Artifact Politics – Gun

As human beings,  it is in our nature to equate real-world objects with a certain set of outcomes.  A wailing ambulance alerts us to the fact someone is in injured.  A waiter’s tray full of steaming food as he walks by causes us to be more hungry as we await our own food.  Whatever the object is, we use it as a symbol for something else, a symbol that has been enhanced and reinforced in our minds since the day we were born, from television programs to lessons from our parents.  One object that is a symbol of danger, something that is deadly in the wrong person’s hands, is a gun.  Since the first guns, basically mini cannons [1], of the 1200’s to the enhanced, super-powered rifles of today, guns have always been a medium through which one can efficiently use force to get what he wants.

Guns have received lots of criticism over the past few years.  Gun critics have blamed these objects for the flurry of recent school shootings, calling for them to be banned.  Advocates have replied that a gun does not shoot by itself; if the person behind the gun has malicious intent, it is his fault for what happens.  Discussions over the Second Amendment have raised some interesting questions.  Are we better off without guns?  What kind of political arraignment does a gun support? And, finally, how can a gun upset the balanced order of society?

In the past, having a gun was one way to stay alive.  People would hunt wild game with guns as a source of food and clothing.  People still do this, but to a lesser extent because of the increased domestication of animals.  People also use guns as a measure of self-defense in their homes in case of any attacks.  Finally, guns can add to a criminal’s threatening demeanor.  Others are less likely to confront him, and he can be more intimidating, and use it as a weapon, when committing crimes.  These are just a few of the many forms of life that a gun can provide.

Many people ask if we are better off without guns, or, if laws should be put into place to prevent them.  One study by JAMA Internal Medicine looked at which gun laws worked best to reduce violent deaths.  The study showed that “they can provide “no firm guidance” about which gun laws work to reduce violence and how” [2].

When asked if a gun implies a democratic or authoritarian arraignment, one could answer either way.  Some say that it is every person’s right to own a gun, and that taking this right away cannot possibly be fair.  In this sense, guns are democratic, though potentially very dangerous.  On the other hand, guns can easily be authoritarian.  If no one is allowed to have guns except, perhaps, the military of a nation, the leader of the nation could order his military to use deadly force in carrying out his goals.  All that do not comply would be killed.  If only a select few have guns, they could push their own agenda onto the citizens of a nation, erasing any hopes of a democracy.

Guns can disrupt social institutions in a very clear way.  By pulling the trigger, one’s life can be over in snap.  This can be the murder of a parent, tearing a family apart.  This could also be as huge as the assassination of a world leader, causing huge amounts of people to act in frenzy.  There is no limit to the power of a gun.

In conclusion, as long as there are guns there will always be opponents and proponents of them.  We have to remember that they are very dangerous, whether in the hands of the few or the hands of the many.


[1] Supica, J. (n.d.). A Brief History of Firearms. Retrived from

[2] Healy, M. (2013, March 7). More Gun Laws Reduce Violent Deaths. Or do They?. Retrieved from

Image: [Bullet Stop Handgun]. Retrieved January 28, 2015



9 thoughts on “Artifact Politics – Gun”

  1. I completely agree with your argument and I see how you categorize a gun as both democratic and authoritarian. The topic of gun control is a very interesting one and one that is highly debated. I think it’s hard to take away the rights of a person with good intent, but at the same time there will always be people that use them in bad ways.


  2. I agree with your argument that guns serve as a significant political artifact. It was interesting for me to read your post because I am from a rural area where most homes have guns for hunting, recreation, and protection. In that case, guns are indeed a more democratic artifact; the users of the guns are typically trained and very safe. However, it’s impossible to ignore the growing authoritarian nature of the gun when gang violence and fatal shootings are in the news every day.


  3. I really liked your post on guns, you did a great job of showing both sides of the argument. I also really liked your point at the begining that every object in our lives serve as represent a symbol that is reinforced by the many different factors in ones life.


  4. It’s refreshing to read about such a controversial topic without an agenda hidden away behind the words. I really enjoy talking about controversial topics in a fair manner, and that’s exactly what you did.


  5. I like how you brought up both authoritarian and democratic arguments in your blog. There really is not a clear cut answer, and I agree that for now the best we can hope to due is properly educate the public on their dangers.


  6. I like the stand you took in saying that a gun could be categorized as both democratic or authoritarian. It is a sad truth that the topic of possession will be a never ending controversy.


  7. The post was well written and discusses a delicate and relevant topic to this day. I agree with the two scopes of power a gun can have, and also agree guns are dangerous. Some people say guns are not dangerous but people are, however a gun can still be seen as a dangerous weapon, and if we continue to have guns they provoke some type of violence and this can be seen through your post. Good post!


  8. I really enjoyed how you stated that the gun has a democratic and authoritarian politics. I agree with your view there, however I wish you would’ve gone into more detail about the pros and cons of having guns to explain more of the authoritarian politics.


  9. Give yourself a “pat-on-the-back” for your post. It takes courage and commitment to tackle such a controversial topic; and, to do so from such a “neutral” position. Well done!


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