Guns are for white people


THIS PIECE by Francis Wilkinson is pretty interesting:

Everybody’s white. That’s the conclusion from a survey of gun magazines I bought the other day. The survey, I admit, was not conducted in accord with the best research practices: I asked the guy at the subway kiosk for as many gun magazines as he could give me before the #4 train pulled in. He handed me three for $17.

All the magazines have ads for, well, guns, and loads of accessories (love the “Sneaky Pete” concealment holster). Naturally, they have stories on guns — whether “intimidating, big-muzzle looks” or a “Tank-tough Recon Tactical with added strength and reliability for patrol.” In addition, there are features on gun life, such as columns in Guns Magazine called “Campfire Tales” and “Odd Angry Shot.”

There are pictures of guys with guns, gals with guns, animals with guns, ammo with guns and guns with guns. Curiously absent are pictures of black people with guns, brown people with guns or Asian people with guns. The good guys are white. The bad guys are white. In the Gunworld depicted in these pages, pretty much everyone is white.


It’s hard to know exactly what to infer from this blizzard of white. Gun politics is always racially fraught. Blacks commit firearms offenses at a much higher rate than whites. In 2010, the rate of firearm homicide for blacks was 14.6 per 100,000 compared with 4 for Hispanics, 1.9 for whites and 1.0 for Asians and Pacific Islanders. In general, blacks also support gun control much more strenuously than whites.

Whether the gun magazines figure it’s politically safer to make everyone the same color, or whether they’re simply catering to a monochromatic readership with a strong hankering for all-white cultural nostalgia — or both — is impossible to tell. There is, of course, a hardy strain of racial paranoia coursing through some corners of American gun culture. So it seems unlikely that the overwhelming whiteness is mere coincidence.


(NOTE: The photo above is from Guns & Ammo magazine.)



  1. Chuck Sweeny

    If you dared publish a mag with lots of pix of black guys with guns, the NAACP, National Action Council and PUSH would be outraged, saying you’re trying to stereotype black people as gangsters. It simply is not politically correct to do. So publishers don’t.

  2. Yeager

    Chuck: Just because you assume that any black guy with a gun would look like a gangster doesn’t mean everyone else will.

    If Dr. Ben Carson and Herman Cain did a photo shoot holding firearms, would they look like gangsters?

    The assumptions that are made clear by your words say more about your mindset then you could ever dare to express intentionally.

  3. Steverino

    Fishing and hunting magazines appear to be the same with photos of white folks.

  4. Neftali

    “There is, of course, a hardy strain of racial paranoia coursing through some corners of American gun culture. So it seems unlikely that the overwhelming whiteness is mere coincidence.”

    I’m sure Rev Rev. Kenn Blanchard would disagree. He is an author, broadcaster, Christian counselor, pastor, biker and outdoorsman that has been the public face of gun rights activism since 1991. He also runs a blog affectionately called “Back man with a Gun” that offers insightful commentary about proper gun ownership. It’s worth checking out:


  5. Robert

    Yeager, I’d like to see photo op as Chuck said and then see how its interpreted by the groups he noted. I suspect the pros and cons of that type of picture would be based on the clothing they were all wearing. If it was hunting attire or similar clothing to what the people in pictures with all whites in them were wearing, I’d think it would be acceptable and met with approval or not even a mention. At least I’d like to think it would be.

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