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Ben Peterson

Ben Peterson is completing a Master’s in Public Policy at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. An Austinite and a die-hard Star Trek fan (TOS only, of course), he graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2011 with a B.S. in History Pre-Law, Bible double-major, and International Studies minor. Follow him on Twitter at @ben_2_long.

Gun availability isn’t gun culture

Ben Peterson is completing a Master's in Public Policy at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. An Austinite and a die-hard Star Trek fan (TOS only, of course), he graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2011 with a B.S. in History Pre-Law, Bible double-major, and International Studies minor. Follow him on Twitter at @ben_2_long. The following article was originally published in the Intercollegiate Review in November 2015. After the terrorist attack in Orlando, the most deadly on U.S. soil since 9/11, policy proposals have mostly landed in two broad camps: the first is to call for increased gun control measures; the second is to focus on the ISIS link and the broader conflict against radical Islam. By republishing this piece, we hope to shine a light on an alternative measure for the former, and to think hard about the following questions: why do mass shootings seem to happen more frequently in the U.S. than it did in the past? And what can be done about it? *  *  * Gun violence and gun control have become subjects of frequent conversation and political debate because of high-profile mass shootings, especially school shootings. Even though gun crimes have been declining overall, we have a problem. According to the International Business Times, the United States has the highest level of gun ownership in the world and high levels of gun violence in comparison with other developed countries. Some have criticized “America’s unique gun culture” as the root of the problem. But “gun culture” is not the problem. The problem is gun availability without gun culture. Gun availability and gun culture are not the same. Culture is a way of life, a set of ideas and practices that constitute living in community at a particular time and place. It includes beliefs, traditions, and processes by which one generation passes them to the next. Gun culture, rightly understood, is… Read More