In Search of the Elusive Liberal Gun Owner Deep in the Heart of Texas (Light Over Heat #40)

For my 40th consecutive weekly video, a light(-hearted) take: An anthropological expedition to the heart of deep red Texas in search of the elusive species known as the Liberal Gun Owner.

Please enjoy!

Thanks to Randy Miyan, Executive Director of the Liberal Gun Owners, for the gun range sizzle reel used here. See also:

Liberal Gun Owners Lens: lgolens.org

Instagram: @liberalgunowners

Twitter: @libgunowners

New “Light Over Heat” videos are released on YouTube every Wednesday, so please surf over to my YouTube channel and SUBSCRIBE to follow, RING THE BELL to receive notifications, and SHARE so others can learn about this work.

Student Reflections on Field Trip to Gun Range, 2022 (Light Over Heat #38)

Last week on “Light Over Heat,” I reported on my 8th Sociology of Guns class field trip to the gun range. This week, I summarize major themes in the students’ field trip reflection essays and read some snippets of the essays that highlight those themes.

Later this week on this blog, I will begin posting some of the students’ reflection papers. Sign up to receive notifications of new posts by email, or find the new and archived student reflections and other posts about the class going back to 2015 on my Sociology of Guns Class Collected Posts page.

These student reflection papers have historically been among the most popular items I post, so stay tuned!

New “Light Over Heat” videos are released on YouTube every Wednesday, so please surf over to my YouTube channel and SUBSCRIBE to follow, RING THE BELL to receive notifications, and SHARE so others can learn about this work.

Show and Tell in Sociology of Guns Class

In my Sociology of Guns class yesterday, we de-briefed our field trip to the gun range the previous week. Some of the students’ written reflections are forthcoming – always some of the most read posts on this blog.

In the meantime, pictured below are 4 ammunition cartridges I brought with me to show the class. Three of them the students shot at the range: .22LR, 9mm, and .223 Remington. I highlighted how the diameter of the .22 and .223 bullets are almost the same, though their size and the amount of gunpowder used to propel them are dramatically different.

Although ballistics are well outside of my areas of expertise, students did have questions about calibers designed for hunting, the difference between rifle rounds and shotgun shells, and the legality of fragmenting bullets.

.22LR, 9mm, .223, and .50 BMG cartridges
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Sociology of Guns Field Trip to Gun Range, 2022 (Light Over Heat #37)

Under beautiful, sunny North Carolina skies, my Fall 2022 Sociology of Guns seminar students completed their mandatory field trip to the gun range on August 31st.

This is the 8th time I have taught the course and the 8th successful field trip we have taken as a class. All the students left the range with the same number of holes in their bodies as they arrived with, plus some experience handling and shooting firearms.

Although guns are always a Rorschach test of sorts and students’ preexisting understandings heavily influence the conclusions they draw about guns at the end of the course, having an experiential basis upon which to discuss firearms and shooting is foundational to our consideration of the role of guns in American society.

In the coming days, I will (as before) post some of the students’ field trip reflection essays on this blog. They have historically been among the most popular items I post, so stay tuned!

Read more about the field trip after the break….

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Shooting Guns is Normal

In his excellent book, The Gun Gap, political scientist Mark Joslyn highlights the ways in which gun owners and non-owners live in very different social worlds. For example, non-owners are much more likely than owners to say none of their friends own guns.

Unfortunately, one of the few times these different social worlds come together is in the wake of horrific mass murders. This is probably the worst possible time for people to try to grasp a reality with which they are unfamiliar.

One way to appreciate how common and unproblematic guns are for most Americans comes from the Pew Research Center’s 2017 report, America’s Complex Relationship With Guns.

Pew Question: “Regardless of whether or not you own a gun, have you ever fired a gun?”

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) said YES.

In terms of population, nearly 180 million adults in America have fired a gun (72% of 250 million US population over 18). Even plus or minus 5%, that is a lot of people.

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Light Over Heat #20: A Light Take in Celebration of This Milestone – Shooting Guns in Texas

Wow, this is the 20th episode of “Light Over Heat” that I recorded! I can’t believe it. It seems like I was just recording my 10th episode not long ago. This second set of videos (Season 2) was supposed to be organized thematically around t-shirts I own. It mostly was, but on a few occasions I couldn’t pull that off. Oh, well. The world is too chaotic to be organized thematically around seasons, anyway.

Speaking of chaos, this video is also appearing way out of order since I had to pre-empt it in order to reflect on guns and race in the wake of the Buffalo mass murder.

Although I do not do the typical internet/social media “hot takes” on my chosen topic, I did think it was appropriate for this milestone video to do a “Light Take” (h/t John Correia). So, this video shows me shooting a single-action revolver, a lever-action rifle, a double-action revolver, and a fully-automatic and suppressed submachine gun. Of course, lessons can be learned from this exercise, but for now I will just let the videos speak for themselves.

Enjoy!

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New Gun Owner Advice from a High-Level Shooter

Now that I have been wandering around American gun culture for over a decade, I consume fewer gun-related podcasts than I used to. Time is my scarcest resource and as podcasts have proliferated, the signal-to-noise ratio is often too low to merit the investment.

That said, John Johnston’s Ballistic Radio has been at the top of my diminishing list of must listen to podcasts for some time now. Recently he had on a guest who is an extremely high-level shooter, K.A. Clark. This is not unusual for Ballistic Radio, of course. What I found interesting was the advice Clark had for new gun owners.

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Sociology of Guns Field Trip to Gun Range, September 2021

Although the remnants of Hurricane Ida forced a last minute rescheduling, my Fall 2021 Sociology of Guns seminar students completed their mandatory field trip to the gun range on September 3rd.

This is the 7th time I have taught the course and the 7th successful field trip we have taken as a class. All the students left the range with the same number of holes in their bodies as they arrived with, plus some experience handling and shooting live firearms.

Although guns are always a Rorschach test of sorts and students’ preexisting understandings heavily influence the conclusions they draw about guns at the end of the course, having an experiential basis upon which to discuss firearms and shooting is foundational to our consideration of the role of guns in American society.

In the coming days, I will (as before) post some of the students’ field trip reflection essays on this blog. They have historically been among the most popular items I post, so stay tuned!

Sociology of Guns student firing a .22 pistol during field trip to Veterans Range, September 2021. Photo by David Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Student Field Trip to the Range, Year 6

As I noted earlier, I was scheduled to teach the Sociology of Religion this semester (fall 2020), but when students found out I was not going to teach my Sociology of Guns seminar they expressed considerable disappointment. So, I switched seminars and just starting my 6th straight year teaching the Sociology of Guns.

You can download a PDF of the current syllabus here. A collection of links to my previous posts on the seminar is available also.

Sociology of Guns student at the range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media

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