Gun Culture 2.0, or How a Liberal Professor Became an Armed American

Gun Culture 2.0

Following is the text of my lunch presentation at the NRA Foundation National Firearms Law Seminar in Indianapolis, Indiana on 26 April 2019. The 36 minute video version is available on YouTube.

I am very excited to have the opportunity to share my story with you. As I was preparing for today’s talk, a line from the classic Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime” got stuck in my head, although my earworm had a slight variation from the original:

“And you may find yourself

Speaking to a room full of gun lawyers.

And you may ask yourself, well

How did I get here?”

I never saw, touched, or fired a real gun until I was 42-years-old. Eight years later, here I am speaking at the National Firearms Law Seminar. That’s remarkable.

Without disrupting your hard-earned lunch too much, I want to share with you my story – the…

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“Dress Around the Gun” Needs to Die.

Well put thoughts

The Suited Shootist

We’ve all heard it. Whether at our first concealed carry class, or at the gun store when shopping for our first pistol and/or holster. In order to effectively conceal a firearm one must “dress around the “. The intent of this mantra is to suggest that carrying a firearm does require adjustments to one’s normal routine. True practice of self defense is after all a lifestyle unto itself. However, this credo has become the battle cry of the intellectually and socially lazy. Any time someone encounters a challenge with justifying their newfound lifestyle with their day to day routine, these words will be parroted, as if to suggest that the person in question just isn’t trying hard enough.

I say this is a tactic of the intellectually and socially lazy because it requires no thought or analysis. It automatically assumes that the gear selection is infallible, and that the subject…

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How a Card Carrying Liberal Professor Became a Card Carrying Liberal Armed American

Gun Culture 2.0

7 years (this week) and 700 posts ago, I started this blog. Initially, I wrote largely for myself. Somewhere along the way, people started reading what I had to say about guns and gun culture. More people than I could have imagined. This gives me confidence that I have something to say about the topic beyond the small group of scholars I am accustomed to talking to as a professor.

My confidence was tested in April when I had the opportunity give the lunchtime talk at the National Firearms Law Seminar in Indianapolis. More than anything I’ve written or said, “Gun Culture 2.0, or How a Liberal Professor Became an Armed American” offered a very personal perspective on how I got into guns and the study of gun culture. I also discussed some of the many lessons I have learned on my journey.

Thanks to John Correia (and Jon Macek)…

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Documenting the 2019 NRA Revolt at Indy Against Current NRA Leadership

Gun Culture 2.0

The members meeting Saturday at this year’s NRA annual meeting was chaotic, but in this post I do my best to summarize of what went down.

NRA member Joshua Prince, critical of the current leadership, rises to speak at the NRA members meeting. Current NRA Board member and supporter of current leadership, Willes Lee, waits to speak immediately behind him. Photo by David Yamane

Drama was present from the start of the meeting. NRA President Oliver North, who was supposed to sit next to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was a no show at the members meeting. He will not seek or get a second term as President.

Wayne LaPierre received a 3/4 standing ovation from the members assembled when he was introduced. NRA VP Richard Childress, presiding at the meeting in North’s absence, read a letter from Oliver North that leveled accusations against current leadership (in YouTube video…

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Publication Alert: “The First Rule of Gunfighting is Have a Gun: Technologies of Concealed Carry in Gun Culture 2.0”

Gun Culture 2.0

I have said it before, on this blog and in scholarly publications (also here), but I will say it again: It is no exaggeration to say that sociologists are only interested in guns and gun culture to the extent that they are related to crime, violence, and social inequality.

Now, to be fair, sociologists are only interested in many things insofar as they are related to some social problem. In fact, we teach courses called “Social Problems” not “Social Benefits.” One sociologist even took to Twitter recently to crowdsource an answer to a student who asked for a recommended book in sociology that had a positive outcome.

So it should come as no surprise that a recently published book on The Lives of Guns takes gun violence as its starting and ending point. But this book comes with a little bit of sugar for those who are interested in…

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Hooray! My Book Chapter is Almost Published!

No, the “NRA didn’t suddenly change”

Gun Culture 2.0

I just wanted to take a brief break from writing some more substantive posts about armed church security to say “Hooray!” I recently received the page proofs for my chapter in a forthcoming book on “Gun Studies.” The book is based on papers given at a Gun Studies Symposium hosted by Jennifer Carlson last fall at the University of Arizona.

The full text of a draft of this chapter is available on the SocArXiv site. It has been downloaded 291 times to date. I’d like to think we can do better than that, though.

It’s especially exciting to see named as co-authors two recent Wake Forest University graduates, one of whom also happens to be my son!

Of course, I will post details here about the book once it is finally published.

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Wild values

Craig is always worth reading.

Craig Medred

HB4116 Berry Pass at the high point of the Winner Creek/Twentymile River route/Craig Medred photo

As this is written, the author is sitting at a keyboard pretty well pounded by Alaska.

Three and half hours of steady paddling from the seat of a packraft after a four-and-half-hour, backpack-loaded hike up and over a 2,100-foot pass on a trek from Girdwood to Portage will do this to a man who hasn’t paddled a boat all summer and spent too little time under a heavy pack.

Compared to the bad-old days of bushwhacking a route along Winner Creek; struggling up the steep, untracked north-facing slopes below Berry Pass; and then following a well-traveled, bear-highway down to the Twentymile River, the U.S. Forest Service-built trail from outside the Alyeska Resort over the top of the pass to where it deadended out of money almost a decade ago approximately three-quarters of a mile short of the…

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Dangerous bear

Craig Medred

20205523_10155550460374136_595734043_o A sow grizzly and cub spotted on the outskirts of Anchorage last year/Joe Connolly photo

The sow grizzly that killed 44-year-old Eagle River resident Michael Soltis in the mountains just north of Alaska’s largest city in late June continues to roam the edge of the state’s wild Chugach State Park.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials today revealed the man-killing bear was not the sow in a family of three bears agency shooters gunned down Friday on a hillside above the site of the Soltis attack. 

Department officials have refused to say whether they believe Soltis was a attacked by a particularly aggressive or predatory bear, but they have been acting as if that is the case. They have said that any other female grizzlies spotted or trapped in the Hiland Road area will also be killed if possible.

DNA taken from Soltis’s fatal wounds and those of a never-identified…

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Understanding the Social Life of Guns

Gun Culture 2.0

Last fall I was invited to contribute a short essay to the newsletter of the Medical Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. The editors asked me to write anything I wanted to about guns that would be helpful to medical sociologists studying the issue.

While some sociologists call for a shift in the national narrative surrounding guns from freedom to control, I continue my effort to shift the sociological narrative on guns from deviance to normality. It is an uphill battle, but I credit the editors of the newsletter for allowing me the opportunity to contribute.

A PDF of my page in the newsletter is here, and the full text is replicated below. The entire newsletter can be found under the Winter 2018 link on the section’s newsletter page.

Understanding the Social Life of Guns

In June 2017, the Pew Research Center reported that 70% of American…

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