Prepping for Sociology of Guns Ver 7.0

It’s hard to believe that I first taught my “Sociology of Guns” seminar at Wake Forest six years ago, in the fall of 2015. This fall I will teach the course for the seventh time in seven academic years.

Although some aspects of the course do not change — the class field trip to the gun range, most importantly — I do try to tweak the courses materials from year to year to reflect my own interests and developments in the field of gun studies.

Following are the broad outlines of where I am going with the Sociology of Guns Ver 7.0 this fall, including some guest lecturers who will be reprising their previous visits.

Professor Yamane with Wake Forest student at field trip to Veterans Range, Mocksville, NC. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media

MODULE 1: Range Day (Thanks to Chris Baker of Lucky Gunner Lounge and Lucky Gunner for providing ammo for the students)

Range Field Trip Ammo Provided by

MODULE 2: Introductions, debrief range visit (students submit papers reflecting on the experience), overview of guns in history and the shift in the US from Gun Culture 1.0 to Gun Culture 2.0

MODULE 3: Who owns how many guns, Great Gun Buying Spree of 2020-21, new gun owners

MODULE 4: The Concealed Carry Revolution and self-defense gun training. –>Guest lecturers: John Johnston and Melody Lauer of Citizens Defense Research

John Johnston of Citizens Defense Research presenting in Sociology of Guns Seminar, Spring 2019. Photo by David Yamane

MODULE 5: Race and guns

MODULE 6: Gender, sexuality, and guns

MODULE 7: Gun rights and responsibilities, suicide and unintentional injury. –> Guest lecturer: Rob Pincus of the Center for Gun Rights & Responsibilities

Rob Pincus of 2AO speaking in Sociology of Guns seminar, Spring 2019. Photo by David Yamane

MODULE 8: Homicide

MODULE 9: Police use of force. –> Guest lecturer: Craig Douglas of Shivworks

Craig Douglas presenting to Sociology of Guns seminar, Spring 2019. Photo by David Yamane

MODULE 10: Cultural cognition and the human-weapon relationship. –> Guest lecturer: Randy Miyan of the Liberal Gun Owners

More details on the particular readings I am assigning for each module as I determine them.

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10 thoughts on “Prepping for Sociology of Guns Ver 7.0

  1. I’m curious. Have any of your students been “triggered” by the range trip? Are any affected emotionally by shooting a firearm for the first time? Have you had students refuse to participate?

    Liked by 1 person

      • If you get a free second, maybe figure out what such a cost would be. Pretty sure with all the other fees and such that go for all classes it wouldn’t pencil out, but it’d be interesting to even just observe, without showing the students to keep the participation (and privacy) and experience for the actual collegiates.


  2. Great questions, thanks! The field trip is mandatory but the shooting is voluntary. In previous years, when everyone in the class (16 students) attended in one group, about 2/3 to 3/4 of the students opted to shoot. The participation rate was lowest when we went to an indoor range because some students decide in the moment whether they want to shoot or not. As you probably know, indoor ranges are not the most sonically welcoming environments. Due to COVID, last year I took just 4 students at a time and EVERYONE shot. I think being outdoors in a smaller group made the situation less intimidating. Even though COVID is less of a concern this year, I am still going to do the small groups for this reason.

    Students are only rarely negatively triggered. This may be because I pre-screen students for the class, letting them know that the field trip is mandatory and telling them that if they have strongly negative personal experiences with firearms, the class may not be great for them.

    On the other hand, I have had many students who experience the cognitive dissonance of disliking guns going in and enjoying the experience of shooting. You can get a flavor for this in the reflections students write after the field trip, some of which I post on my blog(s). From last year, for example:

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

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

    Student Range Visit Reflection #3: A Strange Mixture of Emotions

    Student Range Visit Reflection: Fear to Fun

    The collected posts from the class dating back to 2015 are available here:


  3. Pingback: Thank You Lucky Gunner! – Gun Culture 2.0

  4. Pingback: Collected Posts on Sociology of Guns Seminar | Gun Curious

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