… men’s near monopoly of gun use can be seen as a manifestation of a lifetime’s socialisation into violent expressions of manhood and cultures in which male gun use is regarded as the norm. In times of war, men and boys are actively encouraged and often coerced into taking up the roles of combatants. In countries characterised by violence, war, or high levels of gun possession, young men may use guns as part of a rite of passage from boyhood into manhood. Guns may also be positively associated with manhood in contexts where their use was valued and encouraged as part of a widely supported liberation.
Even in peacetime, boys may be socialised into a familiarity and fascination with guns, or gun-like toys… Research among young men involved in organised armed violence in ten countries finds that carrying guns is seen as an effective means of gaining status and respect. Soldiers, snipers, other gun users, and armed male role models in television, film, and violent computer games are often cult heroes, with guns routinely glorified in the popular media.
Citation: Buchanan, C., V. Farr, M. Flood, and J. Galeria “Women, Men, and Gun Violence: Options for action.” Missing Pieces: Directions for reducing gun violence through the UN process on small arms control. Ed. Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2005.