Intro

THE ARMED AND THE LAW

The American Gun Owner

THE ARMED AND THE LAW

The American Gun Owner

Intro

Introduction

Guns have been an integral part of American identity since the country’s inception. With the Revolutionary War they became a symbol of freedom and with westward expansion, a symbol of self reliance as well as a necessary protection. Constitutionally protected, guns went unregulated for the first 150 years of America’s existence until the middle of the 20th century. Since then, there has been a growing debate about the rights of the owner versus the general safety of the public.

With the rise of mass shootings in the last 20 years, the conversation has become one of the most divisive and vitriolic in American politics. Yet for all of the screaming from the extreme sides of the debate, there is a general consensus that some gun control laws and safety instruction are necessary in our modern society. The first step in creating a civil debate is understanding the perspective of gun owners.

While they come from a wide range of political, social, and personal backgrounds, the most common similarity is the belief in the importance of personal responsibility. And even if they only had this in common with gun control advocates (which many of the owners themselves are), it would be a good place to start a reasonable discussion helpful to our society. But the truth is, there are more similarities than differences, and both sides have valid points to share.

History of Gun Legislation

Picture

1776

Declaration of Independence

Movie

1791

Second Ammendment ratified

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Picture

1865-1868

"Black Codes"

Prohibits blacks from owning guns(Confederate states)— ends in 1868 with the 14th Ammendment.

Movie

1934

First federal gun control laws enacted due to the rise of crime during prohibition.

This imposes steep tax on the manufacture and sale of high power firearms preferred by gangsters.

Picture

1935

Federal Firearms Act

Requires sellers to obtain a federal license and record the names and addresses of gun buyers; prohibits gun sales to convicted felons.

Picture

1968

President Johnson
Gun Control Act of 1968

Following 5 year span of high profile assassinations.(JFK, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King JR.)

Regulates sale of guns across state lines; stricter license requirements, prohibiting felons, drug users, and the mentally incompetent.

Picture

1972

ATF is created to enforce the law.

Picture

1976

Washington DC bans residents from owning hand guns.

Picture

1976

California Bans Assault Rifles

This includes over 50 brands and models with "high rate of fire and capacity" including the Bushmaster AR-15.

Picture

1986

Firearm Owner's Protection Act

Prohibits felons from owning or possessing guns and ammunition.

Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act

Prohibits manufacture, import, or sales of bulletproof vest piercing ammo.

Picture

1993

Brady Handgun Violence Act

Establishes NCIS

Picture

1994

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act *Expired in 2004

Bans manufacture, sale, use and possession of 19 types of assalt weapons, including AK-47 and Uzis.

Makes turning point in politics of gun control, begins rapid growth and influence of the NRA.

Picture

2007

Handgun Ban Challenged

Dick Anthony Heller, 66, retired security guard challenges Washington DC's handgun ban. Wins case.

2008

Supreme court upholds lower ruling that it is unconstitutional.

Picture

2004

Assault weapons ban expires.

Despite overwhelming public support for the law, a republican controlled congress allows after intense NRA lobbying efforts that

Picture

2010

McDonald vs. Chicago

Expands gun rightsby stating 2nd Ammendment extends to all states, not just federal jurisdiction.

Picture

2012

Sandy Hook

Obama rolls out plans for gun control, deadlock in congress; fails.

OWNERSHIP BY REGION

US MAP

OWNERSHIP BY REGION

US MAP

THE WEST

34%

Hunting and ranching drive up gun ownership in certain regions

THE MIDWEST

35%

Areas with more residents living in rural areas have a higher rate of gun ownership

THE SOUTH

38%

Whites in the South are significantly more likely to own a gun than other regions of the country but the South has the highest concentration of African Americans who are only half as likely as whites to own a gun

THE NORTHEAST

27%

Highest concentration of people living in urban areas whose residents are less likely to own guns

Image
Image
Image

Who are the gun owners?

To understand the perspective gun owners, we need to take a deeper look into their lives. Gun owners use guns for a wide variety of different activities. Whether it be for hunting to keep the family fed in the winter, to the parents who keep guns in the home self defense, or for the sport and history of it, each individual has their own reason, their own story.

