Targeted Advertising: Documenting the Emergence of Gun Culture 2.0 in Guns Magazine, 1955-2019

As noted in my recent post about the changing themes in gun advertising in The American Rifleman from 1918-2017, I have just finished a replication study based on advertising in Guns magazine from 1955 (when the magazine was founded) through 2019.

It documents the same pattern of decline of “Gun Culture 1.0” themes of hunting and recreational/sport shooting and raise of “Gun Culture 2.0” themes of personal protection and concealed carry.

A pre-publication version of the paper is available for download on SocArXiv Papers. Just two clicks and you can help this paper blow up on SocArXiv.

UPDATE: Thanks to a reader “OK S.” I now have the source of Colt’s “Safety of the Highways” ad. It was published in 1926 in The Lucky Bag, the Annual of the Regiment of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. The annual is available at https://archive.org/details/luckybag1926unse/page/566. Consider donating to the Internet Archive!

P.S., If you have any idea where the Colt’s “Safety of the Highways” ad was first published, I am still looking for the source of that. Thanks!

The Rise of Self-Defense in Gun Advertising, The American Rifleman, 1918-2017

I realized recently that I never posted the published version of my work analyzing gun advertisements in The American Rifleman. It documents the decline of “Gun Culture 1.0” themes of hunting and recreational/sport shooting and rise of “Gun Culture 2.0” themes of personal protection and concealed carry.

So, here is the citation and a link to the book chapter: David Yamane, Sebastian L. Ivory, and Paul C. Yamane, “The Rise of Self-Defense in Gun Advertising: The American Rifleman, 1918-2017,” in Jennifer Carlson, Kristen Goss, and Harel Shapira, eds., Guns: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Politics, Policy, and Practice (New York: Routledge, 2019).

I am currently writing up a replication study using advertisements in Guns magazine from 1955-2019, which I presented at the American Society of Criminology annual meetings in San Francisco this month. I will post a link to that paper when it is ready.

What’s Next? Understanding and Misunderstanding America’s Gun Culture (Book Chapter)

A couple of years ago, I was asked to write the concluding chapter to a book called Understanding America’s Gun Culture. My chapter would be titled, “What’s Next?”

Unfortunately, chapters in edited scholarly books are where ideas go to die. As one scholar put it: “Quite simply, if you write a chapter for an edited book, you might as well write the paper and then bury it in a hole in the ground.”

In the interest of NOT burying my ideas, here’s my chapter on “Understanding and Misunderstanding America’s Gun Culture.”

On Making Guns Seem Less Socially Acceptable

As someone who came from completely outside gun culture and became a gun owner later in life, I have tried often to find a middle ground between culture warriors on both sides of the Great American Gun Debates. That, in fact, is one of the purposes of this blog.

As I said earlier this year, one of my key discoveries in journeying through gun culture is that “guns are normal, and normal people use guns.”

Although this could be seen as simply stating the obvious, many gun control advocates go beyond wanting “common sense” gun laws to prevent gun violence. They are not just against gun violence, they are fundamentally against guns. A story in the New York Times on the recent debates over open carry in stores highlights this yet again.

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Broad (Not Deep) Thoughts on American Gun Culture

Whenever dramatic events happen in the US involving guns, I hear from the media. Not a ton of media, alas, since my overarching position that “guns are normal and normal people use guns” doesn’t fit most media narratives following dramatic events. And, to be clear, I am not an expert in gun violence or any other unlawful possession/use of firearms.

To the extent that I know anything in particular about guns, it is about what I have been calling “Gun Culture 2.0.” So, for those interested in a sweeping overview of American gun culture, here are my broad (not deep) thoughts.

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What I’m Reading: Open Source Defense

Open Source Defense is an online platform (website/blog/digital newsletter) dedicated to defending gun rights by enlivening, enlightening, and enriching the discussion of guns — and gun culture itself — in the US.

I enjoy the materials they are producing, and recommend them to the gun curious, for a couple of reasons. First, regardless of your political position on guns, they are a good source of information about what a pro-gun position in the US looks like without the additional culture war rhetoric that plagued the now deceased NRATV. No smashing TVs with sledgehammers or burning newspapers here.

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Virtue and Guns: A Response

Earlier this year, philosopher Michael Austin posted a short reflection on “Virtue and Guns” on his Psychology Today blog “Ethics for Everyone.” If the title didn’t already grab my attention, the subtitle would have: “How ‘Gun Culture 2.0’ can harm character.”

Even if some people hadn’t mistaken Austin’s argument about GC2.0 for mine, I still would have wanted to respond. He told me he would post a response if I wrote one, and he is true to his word.

Read “A Counterargument to ‘Virtue and Guns'” and let us both know what you think in the comments here.

As noted in my acknowledgement, my essay benefited from input from John Correia, John Johnston, Randy Miyan, Mike Pannone, and Patrick Toner.