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Old 07-14-2019, 06:14 PM
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Why exactly did gun culture blossom in the US and, seemingly, not in most other Western countries?


I know that Switzerland somehow maintains the balance of a strong hunting culture and society that really values guns and the UK MIGHT be an exception to this...but where was the fork in the road where, for instance, Spain, Italy, Germany, or France didn't become big "gun" countries?

Was it literally the Second Amendment? I find it hard to believe the backbone of American gun culture would be as rock-solid without the Second Amendment.

Also, don't start splitting hairs too fine here. You know exactly what I mean by "gun" countries and how those European countries don't have a "culture" around them that America does.
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:57 PM
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I would posit that the seeds were sown well before guns became commonplace household items.

Starting from the very earliest colonists, the people who came to America were significantly adventurous, more self-reliant, more distrustful of government (for many and varied reasons--religious persecution being a common one), etc. than the people who stayed at home were likely to be.

Once they arrived, a significant number of them faced serious threats from the local Indians, thus leading to a certain degree of self-defense mindset. Compare this to Europe, where common criminals and simple disease were really the only threats to life. Many of the colonists couldn't rely on government to protect them, either because functional government didn't exist, or else it was too far away to be of any help.

As American civilization developed, those differences tended to linger, and perhaps even become magnified.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:00 PM
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
I would posit that the seeds were sown well before guns became commonplace household items.

Starting from the very earliest colonists, the people who came to America were significantly adventurous, more self-reliant, more distrustful of government (for many and varied reasons--religious persecution being a common one), etc. than the people who stayed at home were likely to be.

Once they arrived, a significant number of them faced serious threats from the local Indians, thus leading to a certain degree of self-defense mindset. Compare this to Europe, where common criminals and simple disease were really the only threats to life. Many of the colonists couldn't rely on government to protect them, either because functional government didn't exist, or else it was too far away to be of any help.

As American civilization developed, those differences tended to linger, and perhaps even become magnified.
I agree with this, but would add that it remains today. In many rural areas, the game that you shoot in the fall is the meat that is in the freezer that you eat all winter. This wasn't 1587 or 1776. It is 2019.

In those areas, young boys starting at age 12 or 13 are part of the hunt as well and guns are viewed as tools and not as instruments of crime.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:14 PM
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When Indians needed killing, and blacks kept in their place.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:33 PM
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The most useful point of comparison, I would think, would be Australia, which had a similar adventurous spirit among their early settlers, and a similarly sparsely-populated interior. And yet, gun control is quite strict in Australia today.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:46 PM
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When Indians needed killing, and blacks kept in their place.
Well we didn't have the Roman army to clear out any stray indigenous cultures ahead of time.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:51 PM
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I would posit that the seeds were sown well before guns became commonplace household items.

Starting from the very earliest colonists, the people who came to America were significantly adventurous, more self-reliant, more distrustful of government (for many and varied reasons--religious persecution being a common one), etc. than the people who stayed at home were likely to be.

Once they arrived, a significant number of them faced serious threats from the local Indians, thus leading to a certain degree of self-defense mindset. Compare this to Europe, where common criminals and simple disease were really the only threats to life. Many of the colonists couldn't rely on government to protect them, either because functional government didn't exist, or else it was too far away to be of any help.

As American civilization developed, those differences tended to linger, and perhaps even become magnified.
Well, yeah, but a musket was a commonplace household item.

America was, as you mentioned- a frontier nation, with lots of game, dangerous animals, redcoats, and of course natives.

Hunting for food is still fairly commonplace in America, but it's sport in Europe.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:53 PM
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The most useful point of comparison, I would think, would be Australia, which had a similar adventurous spirit among their early settlers, and a similarly sparsely-populated interior. And yet, gun control is quite strict in Australia today.

Well, the natives in Australia werent warlike. An, altho indeed there are lots of venomous and dangerous critters down there, there were very few dangerous predators, except the salty.

