Guns don't kill, people do : the NRA's case against gun control.
Thesis DisciplineAmerican Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
For many people, the gun is a potent symbol of all that is wrong with the American culture. It is considered to represent aggression, violence, male dominance, sexual frustration and a host of other behaviour that is abhorrent in a civilized society. However, for other Americans, the very same gun symbolizes all that is right, independence and self-sufficiency, outdoorsmanship, and the ability to protect oneself and one's family in an increasingly dangerous world. To these members of 'the gun culture', a firearm is the virtual embodiment of much loved traditional American values. Inevitably these two highly divergent viewpoints leave little room for agreement or even constructive debate.
This study considers the arguments put forward by the National Rifle Association of America (the NRA), an organization whose views are seldom articulated, although they are often regarded as the only obstacle that stands before the goal of rational gun control. Material from a number of disciplines is evaluated, principally in order to ascertain whether or not the NRA is correct in their assertion that gun control legislation can not work within American society, while a number of other facets of the gun control debate are also considered.
It is not the place of this thesis to propose possible answers to 'the gun problem', for resolution is far too complex to be given the attention that it deserves in such a relatively brief space. What the thesis does provide is an overview of the best (and worst) of the available information, in order for opinions to be formulated without the counterproductive distractions of inflamed passions and a stubborn belief in arguments that simply do not hold true under close scrutiny. Clearly something must be done to counter rising crime and violence, yet it is the contention of this study that gun control, no matter how attractive such legislation may initially appear, is simply not the real answer within the American context.