Most times I offer my Sociology of Guns seminar, I require students to obtain “permission of instructor” prior to enrolling. I do this for three main reasons.
First, many students (like many sociologists and some of the public) assume that “of guns” means “of gun violence and gun control.” I want them to be clear what they are in for.
Second, I do deal quite bluntly with issues of violence, injury, and death in the course, and not always coded negatively. Students with sensitivities to this are fairly warned.
Third, the field trip to a firearms education and safety class with optional range visit is an essential part of the course. Students need to know that if they can’t make it, they can’t take the class.
The full text of my Permission of Instructor Info form is below FYI.
COURSE #: SOC 346 / CRN: 98259
INSTRUCTOR: David Yamane
MEETING TIMES: Tuesdays, 3:30pm-6:00pm
ENROLLMENT CAP: 16 students
This course explores the multifaceted role guns play in the U.S. from a sociological perspective. From a firm foundation of understanding the history and technology of firearms, as well as the historical and constitutional origins of the 2nd Amendment, the course will focus on a range of topics, including: the prevalence and distribution of guns; attitudes and opinions about gun ownership; lawful possession and use of firearms; illegal and legal gun markets; gun crime and injuries; and the varieties of responses to gun injuries and crime.
PERMISSION OF INSTRUCTOR is required to enroll. Please be aware of the following:
- This is not simply a course about gun violence, gun control, or gun crime, though these topics will be covered. All aspects of guns will be covered.
- Be aware that we will be talking about violence, injury, and death. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider whether this is a good class for you.
- Course is writing intensive and class participation is 20% of the final grade.
- Students will be required to purchase from the instructor a course reader. Price is TBD but should be under $50.
- Students will be required to participate in an off-campus field trip that will last 2 to 3 hours in September (likely Tuesday, September 1st during class time or some time on Saturday, September 5th) at a cost of $10-$15. The field trip will include a basic introduction to firearms class. Students will have an opportunity, though not be required, to handle different (unloaded) firearms to understand how they work. An optional session firing guns (closely supervised) on the range will follow. Students with firearms experience will not be exempted from this requirement and there will be only one opportunity for the field trip. If you cannot make it, do not enroll. If you miss it, for whatever reason, you will need to drop the course.
[Student “signature” can be in the form of an email indicating: “I have read and understand the permission of instructor info provided for sociology of guns.”]