Chatting with a Gun Curious Podcaster

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.

Talking Gun Conversion with The Reverend Hunter

In October 2021, I traveled from North Carolina to Vermont to attend and present at the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s (OWAA) annual conference. After flying into Burlington, I had a 90-minute long shuttle bus ride to the Jay Peak Resort, near the Canadian border. On the ride, I listened to and participated in some friendly chatter with other conference attendees.

I would later see one particularly gregarious fellow from the shuttle a few times during the conference, including sharing some meals together. Toward the end of the conference, we realized we had something more in common than the OWAA.

It turns out that before he became The Reverend Hunter, my new colleague Tony Jones was a celebrity pastor of the “emerging church” movement in the evangelical wing of American Christianity. Before I became a gun scholar, I spent 20 years studying American religion. We had a mutual friend in one of my longtime colleagues in the sociology of religion, Gerardo Marti, co-author of The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity, in which Jones figures prominently.

Screen cap of https://reverendhunter.com/
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Increase Your Signal-to-Noise Ratio with Stephen Gutowski’s The Reload Podcast

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.

Consequently, much of what non-owners know about what gun owners do and think comes from mass media, traditional and social. Exactly the worst places to learn about something that is complex and nuanced.

For gun skeptics and the gun curious who want to learn more about how (some) gun owners think, I recommend journalist Stephen Gutowski’s The Reload podcast. It’s available on all the regular podcast apps and also on YouTube.

A particularly useful recent episode included David French discussing the Rittenhouse trial and verdict.

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“Live” Tweeting the Gangster Capitalism Podcast on the NRA

Following is a long Twitter thread I wrote while listening/reacting to a podcast series called Gangster Capitalism which focused this season on the current crisis of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

I went into it skeptically, since the NRA is often misunderstood and hatred toward it takes general biases toward guns in the media and turns them up to 11. But in the end I found the series largely accurate (to the extent that I know what is going on in the NRA) and only disappointing in a couple of places, notably in its final conclusion.


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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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