SHOOTERS: MYTHS AND REALITIES OF AMERICA'S GUN CULTURE
Author: Abigail Kohn
Publisher: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, May 2004
The most measured look yet at America's love affair with guns. Captures in fine-grained & often entertaining, yet always humane, detail how gun owners actually think & feel about their guns. 6x9 inches, 288 pgs.
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 incirculation, own several. While these facts are undisputed, a related but different question is endlessly contested: who 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. 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, Shooters provides us with a lively and untainted portrait of American gun enthusiasts.
WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING:
Shooters deserves a wide audience. It may not change the hardened positions in the debate over guns, but no one will put this book down without having had to rethink their attitude toward guns and the men and women who use them. --Jan Dizard, co-editor, Guns in America
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Abigail A. Kohn is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Sydney Law School. She has written for both popular magazines, as well as academic journals. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, near which much of the research for this book was undertaken.