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Kyle Cassidy traveled 15,000 miles over two years photographing Americans in their homes and asking one question: “Why do you own a gun?” A good question, particularly since most of these guns are not easily reconcilable with the notion of self-defense and their true place should be somewhere in the Armed Forces. All the photo were later compiled in the book with its German edition being published this year. The pics below are taken from the latter. As said by Alan Cooperman from The Washington Post: “Each picture in Armed America could be a pro-gun advertisement – or an anti-gun poster. That’s what makes the book so riveting.”
Dan and his Mossberg Model 88, Bushmaster AR-15, Rock Island Armory / Sendra M16, Remington 700 PSS, Springfield XD, FN Five-seveN, H&K USP, Sig Sauer P226, Colt Commander 1911, and Glock 22
Dan: I consider the ownership of arms not only a right, but the duty of a free people to themselves and future generations.
Howard with his C. Sharps Arms Co. Model 1874 in .45-70
Howard: I love history and I love old mechanical devices — guns are both. I also enjoy target shooting.
Stan with his Taurus PT38s .38 Super
I think everybody should have a gun. It levels the playing field.
Eleanor and Drew with Obie and their SKS 776, 1958 .22 cal Single Bolt Action, Mossberg Single shot 12g, Mossberg 12g pump, and Ruger P90 .45 cal
Drew: Owning a firearm brings me some sort of balance. When I am angry at the world I find relief in dropping a clip into the air. And, at the same time, if the world threatens me or those I love, I find relief in the protection it gives me.
Chris with his Raven Arms .25, Cecilia with her six-gun tattoos.
Chris: I don’t promote the fact that I have a gun, but I grew up in Maine. I don’t believe in hunting, I’ll still eat the meat, but I don’t want to kill anything.
Cecilia: I grew up in Rappahannock county — the land of very big trucks and very big guns. The gun trading post is right across the street from the church
Joseph with his Remmington Model 700, 7mm Magnum
Joe: “The first time I was introduced to guns was when I was 5 years old; hunting with my dad, grandfather and uncle. I remember my dad shooting a ringneck pheasant and a rabbit. I carried those two animals until I thought my arms were going to fall off. As a little guy, that made a great impression on me. I’ve hunted all of my life; in Pennsylvania, Idaho, Colorado and Maine. I have a tremendous respect for life, especially wildlife. It never ceases to amaze me how much satisfaction I get from just simply being in the Great Outdoors, whether I make a kill or not.”
Jim and Nicky with his Taurus .38 snub nose special, Colt 380-Auto, Pony Pocketlite and Sig Sauer P232 .380.
Jim: When I was diagnosed with cancer I found myself and my family in need of protection. I was too old to fight, too sick to run, and since cancer took my vocal cords, I couldn’t yell for help. I purchased
my first ever firearm.
Bashir, his Bushmaster CAR-15 and Cisco
Bashir: I just think it’s a good thing to have.
Aaron and Brittny with their Keltec Sub 2000, Glock 34, Glock 19, and Ruger Mark II
Aaron: My parents taught me to shoot, growing up in Utah. I got a gun here because we live in kind of a rough neighborhood and I take the subway home from work. I figured that since the bad-guys had guns, I should have one too.
Brittny: After practicing together and getting better, target shooting turned into a fun hobby that we could share.
Beth, Paul, Gavin and Emma AK-47, Bersa .380, Ruger P345
Paul: My family had guns the whole time I was a kid. then i went off and joined the army and went away and come back. I have guns now largely for the same reason I have fire extinguishers in the house and spare tires in the car. I’m a self reliant kind of guy. and there could come a time when I need to protect my family and i’m a self reliant kind of guy.
Beth: I have one for self protection. I was raised to never rely on anyone else to protect me or watch my back. It took me a year to pick out one that I liked.
Jean and Fleming and his Winchester .410 model 42
Fleming: I was born and raised 12 miles down the road from where Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and killed — this was in 1935. As a result of that incident, Northern Louisiana gained a reputation for being a very violent part of the world. And indeed, everybody — that I knew anyway — had at least two guns; a shotgun, and a .22 rifle. But these weapons were looked upon mostly as implements for harvesting food, mutch like you do with hoes, rakes, shovels, and things like that. Because they were used to take wild game. And in a country at that time where there was no electricity, no trains to speak of, you couldn’t buy anything. If you didn’t grow it or kill it yourself, you didn’t eat. So everybody that I new of, went out to hunt for food and shells were expensive — it was on the edge of the depression, shortly before World War II and people learned to practice gun economy, i guess you would say. People took care of guns, guns were cherished … and you didn’t mess with somebody’s gun. They were used as something to acquire food. That was all they were used for. This business about people shooting each other — that has come about, I think, as a result of money being introduced into our culture. Some people didn’t have any, and some people wanted some, so they went out an “liberated” it.
For me, it’s a sport. I don’t go very often, but when I do, I enjoy walking in the woods. I never take more animals than we can eat. I think, in a way, a gun, if it’s used properly, can be a tool to teach good citizenship. Because it teaches people to be frugal, to not be wasteful, and above all, it teaches people not to waste our heritage; take what you need, but don’t take any more. I like to see kids, out in the woods, doing what they do, in a way that is responsible. The more contentious among us all take their children out to the woods at a very early age and let them practice woodsmanship.
Jean: I hate guns. Don’t get me started.