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Past Event

Police, Guns and the Politics of Race

The United States is steeped in guns, gun violence―and gun debates. As arguments rage on, one issue has largely been overlooked―Americans who support gun control turn to the police as enforcers of their preferred policies, but the police themselves disproportionately support gun rights over gun control.

Who do the police believe should get gun access? When do they pursue aggressive enforcement of gun laws? And what part does race play in all of this? In her book Policing the Second Amendment, Jennifer Carlson argues that rethinking the terms of the gun debate shows how the politics of guns cannot be understood―or changed―without considering how the racial politics of crime affects police attitudes.

Examining how organizations such as the National Rifle Association have influenced police perspectives, she describes a troubling paradox of guns today: While color-blind laws grant civilians unprecedented rights to own, carry and use guns, people of color face an all-too-visible system of gun criminalization.

Join us as Carlson unravels the complex relationship between the police, gun violence and race.


Copies of Policing the Second Amendment are available for purchase at checkout (U.S. domestic only)

This is an online-only event; pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream

This program is free; please consider making a donation during registration to support the production of our online programming

September 30, 2020

United States

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Jennifer Carlson

Associate Professor of Sociology and Government & Public Policy, University of Arizona; Author, Policing the Second Amendment: Guns, Law Enforcement, and the Politics of Race

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In Conversation with Megan Cassidy

Crime Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle


3:30–4:30 p.m. (Pacific Time) program