In response to the QZ article, “America’s gun problem has everything to do with America’s masculinity problem” – Scott Stephen explains why New Zealand’s firearm culture is different.
I’ve been thinking about this article, and while I don’t completely agree with it, I don’t completely disagree with it either.
I think some of the issues definitely relate to a masculinity issue – due to a lack of good male role models, while others are socioeconomic.
I think as a society we lack good strong role models to guide and mold young men. The kind of people who “we” seem to look up to are sportsmen / celebrities and it seems the only reason “we” look up to them is because they are deemed to be successful because they are in the media spot light and earn vast salaries.
NZ has a big firearm culture, and most people can fairly easily get their hands on one, yet we don’t have issues with gun crime.
Without a valid and current firearms license, you cannot legally purchase any firearm other than a pellet gun anywhere in New Zealand… acceptable reasons [to own a gun] are limited to hunting and/or target shooting.
NZ has a firearm-related death rate of 2.66 per 100,000 people, per year. The rate in the US is almost 5 times that.Don’t like ads? Become a supporter and enjoy The Good Men Project ad free
The two main political parties, Labour and National (there are 8 active parties in NZ parliament) both treat gun control as a bi-partisan issue.
I think the relevant cultural differences in New Zealand are:
- Most of our firearms are hunting rifles
- They are not seen as a status symbol
- We don’t have a gang culture like America
- Sport is accessible no matter where you live
- As a man – no matter of age, race or background – we are judged by and held accountable to our actions… good or bad.
What do you think?
Photo by Flickr/The Searcher