Gun Guys: A Road Trip

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Dan Baum, author of Gun Guys: A Road Trip, talks about what his road trip into middle America taught him about the country's gun culture. 

Event: On-stage conversation, Q&A and book-signing with Dan Baum at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute today at 6:30 PM. More info here.


Dan Baum

Comments [33]

Colin from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Wow!!! The prejudice and bigotry as typified by most of the written responses to this segment is one of the main reasons that we have not made any headway in gun safety legislaton since the Brady Bill and there has been a lack of Federal gun law enforcement, such as no permanent director of the ATF.

The premise that gun enthusiast are all suffering from some type of psychological dysfunction and more than likely some sexual inadequacy is more than insulting and is a sure nonstarter in getting any meaningful laws passed let alone any rigorous enforcement implemented.

This is why the NRA has such sway over huge swathes of the country inspite of their current extreme wackadoo positions. Any sane gunowner be they white, black or whatever who has to choose between someone who at least favors them keeping their guns or those who with a snug sense of moral superiority say that those who own or like guns are moraly degenerate from the start. Well if you were in their position who would you choose.

If the respondants would for a few minutes just get over themselves and listen to Dan Baum about on what gun culture is about, maybe we will make some progress on this issue post Sandy Hook.

Bottomline is that gun culture is a metaphor for class and to a small extent race in American society.

Mar. 10 2013 02:00 PM

Mr. Baum is as disrespectful to city people who are worried about guns as he claims those city people are.

I've heard no one complain about rifle, shotgun & pistol shooting on ranges or about experienced hunters, especially those who consume or pass along any meat they harvest.

Mr. Baum obviously knows about the various ranges throughout the city, but did he know that at least one private school had a rifle range & team? There were also ranges at public schools at the time, I believe.

I'm glad he no longer carries as in one previous interview he was at sea as to his responsibility if he were carrying when an incident broke out. He sounded uninformed on the legalities in the states in which he carried & also was clueless about what criteria he might use to determine who is the "bad guy," how he might ID an off-duty or plainclothes policeman in the area, how to take cover & how to make sure that the area behind his chosen bad player is clear of bystanders. He even seemed oblivious to the fact that he could seem to be the bad perp in the eyes of other good gun citizens (re: Giffords shooting & the friend who almost shot the person moving to disarm that perp.)

Mar. 07 2013 11:56 AM
Carlos from NYC

I read a story in the Times about a case in Florida involving the "Stand Your Ground" law where a 40+ year old man shot and killed one of a group of teenagers in an SUV. They were blasting music from their vehicle. The man pulled up beside them in his car and then approached the SUV and told them to turn down the music. According to the man, the teens became belligerent and one of them pulled out a shotgun and threatened him to which he responded by pulling his gun and shooting into the SUV. This all happened in front of a convenience store.

I can't help but think if this man wasn't carrying a gun, he would probably have just ignored them and gone about his own business. Seems to me people get a lot more "tough" when they are carrying guns.

Mar. 07 2013 11:38 AM
Coogan from NYC

Dan Baum's personal learning discovery trip has it right, the self esteem, lower education and class issue is spot on. Next time I dare you to touch upon the issue of race. Hot stuff, I know! There's much to be said there... but that's more another time.

I'm a northerner (now, formerly from Texas long ago) who travels to Virginia twice a month to visits my significant other. Guns there are no 'big deal' in that scary way- they're respected, licensed, locked up, used by liberals/conservatives/women and men alike. Knowing how to use one makes you responsible, in that you have a talent and ability knowing how to work a massively strong machine (in a small package)- a technical thing. And one which doesn't require a college degree or intellectual leaning.

When given enormous power such as carrying a gun, you learn quickly what your boundaries are, and realize not every slight need become a life threatening crisis. You let annoyances slide and don't even consider using the gun to take care of a minor problem. All those subtle abilities make you more patient, responsible and aware of your place and others boundaries. Suddenly your very reality changes in a way a person who has never used nor carried a gun would understand. The only analogy to an intellectual who doesn't 'get it' is driving a car- also a potential killer- in the shape of two tons of metal encased on wheels.

