What Netflix’s Tiger King Taught Me About American Gun Laws

Tiger King is a train wreck you just can’t stop watching. I learned more about the human psyche from 7 episodes then I ever did in Abnormal Psychology. I couldn’t believe people like that existed in the world, actually living these insane lives. But what was even more unbelievable to me was that these people were allowed to have guns. Here’s what I discovered about American gun laws by watching Tiger King.

1. Guns are everywhere!

Everyone on the show had a few guns at least. It turns out there are hardly any regulations on how many guns one person can own. Each episode, Joe Exotic could be seen with a variety of different types of guns, even a semi-automatic. In episode 6, Carol Baskin mentioned having multiple guns hidden away in her car and house - to protect herself or to kill her next husband? Even committed felons had them, as it was shown that Alan Glover owned a whole crossbow!

2. You can buy guns from Walmart???

In one episode, Joe is seen browsing Walmart and searching for a new gun. For me, Walmart is not what I pictured when I think of a gun store, but apparently, they contribute to 2% of all gun sales and 20% of all ammunition sales in America. More commonly, guns are bought from small family owned stores, gun shows or even off family members and friends.

3. You can blow shit up with them.

Practically every episode, Joe Exotic flaunts his gun prowess by shooting at things and making them explode. Not only is this insanely dangerous, but it is also legal in the U.S. Joe uses tannerite, which is sold in a kit form and is pretty easy to purchase in America. In one of his “explosion videos,” Joe shoots at and explodes a fake blow up doll representing Carol Baskin.

4. They make a great fashion statement.

In many states in the U.S., it is legal to “open carry” firearms. This means you can have your gun in a holster on your person when you’re out in public. Joe Exotic loves to open carry his weapons. He even makes it known he is carrying a gun with the type of holster he wears. To me, this was the strangest fact about American gun laws. Having a gun on your person to me seems very threatening to others.

5. Accidents do happen.

America is known for the largest number of reported acts of gun violence, but guns can cause accidental death as well. In Tiger King, Joe Exotic’s husband, Travis, shot himself after attempting to prove that the gun would not fire. Unfortunately, it did. To me, this proved that American gun laws are lax enough that you can own one without knowing how to safely use it.