However, until recently gun control was fairly loose down under.
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Old 07-14-2019, 07:58 PM
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The most useful point of comparison, I would think, would be Australia, which had a similar adventurous spirit among their early settlers, and a similarly sparsely-populated interior. And yet, gun control is quite strict in Australia today.
How about Canada, which almost exactly paralleled the US in exploration and settlement challenges? A gun culture never developed in Canada, either. Today the preponderance of opinion is towards making gun laws even stronger than they already are.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:09 PM
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I wonder if anyone has seriously studied this particular situation?

The "Indians" answer does not really cover it. Australians and Canadians had similar frontiers, (although both the indigenous and invading populations were quite a bit smaller). I would have though that under the "Indians" proposal, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, (and maybe a couple others), would have had a similar situation. And if we leave out fiction, the actual danger from indigenous attacks was not great. As each new Indian nation was pushed aside, there would be a (usually) brief war and then the settlers moved in with no further opposition. There was no time when generations of settlers needed self-defense in any limited region.

People might point to the Wild West, but local ordinances against guns were rather more restrictive in the Wild West than they are in 21st century U.S. and there were few, (if any), challenges to those ordinances that were based on the Second Amendment.

Perhaps organized crime? Perhaps the popularity of fiction beginning with pulp novels, (penny dreadfuls, etc.), and continuing through exciting Westerns and Crime flicks. I wonder if the debates on gun control were greater of lesser prior to Mickey Spillane's series of Mike Hammer novels in which Hammer claims the right to carry and use his 1911 .45 in nearly every book?)

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Old 07-14-2019, 08:23 PM
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Modern gun culture has its roots in the crime explosion of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Murder rates doubled and the government seemed unable or unwilling to stop it. People were understandably scared and wanted to protect themselves.
I remember when a man broke into our house and attacked my mother with a knife, it sure was nice to have my dad and his gun to scare him away.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:31 PM
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Unlike other colonies, America had a Revolutionary War. As a consequence, there is an idea in America that people should have guns to protect themselves against tyranny.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:36 PM
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How about Canada, which almost exactly paralleled the US in exploration and settlement challenges? A gun culture never developed in Canada, either. Today the preponderance of opinion is towards making gun laws even stronger than they already are.
Becuase they were part of the Empire, and had those laws and governments.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:46 PM
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Unlike other colonies, America had a Revolutionary War. As a consequence, there is an idea in America that people should have guns to protect themselves against tyranny.

France also had a revolutionary war. Pikes and guns were distributed to ordinary people, militias were formed, armed citizenry was idealized as a rampart against tyranny and counter-revolutionaries, all that jazz.

And yet we control guns.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:47 PM
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...

People might point to the Wild West, but local ordinances against guns were rather more restrictive in the Wild West than they are in 21st century U.S. and there were few, (if any), challenges to those ordinances that were based on the Second Amendment.
...
Yes, many towns did have rules that said you had to check your guns in at the saloon or sheriffs office when in town. That's not the same as restrictive laws banning ownership or purchase, most towns openly sold guns to all and sundry with ready cash (except maybe Indians of course). Out in camp, on the trail or range, everyone carried.

