What Can We Learn from These Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes?

In the wake of the tragic shooting and killing of children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun culture and gun control law are in the spotlight. There are many questions, not the least urgent one being, why would a civilian bring a gun into their home in the first place? Photographer Kyle Cassidy travelled 20,000 miles around the country taking portraits of the so-called “everyman” gun owners in their home, asking that very question, compiling the work in the book Armed in America, recently spotted by Kottke. Not all answers hit the outright disturbing note of this one: “I own a gun because I’m a fuckin’ American and a Marine. It’s my God-given right.” However, undoubtedly, we can look back at this project with renewed concern about what it means to be a gun owner in the US and renewed skepticism as to whether we need better answers or better laws.

Photo credit: Kyle Cassidy

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.