Hypermasculinity Does Not Beget Gun Violence


Owen Pickard

The March 15 edition of The Old Gold and Black published several articles on gun control that were filled with blatantly false claims surrounding guns and gun violence.

In the article “Hyper masculinity leads to gun violence,” the first inaccurate statement refers to the firearm used in Parkland as an assault rifle.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, “an assault rifle is fully automatic.” While the definition of an assault rifle has generally expanded to include rifles with select-fire capabilities — meaning that the firearm can switch between single, burst and/or fully automatic modes — a semi-automatic rifle, by definition, cannot be an assault rifle. True assault rifles are heavily regulated by the ATF and are illegal to own without a special permit.

Following this mistake, the author said the Parkland shooter used “large capacity magazines.” According to National Review,  the Parkland shooter used magazines that had a maximum capacity of 10 rounds, which is far below the standard 30 rounds for the 5.56mm AR-15 that the shooter used.

The term “large capacity” is a convenient buzz-word for liberals calling for gun control, but this phrase has little-to-no real meaning. For example, a 30-round magazine is standard for an AR-15 style rifle, but for most handguns, such a number would be considered tremendously “large.”

Going into handguns, however, makes the issue of “large capacity magazines” even murkier because some smaller handguns typically hold six to eight rounds in a standard magazine, while other, full-sized handguns can hold 15 rounds.

One thing that is correct in this piece is that the violence issue in America “is a problem exacerbated by American men.”

The root issue, however, is not “hyper” or “toxic” masculinity. It is a complete and utter lack of what true masculinity should look like.

In a piece for the Federalist, Peter Hasson referenced a list of  “27 Deadliest Mass Shootings In U.S. History,” compiled by CNN, in which “seven of those shootings were committed by young (under 30) males since 2005. Of the seven, only one … was raised by his biological father throughout childhood.”

Furthermore, the Daily Wire referenced a study conducted by Brad Wilcox, a University of Virginia professor, of Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks.” He found that “nearly every shooting over the last year” on this list “involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.”

The higher frequency of men dying due to guns, this author suggests, is due to “a corrupted culture of hyper-masculinity in America [sic].” Masculinity is becoming corrupted in America, but this corruption is not due to hypermasculinity. The corruption flows from a culture that disregards personal responsibility and attempts to undermine the familial unit that used to be so foundational to life in America.

The last thing America needs is more emasculated men.

In mentioning the disparity between men and women who die due to the use of guns, the author fails to mention that almost two- thirds of gun deaths in America are suicides. The author repeatedly uses the phrase “killed by guns,” seemingly in an attempt to take responsibility away from the people who pull the trigger and to be able to include suicides in his statistics through the use of this incredibly broad phrase. Additionally, according to fivethirtyeight, 85 percent of the people in America who commit suicide by using a firearm are male.

The disparity mentioned in the article narrows dramatically when you take into account who actually pulls the trigger.

The author goes on to say that he “had long thought it curious that feminists have never embraced guns en masse.” Glossing over the litany of issues with the modern feminist movement, many women do use firearms (particularly in the form of a concealed-carry handgun when not on their property) to protect themselves.

If the self-appointed leaders of the modern feminist movement in America are attempting to discourage women from defending themselves with guns, they are failing.

For example, eight states that gathered data from 2012 to 2016 showed that there has been “a 326-percent faster increase in permits among women than among men.” Tremendous numbers of women are in fact working to better protect themselves with firearms.

A fundamental mistake in the argument presented in this piece for women to not carry firearms is that “we should expect our citizens to never commit such heinous crimes.” People do not expect tragedy. However, those who want to be prepared for any horrible experience they may face, whether gun violence or any other form of tragedy, take the necessary steps to be ready if they must act during a disaster.

Furthermore, the piece says “fighting to quell the proliferation of guns is an assertion by the movement that male gun violence is unacceptable and will be eradicated.” It is dangerously naive to believe that turning your nose to any form of violence will somehow completely “eradicate” such violence.

The piece goes on to discuss how the author does not have an extensive background with firearms, but some of his friends do. Many of these friends are male, and while they did grow up using and learning about firearms, the author writes that “most of their sisters” did not.

The first thing to consider is that girls may be less drawn to guns as firearms are stereotypically considered masculine (ie. the piece I am currently referencing). Could this be due to the inherent differences between the sexes? I would ask your biology professor about this, not your Women’s Gender Studies professor. (One of these things is not like the other.)

When given the opportunity, many women do take to using firearms, whether out of enjoyment, sport, self-defense or any combination of these or other factors.

I grew up shooting with my sister, who has an Expert Marksman Badge that she earned at Basic Training for the United States Army. Maybe she can teach you about this hypermasculine “gun culture” you admit that you do not know much about? 

Another piece published in the OGB is worth mentioning, as it simply spews many incorrect, leftist talking points on firearms.

In the piece titled “Gun control intransigence is difficult to overcome,” the author regurgitates the common line that when the constitution was written, the founding fathers could never “conceive the technological advances” that dramatically enhanced the power of firearms.

While few on the left apply such reasoning to the first or other amendments, this line is popular with the ban-guns crowd.

It is completely false.

Early precursors to the Gatling gun had emerged by the early 18th century, but, as in the case of James Puckle’s patented “Puckle gun,” such attempts were hampered by the flintlock technology of the day. This patent was issued in 1718 while the gun ultimately failed to be widely used, claiming that the Founding Fathers, some half-century later, could not “conceive” the idea of a technology leading to semi-automatic or even potentially automatic firearms is simply not true.

The author continues to write that “the gun lobby has conned Americans into believing that they have a God-given right to own an unlimited number of any type of firearm without any restriction.” While (I hope) this part may be hyperbole for effect, it is important to mention.

This just regurgitates the stereotype that Americans who own guns are Bible-thumping, gun-clutching rednecks. (Believe it or not, I do not drive a Ford or a Chevy.)

The “gun lobby” does not try to convince anyone that their right to own firearms is a restriction-free right. This is certainly not the message of the NRA.

The NRA sometimes even advocates for certain restrictions on guns.

For example, the NRA has recently released a video calling for Gun Violence Restraining Orders, a measure I examined in my last piece for The Wake Forest Review.

Both articles mention “toxic masculinity” or “hyper masculinity” as a contributing problem to gun violence. I would like to invite either author to go up to anyone outside of an isolated academic institution and tell a normal Joe that the problem in America is too much masculinity.

You will get laughed out of the room.

Or try Fort Bragg. I’m sure the 82nd Airborne soldiers will get a nice kick out of you telling them that they’re too masculine and that toxic masculinity is hurting America.

America needs more masculinity, not less.

Long live hypermasculinity.