Niagara Gazette

Opinion

July 8, 2013

CONFER; What exactly is the 'gun culture?'

Niagara Gazette — In the nonstop coverage of the murder charges surrounding former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, 2 words keep surfacing in all the sports talk radio banter: “Gun culture”.

Citing the arrests of Hernandez and 28 other NFL players since the Super Bowl, as well as past indiscretions from the likes of Plaxico Burress (who infamously shot himself in the leg), the talkers go on about the “gun culture” that exists in professional football and how it has sentenced the league to death because fans are tired of following those who idolize guns.

“Gun culture” was the same pejorative incessantly thrown around by the media following the Sandy Hook massacre and Gabby Giffords shooting. It was and is used as an all-inclusive term to cover Americans’ interest in, ownership of and use of guns. It lumps in all good, conscientious gun owners — who represent nearly all of the 80 million gun owners in the US – with the 0.09 percent of gun owners, legal or otherwise, who, based on the most recent Center For Disease Control statistics, use weapons to commit crimes every year.

The common use of the phrase “gun culture” is a logically and morally bankrupt stereotype that incorrectly emphasizes the statistically-limited misuse of guns to paint the remaining 99.91 percent as corrupted souls just one bad day away from unleashing mass shootings of their own.

It’s silly because the true “gun culture”, which I proudly admit to being a part of, is so different than that posed by the supposed intellectuals of our time. Gun ownership and usage represents a positive culture to my family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, just as it does for all Americans who are engaged with or support our Second Amendment. We use guns to hunt wild game and fill our freezers, providing sustenance to our families. We own guns to protect those same families from degenerates who have no respect for people or property. We shoot guns as a means to develop discipline and an outlet to relax.

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