Guns, violence, and masculinity: an XY collection

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:

(b) Academic articles and reports are as follows:

(c) Also see these online pieces:

Also see this bibliography of academic scholarship on guns, men, and masculinities.

(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 rearm homicide rates. […] states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from rearm-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).  


Gabor, T. (2016). Confronting gun violence in America. Springer.

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.