'Gun Guys' Challenges the Stereotypes about Firearms and Those Who Love Them

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

An ad for a rifle manufactured by Remington, a company based in New York State that says it would be impacted by New York's new gun laws.

The classic American "gun guy" is shotgun-toting John Wayne, riding his way through cowboy movies like "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "El Dorado," and "True Grit." 

Author Dan Baum describes himself as more of a Woody Allen than a John Wayne, and yet he has loved guns since his first successful shoot at the age of five. Baum's passion for firearms stood out in his suburban New Jersey, predominantly Jewish town. "I had no gun mentors," he writes in his new book, "Gun Guys: A Road Trip." 

"Neither my parents nor anybody in their circle of suburban New Jersey Jewish Democrats had ever hunted or owned a gun," he continues. "None, I am certain, would have dreamed of touching one."

In the midst of America's raging debate over gun control, Baum decided to find out why he, and so many of his compatriots, are so passionate about firearms. "Gun Guys" chronicles his travels to shooting ranges across the United States, and what he discovers along the way.


Dan Baum

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger

Comments [14]

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Mar. 07 2013 03:26 AM
Portland Conservative

I'm very interested in hearing how you came to your entire view on guns. If you were paying attention, you heard gun guy cite the overall percentage of "assault weapon" homicides annually. If you recall, only 3.7% of all gun homicides in 2011 were "assault weapons".

By no means am I downplaying the death of our children, but does the action of one law breaker require legislation aimed at the 99%?

You can find me on my blog, www.unlikelyportlander.blogspot.com

Mar. 06 2013 06:31 PM
art525 from Park Slope

Mr Hockenberry seemed to go into a bit of a swoon over guns. I guess 20 dead children is a small price to pay so that "gun guys" can have fun with their iphone- like AK47s. And I am so glad that it helps those "gun guys" with their self esteem. I'm so glad that Mr baum could get over his fat nerdy kid issues by grabbing a gun. I wonder if that is what motivated Adam Lanza. I find Mr Baum's" I'm just a nerdy Jewish liberal Democrat just like you who happens to love guns" routine rather tiresome and his lableing the gun lovers as "gun guys' to make them see like just a bunch of regular guys next door too.

Mar. 06 2013 06:16 PM

I own guns not for protection or even hunting. I own them because they fascinate me; their utility, history and their various mechanism are to me the way that cars or coins are to others.

I think that there needs to be a greater understanding of firearms and related issues in society as a whole. Instead, we see one sided arguments and statistics from both sides which only leads to more contention and not less. Understanding breeds respect which I feel will lead to sensible firearms legislation that will serve to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens while also protecting the lives of innocents.

Furthermore, I am not a member of the NRA nor do I ever plan on becoming a member. They have become a fringe organization that sees a compromise of any size to be a threat to their very existence. Compromise is good. Give a little take a little. In the end we will all be better off for it.

Mar. 06 2013 04:00 PM
Portland Conservative from Portland Oregon

I own guns for the same reason that I have home owners insurance, fire extinguisher and smoke detectors. In the highly unlikely event that I ever find myself in need to protect myself or a family member, like the fire extinguisher, I prefer to have the odds stacked in my favor.

Mar. 06 2013 02:02 PM

As a liberal gun guy myself I appreciated the interview with the author of "Gun Guys" and the continuing civil discussion of guns in America.

Mar. 06 2013 02:01 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Maybe a gun is becoming an electric security blanket; occasionally the blanket catches fire, or is it a bad dream which ignites first... but mostly guns are there to comfort the distressed sleeper. I don't want it, but I understand it better.

the i-phone gun is coming next.

Mar. 06 2013 10:54 AM

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