(LA Progressive) -- Yesterday, I saw a sticker on a pickup truck that read “God, Country, Guns.” To me, that sticker made as much sense as “God, Country, Hammers” or “God, Country, Bicycles.” A gun is just that: a tool, an object, like a hammer or a bicycle, only much more dangerous in the wrong hands.
But many Americans don’t look at guns as tools, as objects, as a deadly technology that requires great care and also strict regulations. They identify it with God and Country. They see it as representing certain values, such as freedom and liberty and individuality. For some men, guns are synonymous with masculinity. They are symbols of potency. Of agency. They are worthy of protection, indeed of a lifelong vow, ’til death do us part. Hence the catchphrase, “you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”
is sacralization of the gun, its elevation as a totem of strength and virility, its hugely symbolic presence in American life, is an important reason why gun control efforts largely fail, even in the aftermath of horrendous mass shootings. Reasoned and reasonable efforts to limit mass shootings, e.g. by banning military-style assault weapons, high-capacity clips, and bump stocks, are no match for people’s emotional — I daresay religious or spiritual — attachment to guns.
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