Pandemics, Protests, and Firearms Purchasing

There has been a good deal of speculation and anec-data shared about the great gun buying spree of 2020. It is impossible to deny that something significant happened, but the extent and nature of what happened remains to be understood.

Although it does not tell us everything we want to know, “Pandemics, Protests, and Firearms” by Bree and Matthew Lang (economists at the University of California at Riverside) offers some interesting insights. It is available for download on the SSRN website while it makes its way through the peer review process.

Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Guest Speakers: Michael Sodini and Rob Pincus of Walk the Talk America (WTTA)

Although the topic is grim — suicide — I am very excited to welcome to my Sociology of Guns seminar today two guests who have unique perspectives on the issue. Michael Sodini is founder and President of Walk the Talk America (WTTA), and Rob Pincus is a trustee of the organization.

WTTA was founded in 2018 with the goal of reducing suicides and other negative outcomes associated with firearms. I have been remiss in not writing about the organization before now. I actually spent some time at the WTTA booth at the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in January 2019, and Pincus (making his 3rd consecutive class appearance this year) spoke in my Sociology of Guns seminar in Spring 2019 about the issue of suicide and the work of WTTA.

Walk the Talk America Booth, SHOT Show, Las Vegas, January 2019. Photo by David Yamane
Continue reading

Overview of Negative Outcomes with Guns for Sociology of Guns Seminar (Fall 2020)

Although my scholarship and teaching on the sociology of guns highlights the non-criminological and epidemiological aspects of guns in society, I do not entirely ignore negative outcomes with guns.

In my Sociology of Guns seminar, I typically allocate 2 or 3 of the modules to gun injury, suicide, and homicide. Teaching on-line this semester, I provided the students with an overview of negative outcomes with guns asynchronously (via a narrated PowerPoint turned into a YouTube video) so we would have more time in our on-line (Zoom) synchronous class session to delve into the issues more deeply.

Continue reading

Soc of Guns Seminar Guests Tiffany Johnson and Aqil Qadir on Broadening the 2A Tent

The topic of Module 7 of my Sociology of Guns seminar is “diversity in gun culture.” Scholars have done a woeful job of capturing this diversity — including the major axes of difference on which sociologists tend to focus such as gender, race, and sexuality, as well as religious and political differences — making it difficult even to assign published research on the topic for my students to read.

I am all the more pleased, therefore, to welcome two guests to my class this week who both embody and attempt to foster diversity within gun culture: Tiffany Johnson and Aqil Qadir of Citizens Safety Academy.

Aqil Qadir and Tiffany Johnson from https://citizenssafety.com/
Continue reading

Guest Lecturer John Johnston: No One Needs a Gun Until They Do

For the third consecutive year, John Johnston of Ballistic Radio and Citizens Defense Research guest lectured in my Sociology of Guns Seminar at Wake Forest University last week.

Here I want to briefly summarize the ideas he shared with my students, while respecting the fact that the session itself was not for public consumption.

(NOTE: In order to provide an environment in which everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas, no outside observers are allowed in the class and no recording of it is made public. Although there is a clear trade-off in keeping the information private, John mentioned after the session that there were things he was able to share that he might not otherwise because the session was not public.)

John Johnston guest lecturing in Sociology of Guns via Zoom, October 2020.
Continue reading

Another Way Gun Ownership Rates Are Underestimated in Surveys

I have written previously about how survey research underestimates the rate of gun ownership in the United States.

The main sources of “false negatives” (people who own guns but tell survey researchers they do not) are (1) people who don’t want outsiders to know they have guns, (2) people who want to avoid the stigma of gun ownership, and (3) people who cannot legally own firearms but do anyway.

Listening to my Sociology of Guns seminar students this semester has highlighted another group of non-gun owning gun owners. Of 16 total students in my class, 3 mentioned that their otherwise non-gun owning parents actually had guns in their homes.

Photo of family heirloom firearms from Sociology of Guns student

Continue reading

Student Range Visit Reflection #11: I Am Still Struggling to Come to Terms with Enjoying My Experience

Students in my Sociology of Guns Seminar are required to visit a gun range with their classmates early in the semester and to write a reflection essay based on the experience (see the assignment).

Below is the eleventh and final student reflection essay for Fall 2020. (Find the first here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, the sixth here, the seventh here, the eighth here, the ninth here, and the tenth here.)

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media

Continue reading

Student Range Visit Reflection #10: I Have Always Viewed Gun Ownership as a Normal Part of Life

Students in my Sociology of Guns Seminar are required to visit a gun range with their classmates early in the semester and to write a reflection essay based on the experience (see the assignment).

Below is the tenth student reflection essay for Fall 2020. (Find the first here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, the sixth here, the seventh here, the eighth here, and the ninth here.)

Sociology of Guns student visiting range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media

Continue reading

Student Range Visit Reflection #9: I Was Surprised By How Much I Enjoyed the Feeling

Students in my Sociology of Guns Seminar are required to visit a gun range with their classmates early in the semester and to write a reflection essay based on the experience (see the assignment).

Below is the ninth student reflection essay for Fall 2020. (Find the first here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, the sixth here, the seventh here, and the eighth here.)

Like so many students, this one does a great job of grappling honestly with her thoughts and feelings. That’s all I ask in this assignment.

Sociology of Guns student at the range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media

Continue reading

Student Range Visit Reflection #8: Under No Circumstances Should a Gun Be in the Hands of a Typical Citizen

Students in my Sociology of Guns Seminar are required to visit a gun range with their classmates early in the semester and to write a reflection essay based on the experience (see the assignment).

Below is the eighth student reflection essay for Fall 2020. (Find the first here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, the sixth here, and the seventh here.)

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media

Continue reading