Students’ One Word Responses to Gun Range Field Trip

To prime my Sociology of Guns class’ discussion of our field trip to the gun range, I gave each student an index card and asked them to write down the first word that came to mind when thinking back on the experience.

The photo below shows the 16 diverse responses.

Some common themes found in many of the 16 different written field trip reflection papers are:

  1. These college juniors and seniors are part of a mass school shooting generation. They were in late elementary school or early in middle school when the Sandy Hook shooting took place (2012) and were high school juniors and seniors when the Parkland shooting took place (2018). Their understanding of guns is heavily shaped by this.
  2. The students were grappling with the contrast between their negative understanding of guns and the positive experience of shooting at the range. This is common across years I have taught the course.
  3. 70% of all American adults have shot a gun before. 70% of these students have never shot a gun before.

I am working on getting permission from several of the students to post their reflections here, so stay tuned!

8 thoughts on “Students’ One Word Responses to Gun Range Field Trip

    • The student who said “over-hyped” didn’t use this term in her range reflection. In the class discussion she said this term came to her for two reasons. First, because the range was not how she had pictured it from photos and videos she had seen. She had mostly seen pictures of indoor ranges with individual lanes and targets. The range we shoot on is a basic outdoor range that isn’t at all “fancy.” Second, because the shooting was not as exciting as she expected. I certainly try to run a very tight ship, especially with multiple new shooters, so I have to plead guilty to this. Everything was done very slowly and methodically.

      In the end, I don’t think she was saying that *I* had over-hyped the event, but that her expectations had been over-hyped.

      Liked by 2 people

      • These students are lucky to have their first shooting experience at an outdoor range versus and indoor one with the heavy concussions. I’m pretty sure the negatives would be a higher percentage if an indoor range was used.

        Thanks for mentioing the videos. Watching them now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Three time I taught the course in the spring semester and we did use an indoor range. It went OK, better than nothing. We only shot handguns, though. The third time someone else on the range was shooting an AR and that was the last time we went to an indoor range.


  1. Pingback: Collected Posts on Sociology of Guns Seminar (Updated 9/22) | Gun Curious

  2. Notice if one uses the most pessimistic reading of the responses, 5 words have negative connotations. So about 1/3 of all responses. Conversely, 2/3 of all responses are positive. Overlay that over the stat that 70 percent of all Americans have shot a gun. My takeaway is that a person exposed to firearms in a controlled environment is much more likely to be okay with firearms than not.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Collected Posts on Sociology of Guns Seminar (Updated 10/22) | Gun Curious

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