URBAN VS RURAL VS SUBURBAN

Image

Who are the gun owners?

To understand the perspective gun owners, we need to take a deeper look into their lives. Gun owners use guns for a wide variety of different activities. Whether it be for hunting to keep the family fed in the winter, to the parents who keep guns in the home self defense, or for the sport and history of it, each individual has their own reason, their own story.

THE HUNTER

The hunter believes in the vital relationship between man, the land, and nature which is woven into the history, cultural identity, and community life of many Americans, particularly those from rural communities.

Hunting promotes exercise, improved diet (as wild game is leaner, free of added hormones, and is truly free range), and can provide financial savings over buying store-bought meat. Well managed hunting also culls the herd, preventing starvation and keeping them vital for the future.

Without hunting, there would be no conservation, without conservation, there would be no wildlife.

The Hunter

THE PREPPER

The Prepper

The greatest risk in life is to wait and depend on others for your own security.

The prepper is generally viewed as the crazy neighbor with an underground bunker waiting for an EMP attack to knock out the power grid and send us back to the stone age, but that only reflects a fraction of the more extreme version of this group. In fact, the majority of people who consider themselves preppers have less severe scenarios in mind, such as a local natural disaster, fire, economic instability, even things as mundane as the death of the family’s breadwinner.

Peppers take personal responsibility and self-reliance seriously. Unlike survivalists, who focus on living off the land in case of catastrophe, preppers want to maintain as much normalcy as possible in a crisis. They do have a unique jargon, using phrases such as “bug out” which means “leave in a hurry”.

THE PROTECTOR

Gun owners for self defense and protection just want to be safe. They belive in vigilance, not paranoia. People who choose to carry guns do so not because they live in fear, but because they want to take responsibility for their own safety and that of other innocents.

Contrary to the stereotype, I never have felt super-powerful or invincible when carrying a gun. In a low-key sort of way, I simply feel confident that I am equipped to handle an unpleasant or even deadly situation if I really need
to do so.

The Protector

The Recreationalist

The Recreationalist

I've always been fascinated with the mechanics of how they work. Studying guns and the history behind them was a hobby long before actually owning them.

Target practice, participating in shooting competitions, and collecting guns for historical preservation and study are just some of the recreational uses of guns. The recreationalist finds that guns ignite a passsion within, and a kind of zen in this hobby by being able to focus on ones self, the gun, and making improvements in marksmanship.

PROFILES

Tiffany S.

Age 42 Married, 8 year old son

Born and raised in Sitka, Alaska, currently resides in Juneau, Alaska

Licensed Massage Therapist

Guns Owned: 3, .22 Rifle, 30 .06, .44 Magnum

Hobbies include yoga, skiing, painting, fishing

Profile:Tiffany

Our way of life depends on gun ownership, it's not like down south.

Joe B.

Age 40, Married, 3 yr old son

Born and raised in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, currently resides in Auburn, Washington

Woodworker

Guns Owned: 1, 9mm

Served in the Navy

Hobbies include skateboarding and music production.

Profile:Joe

I haven't shot my gun in years, but I feel better knowing that its there.

Alyssa W.

Age 29 Married with Children

Born and raised in Eastern Washington, currently resides in rural Idaho

Esthetician and stay at home mom

Guns Owned: 2

Owns shotgun and pistol for the use of trap shooting and protection from home invasion.

Hobbies include skin care and beauty treatments, riding horses, tending to the farm.

Profile:Alyssa

I know I can protect myself in case of an emergency. Can you?

Lena M.

Age 20 Married, No Children

Born, raised, and currently lives in Lousiana.

Professional competitve shooter

Guns Owned: Many

Growing up with both parents involved in professional shooting, it was natural that Lena follow suit.

Other Hobbies: She is a foodie, loves to cook.

Profiles:Lena

The shooting community is one of the most accepting communities out there. If you showed up at the range and told them you wanted to learn, you would have people offering you their guns and training.

