Sociology of Guns Guest Speaker – John Johnston

I was fortunate to have John Johnston of Ballistic Radio and Citizens Defense Research visit my Sociology of Guns class this semester during one of the two weeks we discussed concealed carry and armed self-defense.

John engaged my students in a wide-ranging discussion of concealed carry classes as “training” and training for armed self-defense beyond concealed carry classes.

Obviously he brings a huge amount of practical experience to the seminar table as a gun trainer and thoughtful member of Gun Culture 2.0 that I simply do not have.

As you can see in the background of the photo below, we discussed some what is taught by John and Melody Lauer in their “Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian” course.

Guest speakers are fun to have in class, but can be a risky proposition since they don’t have any preexisting connection with the students or what has been going on in class. Additionally risky is having someone come to class that you have not personally met (though, full disclosure, I have been a guest on Ballistic Radio).

Based on early feedback from the students, having someone like John who is personable, thoughtful, and knowledgeable visit class was a win:

I thought he was so interesting and was so glad you invited him to join our class. He offered some very alternative perspectives and I think really encouraged the class to think more dynamically about gun violence and weapons. I hope he comes to next year’s class!


I enjoyed John Johnston’s visit because it provided insight into what a professional firearms instructor thinks about a variety of gun-related topics. It was refreshing to hear his honest opinions and I was especially encouraged by his belief that any time a gun is used in self-defense, it is bad for all involved. I did not think he glorified gun use; instead, he spoke about guns very rationally.


I loved having John Johnston come in! Unfortunately I had to run immediately after class but would have loved to pick his brains further and hear about the nuances of his courses which seem very unique. He seemed to have really positive messages about gun safety as well as items that can protect you without having to use lethal force like with pepper spray and high-strength flashlights.



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