2021: A Sneak Peek of My Year Ahead

I am trying to break the grip the current moment has on my attention, and thought a good way to do that would be to have a brief look at my year ahead.

For the spring semester, I am on a research leave, meaning I am excused from my normal teaching and service obligations as a faculty member at Wake Forest University. My main goal during this leave is to make serious progress on my (long-awaited?) book on American gun culture.

I am going to try to wrap up as many ongoing projects as possible in January so that beginning in February the bulk of my attention and energy will be on the book. Among these ongoing projects is a short book on the history of concealed carry laws and their implementation. The book will be available as a print and eBook through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, other online channels, and by special order through local book stores.

I will also be giving free electronic copies to everyone who supports me as a member on Buy Me a Coffee ($5/month or $60/year).

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Why Are There So Few Violent Insurrectionist Gun Owners?

In the wake of the invasion of the U.S. Capitol Building last week by supporters of President Donald Trump, philosopher Firmin DeBrabander (author of Do Guns Make Us Free? Democracy and the Armed Society) pointed a finger in The Atlantic at the gun rights movement, holding it responsible for promoting “insurrectionist fever dreams.”

The many typical gaffes in the article notwithstanding, my major reservation with DeBrabander’s argument is similar to my reservations about many news stories and scholarly articles about gun culture: It paints with too broad a brush.

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2020 Brief Year in Review

Although 2020 presented some unprecedented challenges, I managed to have some successes along the way.

I published two scholarly articles on guns. The first, “Targeted Advertising: Documenting the Emergence of Gun Culture 2.0 in Guns Magazine, 1955–2019,” was a replication of my earlier work examining advertising in The American Rifleman from 1918-2017. It showed substantially the same pattern of a shift in the center of gravity of gun culture from Version 1.0 to Version 2.0.

The second was published right at the end of the year, “Who Are the Liberal Gun Owners?” This article actually had its origins in a question I first raised on this blog.

Brian Hill teaching at The Complete Combatant, Dahlonega, Georgia, June 2020. Photo by David Yamane
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Top 10 Most Viewed Posts in 2020

I launched this blog in February 2019 because my Gun Culture 2.0 blog has come to be read almost exclusively by people who are invested in gun culture. Although they are an important audience for my work, I also want to translate what I am learning about guns to the gun curious — those interested in but unsure about guns. People in the middle. Those who are not already 100% convinced of their views.

Although I am not yet convinced that I am reaching such an audience, and readership of this blog lags well behind Gun Culture 2.0, I remain committed to posting here about issues relating to guns for people across the political and gun ownership spectra.

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Collected Posts on Sociology of Guns Seminar

I was scheduled to teach Sociology of Religion in Fall 2020. When my current class found this out they expressed considerable disappointment that I wouldn’t be teaching my Sociology of Guns seminar. So I made a last minute change and will be teaching the course for the 6th straight calendar.

I have posted a number of times on this blog and my older Gun Culture 2.0 blog about this seminar I have been teaching in the Department of Sociology at Wake Forest University since 2015. This entry collects as many earlier posts as possible — from both blogs — including many written by students in the class.

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Article Published on “Who Are the Liberal Gun Owners?”

Early in 2020 I wrote an entry on this blog asking “Who are the liberal gun owners?” I was responding to media interest in liberals who own guns in an election year. In response to an inquiry from the Associated Press, I did some quick and dirty analyses using data from the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey, but was left wanting to know more.

I was fortunate to find two sociology graduate students from Baylor University to collaborate with me on a more systematic analysis of these same data, Jesse DeDeyne and Alonso Alonso Octavio Aravena Méndez. Together, we recently published our article in the journal Sociological Inquiry.

Although the article is not Open Access, you can use THIS LINK to access a limited version of the full text of the article. You can also download a PDF of the article for educational purposes.

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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #8: I Recognize the Topic is Much More Nuanced

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the eighth and final of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh essays.)

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #7: Guns are as Complex as Any Other Issue

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the seventh of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth essays.)

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #6: I Completely Stripped Down My Stance

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the sixth of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, and fifth essays.)

Sociology of Guns student range visit. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
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