Sociology of Guns Module 8: Gun Injuries, Suicide, Rights and Responsibilities

With Module 8 the course shifts its attention to what could generally be called negative outcomes with firearms: injury and death, both suicide (Module 8) and homicide (Module 9), as well as issues surrounding police use of force (Module 10).

I am particularly interested in ways in which those involved in gun culture can play a role in reducing negative outcomes with guns. Initiatives like the Gun Shop Project and Walk the Talk America (WTTA) provide some models. I am pleased for the fourth consecutive year to welcome to class as a guest speaker gun trainer Rob Pincus, a board member of WTTA and co-founder (with Dan Gross, formerly of Brady) of the Center for Gun Rights and Responsibilities.

Walk the Talk America (WTTA) table at 2019 SHOT Show. Photo by David Yamane

Required readings for Module 8 are:

Recommended readings for Module are:

  • Fowler, Katherine A., Linda L. Dahlberg, Tadesse Haileyesus, and Joseph L. Annest. “Firearm Injuries in the United States.” Preventive Medicine (2015). A comprehensive overview of firearms injuries by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Anestis, Michael D. Guns and Suicide: An American Epidemic (2018). There is a voluminous literature on this topic, but this single volume captures much of it.
  • Peter Manseau, Melancholy Accidents: Three Centuries of Stray Bullets and Bad Luck (2016). The introduction lays bare the editor’s bias (“the dark shadow that guns cast on American culture”), but the old news stories reproduced here capture both serious mistakes and extremely bad luck.
  • Claude Werner, Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make (2019). A book about bad decision making by people with guns that lead to significant negative outcomes, written by a data analyst and elite gun trainer.

I don’t take the recommended readings to be comprehensive or complete. Suggestions are welcome.

8 thoughts on “Sociology of Guns Module 8: Gun Injuries, Suicide, Rights and Responsibilities

  1. I have found that there is a presumption throughout much of the public health literature on firearm injury that there is no difference in practice between legal and illegal gun ownership, and how that might impact mitigation efforts.

    I think it is an artifact of how they approach the issue of firearms from an epidemiological perspective, where the object is treated as equally “infectious” regardless of potential victim. They don’t seem to understand the differences between persons who possess and use guns, and they don’t seem interested in finding out.


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