However, it was quite customary in cowtowns for the cowboys to run around drunk, shooting their guns in the air, and according to period writers like Mark Twain, a "Navy revolver" was part of daily wear out there. Period photos bear this out. Men celebrated good news by firing their guns in the air. Hard to do that if they didnt have guns.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:58 PM
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Actually the reason we do is pretty bad, certainly worse than England or Australia's. WW1 saw plenty of people coming back from the trenches with little souvenirs. Plenty of those people happened to be poor, blue collar guys. So when they started to unionize, agitate and threaten to Do Something about their work conditions, people who happened to have a lot of money got sort of antsy. Thankfully, in a move that foreshadowed our as-then future close European relationship, our German neighbours saw fit to visit us and raise a puppet government of domestic assholes ; who promptly enacted strict gun control laws to disarm any would-be commie and Resistance member. By 1941 the Milice were shooting people for the crime of owning weapons.
Sadly, this friendly and spirited partership would end circa 45, and De Gaulle's government kept the gun control laws on the books because, well, scary commies, you know how it is. Also his regime was pretty close to tyranny, so there was that. But later protestors, agitators and assorted peacenik hippie pinkos didn't really dig the whole shootin' folk vibe so the issue was never really revisited - hunters got to keep their shotguns and drunkenly shoot each other on opening day, city folks didn't need to be scared of crimies with guns (and those who did could run through a number of hoops to be allowed a gun), and policemen with guns were also happy that their opposition more often than not packed nothing scarier than a switchblade. Even today with all the oogabooga Mooslim terrist scaremongering that's been going on and on and on, nobody's really running to fight the "I need guns to shoot me some Arabs with !" battle. Not even the fascist party. Which is weird, when I think about it.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:25 PM
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Becuase they were part of the Empire, and had those laws and governments.
"Those" laws and governments? You don't seem to understand the history of Canadian independence. Both the US and Canada, such as they were at the time, started out as British colonies. Canada suffered neither more nor less "tyranny" than the US; it merely chose to become self-governing through peaceful means, with the British North America Act of 1867. Remaining ties to Britain were gradually dismantled in further stages, notably the Statute of Westminster in 1931 recognizing it as an equal member of the Commonwealth, and culminating in the patriation of the Constitution in 1982.

Throughout that process, Canada passed gun laws as it saw fit, beginning to differ significantly from those in the US mainly in the 20th century. Fear of British Redcoats may account for the Second Amendment, but it tells us absolutely nothing about the pervasive gun culture that has persisted into the 21st century. There is no longer a serious possibility that British Redcoats will return on sailing ships to reclaim the colonies, so you need to look harder for an explanation for the gun culture. The idea that it protects against "tyranny" of your own government is laughable and leads only to the empowerment of "sovereign citizen" types and other random lunatics perpetrating random acts of public violence.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:19 PM
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Britain famously did not arm their police until relatively recently. But if you read any Golden Age mystery, or even go back as far as Sherlock Holmes, you'll see that every male in every household had no problem putting his hand on a pistol in case the murderer appeared. Comparing those to American mysteries, you get the sense that far more Brits had guns than Americans.

In the 1950s, gangs began to enter headlines, reaching their height of popular awareness with the idiocies of West Side Story. The gangs there fought with knives, however. In real life, they had a few zip guns and Saturday Night Specials. Serious weaponry didn't reach gangs until later.

When did gun culture begin? Probably not until after Vietnam. Back in 2016, Time ran a story titled When the NRA Supported Gun Control, quoting Adam Winkler author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America.

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When the NRA was founded by two Union Civil War veterans and a former New York Times reporter in 1871, its purpose was to help improve the marksmanship of urban northerners whose inferiority to the superior marksmanship of their rural southern counterparts was believed to have prolonged the war. During this time, the Second Amendment was not the association’s central platform. Displayed at the NRA’s national headquarters was its motto, “Firearms Safety Education, Marksmanship Training, Shooting for Recreation.” ...

In the 1920s, the National Revolver Association, the arm of the NRA responsible for handgun training, proposed regulations later adopted by nine states, requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon, five years additional prison time if the gun was used in a crime, a ban on gun sales to non-citizens, a one day waiting period between the purchase and receipt of a gun, and that records of gun sales be made available to police. ...

The summer riots of 1967 and assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 prompted Congress to reenact a version of the FDR-era gun control laws as the Gun Control Act of 1968. ... The NRA, however, blocked the most stringent part of the legislation, which mandated a national registry of all guns and a license for all gun carriers.

