Rhetoric & Guns

Edited by Lydia Wilkes, Nate Kreuter, & Ryan Skinnell

Coming soon from Utah State University Press

Rhetoric and Guns collects 14 chapters of original scholarship from scholars in rhetorical studies, communication, education, and related fields to elucidate the relationship of rhetoric to guns. Guns hold a complex place in American culture. Approximately 30,000 Americans die each year from gun violence (i.e., homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings). But guns also play an important role in many Americans’ lives that is not reducible to violence and death—as tools, sporting equipment, and identity markers, for example. Guns are intimately connected to issues of public health, as is evident whenever a mass shooting occurs (by some counts, as often as daily). They are central to debates about Constitutional rights, as seen in ongoing discussions about the limits and assurances of the 2nd Amendment. And they are a continuous source of legislative concern, as apparent in annual ratings of legislators for their support of or opposition to gun rights.

Even as they are wrapped up with other crucial areas of concern, it is not too much to claim that guns are also fundamentally a rhetorical concern. Guns and gun violence occupy a unique rhetorical space in the 21st century United States, one characterized by silent majorities (e.g., most gun owners), vocal minorities (especially the firearm industry and gun lobby), and a stalemate that fails to stem the tide of the dead. How Americans talk about, deliberate about, and fight about guns is vital to how guns are marketed, used, and regulated. However, where guns are concerned, rhetorical studies is not terribly different from American culture more generally. Guns are ever present, they exercise powerful functions, but they are commonly talked about in oblique, unsystematic ways. The authors in this book hope to advance more direct, systematic engagement in the field and beyond by analyzing rhetoric about guns, guns in rhetoric, and guns as rhetoric, particularly as they relate to specific instances of guns in culture.


Introduction: Rhetoric & Guns
Nate Kreuter, Lydia Wilkes, & Ryan Skinnell 

Chapter 1: The Only Thing that Stops a Bad Guy with Rhetoric Is a Good Guy with Rhetoric Patricia Roberts-Miller

Chapter 2: Muzzle Velocity, Rhetorical Mass, and Rhetorical Force Nate Kreuter

Chapter 3: Hunting Firearms: Rhetorical Pursuits of Range and Power Brian Ballentine

Chapter 4: The Gun as (Race/Gender) Technê Lisa Corrigan

Chapter 5: The Rhetoric of Open Carry: Living with the Nonverbal Presence of Guns
Ian E. J. Hill

Chapter 6: The Activism Gap and the Rhetoric of (Un)Certainty Craig Rood

Chapter 7: This is America on Guns: Rhetorics of Acquiescence and Resistance to Privatized Gun Violence Lydia Wilkes

Chapter 8: “The Last Mass Shooting”: Anticipating the End of Mass Shootings, Yet Again Bradley A. Serber

Chapter 9: Campus Carry, Academic Freedom, and Rhetorical Sensitivity Kendall Gerdes

Chapter 10: National News Coverage of White Mass Shooters: Perpetuating White Supremacy through Strategic Rhetoric Scott Gage

Chapter 11: Guns and Freedom: The Second Amendment Rhetoric of Turning Point USA Matthew Boedy

Chapter 12: Hiding Gun and Bullets in School Shootings: The Rhetoric of the Gun Industry in America’s Mass Shootings Nathalie Kuroiwa-Lewis

Chapter 13: A Non-Defensive Gun: Violence, Climate Catastrophe, & Rhetorical Education Ira J. Allen

Chapter 14: Talking Together About Guns: TTAG and Sustainable Publics Peter D. Buck, Bradley A. Serber, and Rosa A. Eberly

Afterword Catherine R. Squires

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