Sociology of Guns Module 1: Field Trip to Gun Range

As I prepare to teach my Sociology of Guns course Version 7.0, I thought I would post as much of the material for the different modules I am teaching this fall as possible.

Probably the most unique aspect of this course from the start has been the class trip to the gun range. Before we ever meet as a class or discuss any opinions, ideas, or scholarship on guns, students are REQUIRED to attend a field trip to the gun range. Once there, they are given the OPTION to try shooting.

The range field trip is such a highlight of the class for students, I joke that the course goes downhill after day 1.

Sociology of Guns Inaugural Student Field Trip to Gun Range, 2015. Photo by David Yamane
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Student Gun Range Field Trip: Triggers and Cognitive Dissonance

In response to my recent post about prepping for Sociology of Guns V7.0, reader DZ asked:

I’m curious. Have any of your students been “triggered” by the range trip? Are any affected emotionally by shooting a firearm for the first time? Have you had students refuse to participate?

These are great questions that I am happy to answer.

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
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Prepping for Sociology of Guns Ver 7.0

It’s hard to believe that I first taught my “Sociology of Guns” seminar at Wake Forest six years ago, in the fall of 2015. This fall I will teach the course for the seventh time in seven academic years.

Although some aspects of the course do not change — the class field trip to the gun range, most importantly — I do try to tweak the courses materials from year to year to reflect my own interests and developments in the field of gun studies.

Following are the broad outlines of where I am going with the Sociology of Guns Ver 7.0 this fall, including some guest lecturers who will be reprising their previous visits.

Professor Yamane with Wake Forest student at field trip to Veterans Range, Mocksville, NC. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #8: I Recognize the Topic is Much More Nuanced

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the eighth and final of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh essays.)

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #7: Guns are as Complex as Any Other Issue

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the seventh of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth essays.)

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #6: I Completely Stripped Down My Stance

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the sixth of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, and fifth essays.)

Sociology of Guns student range visit. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #5: Education Really Does Have the Power to Change Lives

I learn something every semester from each of my students, but one student’s work this semester was more of a revelation to me. Bevin Burns drew on her experience promoting sexual health and education on college campuses to highlight some potential negative consequences of adopting an abstinence-based approach to gun safety education.

This really resonated with me because I have noted the two different approaches to gun safety: safety WITH guns vs. safety FROM guns. The #gunsafety and #gunsense movement is really promoting the gun equivalent to “abstinence only” sex education, and we know how well that worked over the years.

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #4: Gun Ownership Cannot Be Reduced to One Type of Individual

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the fourth of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, and third essays.)

Sociology of Guns student shooting at range. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #3: Confusion and Annoyance as an Opportunity to Learn

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the third of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first and second essays.)

Sociology of Guns student range trip. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #2: A Good Way to Start Bridging the Divide

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the second of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Like to first essay.)

Sociology of Guns student range trip. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
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