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Politics

Arms in America

Perspectives on America’s multi-faceted relationship with guns by Magnum Photographers

Magnum Photographers

Peter van Agtmael Jim Chilton walks down a road on his land. He carries a six-shooter and two rifles in his car when traveling through his land. His 50,000 square acre ranch has 2000 heads of cattle. Thousands of i (...)
Alec Soth Rochester Brooks Gun Club. Rush, NY, USA. 2012. © Alec Soth | Magnum Photos
Alec Soth Intruder response training. Strategos International President Vaughn Baker (left), Vice President Mark Warren with other staff members. Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA. 2009. © Alec Soth | Magnum Photos
Alec Soth Intruder response training. Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA. 2009. © Alec Soth | Magnum Photos
Alec Soth Intruder response training. Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA. 2009. © Alec Soth | Magnum Photos
Alec Soth Intruder response training. Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA. 2009. © Alec Soth | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson Shooting range at Blackwater USA. North Carolina, USA. 2006. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Alec Soth Intruder response training. Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA. 2009. © Alec Soth | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson Shooting range at Blackwater USA. North Carolina, USA. 2006. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson Blackwater USA. North Carolina, USA. 2006. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot. The largest machine gun shoot in the world where the final night includes hundreds of machine guns being fired at the same time and targets loaded with explosives. Wes (...)
Peter van Agtmael Shooting gallery at the Jamestown Fair. Jamestown, PA, USA. 2010. © Peter van Agtmael | Magnum Photos
Christopher Anderson Boy scout shooting guns at summer camp. USA. 2009. © Christopher Anderson | Magnum Photos
Martin Parr Kordell Jackson. Jackson Guns and Ammo. Scottsville, New York, USA. 2012. © Martin Parr | Magnum Photos
Peter van Agtmael Guns for sale in a sporting good store in Roanoke, Virginia. Roanoke, VA, USA. 2011. © Peter van Agtmael | Magnum Photos

The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In the third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Donald Trump said that he will appoint justices that will support this aspect of the constitution.  “They will interpret the constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted.”

Clinton, who said that she understood and respected “the tradition of gun ownership,” also suggested that there must be “reasonable regulation”. “I also believe there is an individual right to bear arms. That is not in conflict with sensible common sense regulation,” she said. Clinton also referenced the fact that Trump’s campaign has been supported by the National Rifle Association in a bid to expose how Trump’s view could be seen to be influenced by the gun lobby. However, Trump shrugged off the criticism, instead appealing to the vast swathes of America who cherish their right to bear arms, citing that he is “very proud” to have the endorsement.

Magnum Photographers have captured a perspective on Americans’ relationships with their guns, from the oft-cited use of guns for defending one’s self and home, to the leisure pursuit of powerful automatic weapons as entertainment. Alec Soth visited an ‘intruder training’ workshop in Missouri; Peter van Agtmael’s ongoing study of social issues in America includes children’s fairground games with rifles; and Christopher Anderson spent an evening at the biggest machine-gun shoot-out.