I plan to develop a new photographic project titled "Gun Culture" during the 2020 Presidential Election year in the United States. This series will explore the relationship between right-wing gun culture, conservative politics, white supremacy, poverty, and lack of ethnic diversity in rural America. Gun rights consistently rank as one of the most important issues among Conservative voters, and many conflate gun rights with both patriotism and Christian religious virtue. My project will explore the historic origins of this culture and the way that it is perpetuated through both political messaging and the branding and marketing used to sell guns today.
The United States has a long and tragic history of mass shootings as well as a seeming inability to pass laws that might curtail that violence. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 279 mass shootings occurred in the US between January and August, 2019. There were 340 mass shooting incidents across the country in 2018.
I began to develop this project in reaction to the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on August 3rd, 2019. The gunman in El Paso killed twenty-two people and injured twenty-four others at a Walmart Supercenter after posting a manifesto indicating that he was targeting Hispanic immigrants and had been inspired by the Trump administration’s political rhetoric about an “invasion” of Latinos.