Light Over Heat #8: What is Safe Storage of Firearms?

As with gun safety, safe storage of firearms is something that people on all sides of the Great Gun Debates in America agree is important. But the way some gun violence prevention organizations, like Brady United Against Gun Violence in the “End Family Fire” initiative, define “safe storage” is not acceptable to many responsible gun owners.

A recent editorial in the American Journal of Public Health included gun educator Rob Pincus and the definition it proposes is more adequate to the reality of how responsible gun owners want to store (and stage) their firearms at home.

As I discuss in this week’s Episode 8 of “Light Over Heat,” the sort of dialogue and collaboration that yielded this editorial may be a good path to promoting light over heat on the issue of guns.

Continue reading

The Standard Model of Explaining the Irrationality of Defensive Gun Ownership

Last year I was invited to contribute to a special issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science by the editors Cassandra Crifasi, Jennifer Dineen, and Kerri Raissian. The theme of this issue is “Gun Violence in America: What Works and What is Possible.”

Specifically, the editors invited me “to write a paper overviewing the evolution of American gun culture – from hunting to gun culture 2.0. Your scholarship in this area will help readers of the special issue understand the role guns play in American culture and how that role has evolved (or not) over time.”

I am always flattered but such invitations, though perhaps I should not be. Maybe the first dozen people they asked said “No”? More likely is the reality that not many scholars have focused their work on gun culture per se, as opposed to adverse outcomes with guns, which is the primary focus of this special issue.

As usual, my participation in these sorts of enterprises reminds me of the Sesame Street song I remember so well from my childhood.

My contribution will focus on the rise of Gun Culture 2.0, the self-defense core of American gun culture today. But I also want to engage what I call “The Standard Model of Explaining the Irrationality of Defensive Gun Ownership” – the primary way gun studies scholars approach Gun Culture 2.0.

Continue reading

Light Over Heat #7: What We Talk About When We Talk About Gun Safety

Gun safety is something that people on all sides of the Great Gun Debates in America agree is important. But I find different understandings of “safety” in play when people discuss guns.

As I have noted previously, people within the gun culture tend to focus on safety WITH guns, while people from the gun control or gun violence prevention side focus on safety FROM guns.

This is my focus in Episode 7 of “Light Over Heat.”

Continue reading

Light Over Heat #6: How Many Americans Own AR-15 Style Rifles and Large-Capacity Magazines?

In Episode 3 of “Light Over Heat,” I mentioned a 2021 National Firearms Survey by Georgetown University Professor William English. In Episode 6, I discuss a couple of interesting findings in that survey.

Among the unique qualities of Professor English’s National Firearms Survey is that he asked respondents whether they owned AR-15 style rifles or large-capacity magazines (holding 10+ rounds of ammunition).

English finds that 30.2% of gun owners have owned AR-15 style rifles (around 25 million people), and 48% have owned 10+ capacity magazines (approximately 40 million people).

(From Episode 2 of “Light Over Heat,” remember these are very conservative estimates of ownership rates given the underreporting of gun ownership in surveys.)

Beyond simply being interesting empirically, these findings are relevant to the legal question of whether certain firearms are in “common use.”

The Liberal Gun Owners Lens Launch

Recently, without fanfare equivalent to its significance, the Liberal Gun Owners launched a new website, LGO Lens.

The site is a content hub on which people can access blog posts, learn more about the LGO and allied organizations, link to the Liberal Gun Owners Lens Podcast, and download the long but very important Anthropology Pillar of the LGO Lens (read: foundational perspective) on “The Human-Weapon Relationship – Evolution, Anthropology, and Human Innateness.”

It’s no secret that I am a liberal gun owner myself and have published an article analyzing the 20% of American gun owners who self-identify as liberals. Drawing on the publication, the notion that “Gun owners are all conservative” was included as the first of “Five myths about guns” in the Washington Post last year.

So it perhaps goes without saying that I am on board with the Liberal Gun Owners Lens project and have consulted with LGO Executive Director Randy Miyan regularly about it. I’ve participated in the LGO’s annual firearms training event and Miyan has guest lectured twice in my Sociology of Guns seminar at Wake Forest.

This is to say: I’m not a neutral analyst of the Liberal Gun Owners. I am a contributor to and a fan of the work.

Screen cap of
Continue reading

Light Over Heat #5: The Concealed Carry Revolution and Concealed Carry Training

In last week’s video on Gun Culture 2.0, I mentioned the “Concealed Carry Revolution” as establishing an important aspect of the legal environment within which people practice armed self-defense today.

In this fifth “Light Over Heat with Professor David Yamane” video, I discuss the shall-issue and permitless carry revolutions, and a recent criticism by the Michael Bloomberg-funded newsadvocacy organization “The Trace” that these laws allow the promiscuous toting for firearms in public without proper “training.”

The question of gun training is one I have written about frequently on this blog and in Chapter 5 of my book, Concealed Carry Revolution: Liberalizing the Right to Bear Arms in America.