My 10th Anniversary as a Gun Owner

Working on an essay about the Great Gun Buying Spree of 2020 and why it makes perfect sense in the cultural context of Gun Culture 2.0, I realized that I bought my first gun 10 years ago this week.

It is a Ruger Mark III .22 pistol I bought for $335 from the now defunct Morris Firearms at Sportsman’s Lodge in Yadkinville, NC.

My First Gun

I will always remember Morris Firearms because Morris used to make me feel like I was inconveniencing him when I was buying guns. Not an uncommon experience for me at gun stores, in fact, and probably a big turn off for some potential gun owners. I am glad I was not deterred.

Sociology of Guns student shooting .22 pistol at gun range.

Other than having to take it to the gunsmith at Pro Shots Range to clean and reassemble, the Mark III has served me well over the years. It is always the first gun my Sociology of Guns seminar students shoot on our field trips to the range at the start of class.

I don’t really have much more to say about this, other than that this purchase kicked off an amazing decade-long personal and scholarly journey through American gun culture. And I hope this realization kicks off a much shorter period of me finally finishing my book on that journey.

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  1. Psychologist in Academia here, who spent 10 years in the military before going to graduate school in clinical psychology. First gun as a child, fired and carried many different ones in the service. Own Ruger Mark I among many other pistols and rifles. I like the idea of teaching a graduate seminar on gun culture and the psychology of gun ownership and self-defense. May have to propose that. I already teach one on military culture and working with veterans where we talk some about most veterans being gun people.


    • Be interested in the syllabus for your class on military culture, something I know little about but intersect with a good bit in my work on gun culture. The psychology of guns and gun culture would be great too.


      • Much of my course addresses clinical issues in working with veterans (e.g., PTSD, substance use, suicide, military sexual trauma) and assessment/treatment of behavioral health problems seen in veterans. Many of our students train and intern in VAs. But my first 4-5 sessions cover military culture/acculturation, military values/mindset, warrior ethos, and combat. Would be glad to share what I can, including readings on culture.


      • Roughly fifteen, based on our respective bachelor’s degrees. I got my permit right out of college given I got my gun nut board certification early in life.

        I had to giggle when you said you had to take it to the gunsmith to clean it. I found that was a difficult gun to strip, clean and reassemble. Think I went through a months’ worth of curses the first time I did it.


  2. Round 1: Disassembled, cleaned, and . . . took a box of disassembled gun parts to the gunsmith to reassemble.

    Round 2, 3, …: Took assembled gun to gunsmith to be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled.

    I understand the new Mark series guns are easier to reassemble.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I gifted the Mk 1 to my brother in law a year ago in return for his storing my pistols for me for all the years I lived in Hawaii and New Mexico and was not shooting. Part of the reason was I bought my dad’s High Standard Supermatic Trophy from him when he retired from competitive shooting. The Trophy felt so much better in my hand that I stopped shooting the Mk 1. But still think the Ruger is a lovely gun. At least once one is trained as a gunsmith and can take it apart and put it together again. But in retrospect I do miss a field grade 22 LR for those days when taking the Trophy out seems like being in a tux at a beer party.


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