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By Dan Baum
“You would get a far better understanding,” former NRA exec J. Warren Cassidy told Time in 2001, “if you approached us as if you were approaching one of the great religions.” In Gun Guys, author Dan Baum embeds with the flock. A Jewish Democrat from suburban New Jersey, he has been hooked on guns since childhood. Packing a sidearm and an NRA cap, Baum embarks on a pre-Newtown tour of shooting ranges, gun shows, and gun shops, tracing the rise of the AR-15, unpacking crime stats, and challenging the notion that America suffers from an “epidemic of gun violence.” He tackles this polarizing subject with an anthropologist’s eye, and in the end wonders if the left’s anti-gun sentiment distracts from a progressive agenda that working-class gun guys might support—if only they didn’t think Obama was coming for their arsenal.