Every argument against guns is usually valid to a point, but regardless of laws, rules and common sense one fact remains that's not being addressed-respect of guns users. We (intellectuals) must look at this from the other angle, from the point of view of those very 'white guys with little or no college education' do not look at guns as threats but something more symbolic and greater than a fun killing tool, who see their 2nd amendments rights as very literal. Yes they may in part be NRA card carrying people but don't let that stop you from engaging in dialogue with them, or at minimum, listening to them.

Lastly, it must be said Virginia seemed to be more polite, calm and civilized than other places where guns are also accepted/common, perhaps that's just the geographical personality of the place and it's people, and an ideal example of a pro-gun, safe, non-aggressive society as opposed to ... (fill in the blank) ....

Mar. 07 2013 11:30 AM


Mar. 07 2013 11:24 AM

To borrow from our Dickensian friend: LOL!!!

Mar. 07 2013 11:22 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Haha - yeah dBoy.

Love your cock, not your glock.

Mar. 07 2013 11:21 AM

Skip the gun!

Love your penis just as it is.

Mar. 07 2013 11:18 AM
mike on long island from sayville, long island

the guest was such a clown, i dont even know where to start. he says is you have a gun, it suppresses road rage, its easy to give a pass to a jerk on the road? you cant do that without a gun? what a jackass. people who have been beaten up by the " system" regain their self-esteem with a gun? sounds pretty dangerous to me. i've been around guns and guns guys all my life. for far too many gun owners, its a penis extension. its to the point where they whip it out, caress it, ask you feel it, hold it. i'm not kidding. go into a busy gun store in sept,before hunting season. you see guys literally twitching, they have such a pent up desire to fire away at anything that does or doesnt move. its pretty sick. also, lets address their 2nd amend argument. they tend to be supporters of strong military, is this the same military they need guns to defend themselves from? are we in an arms race with ourselves?

finally, shame on brian for ,A, giving such a short amount of time to such an important issue. b, for not taking more calls. the phone line was busy as soon as the segment started, he takes one call ? i would have loved for the guest to be asked intelligent questions from the listeners. the show needs a new format. too little time is given to grave issues that affect all new yorkers. word maven? some of the other fluff? get rid of it.

Mar. 07 2013 11:17 AM
Cynthia from Brooklyn

2 words..... small penis.
(real or imagined)

Mar. 07 2013 11:13 AM

Mental health is FLUID!!!

We are ALL, potentially a pink slip, divorce, bankruptcy etc. away from going "postal".

"Fit" one day, off the charts the next.

Talk to ANY mental healthcare provider!!

Mar. 07 2013 11:13 AM

This is TOTAL speculation:

I'm betting Oscar Pistorius' issue with his girlfriend and resulting gun rage was related to his sexual performance.

Just a theory.

Mar. 07 2013 11:08 AM

You want some entertainment (the train wreck type), type the words "WHY I CARRY" into YouTube.

These folks have been deemed "fit" to carry.


Mar. 07 2013 11:05 AM


In this psychotic, gun toting culture a WACKO can always find a firearm!!

Mar. 07 2013 11:02 AM
Robert from NYC

He's just plain wrong. That crap about less likely to use the gun may apply to him and the ONE caller and others like them but I would bet most of these people would look for any excuse to use their gun and the proof of that is all those cases we read about in the news and don't, in fact, read about in the news. Lately since the CT killings some media have started listing daily gun killings around the country, many of which we would not hear about before the killing of the children. But even that is waning however of the several I've heard, they reported high double, and some day triple digit, killings around the country. Figures higher than you would hear about in a year in most other western countries. This guy is full of baloney.

Mar. 07 2013 11:00 AM

Great way to make a buck; assume the contrarian view.


Mar. 07 2013 10:59 AM

Men/boys with guns/toys. These tiny-souled/outsized ego jerks are killing us. These are the people (men) who run the world. Go to hell and get another hobby to build up your insanely fragile self-esteem.

