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Louisiana Tech Professor Releases New Book Diving Deep Into Origins of American Gun Culture

RUSTON, La. (KNOE) – Louisiana Tech University’s John D. Winters Endowed Professor of History Dr. Andrew “Drew” McKevitt released his latest book, Gun Country: Gun Capitalism, Culture & Control in Cold War America, which dives deep into the exploration of how the gun culture in America evolved into what it is in the 21st century.

The introduction of McKevitt’s book highlights real-life examples that he said inspired him to spend a decade exploring the idea of the U.S. as “the gun country.” 

Gun culture in America is “very much a modern phenomenon, and specifically a post-1945 one, a product of attitudes shaped by the Second Worl War and the Cold War, and a material world of guns made possible by postwar consumer capitalism and invented by its more imaginative entrepreneurs,” wrote McKevitt.

A recent Pew Research Center study highlights the following facts about gun ownership in America:

  1. About 4 in 10 U.S. adults say they live in a household with a gun, including 32% who say they personally own one. 
  2. Personal protection tops the list of reasons gun owners give for owning a firearm. 
  3. Gun owners tend to have much more positive feelings about having a gun in the house than non-owners who live with them. 
  4. Non-gun owners are split on whether they see themselves owning a firearm in the future. 
  5. Americans are evenly split over whether gun ownership does more to increase or decrease safety. 
  6. Americans increasingly say that gun violence is a major problem. 
  7. A majority of Americans (61%) say it is too easy to legally obtain a gun in this country.
  8. About 6 in 10 U.S. adults (58%) favor stricter gun laws.
  9. About a third (32%) of parents with K-12 students say they are very or extremely worried about a shooting ever happening at their children’s school.
  10. There is broad partisan agreement on some gun policy proposals, but most are politically divisive.
  11. Gun ownership is linked with views on gun policies.

Reviews of Gun Country applaud McKevitt for his analyses of data such as that listed above. Kirkus Reviews wrote, “…an original way of understanding a stunning and enduring increase in gun ownership in the U.S.

McKevitt offers a compelling argument about where the extremity of America’s permissiveness toward deadly weaponry originated and how debates on the Second Amendment’s meaning have evolved in response to shifting cultural preoccupations. He also makes a persuasive appeal for how the human costs of mass gun ownership could be mitigated.”

Gun Country was included in The Washington Post’s list of 2023′s best nonfiction books. Becca Rothfeld, a nonfiction book critic for The Post, said she found McKevitt’s book “indispensable.”

“Sharp, fascinating, devastating, exhaustively researched and often wryly funny, this indispensable book — one of the best works of nonfiction this year — details how America came to be not just a gun country, but the gun country.”

Source: KNOE8 News