A shift in the NRA’s platform occurred when in 1971 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, during a house raid, shot and paralyzed longtime NRA member Kenyon Ballew suspected of stockpiling illegal weapons. The NRA swiftly condemned the federal government. As Winkler points out, following the incident NRA board member and editor of New Hampshire’s Manchester Union Leader William Loeb referred to the federal agents as “Treasury Gestapo”; the association soon appropriated the language of the Panthers insisting that the Second Amendment protected individual gun rights.
Gun culture is modern, and specifically affected by fear of the Other. The enemies are the Government which, if run by Democrats, is going to take your guns away, and people of color and immigrants and the other right-wing targets of bigotry. Don't get distracted by talk of the Second Amendment. Nobody paid that any attention until the NRA used it as a patriotic flag. The percentage of gun ownership has not changed at all since 1972; it's just that each gun owner now owns many more guns. The number of pistols and revolvers has tripled just since 2007, according to ATF statistics.

There is no "gun culture" in the U.S. There is a gun culture among certain right-wing types, and way too many illegal but easily available guns in the hands of gangs and criminals and the disturbed. One enables the other, and the other stokes more fear in the one. The rest of America just wants to stay out of it.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:29 PM
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I'd love to know why my neighbor has dozens of guns. I'm cool with people having guns, but geez. Is any other country like this? He hunts, but that takes what, like 1 or 2 guns? I try to avoid certain topics with him.

We asked him one day about what happened when his teen-age son and 5 friends got some hassle from the police when they were in the woods up the hill and decided to fire off a few hundred rounds from a few dozen guns in about 5 minutes. He just said proudly- "Boys will be boys!". And the boys did not get in any trouble, totally legal here.

Another friend had trouble with his estranged daughters boyfriend threatening them, now they have 6 different guns, for self defense. He does not hunt. You can only shoot one at a time...

I could go out tomorrow and buy a shit ton of guns, no one would look at me with any suspicion. But I just never had the desire to do that. And I was in the Army reserves for infantry, so I've been around a lot of guns. I just have no need to have one laying around.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:49 PM
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Nobody needed to worry about the Second Amendment for most of the country's history, because firearm purchase and ownership weren't being restricted until fairly recently. When any of an individual's rights are being oppressed, we hear about it.

But people's firearms rights are being restricted more and more. And the restrictions do not appear to make us safer as reflected by crime rates. So when many of us hear more regulations are coming, we object and resist.

Canada? They have a decent 'gun culture' going.

Australia? It is estimated that only 20% of affected firearms were turned in between now and Port Arthur.

New York? Get away from Albany and NYC and nobody follows most restrictions, although they are presumably available for selective enforcement.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:01 PM
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Americans wanted to keep the whole "get outraged to lethal levels at any minor insult" thing but without an aristocracy, there wasn't any emphasis on learning how to use swords.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:08 PM
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And the restrictions do not appear to make us safer as reflected by crime rates.

The fuck you talking about, Willis ? The US crime rate has been steadily declining since the nineties.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:41 PM
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Well, the natives in Australia werent warlike.
Not actually true. There was a good deal of violence between colonists and indigenous Australians in the colonial era, but it's been mostly swept under the rug, because the Australian ideal was to believe that the country was settled peacefully. And guns were very commonly carried and used, both for that reason and for hunting.

What's missing here, however, is any sizeable body of people who distrust our own government. I was reading a fascinating book on the subject just this week actually - mostly it's about compulsory voting, but the author makes a strong case that Australian and American attitudes towards government are rooted in our different experiences of early colonial days. Colonial Australia was heavily subsidised by the British government and local taxes were mostly customs duties which are not so visible as property tax or income tax - it built a bunch of useful stuff like roads, schools and a justice system, and we weren't the ones paying for it. And when we wanted to govern ourselves we got that without having to fight for it. The subset of the population who wants to arm itself as a defence against tyranny is essentially totally missing. And it seems that 'defence against tyranny' is a major component of the pro-gun rhetoric in the US
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:19 AM
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Why exactly did gun culture blossom in the US and, seemingly, not in most other Western countries?


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Canada? They have a decent 'gun culture' going.



Well, now you do have to define what you mean by "gun culture", because I'd venture a guess that what we view as normal, you would say was that "oppression" thingie, and restriction of firearms rights.

For example, anyone who wants to buy a long arm has to have a "PAL" - "possession and acquisition licence."

You also need a PAL to buy ammunition.