GENDER AND GUN OWNERSHIP

Gender and Gun Ownership
Gender and Gun Ownership

THE NRA

The NRA started as a sporting group and has evolved into one of the most powerful lobbying groups in American politics. While they are "the voice of gun owners", in fact, their extereme stance on gun control is not always reflective of the general gun owning populace.

The Evolution of the NRA

Picture

1871

Started by two union soliders 6 years after the civil war.

Created in part, to improve the poor marksmenship, a response to the lousy performace of union soldiers during the war.

Picture

FIRST 100 YEARS

Served primarily as a sporting and hunting association.

Supports some major gun control measures.

Picture

1970's

Starts actively opposing most gun regulations.

Picture

1975

Creates powerful conservative lobbying arm.

The institute for legistlative action to protect the rights of gun owners.

Picture

CURRENTLY ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL LOBBYING GROUPS IN THE UNITED STATES

NRA MEMBERSHIP VS OVERALL GUN OWNERS

NRA Membership
NRA Membership

79% of NRA members feel any gun control legislation would be part of a series of sweeping regulations to strip 2nd Ammendment rights.

34% of men and 44% of women gun owners primarily feel the NRA has too much political influence.

A LOOK AT THE LAW

FEDERAL

Steps to Buying a Gun

  • Go to a FFL(Federal Firearms Licensed) Dealer
  • Must be 18+ to purchase long gun, 21+ to purchase handgun
  • Choose your specific gun
  • Fill out a 4473(6 page form from the ATF)
  • Must write your name, address, and SSN(optional)
  • Fill out half page of yes or no questions
  • The dealer contacts the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division, gives them the name, address, driver's license number of the potential buyer for background check
  • Additional state regulations apply

Background checks only take a few minutes to run, only 2.3% of applicants are rejected.

  • Persons under indictment for, or conviced of, any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
  • Is a fugitive from justice
  • Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Has been determined a mental defective or committed to a mental institution
  • Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the U.S.
  • Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
  • Has renounced U.S. citizenship
  • Has a restraining order against them
  • Has been convicted in court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Reasons to be denied a gun

Reasons for Denial of Gun Purchases

Reasons to be denied a gun

A CLOSER LOOK

STATE LAWS

Most gun legislation enacted in United States is done at the state level, with a confusingly wide range of laws regarding sales, permits, licensing, registration, self-defense, and carry laws.

Hover or click on the laws below...

  • Universal Background Check
  • |
  • Require Owner Report Missing or Stolen Firearms
  • Require Registration
  • |
  • Prohibit Registration
  • |
  • Additional Handgun Laws
  • |
  • Prohibit Open Carry

HOW GUN OWNERS FEEL: RIGHTS VS GOVERNMENT RIGHTS, EXISTING LAWS

The population is more important than individual rights.

Taking everyone's guns will not protect us. It leaves only the criminals with guns. Guns are used for many different things, not just protection

I’ve been through domestic violence. It shouldn’t have to be just a husband and wife or having kids. If you commit domestic violence and you’ve got a file, I don’t think you should have a gun.

We must protect ourselves first. The government may have a need to protect its citizens but only the citizens have the means.

Absolutely, there should be gun control laws. As there are controls for ownership of cars, as there are required tests for driving large machinery, as an army wouldn't put a new recruit on the front line before training him/her to be sure they could properly use the weapons they carry, gun ownership should require people to prove they are competent to own and use a gun properly/safely.

Stop believing the media, they grossly misrepresent the issue. They misuse and obscure facts and terminology. Try talking to real gun owners and form your own opinion. We're happy to share and teach

I'm fine with strict background checks to prevent violent criminals or mentally ill people from owning them.

Ultimately an individuals safety lies with the individual, not the government.

I think concealed classes are awesome. I think that it’s good that you have to go out and shoot a gun and be familiar with them. It’s questionable that you can get a carry permit online. If you’re a child and you’re going hunting, they require them to take hunting classes—in person. You’re not going to send your 9 year old to the internet and then send them out with a gun to the woods.