In the heated debate over guns and gun control in America, journalist Dan Baum sits somewhere in the middle. He loves guns and belongs to the National Rifle Association. But he also supports some gun control measures. In his new book "Gun Guys," Baum seeks to understand both the appeal of guns and the political controversy that surrounds them.
"I didn't want to rewrite the history of America's unique relationship with guns that other writers had plumbed so thoroughly. Nor did I wish to wallow in the minutiae of gun control and formulate my own policy proposals," he writes in the book's introduction. "I was after something more visceral: the essential quality that, like anchovies on pizza, impassioned some people and disgusted others."
Baum spoke to Mother Jones about his book and the liberal reaction to gun violence:
"What I learned traveling around the country as a liberal Democrat is whoah, there are costs to gun laws and there are even costs to talking about gun laws. When something like Sandy Hook or Aurora happens, the knee-jerk reaction on the left is ban the guns! When you do that, you also alienate the very people who might help us reduce gun violence. They're the people who know guns, who know how they function, who know how to train people to be around them. If we didn't have this tribal instinct to vilify the other, we could be doing so much more good."
• Why our gun debate is off target. Are gun owners missing from the debate on gun control? (Wall Street Journal)
• What liberals need to understand about 'Gun Guys.' Baum discusses his trip around the United States as a gun owner. (The Atlantic)
• One of the 'Gun Guys.' Baum is trying to reach out to the "NPR-listening, Whole Foods-shopping progressive" in his new book. (LA Times)