To get a PAL you have to go through a firearms safety course, and also a background check by the police (OPP in Ontario, Sûreté de Québec in Quebec, federal RCMP in the rest of the country, in cooperation with municipal police). And the background checks include interviewing your spouse, family members, roommates, employers. And a check for any pending or completed criminal charges. Right now, the checks cover the pas five years, but the current government has proposed that the check could go back to the time you turned 16 or so. And it's not a "shall issue" kind of test.

And if you want to sell firearms as a business, you need a licence. Ditto for ammunition. With background checks to get the licence. And strict firearm storage laws, and records-keeping.

And if you do get a long arm, it must be kept under lock and key when you're not using it, in a secure gun safe, or with a trigger lock. You can't keep a loaded shotgun by your bed, in other words, which a lot of US gun-friendly posters on these boards have advocated in previous threads.

And if you want a handgun, another licence is needed, to buy a restricted firearm. And another gun safety course. And you must keep it under lock and key when not being used. And it must be registered with the Federal Firearms Registry. And any transfer of a handgun has to be recorded in the Registry.

And, the only thing you can use a handgun for is target practice. Your restricted possession licence only allows you to have it at your home, at a firing range, and in transit between the two.

Handguns for personal safety? Armoured car guards can get a permit for that type of possession, but only for when they're on the job. So too can trappers and lumbermen, and others whose jobs take them into wilderness areas.

Possession of a handgun for personal safety, with right of concealed carry? You need another licence for that. Most estimates I've seen is that there are about 400 licences for that, out of the entire population. An applicant has to demonstrate an imminent threat to their lives to get one.

So yes, we have a gun culture in Canada, for hunting and target practice, but heavily regulated. Could American "gun enthusiasts" agree that our gun culture is acceptable to them? Or, if a government in the US tried to implement a similar system, would it be the "oppression" and threats to your rights that you've mentioned ?
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:27 AM
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Not actually true. There was a good deal of violence between colonists and indigenous Australians in the colonial era, but it's been mostly swept under the rug, because the Australian ideal was to believe that the country was settled peacefully. And guns were very commonly carried and used, both for that reason and for hunting.
I dont see anything there which indicates the Aborigines were "warlike", sure the white warred upon them, and the Aborigines did carry out a few raids, but several American Indian tribes were actually warlike and carried on more than a few small raids. Witness Custer.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:42 AM
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I dont see anything there which indicates the Aborigines were "warlike", sure the white warred upon them, and the Aborigines did carry out a few raids, but several American Indian tribes were actually warlike and carried on more than a few small raids. Witness Custer.

American tribes weren't really all that warlike either until y'alls started pushing them around and out of the lands they'd called home for as far as they could remember. I thought y'all even had a day specifically about this, what was it called... Gratitude Bestowing ? No, no, that ain't it...


Read Geronimo's autobio if you like, it's short, open source and lays the grievances of the old warchief quite plainly, if a bit white-translator-coloredly. That's just one datapoint of course, but since he's kind of an icon of the "irredentist warlike indians" motif, it's an important one. As is the fact that he didn't embark on his path of raids and guerilla warfare before Mexican federales slaughtered his entire tribe's women and children while the men were away trading.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:50 AM
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France also had a revolutionary war. Pikes and guns were distributed to ordinary people, militias were formed, armed citizenry was idealized as a rampart against tyranny and counter-revolutionaries, all that jazz.

And yet we control guns.
And in Spain there was never a limit on free citizens having weapons; heck, even if there had been at some point the idea that "only the nobility can have weapons", when you go through a couple of centuries of "everybody and his dog is at least hidalgo*" that means "everybody and his dog has the right to have weapons". But we see them as tools for either work or sport, not as the expression of our power and independence.



* Lit. "child of something", the very lowest layer of the Spanish nobility. Someone whose ancestors were more than hidalgo but who didn't inherit whatever title these ancestors had.
Note that our "nobility" is a lot wider than the UK concept: the people who in the UK sit in the House of Lords (a concept which has never existed in Spain) would be roughly equivalent to our "higher nobility" (of which the highest tier would be the grandes de España).
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:11 AM
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France also had a revolutionary war. Pikes and guns were distributed to ordinary people, militias were formed, armed citizenry was idealized as a rampart against tyranny and counter-revolutionaries, all that jazz.

