Futurity

Americans have ‘complicated’ views on guns

"I wonder whether the zero-sum terminology used to describe the gun debate—gun rights versus gun control—does more harm than good."

The debate surrounding gun rights and gun control—central to American political discourse—reignited October 1 when a gunman opened fire on thousands of people attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, killing 58 and injuring nearly 600 in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

The debate has no easy answers, says Jennifer Carlson, an assistant professor in the University of Arizona’s School of Sociology and School of Government and Public Policy and author of Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline (Oxford University Press, 2015).

“…the more we can get Americans talking…and the more we can inform Americans on the complexities of gun policy in this country, the better.”

“From the technicalities of guns themselves as mechanical objects, to the ways in which case law has enshrined certain doctrines related to self-defense, it is exceedingly difficult to wrap one’s head around everything,” Carlson says. “To paraphrase one California police chief I interviewed, you practically need a law degree to understand the intricacies in which local, state, and federal laws interface with the administrative bodies that are in charge of enforcing them.

“In my view, the more we can get Americans talking across this experiential divide and the more we can inform Americans on the complexities of gun policy in this country, the better.”

Here, Carlson discusses the ways in which American gun culture, policing, and public law enforcement intersect along the lines of race, gender, and socioeconomics:

The post Americans have ‘complicated’ views on guns appeared first on Futurity.

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