2021 Photo Contest, Portraits, Stories, 1st Prize

The ‘Ameriguns’

Photographer

Gabriele Galimberti

For National Geographic

12 April, 2019

Avery Skipalis (33) stands with her firearms in front of her house in Tampa, Florida, USA. Her son looks on from a window. Avery joined the US Air Force when she was 17, and after serving in the UAE, Japan and Germany, left to start a company that offers firearms safety classes to adults and children.

According to the Small Arms Survey—an independent global research project based in Geneva, Switzerland—half of all the firearms owned by private citizens in the world, for non-military purposes, are in the USA. The survey states that the number of firearms exceeds the country’s population: 393 million guns to 328 million people. Gun ownership is guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which dates from 1791 and has long been a controversial issue in American legal, political, and social discourse. Those who argue for the repeal of the Second Amendment or introduction of stricter gun control say that the Second Amendment was intended for militias; that stronger regulation will reduce gun violence; and that a majority of Americans, including gun owners, support new restrictions. Second Amendment supporters state that it protects an individual’s right to own guns; that guns are needed for self-defense against threats ranging from local criminals to foreign invaders; and that gun ownership deters crime rather than causes more crime. The US has had more mass shootings than any other country on the planet. According to the independent Gun Violence Archive (GVA), there were 633 mass shootings in 2020 alone.

About the photographer

Gabriele Galimberti

Gabriele Galimberti is an Italian photographer based in Tuscany. He has spent the last few years working on long-term documentary photography projects around the world, some of w...

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