Why do Americans want to own guns?

I remain baffled by how it’s legal to own a gun in the United States. I think even the option of having one is like saying it’s OK to kill if you have a good reason.

According to a recent piece in Newsweek there are 215 million guns in America — i.e. more than half the households across the country own one.

This statistic triggered photographer and author of “Armed America” Kyle Cassidy to travel 15,000 miles across the country to ask people who own guns “why do own a gun?”, and take portraits of them in their homes.

Some of the reasons were just beyond my comprehension:

  • “My shotgun will take care of any intruder, and I know how to use it.”
  • “I own a shotgun for the same reason I own a fire extinguisher.”
  • “Gun ownership is a right and privilege, everyone should exercise it. I think everyone should have one, on the range, on the playing field, in the world.”
  • “It’s not the guns that kill, it’s the people.”
  • “I have nothing against guns, I think they are cool and I love that we have them in the house. My friends are very impressed by the collection we have.”
  • “It’s up to us as citizens to protect ourselves, our family and property. Our constitution provides us with the right and method by which to achieve that objective, and I simply choose to exercise that right.”
  • “I think the ownership of arms is not only a right, but the duty of a free people to themselves and future generation.”

Goodness gracious me.

[Full podcast here.]