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Inside America’s Gun Culture

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

We’re looking inside America’s gun culture.

Handguns on display at the table of David Petronis of Mechanicville, N.Y., right, who owns a gun store there, during the heavily attended annual New York State Arms Collectors Association Albany Gun Show at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. (AP)

Handguns on display at the table of David Petronis of Mechanicville, N.Y., right, who owns a gun store there, during the heavily attended annual New York State Arms Collectors Association Albany Gun Show at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center, on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. (AP)

Dan Baum is an unlikely advocate for gun rights.  He’s liberal.  A New Jersey boy now living in Boulder.  He fell in love with guns in camp, and has never fallen out of love.

He’s turned off by the NRA.  Feels shunned by the left.  Argues that we should let teachers go to school armed.  That banning assault rifles is not the answer.  He’s driven 15,000 miles across the country to talk to gun guys at gun shows, at firing ranges, in their homes.  Now he wants to share what he’s learned.

This hour, On Point: A “gun guy” weighs in on our fractious debate about gun control.

Guests

Dan Baum, author of “Gun Guys: A Road Trip.” (@danbaum)

Robert Spitzer, leading expert on gun control and the NRA. Author of “The Politics of Gun Control.”

From the Reading List

Dan Baum (The Wall Street Journal) “I recently drove 15,000 miles around the country doing just that, talking to gun guys in their homes and garages, at gun shows and ranges, at gun stores and in the woods, trying to figure out why they are so deeply attracted to firearms and why guns inspire such passion on all sides. In part, it was a voyage of self-discovery. I’m a weirdo hybrid: a lifelong gun guy who is also a lifelong liberal Democrat. I often feel like the child of a bitter divorce who has allegiance to both parents.”

USA Today “Scenes like this, of friends gathering to shoot the breeze along with their guns, are so commonplace across rural America that it misses the mark to call them a way of life. Shooting and hunting are life in these mountains, sure as coal mines and pickups. It is also foreign ground for millions of Americans who have never seen a gun, much less shot one, and who might wonder why anyone needs one.”

Excerpt from “Gun Guys”

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