This blog post is an exploration into a chosen identity that I have been researching and interacting with since the start of winter term, as well as talking about some significant moments that I’ve had in this class over the last 10 weeks. The personal identity I chose to look at this term is firearm enthusiast/gun owner. In today’s day and age, our media, intentionally or unintentionally, misinforms the public in order to push their agendas. In this post, I will be examining multiple forms of media that portray gun ownership both positively, and intentionally negatively to show simply that this does not happen with every media artifact we look at. My intentions for this blog are not to sway you into becoming a gun owner, or change your views on laws and regulations on firearms. But to simply bring awareness to you that agenda setting and media framing are prevalent in our society, and that you should be aware of this when deciding on which research or articles you choose to put credibility in. Enjoy.
“4 Gun control steps U.S needs now” is an article posted on CNN’s website containing 2 videos of democrats protesting current gun laws and participating in an occupancy. This article is interesting because videos attached to have the majority of airtime given to single speakers who spoke of tragic unlawful killings which would devastate any viewer, and rightfully so. However, when watching some of the live social media broadcasts and videos of this same occupancy, found outside of the website, there are many speeches taking place which state outrageously ignorant comments displaying complete misunderstanding of our current gun laws and regulations. This article is a great example of how, on occasion, even our national media outlets can frame what they report to fit their chosen political agenda and influence the opinions of their viewers. In a video from an individual inside the room broadcasted to social media, you can hear a speaker talking about how we allow criminals to purchase machine guns. This is untrue, but due to the well known political background of CNN, they certainly wouldn’t broadcast this because it would go against their political agenda.
To purchase a machine gun in the United States you must do the following: first, find a machine gun for sale (much more challenging than you’d think); second, pay the dealer or individual who has it; three, fill out the ATF Form 4 in duplicate; four, attach small passport photos; five, complete two FBI fingerprint cards; six, fill out a check to cover the $200 transfer fee; seven, fill out a Certification of Compliance, sometimes called a Citizenship Form; eight, submit it to the NFA branch of the ATF and wait until the transfer is approved. Not only is the process extremely lengthy and very expensive, if you have any of the following crimes in your criminal history, you will be declined immediately: Fugitives from justice, Illegal aliens, Unlawful users of certain drugs, Those committed to a mental institution, Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for more than one year (which generally covers felonies) and Those convicted of crimes of domestic violence.
Another media outlet that I looked at involving the portrayal of firearm enthusiasts is the movie American Sniper. American Sniper is a film about an American Navy S.E.A.L by the name Chris Kyle. It was directed by Clint Eastwood and had a purpose of bringing the heroic story of our country’s most lethal sniper. The main thing I took away from this film was the portrayal of Chris Kyle in an honorary form. This film is certainly set out to show the heroics Chris showed on the battlefields in his four tours to iraq, and I think does so respectfully. However, although commonly, and rightfully, referred to as a hero, there are certain groups who look at Chris Kyle’s legacy and the impact he made on protecting our Americans Citizens and put what he did in a negative light, with tags such as murderer placed on his name. Viewers can take whichever standpoint they’d like on the film and Chris Kyle’s portrayal within, but the general outcome of this film was a feeling of pride in our country as well as deep sorrow for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for our country.
USA Today Article
“Gun control is not the answer: Opposing view” is an article posted on USA today.com by Robert Farago that speaks on the notion of gun control and speaks of ways that we can prevent gun violence without enforcing stricter gun control laws. This article is interesting because he points out the fact that enforcing stricter gun laws and regulations simply takes it away from law abiding citizens, and that gun regulations and laws will not affect criminals, felons or the mentally unstable. Take the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for example. Before the shooting even took place, the following laws were already broken: Assault with a deadly weapon, Committing A Felony With a Firearm, Possession of a stolen gun-4 counts (either state or federal charges), Unlawful carrying of a loaded pistol without a permit, unlawful possession of a firearm on school property, Underage adult in Possession of a loaded gun(4 counts), Criminal Trespass and Car Theft. The issue is not with the laws our country currently holds on our firearms, but the individuals themselves.
The author, Robert Farago, proposes an interesting notion which states that the only way we can stop killers from killing, is to put them in a place where they don’t have access to weapons or civilians. Which brings up the issue of mass incarceration and he speaks on that, but it’s not necessarily relevant. He goes on to say “As the French terrorist attacks proved, gun control doesn’t work. Worse, civilian disarmament leaves innocent people defenseless against killers. Gun control enables — rather than prevents — homicide.”(Farago, 2015)
Being a firearm enthusiast, I obviously believe that every legal citizen in the United States should exercise their right to bear arms with whatever weapon they see fit. I do, however, believe that we as a nation should have gun laws and restrictions on weapons due to prior criminal charges and history with mental instability and we are currently doing so. Further laws and restrictions would simply be hurting our lawful citizens and restricting their right as Americans to protect themselves and their families. I believe it’s important to look at gun laws when speaking about firearm enthusiasts and gun owners for the simple fact that it directly affects us. In my research in this topic, I have found that being a firearm enthusiast as well as an open gun owner comes with occasional scrutiny, and that on occasion, our popular culture outlets will skew their reports in a way that influences opposition to gun ownership. I also believe outlook on this identity is influenced by political party, as are many identities in this day and age. I think the main thing we can all take away from researching our identities is that no matter what it is, be educated on that subject matter and be very weary and observant of the sources you trust to educate yourself with.
I think the most significant lesson I’m taking away fromt this class is sort of what I just spoke of in my identity reflection. That is to be mindful of media outlets and the sources you choose to look at when researching or educating yourself on a topic. This class allowed for questioning of resource credibility and definitely help with overall awareness of the massive affects our media has on our lives.
Donohue, J. J. (2016, June 26) “4 Gun Control Steps U.S Needs Now” Retrieved
Eastwood, C. (Director). (n.d.). American Sniper [Video file].
Farago, R. (2015, Dec 2) “Gun control is not the answer: Opposing view” Retrieved from: