There’s no secret that the U.S. has always had an interest (so as not to say “obsession”) with guns. When we say “guns,” we imagine patriots firing their muskets at the Redcoats, hunters going after buffalos, cowboys doing their tricks, and Special Forces tackling the extremists. Yes, guns are pretty much everywhere.
This is why America is different from your average country. Most of the time, particularly in the western countries, gun ownership is strictly limited – and unless you are part of the police force, you are generally not allowed to have a gun. For America, however, this has become pretty much a culture.
Still, there’s a reason why guns have been so deeply embedded in the history of America. The roots go back to the middle of the 1700s – and since then, guns have become more and more of a necessity.
The Second Amendment
Whenever you talk about guns in America, you automatically go back to the second amendment – mainly because that’s when the wheels started to turn. Known as the “Right to Bear Arms” act, this law gave people the right to carry weapons – or more precisely, their rights would not be infringed.
The law was, in the beginning, fairly ambiguous – as the citizens of the U.S. weren’t entirely certain what the law was referring to. Did they mean a particular individual, regarding their past – or society in general? Because if it was the latter, this would mean that not everyone might gain the right to bear arms.
At first, it was deduced that mostly the militia had the right to bear arms – to protect the society. The police force was the individual’s “gun,” which protected them from dangers that might befall them within the society.
In the end, the Second Amendment’s focus shifted, most of it going towards the individual. The state militia was no longer a dire need – so, many people started getting guns for their own benefit. There were many attempts to curb this trend to own guns – but these bans were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on the claim that it violated the terms of the Second Amendment. Americans were now free to express their liberty by owning a gun.
Expansion to the West
During America’s development, people started migrating to the west in search of new opportunities. However, mainly because of television and the fact that the west was a so-called “frontier land,” the place was considered to be quite dangerous. Only the brave adventured to this land that was mediatized for the fact that it was gun-clad.
As a result, people who moved there would also have handguns available to protect themselves. Needless to say, not all of them were licensed guns – and most of them were owned without an actual authorization. However, in the eyes of the citizens, it was a necessity – and if they wanted a better life, they had to be able to protect themselves from the imminent dangers brought by “cowboys and Indians.” However, this proved to be mainly a myth – but a myth that ended up bringing more guns into the West.
Today, it is believed that the westward expansion doesn’t exist. Still, one cannot argue that it marked a key point in the American identity – and guns are closely tied to that. One could say that guns were the actual protectors of the “American dream.”
The Industrialization of Guns
From early times, guns played a very important role in the cultural and political history of America. At the same time, they had a great impact on the country’s economy.
Most of the gun industrialization in the U.S. began around 1840 with Samuel Colt – the person who contributed by creating the first gun with interchangeable parts. The aim was to make the same parts for every gun so that, in the event of damage, the gun can be repaired easily and without much money.
Nowadays, interchangeable parts are taken for granted, but during Colt’s time, this was not the case. Since parts were unique and made on an individual level, it was far more difficult to get your hands on a gun. It was expensive and time-consuming – and many people just gave up on the idea. This is why the gun industry was not so flourishing back then – but it changed with time.
Now, you have spares for anything. You have removable parts for the classic options, and you can easily make an order for a custom-made model.
Considering that the United States holds over 40% of the world’s guns, the gun industry has become a major part of the economy. Currently, the firearm industry is worth more than $30 billion – which is almost the same as Nigeria’s national budget.
Plus, guns have become an important aspect of many jobs – bringing additional profit to the economy. No matter if it’s for police forces, academies, or simply hunting sites, the industry has become so massive that it’s actually making America flourish.
Whereas guns were a luxury that not many people could afford, now it is considered a commodity that almost everyone can have. All you have to do is be at least 21 (or even younger, depending on the state). They are bought for a variety of reasons, which go from self-defense to recreation (for those who are in the hobby of hunting).
The Bottom Line
Guns have played an important part in the evolution of America – and the industry is still developing. We can’t say exactly what the future holds for the United States – but considering these growing numbers, we suppose the gun industry will only become more powerful.
Guns weren’t always accepted by the authorities – and the higher-ups would always be reluctant to give guns to individuals. However, considering that America is a country flourishing in individual liberty, guns aren’t an exception to that.
Firearms also helped win wars and allowed America to grow economically. They have been present in the making of America at every point – therefore becoming a cultural item that one could not actually ignore.
Jay Chambers is a pro free speech business owner and constitutionalist based in Austin, Texas. Having lived through several natural disasters and more than a few man-made ones (2008 anyone?), he believes that resilience and self-sufficiency are essential in this increasingly unpredictable world. He believes in a government by the people, for the people, and shares his thoughts over at Minute Man Review.
The opinions expressed in this story are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ANP.
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