[1]Gun 2017. [2] “Two of the deadliest mass shootings

1Gun Violence Archive.  “Mass Shootings.” http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting., Accessed December 07, 2017.

2 “Two of the deadliest mass
shootings in U.S. history come just 35 days apart.” Cbsnews, November 7,
2017. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/deadliest-mass-shootings-us-las-vegas-texas-church/. Accessed December 7, 2017.

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            Between the three authors, Aninsi
and Stroebe would most likely disagree the most. Stroebe argues that there
needs to be a culture change in America’s attitude towards guns (as implied by
the title of his paper) because he thinks that for this reason that we cannot
have a conversation on how to fix this problem with increased gun control or
much less even get any gun legislation done in the United States. He also
believes that organizations like the NRA should not have as much influence as
they do in American politics. Aninsi says that our culture should stay the way
it is for the second amendment is what guarantees us individual and collective
freedom and that it was put in place for a reason. This reason is protection
from anarchy and tyranny. He believes that if we stray away from the second
amendment and the culture that surrounds it then this would strip us from the
very foundations of our individual and collective freedoms. Based on the sources
that I read it would appear that my culture hypothesis was wrong.

            Two pieces of literature I read for
my culture hypothesis are pro-gun and they both argue or at least imply that
gun culture is not directly linked to gun violence in the United States. Lemieux,
although not one of them did find contradicting evidence in his study. Even though
they seem to be on the same side, while Aninsi tries to look at the root of what
creates our gun culture and why America should not mess with it in the first
place, Halbrook debunks the culture argument entirely with Switzerland as an
example. Halbrook brings up every argument brought up in the United States,
explains how those same arguments apply to Switzerland, and explains why it is
wrong. For example, main points made by anti-gun lobbyists is that 12if
there are more guns then there are more homicides, banning them will save
lives, and that if everyone is armed then that would be counterintuitive and
more people would end up getting shot that way. Halbrook’s counterargument to
those kinds of arguments would be that Switzerland’s largest city of Zurich
celebrates guns by holding two large gun themed holidays and despite this it is
13held
as the best city in the world as well as one of the safest. One counterargument
he would make specifically addressing the “we do not need more of our citizens
to be armed” is that a large number of citizens in Switzerland are armed and
once again it still is one of the safest cities in the world. Switzerland is
ranked third in civilian gun ownership with about 3.4 million firearms for
their population of about 8 million.14

Connections, Contrasts, and Synthesis

            At the end of this study, Lemieux
came away with this; The United States unsurprisingly had more than double the
mass shootings then the 24 other countries combined during the thirty-year
period between 1983 and 2013. There was a correlation found between countries
that spent lots of GDP on their military and gun movies and gun ownership rate.
This would of course suggest that culture does at the very least influence the
ownership of guns although not necessarily gun violence. According to table 3
of Lemieux’s study, it showed that the southern region of the United States has
the highest concealed gun license rate of any other region as well as highest
rates of murder than the other regions.11 This
is likely due to their southern culture. Although there seems to be a
correlation between gun culture and gun violence in the United States’ south
there did not appear to be a pattern of this at an international level. Overall,
Lemieux found that there is a slight correlation between gun culture and the
prediction of firearm rates and regarding The United States and the south, but
none at an international level. And found no correlation between gun culture
and mass shootings whatsoever. Overall, Lemieux directly proved my hypothesis
wrong.

            Another article I read was “Effect
of Gun Culture and Firearm Laws on Gun Violence and Mass Shootings in the
United States: A Multi-Level Quantitative Analysis” by Frederic Lemieux.
Lemieux directly does a study on a possible correlation between gun culture and
mass shootings, homicides, and gun violence along with other factors that may
cause these events as well. When talking about culture, he starts with the
stand your ground law and how it is “rooted in American culture have easy
access to firearms and the enactment of laws that authorize citizens to use a
gun in public spaces to defend themselves.”10  In the actual study itself, he organizes it
into a three-level study. The macro level is based on an international
comparison between 25 developed countries, most of them western. This level is
also based on two proxy variables, the first one being military expenditure
because war culture and militarization of several sectors of the society that ascribe
value to the use of military tools and tactics to resolve social problems are
linked based on numerous studies.  The
second proxy variable is based on movies in countries that used guns and
violence as justification for things like revenge or movies that were just
filled with gore. This was to see how much money these movies made in each country.
The Meso level was based on three levels in 50 states. These three levels were
the rates of death by a firearm, the rates of homicide, and the rates of gun
ownership. The micro level analysis is based on over 70 mass shootings
occurring in the United States from 1983 to 2013. This level focuses on several
personal characteristics such as the shooter’s age, race, sex etc. It also
focuses on the setting and properties of the shooting event such as the place
and location, as well as the number of weapons, number of casualties, the
number of perpetrators, etc.

            The next article I read on gun
culture’s effect on gun violence was called 8″Antagonisms
and the Discursive Sedimentation of American Gun Culture: A New Framework” by
Alexei Anisin. Anisin takes a more historical look at our gun culture and where
it comes from. He believes that our gun culture stems from the second amendment
to the constitution that gives man right to bear arms to protect us from
tyranny as well as anarchy. Anisin also says that the right to bear arms is an
individual freedom and a collective freedom and says that “if individuals do
not have the ability to obtain or access firearms, they will no longer be
living in a country that provides them with”9
these values. Aninsi also did acknowledge the costs of the right for citizens
to bear arms which is gun violence and how the second amendment does not seem
to take that into account.

            The first two pieces of literature I
read on this were 6″Citizens in Arms: The
Swiss Experience” by Stephen P. Halbrook and 7″Firearm
Availability and Violent Death: The Need for a Culture Change in Attitudes
toward Guns” by Wolfgang Stroebe. These both take two different sides and
have two different approaches. Halbrook just talks about how gun culture is not
the problem and talks about how little gun violence occurs in Switzerland
despite them also having a big gun culture arguably more popular than that of
the United States. Stroebe on the other hand does not exactly address any kind
of causal relation between gun culture and gun violence but instead talks about
why whether or not there is any kind of relation between the two, real gun
control legislation can never be passed anyways due to the NRA’s heavy
influence in American politics today.

            I would like to test my culture
hypothesis first which was that America’s gun culture is the reason why there
is so much gun violence. I came up with this hypothesis based firstly on how
much influence the NRA seems to have in elections (both presidential and
local). I also based this on the abundance of guns in America. According to Quartz,
The US owns “about half the world’s guns while making up only 5% of the world
population.”4 As well as somewhere
between 270 to 310 million guns nationwide which is almost one gun per person.5        

Culture

1With 328 mass shootings happening in the U.S only as
of 2017, there has unsurprisingly been major concern over how to resolve this
problem of mass gun violence or just gun violence in general. The issue is that
America is yet to come to an agreement on how to fix this problem. This is
nothing too new either, this is something that we see in the news quite often
especially with the most two most recent and most deadly Las Vegas shooting
that happened in October and the shooting that occurred at a church in
Sutherland Springs, Texas only a month ago.2  In an attempt to possibly figure out some
type of conclusion as to why these events occur so often in the United States,
in this paper I proposed the two hypotheses that mass gun violence or just gun
violence in general occur because of mental illness, and because of our large
gun culture. With how often these events keep occurring along with the
occurrence of the deadliest mass shooting (Las Vegas) in The United States happening
a few weeks before our first research assignment I felt the need to somehow get
to the bottom of it with those two hypotheses.3

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