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The Gun in America
The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in the spring of 1968 unleashed a heated debate over America’s passion for personal firearms and the ease with which anyone could procure a rifle or pistol. By late June, Time magazine was reporting on this debate in its cover story, which focused on, among other things, the mounting cry for new curbs on citizens’ rights to bear firearms. The story caught people’s attention, and the magazine received countless pieces of mail from readers.
Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein created a vivid, riveting cover for the issue. He had long recognized the gun as an important element in American culture, and his image for Time was simply a variant of the pistol-gripping hand that he had produced on a felt banner several years earlier.
Roy Lichtenstein, 1968
Time cover, June 21, 1968
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