New Book on Gun Culture by Noah Schwartz, “On Target”

As my agent continues to try to find a publisher for my book on American gun culture, I feel bombarded by other people’s books on the topic.

Actually, most books published on guns in America today do not compete with mine because they approach guns from the perspective of what I have been calling The Standard Model of Explaining the Irrationality of Defensive Gun Ownership. This model is driven by criminological, epidemiological, and public health approaches, as well as social science animated by the “hermeneutics of suspicion.”

Enter Noah Schwartz, a Canadian political scientist who wrote his doctoral dissertation on why the National Rifle Association (NRA) is so influential in American gun debates. Spoiler alert: It is not because of their political lobbying and campaign donations.

Schwartz’s work now appears in print as On Target: Gun Culture, Storytelling, and the NRA. (Buy it at your local bookstore, or HERE to indirectly support local bookstores.)

Schwartz, who has previously written a guest post for this blog on women and the NRA, takes us for an on-the-ground tour of gun culture NRA-style by spending time at the NRA annual meeting (a very rich site for my ethnographic research), on the range for NRA gun training courses, and at the NRA’s National Firearms Museum in Fairfax (an underappreciated source of data on NRA-inflected gun culture).

Prior to its publication, I was asked to “blurb” the book — that is, write an endorsement of the book for promotional purposes. My blurb appears on the back cover of On Target and I stand by my assessment there.

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