A Farewell to Arms

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While we are having this discussion over Newtown, political scientist Patrick Egan asks us to remember that, overall, this is a much less violent country than it was a few decades ago, and it is also a country in which people own fewer guns.

I think it's easy to fall into a conversation about "America's gun culture," but we should keep in mind that we are talking about a shrinking group of people who collectively own a shocking number of guns:

A decreasing number of American gun owners own two-thirds of the nation's guns and as many as one-third of the guns on the planet -- even though they account for less than 1% of the world's population, according to a CNN analysis of gun ownership data.

To state the obvious, there is something more than self-defense at work here.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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