The Generation Gap on the Gun Issue

A generation gap can be the last great refuge for a dying philosophy. Sorry to say, for our opponents, it appears to go in the wrong direction:

While some results seemed predictable, the gun answer did not. Fifty-five percent of the youngest respondents favor legal concealed weapons, which became law in Wisconsin last year. Support for guns declines as age increases, falling to 36 percent among those 60 and older.

“Whether you think it’s a generational change, or growing up with shoot-em-up games, or maybe they just haven’t decided ‘these things are really dangerous, I don’t want them around,’ ” Franklin says, the gun result illustrates a key point.

However, as the rather progressive article notes, if you’re a proponent of gay marriage and gay rights, all that’s left is to wait. It is interesting to note, that as the Greatest Generation died off, and Baby Boomers have replaced them as “the old people,” gun rights have been on the upswing. I wonder if anyone has studied whether there were generational changes responsible for this, and if so, why were Greatest Generation more apt to support gun control, and Baby Boomers less so, on down.

18 thoughts on “The Generation Gap on the Gun Issue”

  1. I think (like the article mentions) that shooting-related video games have a lot to do with it. When I take my friends shooting for the first time, they always seem excited to try shooting a real rifle (after doing it for years in a game). Also, when you play shooters for years, people seem to get less of that gun=bad mindset.

    They also seem to be less likely to fall for the rhetoric behind the NJ assault weapons ban. Thanks to games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, they know what pistol grips, adjustable stocks, and flash suppressors are, and they know that there’s no good reason to ban guns just because they have two of them.

    1. Another part of that is that video games are often scapegoated as the cause of violent crime in the very same way that guns are. The result is that video gamers generally already inherently understand the flaws in the anti-gun logic.

  2. I would ‘hazard’ a guess that the older generation was more prone to gun control having actually used them to kill large numbers of folks in War…

    1. But only a small fraction of the uniformed military were at the tip of the spear, actually shooting people with small arms, or, say, in the case of armor, the machine guns of their tanks and whatever.

    2. It’s probably not so much “having killed people” as it is untreated PTSD.

      The gun became the symbol of their military service, and many of them never got over their psychological issues caused by that military service.

      In short, their rifle accompanied them through Hell, and thus they have a hard time separating post-war recreational shooting from wartime survival.

  3. I know my grandfather doesn’t want to be around them after being involved in two wars (WWII (Navy), and Korea (Army)).

    My father asked if Grandpa would like a rifle like he used in Korea, and grandpa basically yelled at us for 15 minutes about how he has had his share of guns, and wouldn’t want another one.

    So yeah, Old NFO, you may be on to something there.

      1. I work with a bunch at one of our manufactures of firearms in the US. They like to accessorize a LOT.

        1. Well, sure … but the question is, what are their attitudes towards us accessorizing or just plain owning EBRs or other firearms?

      2. All the ones I know are buying AR-15s and M9s because that’s what they know and are comfortable with.

        Also the statements of untreated PTSD are probably very valid. I’ve heard so many stories of “Grand’paw was in the war, he occasionally told some stories of the awful stuff he saw, but overall he just didn’t talk about it at all.”

        Meanwhile today PTSD is an issue everybody is talking about and so many groups are popping up to reach out to vets to get the help they need.

        You read about “Shell Shock” in the history books, but you don’t hear much about vets from the Great War getting treatment for it.

        1. There was one form of PTSD “treatment” for WWI through Korea (I assume) vets: the long trip back in a transport ship. They could talk to each other and ideally there was a chaplain on board. It also gave them time to decompress compared to flying starting in the Vietnam.

        2. “…I’ve heard so many stories of “Grand’paw was in the war, he occasionally told some stories of the awful stuff he saw, but overall he just didn’t talk about it at all.”…”

          This especially fits one of my great uncles; Being a long-haul truck driver, he was drafted during WWII as skilled labor. He never really talked about it, and it must have been at least 15 years before anyone in the family (including his two brothers) found out he was part of operation overlord. Apparently one of my uncles had some sort of school assignment over a Christmas holiday to ask relatives where they were when they found out about the invasion of Normandy, and when it got around to that particular great uncle of mine, he announced that he drove his truck onto the beach in the afternoon, and didn’t even get his feet wet.

    1. I’m only sour about not having the opportunity to buy my SAW from the Army and take her home.

      I think a lot of my infantry company would have been happy to buy their rifles at cost plus and take them home.

  4. A person who is now sixty was exposed to more than 20,000 hours of anti-gun television programming, starting in 1963, peaking in 1990.

    In addition, Time Inc’s various publications, Time, Life, People, etc., ran one anti-gun item a week from late 1963 until 1991. And then there are/were the “newspapers,” whose incessant anti-gun propaganda continues to this day.

    It is little wonder those born after 1984 are more favorably inclined toward firearm. They have not had the extensive brainwashing older Americans have had.


    1. This, combined with video games are what I believe will ultimately be the downfall of the NFA, and gun control in general.

      “I shot this cool gun in BF3.” becomes “I want to shoot this cool gun.” becomes “Why can’t I own this cool gun?” becomes “We should change the laws so that I can buy this cool gun.”

Comments are closed.