The reason red states oppose gun control

Photo by Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash

The main reason, I think, many Americans oppose gun control: Guns are fun and cool.

They are. Go shooting some time. They are fun.

Even liberal Hollywood puts guns in most of their movies — because again, they are cool and fun. And liberal Silicon Valley puts them in most video games. Because they are fun.

Now, if you’re a blue stater who never shoots, to you the fun does not justify the risk guns pose. Because you don’t partake in the fun. But you are exposed to the small risk of being shot. But if you derive no happiness from guns, then tolerating any risk “makes no sense” to you.

But to a red stater, why should some wacko spoil the fun for everyone? Besides, the risk of being shot — while far higher in the US — is still small in absolute terms. Guns are therefore worth it to them.

Lots of objects you can buy pose a risk to others. Swimming pools are exceedingly efficient at killing kids, for instance. Drowning is the leading cause of death in many young age groups. (There is a reason why “Do you own a swimming pool?” is one of the few questions insurance companies make a point of asking you.)

But society has decided that the fun of swimming pools outweighs the lives of the (far greater than zero) kids they routinely kill. Even if we don’t publicly acknowledge that cold hard fact.

Which is why I think gun control should mostly be a state issue. To some states the fun and joy and cultural value of guns is worth their risk. To others — where guns play little role in their culture — they aren’t worth any risk.

We talk about “multiculturalism”. Part of that is tolerating the significance — or lack thereof — guns play in different cultures. To some they’re worth the risk and to others they’re not.

It’s no different than a society “deciding “ to allow swimming pools but not allow bombs.