Gun Curious Podcaster Update

I recently received an update from the gun curious podcaster I spoke with earlier this year. He has now taken a 4-hour basic handgun course (with live fire) and plans to take additional courses then apply for his New Jersey firearm license. His is an increasingly common story. As before, I encourage you to check out the podcast for insight into his perspective (more than mine).


The animating idea of this blog is to speak (primarily) to those who are neither totally bought into the idea of guns nor totally opposed to it. That is, to the gun curious.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with just such a person. Mark McNease is a politically liberal gay man living in rural NJ. Mark found me because he is a member of the Liberal Gun Club (LGC), which syndicates this blog. He is a member of the LGC even though he is not a gun owner. Mark is part of roughly 1/3 of the population who don’t currently own guns but don’t rule them out. He is gun curious.

Mark recorded our conversation for his podcast, One Thing or Another (16 February 2022).

This is a very informative podcast not so much because of my answers but because of the host’s questions. A lot of people out there have the same questions about guns and gun culture as Mark, so I hope I answered them well.

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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Collected Posts on Sociology of Guns Seminar (Updated 9/22)

In Fall 2022, I am teaching my “Sociology of Guns” seminar at Wake Forest University for the eighth consecutive academic year, dating back to the fall of 2015. A PDF of the course syllabus for Version 8.0 is available HERE.

Over the years, I have posted a number of times on this blog and my older Gun Culture 2.0 blog about this seminar. This entry collects those earlier posts — from both blogs — including many written by students in the class.

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Light Over Heat #36: Sociology of Guns Seminar, Year 8

In this week’s Light Over Heat video, I talk about teaching my Sociology of Guns seminar at Wake Forest University for the 8th consecutive year.

For much more information about previous versions of the course and to follow course developments this semester, see the collected posts on this blog.

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.

Call for Papers on “Firearm Markets, Marketing, and Society”

I have published a few articles/book chapters on gun advertising. My first was an analysis of the rise of Gun Culture 2.0 as reflected in The American Rifleman. I replicated that study using Guns magazine. And most recently examined the portrayal of women (and men) in the Rifleman. If we expand from advertising per se to the marketing of Gun Culture 2.0, then I can add my study of the USCCA’s Concealed Carrry Expo to the list.

Because most analyses of gun advertising are impressionistic (and politically motivated), I get quite a few calls from the media about it. Although I welcome the opportunity to correct misunderstandings about the content and effect of gun ads (e.g., Bushmaster’s “Man Card” campaign), I welcome even more a recent “call for papers” I received from a marketing professor, Terrence Witkowski.

Witkowski is guest editing a special issue of the Journal of Macromarketing on “Firearm Markets, Marketing, and Society.” See the full call for papers. The submission deadline is 28 February 2023.

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Light Over Heat #33: The Professor Reviews 4 Books on the NRA

In this week’s Light Over Heat video, I discuss four books on the National Rifle Association (NRA) in light of two persistent myths.

First, that the NRA was a benign, apolitical sportsmans organization prior to the Revolt at Cincinnati in 1977.

Second, that the NRA is “the most powerful lobby in America.” A PBS Frontline episode in 2020 managed to highlight both.

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