Jennifer Carlson, by Christopher Richards

Jennifer Carlson, Associate Professor of Sociology and of Government and Public Policy, UA

Monday, June 5, 2023,

2:30-3:30 pm,

ASA Koffler Great Room, and Zoom


“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Amendment 2, the US Constitution

 Most likely there is no other passage of the Constitution outside its Preamble that is better known or more contested among US Citizens.  None has been more painstakingly interrogated for its “true intent,” no commas more fervently parsed than these, no debate more fiercely waged.    Americans are profoundly divided on the issue of guns—or so we believe.

In this presentation, MacArthur Fellow Jennifer Carlson, PhD, will examine the gun debate from a fresh perspective, challenging us both to rethink the terms of the debate and also reconsider how we understand those with whom we believe we disagree. Dr. Carlson will draw on her decade-plus experience researching guns in America—research that has examined gun carriers, gun instructors, gun sellers, public law enforcement, and also gun violence survivors. Drawing from a wealth of ethnographic and interview-based data from the diverse viewpoints that compromise the American gun debate, Professor Carlson illuminates how guns matter to the people they impact—and how the lines we draw between “gun control advocates” and “gun rights defenders” often blur.

An Associate Professor of Sociology and of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona, Jennifer Carlson was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2022. Her award-winning research focuses on the politics of guns in American life. She is the author of three books—Citizen-Protectors (Oxford, 2015), Policing the Second Amendment (Princeton, 2020), and Merchants of the Right (Princeton, publication in May, 2023)—and a frequent contributor to leading news outlets such as PBS, the New York Times, NPR, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. She is currently conducting National Science Foundation-funded research on gun violence survivors. She received her PhD in Sociology in 2013 from the University of California, Berkeley.

Compiled and Edited by Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteer

You can connect to Zoom either by using the following URL: or by opening a browser to and typing in Meeting ID: 954 5651 1620 and Passcode: 85747 

Jun 5:  “Bridging the Great Gun Divide: Can we re-imagine the debate as we know it?”