Because I am mostly concerned with the practical aspects of guns — how they are used — I do not focus on the symbolic dimension of guns as much as many, like Jennifer Carlson (gun carriers see themselves as “citizen-protectors”), Angela Stroud (concealed carry is an expression of “hegemonic masculinity”), or Joan Burbick (gun shows sell an ideology of Christian nationalism along with guns).
Nevertheless, even I could not miss the symbolic association of guns with American political identity at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show recently.
Auto Ordnance Trump Custom 1911. Photo by David Yamane
Taurus = Jessie Harrison and America
Remington = America.
Hi-Point = America.
Unique ARs = America.
Israeli Weapon Industries = America.
Anderson Manufacturing double dipping with the Constitution and flag = America.
Stag Arms = “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Stag Arms = “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
And last, but by no means least, Gear Head Works presents: Anarchy! Anarchy! Anarchy!
The NSSF staff checked in over 15,000 guns, the overwhelming majority of which were NOT adorned with these symbols. Of course, for many people the gun itself symbolizes freedom, whether or not it is additionally adorned with stars and stripes or the Constitution.