I confess that I have always been jealous of historians and historical sociologists because their wide field of vision offers so many insights into the present. Good history helps us see where we came from, and how the present day is or is not different from the past. Total immersion into a previous time period must be an amazing intellectual experience, and those who can convey what it was like to be living in that earlier time are remarkable.
I hope my own work analyzing gun advertising in The American Rifleman over a 100 year period will give me some insight into how American gun culture has changed over time, but I am also very aware that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
For example, I am not a historian of the National Rifle Association as an organization. I have observed, however, a common narrative that the…
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