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Good Guys With Guns: Hegemonic Masculinity and Concealed Handguns

Stroud, A. (2012). “Good Guys With Guns: Hegemonic Masculinity and Concealed Handguns.” Gender & Society 26(2): 216-238.
In most states in the U.S. it is legal to carry a concealed handgun in public, but little is known about why people want to do this. While the existing literature argues that guns symbolize masculinity, most research on the actual use of guns has focused on marginalized men. The issue of concealed handguns is interesting because they must remain concealed and because relatively privileged men are most likely to have a license to carry one. Using in-depth interviews with 20 men, this article explores how they draw on discourses of masculinity to explain their use of concealed handguns. These men claim that they are motivated by a desire to protect their wives and children, to compensate for lost strength as they age, and to defend themselves against people and places they perceive as dangerous, especially those involving racial/ethnic minority men. These findings suggest that part of the appeal of carrying a concealed firearm is that it allows men to identify with hegemonic masculinity through fantasies of violence and self-defense.


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