A Proper Introduction To Guns


Sociology Professor David Yamane is himself an unexpected friend to gun ownership, having lived most of his life giving them little thought. His introduction to guns as a potential interest arose from some rough interactions in his neighborhood, and a chance viewing of “Top Shot” got him interested, and exemplified a new concept for him, and many people: Guns can be fun. Not just a lethal tool for good or ill depending on the wielder, but a plain old good time. If you haven’t grown up around guns, and your only impression of them is from the media, then you aren’t likely to have that sort of perspective readily available to you. He emphasizes that this is at least, if not more important than his interest in being able to defend himself, in helping him turn the corner on gun ownership, and that’s something we as pro-gun advocates should remember!

A decade later, and he has written a book, writes a blog, and teaches a college course, all of which center on the concept of “Gun Culture 2.0”: The recent movement of gun ownership away from sporting, into self-defense, marked by an increase in diversity.

While Prof. Yamane does a lot of outreach, speaking to both sides of the gun issue to facilitate better understanding, perhaps the most interesting aspect of his work in this sphere is the class he teaches, and most especially, the shooting portion thereof. Many of his students, all of which are private college students taking a 300-level sociology course, have no prior experience with guns, and it is interesting to read their reactions to the experience, which he shares on his blog. This safe, controlled environment makes for a great introductions to guns, and the students write out their generally positive experiences, which Prof. Yamane often shares on his blog.

Despite the significant work Prof. Yamane does in his outreach, writing, and speaking, it is perhaps this course, and the live-fire experience that is the most impactful. Changing someone’s mind about a divisive, and often vitriolic sociopolitical topic like gun ownership is a powerful thing, and more often than not, that’s what he does by offering this experience to his students. Do yourself a favor and give the student review of the live-fire “field trip” from his latest class a read, and take a page from Prof. Yamane the next time you have a chance to be someone’s introduction to guns for the first time. Minds change through firsthand experience, not internet arguments, and we need all the people on our side we can get.

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