Religion and Guns Research Digested in Academic Minute

For those of you who would rather listen to me explain my recent article on religion and guns in America than read it, you can do so thanks to WAMC Public Radio’s Academic Minute program, which is also available on the Inside Higher Education website.


Or if you are a real glutton for statistical punishment, go ahead and read the full paper (yamane-2017-journal_for_the_scientific_study_of_religion).


  1. I did read the whole paper and I still don’t see where you give us the location of those ‘out-migrants’ who, with the exception of rural dwellers, lose their gun culture when they move away from where they initially lived. It seems to me that this is a significant finding if someone could figure out where all these non-gun people now live but you seem unable to specify this. Too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Are there ways to track these out-migrants who lose their gun culture? Where are they and are their legal, social, or other reasons why they “lose” their gun culture (or at minimum, put it into dormancy).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just spitballing, I’d guess the distinction between “rural” and “urban” isn’t really the same in the Mountain West/Great Plains areas as they are in the more densely populated South and Coastal regions.

    If I move from Bethel, Alaska to Anchorage, for instance, I don’t have to change a thing except go to a formal range instead of just out of town to shoot. The same mores inform both “rural” and “urban.”

    Even a cosmopolitan city like Denver isn’t as “urban” as the coastal megaplexes and major centers like Chicago. Moving to a Western city, which can be exited and true wild lands experienced in a half hour or so, and which likely has a higher density of places to shoot and people who shoot, enables entry into, and persistence of, gun culture. Whereas if I leave the rural areas of the South, for, say, Chicago, Philly, or Baltimore, or a centralized Southern city like Atlanta, maintaining or entering a gun culture becomes that much more difficult.

    I think tracking the out- and in- migrations more precisely, which may not be possible with the data we have, and putting more definition into “urban” just as was done with religion, would be informative.


    • Lots of Federal/BLM land in the West where one can exercise one’s penchant for shooting firearms. This came up recently because the Everytown background check bill introduced in our Legislature stipulated that you could lend a gun to a friend only at a formal shooting range. That is rather restrictive in the West where the nearest “shooting range” might be an out of the way bit of BLM land. We have an excellent range where I live but also the “poor man’s range” which is an abandoned quarry a few miles farther from town down a dirt road onto Forest Service land.

      When I moved to Honolulu from NYS for a 14 year stint at the U of Hawaii, there was practically nowhere on Oahu to shoot (Koko Head Range) and very stringent gun laws. I left my armaments with relatives in New York State and only fetched them back after moving to New Mexico. So my hiatus from gun culture was not for lack of interest but lack of both time (being a junior faculty member is more than a full time job) and place. I did bring my compound bow to Honolulu because there was an excellent archery facility convenient to me in Honolulu at Kapiolani Park and it was seen as a Zen like exercise rather than something that freaked people out.


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