I have always understood that there are multiple “gun cultures” both here and abroad.
A. Hunting culture: Guns are just tools to an end. They’re pretty, and members like to argue about caliber/gauge, but it’s not about the guns, it’s about the sport. This includes Trap & Skeet shooters
B. Recreational culture: Going to the range or out in the desert and dump a few hundred rounds over the weekend. The guns are more important here because they’re signs of status (yes, HK fanbois…) but the point is to have a good time.
C. Self-defense culture: Guns are tools for the defense of self, family and property. Which gun(s) you own have aren’t as important as owning them.
D. Collector culture: The guns are everything. Make, model, style, condition is all. These are the guys who have every variation of every caliber of Smith & Wesson N-frame revolver, but shoot only one because the others are pristine.
E. Criminal culture: Guns give a feeling of power and are a status symbol.
Over time the proportions have shifted (and there’s always been overlap between the groups. Up until perhaps the mid-1980’s the hunting culture was ascendant, followed by the recreational culture (plinking tin cans with a .22 was the dominant sport.) Self-defense was limited to a tiny minority probably on par with the Collectors. The criminals? They’ve always been with us, but that portion probably peaked in the early to mid 1990’s when the national homicide rate peaked.B
But in 1987 Florida began the concealed-carry movement by becoming a “shall-issue state,” and in the ensuing 34 years that number has climbed to from eight “shall issue” and one “Constitutional Carry” state to 21 “shall issue” and 21 “Constitutional Carry” states. In 1986 there were 25 “may issue” (but probably won’t) states and 16 that offered no legal path to concealed carry at all. Today there are no states that do not at least appear to allow some form of legal concealed carry, and only eight remain “may issue” (but probably won’t.)
This is a significant change in not only the proportions of the Gun Culture, but the size. Because the expansion has been largely in two areas – Recreation, and Self-Defense. Record gun sales for the last decade have added hundreds of millions of new firearms to the culture, and tens of millions of new owners, with the greatest increases in “modern sporting arms” – largely the AR-15 in all its variants – and handguns.
What does this change look like?
First-time gun buyers continued to flood into firearms stores last year, broadening the once male and white market with women, blacks, Asians, and Hispanics.
Retailers reported that concerns about safety helped to drive 5.4 million first-timers into gun stores where many bought more than one gun, and a sizable number also signed up for gun handling classes.
I don’t think these people would react well to “Mr. and Ms. America, turn them all in.”