Gun Possession in Morocco: Sampan Interviews a Citizen about Gun Culture in his Homeland and the US


In a 2018 failed bid for the 2026 World Cup, Morocco highlighted its limited threats from gun crime, especially compared to the United States. At that time, Morocco’s murder rate was 3 in 100,000, which looks comfortable against 5.3 in the United States. The rate has stayed more or less the same in Morocco over these past four years. In comparison, the United States experienced more gun-related deaths in 2020 than any other in recorded history. This reporter recently had the opportunity to survey a Moroccan native, via email, about perceptions of US gun violence from a Moroccan perspective.

SAMPAN: What were your initial impressions, as a child, of the role guns played in the culture of the United States?

When I was young, the movies that prevailed were Westerns and Thrillers. Guns were the solution to every conflict and the hero was the one who handled guns better and quicker.

SAMPAN: What role did guns play in your life as a child growing up in Morocco?

Real guns never existed in both my childhood and my adulthood because they don’t exist. Gun Possession is simply not allowed by the law.

SAMPAN: Describe the punishment for illegal ownership and distribution of guns in your country. Does Moroccan popular culture (TV, music, film) glamorize gun use as has so often been the case in the United States?

Illegal possession of arms is harshly punishable. If someone is caught, he or she would be tried at the military court and would be sent to jail for a long time. Arms do not represent an issue in Moroccan culture that’s why they are never mentioned or used in Moroccan movies.

SAMPAN: How long have you been in the United States? Were friends and family scared knowing that you’d be coming here and probably susceptible to more gun violence here than in Morocco?

I have been living in the US for more than 20 years. I have never felt threatened for my life or the lives of my children because shootings usually happened in places they were bound to happen. However, since 2016 life has changed dramatically in America. Random shooting and mass-killing has become more common. Last weekend murders in four different states are a good example.

SAMPAN: Do you think the importance of guns in American culture is an unavoidable fabric of who we are? If we consider that the West was “won” by pistols and six-shooters, and guns have been constant from the beginning, how can we change? How can we steer our children away from the impression that guns are the only way to solve problems?

Guns in America are here to stay. Changing mentalities is a long process. First we have to establish stricter laws on the companies that make and market guns. I think if it is easy to trace where a bullet came from, it should be easier to know where the gun came from. By doing so we can punish the gun maker who let it go to the wrong hands. Hollywood and games designers should stop glorifying guns and start steering our children’s attention towards more constructive issues.

SAMPAN: Are you confident that US legislators and our President, now or later, will be able to write and pass some sensible gun legislation? Can the US gun problem be solved in your lifetime? If so, how? Tell us the ways Morocco has kept their gun violence so low. Are there any suggestions you have for the immediate and long term safety of the United States re: gun accessibility? 

I am not confident that the legislative or the executive branches of the government will do anything to put an end to this phenomenon. I saw them stuttering when a journalist asked them about gun control. Going against the gun makers is like committing political suicide legislators think. Why can we allow guns but with rubber bullets only?

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