February 16th, 2016, Jeb Bush posted a photo of a gun engraved “Gov. Jeb Bush” on Twitter with the caption, “America.” Jeb Bush links America with guns which is a common trend among politicians and people. I got me wondering why America is associated with guns and what guns mean to Americans.
Guns did not originate in America. Guns originated before America was founded but guns are still associated with America and are part of American culture. America is one of the leading countries in gun manufacturing and also one of the leading countries in mass shootings. Guns play a very prominent role in American culture. “They’re symbols of protection of the home, the romance of industry, equality, cool daring, mean-street savvy, fighting for liberation and family tradition,” (1). This idea was reinforced throughout American culture up until the assassination of John F. Kenedy. Then gun control law were placed and guns were slowly looked down upon by the public. Gun violence and anti-war movements help challenged the idea of the gun as a symbol of “cool” or “family tradition”. Now, guns are mainly associated with gun violence or mass shootings. Guns went from an American symbol of freedom and tradition to a symbol of violence and controversy.