O no - here he goes about respect. Yeah, don't disrespect him. He's got a gun.

Mar. 07 2013 10:58 AM
telegram sam from Staten Island

Notice this "gun guy" doesn't mention how many of the 300 million guns in this country wind up in the hands of street criminals in poor neighborhoods. His "respect" is only for people who live in safe, middle-class neighborhoods. Apologists like him have blood on their hands.

Mar. 07 2013 10:58 AM

The irrefutable fact Dan Baum ignores is the lethality of gun "mishaps".

"If we just locked them (guns) up"???

THAT'S THE DAMN PROBLEM!!! There are folks that DO NOT GET IT!!!

Mar. 07 2013 10:58 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

Self esteem? What a bunch of BS! Calm as a result of owning a gun? If there were no gun, you could yell at each other and go on with your lives. With a gun every confrontation has the potential of someone ending up dead.

How about helping the poor, volunteer with Big Brothers of America to see how rewarding and fulling those activities are.


Want to play with guns? Go to a gun range. I am not comforted by some low esteem character regaining esteem through ownership of a deadly weapon.

Mar. 07 2013 10:58 AM

We keep hearing about law-abiding gun owners..."gun guys" and those "law-abiding gun owners" who oppose further gun regulation. Yeah, gun owners may feel proud that they use guns safely, until a child in their home finds a gun and shoots someone. Gun owners are "law-abiding" until they go off the deep end and shoot up a school.

In other words, mass shooters were "law-abiding gun owners" until they weren't. Gun owners keep guns safely until someone in their home uses the gun to kill, for suicide or in an accident.

Gun owners should be trained and licensed, and each gun should be registered, and each gun should have an insurance policy covering accidents, shootings and death caused by that gun.

Mar. 07 2013 10:58 AM
Bonn from East Village

So the bigger the gun, the more self-esteem? Hmm. Btw, I shot a rifle at a gun range in Chelsea and enjoyed it, so I am not opposed to target practice.

Mar. 07 2013 10:58 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

How to live safely around guns? Stay away from people with guns.

Mar. 07 2013 10:57 AM
laura miller from north bergen

Is Oscar Pistorius a "gun guy"?

Mar. 07 2013 10:57 AM
Joe from nearby

I have no interest in supporting this guy's gun fetish.

To counter his cherry picked "statistics" check out "10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down"

We ain't buying what you're selling, mac.

Mar. 07 2013 10:56 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

The society is sick and more guns will only make it worse.

Mar. 07 2013 10:55 AM
john from office

I carry and understand why people want to. In areas of this country law enforcement is far away. But, in a cityscape, carry permits should be limited.

Mar. 07 2013 10:55 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

So what we're saying is these gun nuts are closet Chris Dorners? That's scary.

Mar. 07 2013 10:53 AM
inquisigal from Brooklyn

Mr. Baum keeps saying "guys" and this is also the title of his book. Did he make a conscious decision to only interview men? Did he interview any women?

Mar. 07 2013 10:52 AM

"Gun self esteem"???

This is a euphemism for a guy with a little penis.


Mar. 07 2013 10:51 AM
john from office

Why the Jewish description??, He should have added penny pinching since he is relying on stereotypes.

Mar. 07 2013 10:49 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I take pride in my penis so I don't need a wield gun, thank you very much.

Mar. 07 2013 10:49 AM
art525 from Park SLope

I have had the misfortune to encounter Mr Baum's interviews already on Tom Ashbrook and The Takeaway. This self proclaimed Democrat and liberal was a fat nerdy outcast kid until he discovered guns. Good for him. And for all the"gun guys" who boost their self esteem by having AK47s. And if guns fall into the hands of lunatics like Lanza wellhey that's the price you've got to pay. Unlike Mr Baum I don't find it appealing to associate with the kind of "guys" who make themselves feel better, more empowered by wielding a gun. I don't think I'd much enjoy the camaraderie of "gun guys" at my local gun range. You have made my listening decision very easy this morning. On Point here I come.

Mar. 07 2013 10:22 AM

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