Guns And The American Psyche

Dec 18, 2012

We hear it all the time: America has a gun culture. What does that mean?

It may mean that our history -- starting with the violent subjugation of Native Americans -- is the history of the gun, but that's more true as a narrative than as an actual fact. Historians studying probate inventories and official reports on the preparedness of militia members suggests that gun ownership in early America, even on the so-called frontier, was far, far below 50 percent. Guns were kind of a niche item until the 1840s.  What we have always had, as one of our guests will say today, is a series of stories about guns and in particular about the use of guns by individuals to solve their problems. On today's show, we'll try to step away from the immediate debate about guns and talk instead about why we have so many of them. You can join the conversation. E-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.