Published: November 4, 2012
The US has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world — twice as high as the second-place finisher, Yemen. In this episode of BackStory, we’re exploring the history of guns in America — who’s had access to guns, who’s wanted access to guns, and what the desire for guns has meant for American democracy.
We’ll look at the role of the government in arming citizens in early America, and ask what the Second Amendment meant when it was written. We’ll also discover that before “the right to bear arms” was a catchphrase for the political right, it was an animating principle of the left-wing Black Panthers. And, we’ll dig into the surprising history of the NRA, which supported many gun control measures right up through the 1970s.
Please help us shape this episode! Are you a gun owner? Why or why not? How has the political debate over guns changed in your lifetime? What questions do you think need answering about guns in America? Share your thoughts and stories here.