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Download Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline epub

by Jennifer Carlson

From gang- and drug-related shootings to mass shootings in schools, shopping centers, and movie theatres, reports of gun crimes fill the headlines of newspapers and nightly news programs. At the same time, a different kind of headline has captured public attention: a steady surge in pro-gun sentiment among Americans. In Citizen-Protectors, Jennifer Carlson offers a compelling portrait of gun carriers, shedding light on Americans' complex relationship with guns. Delving headlong into the world of guns, Carlson participated in firearms training classes, attending pro-gun events, and carried a firearm herself. Through these experiences, she explores the role guns play in the lives of Americans who carry them and shows how, against a backdrop of economic insecurity and social instability, gun carrying becomes a means of being a good citizen. A much-needed counterpoint to the rhetorical battles over gun control, Citizen-Protectors is a captivating and revealing look at gun culture in America, and a must-read for anyone with a stake in this heated debate.
Download Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline epub
ISBN: 0199347557
ISBN13: 978-0199347551
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Author: Jennifer Carlson
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2015)
Pages: 248 pages
ePUB size: 1245 kb
FB2 size: 1602 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 515
Other Formats: azw lrf mobi txt

Well researched about socio-economic impact on gun ownership, particularly in the Detroit area. Definitely a timely book to read.
This isn’t the book for sharpening your gun rights versus gun control debate. And that’s a good thing.

This book is a refreshing look at guns in America in a completely different and thought proven way. Her premise is the post industrialized economy has led to males from all races and socioeconomic backgrounds embracing gun ownership to reclaim their masculine role in the family and society. Instead of debating whether we have too many guns in America, the author interviews a cross section of men and women who discuss the role guns play in their lives.

To the author’s credit, she dives into this gun culture by not only taking a concealed carry class, but getting her permit and open carrying a firearm also. She deserves a lot of credit for participating in the gun culture to this degree. By carrying a firearm, her research moved from just being an observer to an active member of the community she is researching. I found her comments on how it felt to be an open carry female to provide authentic insights that complemented the other gun stories.

What is undeniable is that we are in a world where jobs have left the US but the people have remained behind. This has led to higher crime and higher unemployment. The author attempts, successfully, to explain the socioeconomic factors that have led to rise in crime and the attempts by some members of society to reclaim their sense of provider and protector in a post industrial economy that has disenfranchised a great many people.
As a gun owner myself, I appreciate the author's attempt at contributing to the conversation about guns and gun owners in America. Unfortunately she tries too hard to force a narrative that suggests most gun owners are altruistic do-gooders that carry primarily to protect their fellow citizens from evil. Between the author's personal bias and the corresponding bias in selecting her "sample" of subjects, the information presented does little to add to the national conversation. To the author's credit, she has demonstrated just how difficult it is for one to be objective when writing about a subject one has strong opinions about.
There is a section in the book about the only permit holder the author met who messed-up by misjudging a situation and got charged with a crime. For people with carry permits that section is almost worth the price of the book. Citizen-protectors who make mistakes may become like the very criminals they hope to protect themselves and perhaps other people against. .
The liberalization of laws allowing people to get permits to carry concealed weapons in public is one of the most significant changes in American society in the past 30 years. It would surely surprise many to know that 3-4 out of every 100 adult citizens in the United States is potentially legally armed in public by virtue of these concealed carry permits. Much has been written about this phenomenon by advocates on both sides of the gun debates. Here, for the first time, we have a book length treatment of private citizens (i.e., not LEOs, security, military) who choose to legally carry guns and why they do so. Basing her study on interviews with male gun carriers (legally open and concealed) in the Detroit metro area, observations of firearms training, shooting ranges, and activist events, and her own experience of carrying a gun in pubic, Carlson begins her explanation on the ground, so to speak. She tries (and in my view succeeds) in understanding why the decision to carry a gun in public makes sense to those who do so.

As a sociologist, Carlson also puts that individual decision in a broader social context. She explains the decision to carry a gun as a response to a very broad pattern of socio-economic decline, the feelings of economic and physical insecurity it produces, and related concerns about crime and police ineffectiveness. Carlson sees gun carrying as being strongly connected for men to their cultural conceptions of masculinity. The “age of decline” Carlson identifies in the book's title has affected men in particular and their role as breadwinners, so male gun carriers reassert their relevance as men by identifying themselves as “citizen-protectors” (her term, not theirs).

With the term "citizen-protectors" Carlson highlights the cultural ideal of personal responsibility and connects it to a broader conception of citizenship among gun carriers. Gun carriers as citizen-protectors are morally upstanding citizens exercising their historically masculine duty to protect their families and others.

Full disclosure: I read and commented on an early draft of this book and received a pre-publication copy from Oxford University Press. But I just paid for this book myself, not because I think it is perfect, but because the issue is important and getting more so all the time.