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.
I was fortunate to be asked to present on “Guns in America” at the annual conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America yesterday (6 October 2021). I discussed “Gun Culture 2.0 and the Changing Face of Gun Owners in America.”
I was fairly certain that the presentation would not be recorded, so before I left for Jay, Vermont I recorded an abbreviated (15 minute) version of my talk from my basement studio and uploaded it to YouTube.
This module takes up the demographics of gun ownship, the Great Gun Buying Spree of 2020+, and the changing face of American gun owners.
We know from many surveys over a long period of time that the statistically average legal gun owner is a middle-aged, politically conservative, married, white man from a rural area in the South or Mountain West. Basically, the main characters from TV’s “Duck Dynasty.”
But one of the problems with averages is they hide diversity. The average American, after all, has one testicle.
As we see in this module, compared to Gun Culture 1.0, Gun Culture 2.0 is younger and more female, more racially and sexually diverse, more urban and suburban, and more attracted to handguns for self-defense. New and non-traditional buyers in the Great Gun Buying Spree of 2020+ made this abundantly clear and scholarship on gun owners is beginning to catch up.
Late in 2020 an editor from the online magazine Discourse contacted me to see if I wanted to write anything about my work on American gun culture for them. The invitation provided an excellent opportunity for me to formalize some of my scattered thoughts on the Great Gun-Buying Spree of 2020. I quickly agreed.
The topic of Module 7 of my Sociology of Guns seminar is “diversity in gun culture.” Scholars have done a woeful job of capturing this diversity — including the major axes of difference on which sociologists tend to focus such as gender, race, and sexuality, as well as religious and political differences — making it difficult even to assign published research on the topic for my students to read.
I am all the more pleased, therefore, to welcome two guests to my class this week who both embody and attempt to foster diversity within gun culture: Tiffany Johnson and Aqil Qadir of Citizens Safety Academy.
I am heading to Indianapolis tomorrow for the National Rifle Association Annual Meetings and Exhibits (NRAAM). It will be interesting to see what the vibe is surrounding the organization and (some of) its members, as the NRA has been dealing with some very public, self-inflicted wounds recently.