Q: What Can We Do to Curb Gun Violence?



Historian, activist, and author of Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment (City Lights Publishers, 2018).

In brief: a reckoning with U.S. history. The elephant in the room is the Second Amendment.

U.S. citizens, not only white men or members of the National Rifle Association, accept the notion of sanctity associated with the Second Amendment, as with the Constitution as a whole. The lobbying efforts of the NRA are the designated culprits in most arguments for gun regulations, but their success is due to a larger ideological hegemony: white nationalism.

Across the United States, the Pew Research Center found, 39 percent of men and 22 percent of women own a gun; half of all white men are gun owners, compared to a quarter of men of color, a quarter of white women, and 16 percent of women of color. Only a third of the population owns a gun, and those who do own guns, possess an average of eight.


Historian, essayist, and author of The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture (Basic Books, 2016).

Rather than focusing on gun owners, we should focus on the gun business. We should shift attention from the Second Amendment to consumer activism.

We could put reputational and consumer pressure on retailers. In the past, even chains like Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods have quietly stopped selling guns (or particular models of guns) after mass shootings.

But we also have to start thinking about "gun violence" more...

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