Options for a college or graduate student in the United States who wants to study firearms are limited. Ironically, more programs for this field of study exist outside of the country. However, American students who choose to study firearms find their options are centered around politics, legislative gun restrictions and public health.
To study history, material culture and other fields, students must often get creative, find an advisor and orchestrate independent studies. Moreover, much of the scholarship done around firearms contains technical inaccuracies despite being passed through the academic review system into publication. Only a few professors exist who understand technical firearms information. Therefore, the peer review system lacks true peers on the subject. As a result, the research is usually flawed because reviewers cannot necessarily catch these inaccuracies. However, that will change with the formation of the University of Wyoming College of Law’s Firearms Research Center (FRC).
What Is the Firearms Research Center?
The FRC will be dedicated to supporting original groundbreaking research involving firearms. Subject areas will include law, history, technology, social sciences, economic development and recreation. The FRC will also serve as a resource for academics, practitioners and the public on the uses and roles of firearms in society, both past and present. Bringing together subject matter specialists and cultivating new scholars, the FRC will generate broader discourse and produce real change in the way firearms are talked about and understood.
While the FRC has yet to be formally founded, renowned Second Amendment scholar and professor George A. Mocsary and I (the co-founder) have already begun planning symposia and gathering together scholars for the center. There are current scholars out there generating new research and bringing new voices to the scholarship of firearms political theory, public health, law and history. The problem is that they typically work in isolation, unaware of research in related fields. The FRC will bring those scholars into a community that has yet to exist.
The Firearms Research Center also intends to create a website that will serve as a resource for scholarship. The site will also provide live information on current court cases and other relevant topics around firearms. Furthermore, this information will offer a reliable center of excellence for journalists and others who seek to communicate about firearms topics with more than emotion and oversimplification.
How to Become Involved
The FRC is currently going through the University of Wyoming’s approval process, but programs related to it are in the works now. The center is looking for support in helping make this a reality. For those interested, please contact George A. Mocsary by email at [email protected] or by phone at 307-766-5262.