A few readers narrow the discussion along those lines:
Your reader mentioned two groups: those who see guns as a source of danger and those who see guns as a source of protection. Allow me to suggest a third: those who see guns as a source of fun. I think people who see guns as a source of protection are more likely to live in urban areas, where crime is more common, or at least better reported on. Rural people would be more likely to see guns as fun.
The idea of guns as sport does not mean a lack of regulation. Far from it. Indeed, I think sportsmen (and women) would be just fine with that.
Any recreational gun owners want to respond to that? (firstname.lastname@example.org) Here’s some interesting breakdown of the rural-urban divide when it comes to gun violence:
The risk of firearm-related death showed no difference across the rural-urban spectrum for the population as a whole, but varied when divided up by age — firearm deaths were significantly higher for children and people ages 45 and older, while for people ages 20 to 44, the risk of firearm deaths were much higher in urban areas. I’d wager some of that comes down to differences in gun ownership: more households have firearms in rural areas than in urban ones, and sadly, too many gun owners keep their firearms where their children can reach them. The result can be tragic. At the same time, the bulk of victims killed by homicide are young men, according to FBI statistics. And they are more likely to be shot and killed in the cities.
But overall, according to the 2012 study that Time article was spurred by, rural areas are more dangerous, primarily due to the increased death and injury from car accidents. Another reader brings us back to guns:
I live in one of the most liberal counties in the U.S. but in one of its most rural areas. I also take part in activities where most participants are from deeply rural areas. We don’t talk much about politics at those activities, but I am well aware that some of my friends have concealed weapon permits and don’t drive anywhere without a gun in their console. I also had a pretty close friend who was deep into gun culture and was totally convinced that Obama was coming for his guns any day now.
But it’s not as simple as a rural/urban divide.