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The American public has seemingly appeared to grow weary over the frequency of mass shootings around the country making news headlines.

The obligatory thoughts and prayers response in the wake of a gun-related tragedy has almost become laughable as there is hardly any substantial progress in spite of numerous petitions and protests lobbying for stricter gun legislation.

It's not surprising then that outsiders have such strong views toward gun violence and gun laws in America.


Curious to hear from strangers online, Redditor spiderbabyinapram asked:

"Americans of Reddit, an honest question, asked sincerely: what are your thoughts on how so many Europeans view your gun laws as strange or dangerous?"

These Redditors didn't seem to care what Europeans thought.

The Whole Point

"I always think that the whole point of the USA is to not be Europe. From it's inception to now."

– raymondspogo

Nonplussed

"I would imagine most Americans aren’t thinking about the opinions of others. We’re a very individualistic culture."

– AntarcticaCoffee

Not Bothered

"I don’t take it seriously. Most Europeans I’ve spoken to on the issue have a very oversimplified view of the gun issue in America."

– alcoholicmuppet

A Pro-Gun View

"I don’t mind reading your take on our laws, but I ultimately don’t care. Your views don’t shape our laws, so they’re not that important to me."

"Now JimBob across the street that believes it’s his right to mount a .50 cal machine gun in the bed of his truck…his views are important to me. Not that I agree with him but because he worries me."

"I’m pro gun at the end of the day, but we’re handling gun ownership terribly. I don’t fault the anti-gun crowd because most gun owners shouldn’t own one in the first place."

– GooberAndMe

How Do You Really Feel?

"We really don’t give a sh*t what Europeans think."

– WilliePhistergash

A Counter On Caring

"Most of the Americans posting say they don't care how others feel about their gun laws which is understandable, land of the free and all."

"However, you should care how others perceive you in the world, we all used to look up to America and rely on American leadership on global issues. You put a man on the moon!"

"I'd say U.S. credibility and prestige on the world stage is at all time lows. And yes the gun issue is relevant."

– tremp2020

These Redditors believe Europeans make too many assumptions about the U.S.

We Need Guns

"There is still a legitimate need and use for guns in rural America that city dwellers often just completely don't know about or understand."

– SomeYoungOldDude

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The Media

"I'm mostly amused by the European views, at least those expressed commonly on reddit, about American gun culture. The reality of life in America doesn't really match the headlines blasted out regularly from our mainstream news organizations."

"Europeans who haven't spent much time in the US, can only judge us from what they get from our news outlets. As with most news outlets around the world, journalists now see themselves as agents of change more than neutral reporters of facts and events."

– thehorsesayscoo

Conflicting Views

"Pretty much European views on everything about America. At least on Reddit."

"They start with the assumption that their way is better and then come to the simplest conclusion as to why that is."

"The Brits will tell you Americans are cruel for keeping their cats indoors. The Germans will tell you Americans are cheap for building things out of lumber. Even things like the law that requires us to stop for children exiting school buses is somehow evidence that American children are stupid."

– SecurelyObscure

The Differences

"Do we need some better laws, yes. Do we actually need guns? In many places.. also yes."

"We have animals on a level that y’all can’t even dream of. A pack of coyotes live right next to my parents. Panthers, cougars, bears, alligators, and more."

"For us calling police (or ambulance) is at least a 20-30min wait, some places more than that."

– East-Selection1144

They Just Don't Understand

"I just don't think some Europeans have a very nuanced understanding of things, and talk as though all we do everyday is obsess about our guns. Taking a contentious issue to justify a stereotype is just stupid."

– treuchetfight

The Constitution Gets Quoted

"In my sincere and honest opinion, I think Europeans define liberty and freedom differently than Americans do. America as a nation was birthed out of standing up to tyranny. The ability to bear arms was granted to the citizens of the United States because the founding fathers were against tyranny."

"The Constitution of the U.S.A. says this: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.--That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government.'"

"The key line there in my opinion is: 'deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.' Governments should receive their power from the consent of the governed. Furthermore, the follow up line says that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish the tyrannical government and institute a new one."

"Americans have guns to ensure that the government doesn't overstep it's bounds. If a government starts waging war on it's people, how would they fight back?"

"I like being an American, and I like having the freedom to have many guns."

– Minimalcharges

People weighed in on school shootings.

Breaking Down A Percentage

"Seriously overestimating how much of the issue has to do specifically with school shootings (they account for less than 1% of homicides). Assuming that gun violence is primarily homicide (nearly 2/3 of gun deaths are suicide)."

"Assuming that all states have the same gun laws. Proposing 'solution' like door to door police confiscation without realizing that it’s both illegal and wildly impractical."

– alcoholicmuppet

Bullying

"Nobody is going to defend school shootings but it is actually important to attribute blame where blame is deserved. I am referring specifically to three things, first is the Media and their portrayal of school shootings. The hype behind shootings literally gives kids the idea and reenforces that idea as a viable option to those looking to do bad things."

"The media is actually responsible for most of the shootings in this country and should be held accountable. Next is bullying. Kids will be kids to some extent, but American culture is so messed up that parents literally aren't raising their kids with any dignity or respect."

"Bullying is a real problem and a-hole kids tend to have neglectful parents. Finally, mental health issues should not be understated. Whether it's a manifestation of being bullied for life, or actual bouts of psychosis, both are mental health issues that are not well addressed in anyone, particularly kids under 18."

"Point is, accessibility to guns definitely doesn't help the issue, but it's not the root cause. American politicians are trying to do the only thing they know how to do; treat the symptoms not the cause. Ultimately we need to fix our damn culture, stop sensationalizing mass shootings, and invest in education and mental health awareness/accessibility to help."

"If we remove guns, it will just be something else used as a weapon like driving cars into groups of people, swords, bombs, chemicals, or whatever. Personally, I want a gun for my own protection..I am for tighter regulations but not for getting rid of weapons altogether."

– ActionXPotential

My European friends didn't have to be U.S. residents to know and be critical of lax gun laws here.

As for my Japanese relatives who've never been to visit me in the U.S., they also have some strong opinions.

When I asked one of my cousins why he's never come for a visit, the first thing he said was, "I'm honestly terrified of American gun violence in your country."

I couldn't agree more, especially knowing that Japan has a very low crime rate. And what he's seen in the media, is not an exaggeration.

We've sadly just become numb to the news headlines.

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