Cultural images and gun control
Posted by aogTuesday, 07 October 2003 at 10:42 TrackBack Ping URL

Am I just going senile in my dotage or did it use to be the case that for gang activity, posession of a gun was a big deal (say in the ‘40s through ‘60s) whereas today it would be expected that everyone in a gang would be armed with a least a pistol if not automatic weapons. At the same time, gun control was increasingly stringent during that period. If my memory is correct, then this is a parallel to what’s happening in the UK from its efforts at gun control. This ties in to the fact that the more gun control there is, the bigger the motivation to acquire a gun.

There are some alternative theories. One is that everyone is wealthier these days so that guns are far more affordable, i.e. that gangs of previous eras would have had guns if they had had the money to buy them. Alternatively it might be because of Drug Prohibition which not only puts more money into the pockets of gangs but also increases the rewards of “owning” territory.

The most likely answer is that it’s a combination of factors because it’s the rare indeed human activity that has a single cause.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Kyle B Tuesday, 07 October 2003 at 22:03

I think that the 40’s through the 60’s are the anomaly rather than current times. You have prohibition times where gangs were armed every bit as much as now. Going back a bit farther you have disenfranchised soldiers of the Civil War. If you will accept a movie as an example, Gangs of New York displays gangs controlling their territory during the Civil War. My opinion is that during the 40’s tough American men didn’t have time to form gangs because the good ones joined the Army, and the bad ones were arrested and told to join the Army. The draft caught a lot more and I think the people left were more of the academic type, less prone to form gangs. I think direct parallels can be drawn between alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition in terms of funding gangs, its easy money considering that demand never goes away. I have a friend from Gary, Indiana and I want to point out something else about guns and the economically depressed community. These guns don’t just appear; someone brings them in. I don’t know if this is blowing the lid off of more terrorism funding or not, but in his case, these guns are not brought in by people from within the community, but by people of a different ethnic group altogether.

End of Discussion