What are the links between guns, violence, and masculinity? In the wake of yet another mass shooting in the USA, it is long past time to highlight how gun violence is structured in powerful ways by traditional, patriarchal masculinities. In this XY collection, we have brought together a range of commentaries on guns, violence, and masculinity. Further inclusions are most welcome. The collection includes four sections: (a) Shorter pieces, (b) Academic articles and reports, (c) Other online pieces, and (d) Some notes on the issue of guns in general.
(a) Shorter pieces are as follows:
- Bridges, Masculinity and Mass Shootings in the U.S 2015
- Bridges, Tristan. (2017). The sociological explanation for why men in America turn to gun violence. QZ,
- Cockburn, World disarmament - Start by disarming masculinity, April 30 2015
- Farr, Women, men and the struggle to disarm
- Johnson, Allan. (2017). And Now Las Vegas - Manhood, Guns, and Violence. 10 June.
- Katz, Jackson. (2011). Guns, mental illness and masculinity. Huffington Post, Jan 17.
- Kimmel, Michael. (2011). A tale of two terrorists redux. Society Pages, 27 July.
- Kimmel, Masculinity, mental illness and guns, Dec 19 2012
- McLean, Chris. (ed). (1997). Comment, Special Issue: Responding to Issues of Guns and Violence, No. 3, Adelaide: Dulwich Centre
- Miri. (2014). Masculinity Violence and Bandaid Solutions. Freethoughtblogs, May 24.
- Murphy, Meagan. (2012). But what about the men: On masculinity and mass shootings. Rabble.ca, 18 Dec.
- Page, Ella. (2009). Men masculinity and guns. International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Women's Network.
(b) Academic articles and reports are as follows:
- Bassin, A. (1997). Why packing a pistol perpetuates patriarchy. Hastings Women’s Law Journal, 8(2).
- Bevan, James, and Nicolas Florquin. (2006). Few Options but the Gun: Angry Young Men. In Small Arms Survey 2006: Unfinished Business. Geneva: Oxford University Press
- BICC, Gender perspectives on small arms
- Buchanan, C., V. Farr, M. Flood, and J. Galeria. (2005). Women, Men, and Gun Violence: Options for action. In Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. (eds.) Missing Pieces: Directions for reducing gun violence through the UN process on small arms control. Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (pp. 68-78).
- Farr, K. (2018). Adolescent rampage school shootings: Responses to failing masculinity performances by already-troubled boys. Gender Issues, 35(2), 73-97.
- Farr, Vanessa, Henri Myrttinen and Albrecht Schnabel. (2009). Sexed Pistols: The gendered impacts of small arms and light weapons. Tokyo, New York & Paris: United Nations University Press [Excerpt]
- Kennedy-Kollar, D., & Charles, C. (2013). Hegemonic masculinity and mass murderers in the United States. Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice, 8(2).
- Vito, C., Admire, A., & Hughes, E. (2018). Masculinity, aggrieved entitlement, and violence: considering the Isla Vista mass shooting. NORMA, 13(2), 86-102.
- Wilkinson, Deanna, and Jeffrey Fagan. (1996). Understanding the Role of Firearms in Violence ‘Scripts’: The Dynamics of Gun Events Among Adolescent Males. Law and Contemporary Problems, 59(1), pp. 55-90.
- Widmer, M. (with G. Barker. and C. Buchanan). (2006). Hitting the Target: Men and Guns. Revcon Policy Brief, June.
(c) Also see these online pieces:
- Ahn, Gun Violence and Toxic Masculinity What Happened in Florida is No Anomaly (2018)
- Amonett, We will never address gun violence if we don't address the root of the problem - masculinity (2018);
- Chemaly, America's Mass Shooting Problem Is a Domestic Violence Problem (2017);
- Devega, The plague of angry white men: How racism gun culture and toxic masculinity are poisoning America (2015);
- Goodman and Moynihan, Mass Shootings and Domestic Violence (2017);
- Hamblin, Toxic Masculinity and Murder (2016);
- Khadaroo and Jonsson, Many school shooters, one common factor - masculinity (2015);
- Okun, Why is no one talking about the gender of mass shooters? (2018);
- Okun, Rob. (2019). Are we ready now to put shooters’ gender at center of gun debate?, PeaceVoice, August 8;
- Siddiquee, The Truth About The Men Who Riot And Kill (2016);
- Wade, Two violent men, two symptoms of the same sickness (2016);
- Walsh, The American Impulse to Equate Guns With Freedom and Masculinity With Violence Is Killing Us (2017);
- Anonymous, The Trouble With Men (2007).
(d) Notes on guns
More guns means more gun deaths. In the US, there is a statistical association between rates of gun ownership and rates of gun-related homicide. A study of all 50 states over 1981 to 2010 found “a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher ﬁrearm homicide rates. […] states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from ﬁrearm-related homicides.” (Siegel, Ross, & III, 2013).
A review article in the Scientific American finds that:
- An armed home is not a safer home, and in fact has higher risk of homicide and suicide.
- Gun use in self-defense in homes is rare.
- Gun use / carrying does not deter crime. More guns, more crime.
The risk of suicide is higher in households with guns present. The increase in risk, according to a range of US studies, is 2 to 10 times higher than in households without guns (Miller & Hemenway, 2008). In turn, legislation limiting firearms ownership has been shown to reduce firearms suicide rates in many countries (World Health Organization, 2014).
Americans are 5% of the world’s population, but own 31% of the world’s privately-owned guns. American children and teenagers are 65 times more likely to be killed with a gun than those in the UK. US rates of gun homicide are 22 times those of Australia, 32 times those of Spain, and over 340 times those of Japan (Gabor 2016: 6-8).
Miller, M., & Hemenway, D. (2008). Guns and Suicide in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(10), 989-991.
Siegel, M., Ross, C. S., & III, C. K. (2013). The Relationship between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981–2010. American Journal of Public Health, 103(11), 2098-2105. 10.2105/ajph.2013.301409
World Health Organization. (2014). Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative: World Health Organization.