Gun Studies, Peer Review, and Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind

I reviewed articles for two scholarly journals yesterday, one of which was quite good and one of which had a very good empirical analysis embedded in a badly biased introduction and conclusion.

It becomes more and more challenging to maintain my equanimity as I review articles which have such clear implicit — and, frequently, explicit — biases. In fact, not long ago my frustration boiled over onto Twitter and I nearly got in trouble for violating the confidentiality of the peer review process.

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Thoughts on Bridging the American Gun Divide

The finale episode of Season 3 of the American Diagnosis podcast with Dr. Celine Gounder has recently been released. The season focused on gun violence and the concluding episode considers the question: “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Over a year ago, I spoke about Gun Culture 2.0 on Episode 4 of Season 3 of the podcast, and 15 month later I am pleased to be given the last word of sorts for the season.

My comments remain some of my most coherent thoughts on the American gun divide, though I don’t feel as sanguine today as I did in April of 2018 when I was interviewed. Give the episode a listen (or see an excerpt of the transcript below) and judge for yourself. Let me know what you think.

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2019 Year in Review and Top 10 Most Viewed Posts

I launched this blog in February 2019 because my Gun Culture 2.0 blog has come to be read almost exclusively by people who are invested in gun culture. Although they are an important audience for my work, I also want to translate what I am learning about guns to the gun curious — those interested in but unsure about guns. People in the middle. Those who are not already 100% convinced of their views.

Compared to my first full year blogging at Gun Culture 2.0, my first year at Gun Curious was pretty successful. I posted 38 times, had 12,318 visitors, and 21,401 page views. So, between 500 and 600 page views per post, on average. I think that is reasonable for a blog that is trying to fill a niche that doesn’t have as committed an audience as a pro- or anti-gun blog does.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

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Shooting is Fun — #435 — Family Time

Those who have seen my video on becoming a gun owner know that my wife Sandy played a crucial role getting me into guns. But the last time we shot a class together was in 2012. Over the past 6+ years since then, she has been accumulating nursing degrees while I have been wandering around gun culture.

It was so much fun, therefore, to take John Murphy’s  Concealed Carry: Advanced Skills and Tactics course together this past weekend, especially shooting the “Who gets to kill the most home intruders drill” (humor alert: not its actual name; see video below, H/T Annette Evans).

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.

How a Card Carrying Liberal Professor Became a Card Carrying Liberal Armed American

In April, I gave the lunchtime talk at the National Firearms Law Seminar in Indianapolis. More than anything I’ve written or said, “Gun Culture 2.0, or How a Liberal Professor Became an Armed American” offered a very personal perspective on how I got into guns and the study of gun culture. I also discussed some of the many lessons I have learned on my journey so far.

Thanks to John Correia (and Jon Macek) of Active Self Protection, a video of my talk exists, and thanks to Robin Lindner of RLI Media, that video is ready for the world to see.

Leave a comment to let me know your story or your reactions to my story of gun curiosity.

Shooting is Fun – Trip to the Range with My Student

In a lunchtime talk at the National Firearms Law Seminar recently, I recounted three of my main observations about guns and gun culture in America. The second of these observations is: “Shooting is fun, and challenging.” It is fun, in part, because it is challenging.

This is one of the things that got me into guns in the first place and is something I enjoy passing on to others. As I have become known more and more as “the gun guy” in my social and professional circles, more and more people have asked me to take them shooting.

Last summer, one of my sociology students asked me if I would take her to the range. Of course, I said. In January, she reminded me that I promised to take her to the range, and we eventually arranged to go last week.

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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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Who Are The Gun Curious?

The U.S. population breaks down roughly in thirds –

  • Current Gun Owners: 27 to 33%
  • Not Currently But Possible Gun Owners: 33 to 39%
  • Not Now and Not Ever Gun Owners: 30 to 36%

Americans are politically divided by the issue of guns. But as with other “culture wars,” the fighting is often undertaken by elites, while the muddled masses watch from the sidelines, often with disbelief or revulsion at the true believers screaming past each other.

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