And yet we control guns.
Yeah, well, we didn't have a reign of terror to remind how badly that can go.
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:24 AM
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Yeah, well, we didn't have a reign of terror to remind how badly that can go.

Vastly overblown and demonized by those who took over. Also, we didn't control guns after it at all.
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Old 07-15-2019, 03:57 AM
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Canada? They have a decent 'gun culture' going.
No, Canadians just have a conditional right to own guns that is highly regulated -- completely different story from the US, and much more like Europe and essentially all other advanced democracies. Any "gun culture" that exists is a small minority of gun-club type fantatics; most citizens don't own guns at all or might own a hunting rifle if they're hunters or rural farmers, and consider them tools of no more special interest than a hammer or a saw. If you showed up in public in any city in Canada looking like these guys in the first picture, you'd be arrested within five minutes -- probably by a SWAT team.

Thanks to Northern Piper for taking the time to describe the laws in detail in #25.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:06 AM
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Ireland also achieved responsible government by revolutionary means, but it didn't make the state keen on distributing firearms. A bitter civil war, lost by a faction that refused to accept the result as final, meant Ireland kept all the British-era gun restrictions, and added some more over the years.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:20 AM
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I dont see anything there which indicates the Aborigines were "warlike", sure the white warred upon them, and the Aborigines did carry out a few raids, but several American Indian tribes were actually warlike and carried on more than a few small raids. Witness Custer.
Further resources on the Frontier Wars

Aboriginal Australians were less successful against colonists than in the US and New Zealand (not sure about Canada) and they were operating from a bigger technology gap, but both sides were attacking each other in ones and twos on a regular basis - and if you look at reports from settler times people did feel that they were in danger from "the blacks", and did arm themselves for protection.

There was less in the way of official military action, but just as much danger of a couple of pissed off native dudes with spears coming to rough you up, kill you, and take your stuff - which is exactly the sort of danger that individual arms are supposed to protect against.
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  #34  
Old 07-15-2019, 05:26 AM
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Unlike other colonies, America had a Revolutionary War. As a consequence, there is an idea in America that people should have guns to protect themselves against tyranny.
British people had the right to bear arms, and to do so to protect themselves from tyranny*, a century before the 2nd amendment was even a thing.

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Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law

* Catholic tyranny, as evidenced by the restriction of the right to Protestants.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:55 AM
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The most useful point of comparison, I would think, would be Australia, which had a similar adventurous spirit among their early settlers, and a similarly sparsely-populated interior. And yet, gun control is quite strict in Australia today.
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Well, the natives in Australia werent warlike. An, altho indeed there are lots of venomous and dangerous critters down there, there were very few dangerous predators, except the salty.

However, until recently gun control was fairly loose down under.
A better example is New Zealand, no snakes are native, the most ferocious critter is a parrot. Conversely the natives weren’t just warlike, they beat the colonists to a draw hence there is a Treaty of Waitangi and the Australian natives are still trying to get the whites to the negotiating table.

The NZ gun culture and gun laws run reasonably close parallel to Australia, though they are going to get a whole lot tougher in the wake of Christchurch.

The Antipodean approach (stereotypically) is that the government, if not necessarily on your side, is there to give you a fair go. And your neighbour is your mate who will help you when the chips are down. I guess we might rate society rights on a more equal footing with personal rights. In the US (by stereotype) the government is ag’in you, your neighbour coverts your land and your ass and nothing but your trusty flintlock guarantees your safety and winter vittles.

Interesting the consistent views posted that US gun culture is a mid 20th century thing more than a frontier or even Civil War era tradition handed down father to son.

