Shooters : Myths and Realities of America's Gun Cultures
In the white-hot debate over guns and gun control in America, there is one fact on which both sides in this increasingly polarized conflict can agree: Americans love their guns. 73 million Americans own guns. This translates to 1 gun owner out of every 4 citizens, many of whom, to account for the 250 million weapons currently in circulation, own several. While these facts are undisputed, a related but different question is endlessly contested: why do Americans so love their guns? Broadly speaking, what exactly is the appeal of the gun? In this important work, Abigail Kohn immerses herself in the world of "shooters." Emphasizing that not all owners are necessarily enthusiasts, Kohn dispenses with the knee-jerk dogma and rhetoric that has too often passed for reportage to travel directly to the heart of American gun culture. Frequenting gun shops and shooting ranges, and devoting particular attention to those whose interest in weaponry extends beyond the casual, she captures in finegrained and often entertaining, yet always humane, detail how gun owners actually think and feel about their guns. Through her conversations--with cowboy action shooters at a regional match, sport shooters, hunters, with shooters of all ages and races--we hear of the "savage beauty" of a beautifully crafted long gun, of the powerful historical import owners attach to their guns, of the sense of empowerment that comes with shooting skill, and the visceral thrill of discharging a dangerous weapon. Kohn convincingly brings out the myths, norms, and beliefs of gun ownership, stressing how values such as individualism, toughness, and liberty are intricately linked with the gun and exploring how these core values connect pro-gun ideology to wider cultural and political concerns. Cutting through the cliches that link gun ownership with violent, criminal subcultures and portray shooters as "gun nuts" or potential terrorists, Abigail Kohn provides us with a lively and untainted portrait of American gun enthusiasts.
- Electronic book text | 241 pages
- 01 Dec 2004
- Oxford University Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
"A fascinating look into the world(s) of gun enthusiasm that puts real, human faces on a gun debate dominated by antiseptic statistics and abstract principles. After reading Shooters, youll wonder why no one has done such a study before."--ReasonShooters constitutes a true break-through: readers will discover an even-handed analysis that examines the gun amid these American landscapes."--The Electric Review"While academics continue to convince each other of their brilliant rationality in condemning guns and gun owners, Abby Kohn takes a courageous step to "the other side," beginning a discourse in which the massive appeal of guns can finally start to be appreciated. Her empirical investigation of the appeal of guns to enthusiasts is a long overdue movement in the only direction that can actually lead to policies that might reduce criminal violence."-- Jack Katz, author of Seductions of Crime"Abigail Kohn's Shooters opens wide a window into the diverse and much misunders