Guns Needed for Survival

Exaggeration & Pandering Biases  
Table Of Contents

Main Description

There are scenarios where different types of guns are useful or needed in real life -- some of which are common and some unlikely. But nobody in America needs guns for survival. We have police and the National Guard to protect citizens and ample food supplies so hunting has been unnecessary for decades.

But conservatives use guns as a propaganda tactic to scare people into believing that guns are necessary for their survival. And Hollywood loves to invent storylines where this is true such as some imagined dystopian future. We track some of those instances below.

Conservative Trope Examples

  • World War Z (2013)
    Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) carries a handgun on his hip and uses a rifle with a scope and a homemade bayonet to protect himself and his family from virus-infected zombies.
  • The Book of Eli (2010)
    Eli (Denzel Washington) travels everywhere with a short-barreled shotgun slung over his shoulder and a handgun on his side, which miraculously always seems to be enough even when he finds himself up against large groups of villains intent on killing him.
  • Zombieland (2009)
    The four main characters all depend on an arsenal of different firearms to use against bloodthirsty zombies. They seemingly have every type of gun at their disposal, ranging from a variety of handguns and shotguns all the way up to machine guns.
  • I Am Legend (2007)
    Robert Neville (Will Smith) relies on an AR-15 rifle to protect himself from zombies.

How Trope is Biased


  • The world is a much more dangerous place on screen, and the justification for needing guns for survival in stable democracies like the United States is overblown


  • This trope is major pandering to gun owners who justify owning multiple guns, more dangerous guns and stocking up on lots of ammo partially because their survival depends on it.

Conservative Biases

  • The depiction of guns needed for survival scares the Republican base into extreme reactions if any sensible gun safety legislation is proposed. It's hard to justify owning certain guns for most people in America as they are unneeded. Who actually needs an AR-15 rifle with boxes of ammo? But many conservatives buy dangerous guns not out of actually necessity, but because of fearmongering from the right supported by conservative tropes like this.