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From muskets to machine guns, Americans have a relationship with firearms that is as old – and as complicated – as the country itself. That intimate connection with guns is under renewed scrutiny after the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history left 58 people dead in Las Vegas.Guns are a big part of the story.It wasn't until several decades after the 1775-83 American Revolution that the gun really became a national symbol, Somerset said.There are currently more than 300 million guns in the United States – more than one per American – and firearms are involved in some 30,000 deaths a year, nearly two-thirds of them suicides.About four in 10 Americans live in a home with a gun, according to a June survey by the Pew Research Center, with 67 percent of gun owners saying self-protection is a major reason for having a firearm. Forty-four percent of the Republicans in the Pew Research poll said they own a gun compared with just 20 percent of Democrats.
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