Why is American masculinity at the center of gun culture, but not the gun debate?
The 1966 University of Texas tower shooting, in which a gunman killed 17 people and wounded more than 30, is considered to be the first mass shooting of the modern era.
In the subsequent decades, the conversation around gun violence in America has cycled through the same topics, from arming teachers to the meaning of the Second Amendment. But these tragedies have more in common than the rhetoric that follows them – all but three were committed by men.
Gun deaths in the U.S. neared 40,000 in 2017. Most were from suicides and homicides, with men making up more than 80 percent of both perpetrators and victims. American masculinity is closely tied to gun culture and violence, but is rarely discussed. As traditional masculine expectations are being challenged in Hollywood, politics, advertising and beyond, some gun policy experts are asking, is it time for this examination to reach gun culture?