Why Own a Gun?

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A portrait of gun owners in America is a lot like a portrait of Americans as a whole — diverse. Some gun owners hunt, some are collectors, and others seek a means of self-defense.

But in the wake of the Newtown shooting, many Americans are wondering if our gun culture at large is to blame for such unthinkable violence, and why people choose to arm themselves in the first place.

Kyle Cassidy is a photographer and author of "Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes." He crossed the country three times asking Americans, "Why do you own a gun?" Michael Smith is a gun owner profiled in the book.