Saturday, April 28, 2012

Read This Now - Guns In America

Americans love their guns, or at least a certain percentage of us do since, as Jill Lepore points out in her excellent recent article for the New Yorker, the US has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world even as the percentage of Americans who own guns has been declining. 

Lepore takes a thorough look at guns in America, historic shootings, the Second Amendment and its political and legal history, the NRA, and several recent shootings. Normally their would be a pull paragraph here, but this piece is so well done, so interesting, and so hard to sum up fairly with a single pull quote that you really do need to just go and read the whole thing (if you need the cliffs notes version check out Lepore's related blog post).

It's also worth noting that the NRA doesn't monolithically represent and speak for all gun owners or even for the majority of them.  Lily Raff McCaulou elegantly made this point recently in the NYT...

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that every N.R.A. member is also a hunter — which is highly unlikely, considering that the most comprehensive national survey of firearm ownership to date found that only 35 percent of gun-owning households say they hunt. Even then, the N.R.A. would represent only about one-third of all hunters in the United States.  
You should be sure to read her whole op-ed as well, it won't take long.

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