Up to 47 percent of Americans reported owning firearms in 2011, according to the Gallup Poll. Consequently, the U.S. has the highest rate of gun-related homicides among the industrialized countries. Changing these statistics is a formidable challenge.
Widespread anxiety over perceived impending violence explains why there are 89 guns for every 100 American civilians, as reported in last year’s Small Arms Survey; that’s some 270 million guns nationwide, the highest rate of gun ownership in the world.
Many believe the high-caliber handgun or automatic rifle is their best defense against crime. Someone may want to invade your home, rape your wife and kill your children. A gun would enable you to “stand your ground,” many are convinced.
The gun is also a tool for projecting personal power. This function has even spawned an “open-carry” movement that would allow men and women — who no one should try to “mess with” -- to walk around like gunslingers of the old West.
And while no one really believes the United States is in danger of a military invasion by any foreign power, a good many gun worshipers believe that they need to be prepared for a social cataclysm of sorts, like mass unrest or a catastrophe that ultimately leads to widespread looting and depredation.
At its core, then, is a lack of confidence that the state can provide sufficient protection to its citizens. Tied to this is a profound sense of individualism, of a deeply held belief that only the individual, not the community or its laws, is the real guarantor of one’s safety.
Thus, while liberals may share some of these same insecurities, the cult of gun ownership is, as most observers already know, conservative at heart.
I found this an apt description of the differences between "gun culture" and the rest of us. These beliefs and fears are deep seeded and generational. I don't agree with this paranoia but there it is.