New guns for a new year: American anthropology and gun violence

Jason Antrosio writes: Lynyrd Skynyrd had gun violence figured out in 1975:

Hand guns are made for killin’
Ain’t no good for nothin’ else
And if you like your whiskey
You might even shoot yourself
So why don’t we dump ‘em people
To the bottom of the sea
Before some fool come around here
Wanna shoot either you or me
–Lynyrd Skynyrd, Saturday Night Special

If they can make gun control palatable for that audience, why can’t we do it now?

As of 19 December 2012, even David Brooks and Gail Collins were in rare agreement that we were headed for some sensible gun regulations, Brooks speculating that the NRA would “get out in front of this by making some immediate concessions on gun rights, and they should promote a practical agenda on mental health and gun access” (The Newtown Aftermath). There seemed to be consensus clamor for strengthening gun laws. But as Frank Rich wisely put it, “let’s see what happens when the circus folds its tent and we are back in the bitter winds of January, redirecting our attention to the Inauguration and the Super Bowl” (America’s Other Original Sin).

We do not need to wait that long. Although many people, even Republicans, thought the NRA stance was unhelpful, disgusting, disastrous, and a thirty-round magazine of crazy, plenty of support remains for NRA-type arguments, especially in districts controlled by House Republicans. This was something I already noted before the NRA announcement, that not a single sitting House Republican had announced any change in position. The rhetoric from many places, including my own Republican representatives, had hardly budged (see Semi-Automatic Anthropology). Truthfully, for most of these representatives there is hardly any political gain from supporting even the mildest gun control regulations, and substantial backlash risk for not holding the line. [Continue reading...]

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