Freedom and security – Americans looking down the barrel

Unlike many other countries, in the United States, guns can be found everywhere, from retail stores, to rallies, to the hands of politicians running for office.

­Many readily cite the country's second amendment that allows for this right to bear arms.

“The vast majority of level-headed Americans realize it's a constitutional right and as such probably don't have a problem with it,” says Engage Armament co-owner Andy Raymond. 

But with a population of 307 million people, roughly 300 million firearms are owned by civilians in the United States.

What is a constitutional right is now feared by some to have become an obsession.

"In the 21st century to think that the people in urban areas need machine guns and AK-47s and so on is preposterous," says Professor Emeritus Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay. 

An obsession that cannot be ignored considering recent acts of gun violence and the ease of access to firearms.

In the United States to purchase a gun the average citizen would need to go through a background check with the federal government looking for anything from criminal history to mental illness, and if he passed that, he would be able to buy anything from a handgun, to a semi-automatic weapon, to an automatic weapon like a machine gun.

Jewish-Americans from the Catskill Mountains of New York are firing off their 2nd amendment rights to guard against the threat of terrorism.

“We need to express those rights, own weapons, protect ourselves,” says Yonatan Stern, a founder of Kitat Konenut New York. 

Handguns like you see on the hips of store owners from just near the nation’s capital, to a southern town where gun ownership is actually mandatory. 

Robert Jones, president of the Kennesaw Historical Society explains that in the South, the gun is just a part of the household, like a hammer is in the tool box. 

No matter how to describe it – a tool, a sporting good, a means of self defense or murder -gun owners say it is more than a firearm. It is a symbol central to American culture and identity.

"Coming from the Minutemen, stemming from our revolution to cowboys to any of that kind of thing, I mean the gun is actually a centerpiece of American history," says Andy Raymon. 

A piece of history that critics say continues to wound the country.

"What is the percentage of people in any society who is pathological? Maybe 5, 10 per cent? But if this 5 or 10 per cent is heavily armed, that can be very dangerous for the social peace of a nation," says Professor Tremblay.