A Gun “Makes . . . a Stupid Man Feel Clever”

In my previous post about anti-gun biases that pop up all too frequently in scholarly studies of guns, I highlighted a passage that appeared for no good reason in a recent book I reviewed, Guns in Law:

A gun “makes a little man feel big, a stupid man feel clever, a frightened man brave, and an insecure man feel sure.”

I noted that the authors cite an article by Walter Menninger as the source of this passage. Alas, it appears nowhere in the Menninger article, though Menninger certainly agrees with its dismissive sentiment.

Rather, the passage comes from a story in the New York Journal-American newspaper from 1965, “Are You Gun Shy? . . . Read This and Be Happy.”

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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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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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Where to Buy a Gun Within 8 Miles of Wake Forest University Campus

I lived the first four decades of my life completely outside of gun culture, so I remember well when I started to realize after I moved to North Carolina how common and normal guns are to so many people.

Once I was attuned to the reality of guns outside of their criminal misuse, I didn’t have to look very hard to find them all around me. I realized the annex to our local sports arena holds gun shows several times a year. I noticed ground signs advertising “concealed carry classes” on many heavily trafficked street corners. I saw billboards on area highways displaying advertisements for local gun stores. I also discovered, with astonishment, that many of the highly educated professionals I play tennis with have guns. One owns several long guns that were passed down from his grandfather. Another has two semi-automatic pistols in his basement that he used to shoot regularly. A number of the women in our tennis community also own handguns, mostly for self-defense.

Screen cap of Isabella Kornitsky’s “Where to Buy a Gun 8 Miles from Campus,” from https://story.mapme.com/0c625633-e730-4a4e-a9e5-c3c103c8cb8a.

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