This module takes up the demographics of gun ownship, the Great Gun Buying Spree of 2020+, and the changing face of American gun owners.
We know from many surveys over a long period of time that the statistically average legal gun owner is a middle-aged, politically conservative, married, white man from a rural area in the South or Mountain West. Basically, the main characters from TV’s “Duck Dynasty.”
But one of the problems with averages is they hide diversity. The average American, after all, has one testicle.
As we see in this module, compared to Gun Culture 1.0, Gun Culture 2.0 is younger and more female, more racially and sexually diverse, more urban and suburban, and more attracted to handguns for self-defense. New and non-traditional buyers in the Great Gun Buying Spree of 2020+ made this abundantly clear and scholarship on gun owners is beginning to catch up.
Required readings for Module 3 are:
- Claire Boine, Michael Siegel, Craig Ross, Eric W. Fleegler, and Ted Alcorn. “What Is Gun Culture? Cultural Variations and Trends across the United States.” Humanities and Social Sciences Communications (2020).
- Michael B. Siegel, and Claire C. Boine, “The Meaning of Guns to Gun Owners in the U.S.: The 2019 National Lawful Use of Guns Survey.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2020). A survey that centers the lawful use of guns? Yes, please.
- Joseph Wertz, Deborah Azrael, David Hemenway, Susan Sorenson, and Matthew Miller, “Differences Between New and Long-Standing US Gun Owners: Results From a National Survey.” American Journal of Public Health (2018). One of the most important articles on gun ownership I have read. The differences between new and long-standing gun owners are significant and telling.
- Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller, “Who Bought Guns During the Pandemic?” Unpublished results from the 2021 National Firearms Survey. Bring some empirical data to the speculation of many in gun culture and the gun industry that gun buyers in 2020 were quite demographically diverse.
Recommended readings for Module 3 are:
- David Yamane, “Gun Culture 2.0 and the Great Gun Buying Spree of 2020,” Discourse (February 2021). My reflection on how the gun buying spree of 2020+ is comprehensible in the context of a self-defense oriented Gun Culture 2.0.
- Richard L. Legault, Nicole Hendrix, and Alan Lizotte, “Caught in a Crossfire: Legal and Illegal Guns in America”, Handbook on Crime and Deviance (2019). Sets the stage for understanding both normal and criminal uses of guns, and highlights a key point: “The legal and illegal gun worlds can be quite far apart.” Legal gun owners don’t understand criminal uses of guns, and those who are victims of gun crimes don’t understand why reasonable people need guns.
- Pew Research Center, America’s Complex Relationship with Guns, results of national survey (June 2017). In my view still the best nationally-representative survey of gun owners’ beliefs and behaviors. I’ve summarized some of the highlights of this report in a series of posts ending here.
- Crifasi, Cassandra K., Julie A. Ward, Emma E. McGinty, Daniel W. Webster, and Colleen L. Barry. “Gun Purchasing Behaviours during the Initial Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic, March to Mid-July 2020.” International Review of Psychiatry (2021). Brief article but one of the first to take up the issue of COVID-19 pandemic gun buying.
I don’t take the recommended readings to be comprehensive or complete. Suggestions are welcome.