Publication Date
November 18, 2021
Dave B. Kopel
gun control, public health
This article first examines one basis of the symbolic value of guns to some gun owners—as an affirmation of individualism and equality. Next, the article discusses guns in relation to the rule of law, and how private armed defense is seen as either negating or fulfilling the rule of law in American. Next, the article looks at several aspects of the symbolic roles of gun control: as punishment of a "scapegoat" object, as status conflict, and as the subject of "moral panic." Finally, the growing role of medical researchers as gun control advocates is discussed, with an emphasis on implications of taking a medical, "scientific" approach to resolving a contentious social issue.
Recommended Citation
Kopel, David B. and Kopel, David B., The Ideology of Guns and Gun Control in the United States (June 24, 1995). Available at SSRN: or

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