“Gun guys are not like camera buffs; they’re not like fly fishermen, not like car buffs. It’s deep, it’s really deep,” he explains. “I was really trying to figure out why these things move us, why they are so important to us.” Baum’s own love affair with guns began at age 5; at summer camp he discovered he had a natural aptitude for target shooting. He was attracted to the physicality of guns and charmed by the James Bond mythology he associated with them. But in his liberal suburb, the late ’60s brought a schism between the weapons and his world. “I was against the [Vietnam] war too, and aspired to the hippie aesthetic as much as any other sixth-grader,” he writes. “But that didn’t keep me from liking guns. To me, they were separate.” This separation between guns and violence is an essential part of Baum’s world view. As he details the way guns make him feel, one thing becomes clear: He finds power in carrying but not using a weapon.
more from Carolyn Kellogg at the LA Times here.