I come from an rural family. Every family home I was aware of had fire arms (rifles/shot guns, no hand guns). Most used for vermin control. Some were more into hunting than others. Dad had six in an unsecured cabinet. There was a 22 behind the seat of the Land Cruiser. Even when the gun accidentally went off and shot out the passenger side window it stayed in place. There was periodic disquiet at the occasional mass shooting in the cities and resistance to any mooted restrictions. Cultural steady state. Then Port Arthur occurred. We knew of nobody involved but resistance melted. Mum, her sister-in-laws, the women of the district in near unison said enough and the menfolk handed in all or had disabled all but the minimum and these were kept in properly secured cabinets.
Just a personal anecdote. Read into it what you will.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:00 AM
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<aside>
I'm kinda drunk and read that as "the most ferocious critter is a carrot". And I'm like "I know, right ?! I've been to those vegan joints, very aggro !"


Carry on. Look, I'm only *trying* to make you laugh, there's no guarantee of success.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:12 AM
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I snorted
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:21 AM
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I think it has to do with the fact that white colonizers (and later capitalists) were essentially trying to settle a frontier, and they regularly competed with tribes for territory and trade. For Euro-American settlers, firearms ensured their survival. Firearms served a similar purpose in controlling slaves as well, and keeping firearms out of the hands of blacks in the South post-Civil War. America's firearms culture grew out of a need to conquer and defend territory as white Americans kept pushing West and kept competing for land and resources. In a larger sense, they are tools that have ensured the dominance of the white man in America. Even today, it's more than just a coincidence that stand your ground laws seem to encourage white men to arm themselves to the teeth and legalize vigilantism while felons, including non-violent convicts, many of whom are black, are forever prohibited from owning a weapon.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:44 AM
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Here's a possibility: The American Constitution was written at a time when we were still a frontier nation. At the time, gun culture made sense, and so we ended up with the Second Amendment. But then the Second Amendment ended up perpetuating the gun culture even after the continent became more civilized and the culture went obsolete. Canada and Australia, meanwhile, didn't write their constitutions until after they were civilized, giving gun culture a chance to die out on its own first, and so never had anything like the Second Amendment.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:50 AM
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American tribes weren't really all that warlike either
That's not exactly true. Various native tribes were quite warlike and aggressive way before Europeans showed up. The Iroquois had their "mourning wars" and enslaved POWs, Pacific Northwest natives practiced slavery too, and the human sacrifices and general martial-worshipping culture of the Mississipians don't exactly scream "not warlike".
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:50 AM
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It might be useful to compare the US not only with other Anglophone countries or European ones, but also with Latin American ones. Most Latin American constitutions are from the 19th century, they're countries which won their independence through war (although as the Mexicans like to remind anybody within hearing, in some cases the war started against the French occupiers), and while some do have gun cultures similar to the US it's by no means a given. Why does Brazil have a "my gun is bigger than your gun" culture, but Costa Rica or Argentina do not? And what does that say about the US?
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Last edited by Nava; 07-15-2019 at 07:51 AM.
  #42  
Old 07-15-2019, 07:51 AM
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When Indians needed killing, and blacks kept in their place.
Places like Israel, Taiwan and South Korea are under threat from neighboring nations but they do not have a gun culture from what I know and have very strict gun control.

I know studies have found that harboring racist attitudes is one of the strongest predictors for gun ownership in the US. But nations like the ones above show you can be under threat without having a gun culture.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:53 AM
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Israel and Switzerland have tons of guns, but do not see them as the symbol the US does. They do have gun cultures. what they don't have is "my gun in your face" cultures.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:53 AM
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Israel and Switzerland have tons of guns, but do not see them as the symbol the US does. They do have gun cultures. what they don't have is "my gun in your face" cultures.
True. Probably because of the institution of Universal Service, by which it is drilled into every citizen that we're all in this together.


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Unlike other colonies, America had a Revolutionary War.
Virtually the entirety of Latin America would raise an eyebrow at that assertion. Were you missing a qualifier "British-settled" in the sentence?

