cover image She’s Got a Gun

She’s Got a Gun

Nancy Floyd, . . Temple Univ., $26.95 (248pp) ISBN 978-1-59213-155-6

Floyd first bought a gun in 1991 to better understand what her late brother loved about firearms. Along the way, the Georgia State photography professor formed a club with other women at a gun range and interviewed and photographed 50 women to learn what motivated them to pick up a gun, which guns they preferred, and how they handled being women in a mostly male arena. One woman who was a prominent Black Panther in the ’60s insists the militants armed themselves for self-defense, and another says she was tired of being victimized as a lesbian. A Georgia woman, posing on her grandmother’s quilt with multiple shotguns, describes how her grandmother was killed by a burglar with her own gun. More compelling are Floyd’s personal gun-range experiences, the blast and recoil of her first handgun and the allure of her stainless steel Para-Ordnance P-16. While a discussion of famed sharpshooter Annie Oakley places Floyd’s experiences in historical context, her treatment of gun women in films, detective shows like Cagney and Lacey and popular fiction is lackluster and ends with the 1990s. Overall, Floyd covers too much ground and with a surprising lack of bite given the controversial nature of her topic. 80 color, 70 b&w illus. (Feb.)