Last edited by JRDelirious; 07-15-2019 at 07:56 AM.
  #45  
Old 07-15-2019, 08:06 AM
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The most useful point of comparison, I would think, would be Australia, which had a similar adventurous spirit among their early settlers, and a similarly sparsely-populated interior. And yet, gun control is quite strict in Australia today.
The fork in the road there was Australia’s first major mass shooting, in 1996. The Australian government acted fast while public opinion was still shocked, and banned the type of guns that could be used in such an attack. https://www.google.nl/amp/s/amp.usat...amp/1934798002

Same in England, after the Dunblane school shooting, also in 1996. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire...United_Kingdom

This viewworthy clip from College Humor explains why the USA did not follow the same path. While the NRA used to be a sensible club of gun owners, by 1996 it had become a corporate commercial lobby club for arms dealers. Basically, the NRA wanted Private Americans to buy as many fire arms as possible, and the NRA made damn sure noone and nothing stood in its way. https://youtu.be/8YpUSt6Z2hg

So there you have it: misery in the USA caused by corporate lobbying. It is a familiar story by now.
  #46  
Old 07-15-2019, 08:31 AM
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The fork in the road there was Australia’s first major mass shooting, in 1996.
Accept the premise but Port Arthur was a crescendo from other spree incidents like Hoddle St in ‘87, Queen St in ‘87, Surry Hills in ‘90 and Strathfield in ‘91.
  #47  
Old 07-15-2019, 09:52 AM
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Britain famously did not arm their police until relatively recently.
Most of our police are still not armed, or at least, are only armed with a truncheon and maybe CS gas. In some locations there are routine armed patrols, but I've not seen an armed copper in over a year now, since moving somewhere fairly rural.

In most rich countries, gun ownership is a privilege, and not an especially important one to most people. It's also a responsibility. If you have a gun at all here, it's kept in a locked cabinet almost all the time. My Grandpa and my Great Uncle both were members of a shooting club, both actually had guns in the house, but I never even saw them, despite staying at both their houses regularly. My other Great Uncle did not keep his shotgun secured (back in the '70s), and it was borrowed by his teenage son's friend who fatally shot himself. Even back then, said Great Uncle was the one widely blamed for it, for leaving it out where teens could get it. I'm not sure what all the repercussions were as I wasn't born then, but he's barred from owning a firearm now.

In the UK wanting a gun 'for self defence' not only isn't an allowable reason for applying for a licence (except in NI), suggesting it'll probably get you some very suspicious reactions. A bit like the one co-worker I used to have who'd always wear a stab vest to work in the most innocuous locations; it came across as wanting trouble, rather than wanting safety (I never knew if he actually wanted trouble or not, but a personality like that probably did need a stab vest).
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:08 AM
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I think a lot of the gun culture comes from active/ex military. The USA has one of the largest militarys in the world and most all the veterans I know own one or more firearms.

Also the USA is a big country and especially rural citizens use firearms for hunting, home defense, varmint control (groundhogs, snakes, etc.), and recreation.
  #49  
Old 07-15-2019, 10:33 AM
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Also the USA is a big country and especially rural citizens use firearms for hunting, home defense, varmint control (groundhogs, snakes, etc.), and recreation.


Same for Canada. Same for Australia. But not the same result.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:36 PM
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I think it arose from the Enlightenment period. Other countries had governments that started at the top with a king or emperor and then worked their way down to the people. The people might have rights but they were rights that were given to them by the central authority. Government was something that came from the central authority to the people.

The American government, established in the Enlightenment and after a recent revolution had thrown off the authority of the king, started from the other direction. It started with the assumption that the people had rights and then build up a government from there. Government was something that came from the people to the central authority.

So in Europe the people had no inherent right to own guns and it would have taken positive action by the government to give that right to them. In the United States the people were assumed to have the inherent right to own guns and it would have taken positive action by the government to take that right away.

There have, of course, been many other revolutions since the American Revolution. But they were post-enlightenment events and generally they functioned more like coups; they were a new central authority replacing the old central authority. And the new central authority assumed it had the power that the overthrown king had and it would decide what rights the people would receive.
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