On October 13–14, the Center for the Study of Guns & Society (CSGS) at Wesleyan University, hosted its second-annual fall conference, “Current Perspectives on the History of Guns and Society.”

The event convened historians, museum curators, legal scholars, journalists, filmmakers, and other subject-matter experts for panel discussions, a film screening, and other sessions exploring guns in society from a range of historical perspectives, including the ever-expanding role of history in America’s contemporary gun discourse.

Fifteen eminent historians presented on their work on a variety of topics related to guns in U.S. history from the colonial era to the present. Topics included the role of religious identity in shaping individual relationships with firearms; the markets and manufacture of 19th century small arms; myths and realities of guns and westward expansion; and historical record of guns in 19th and 20th century U.S. history and law, among others. There was also a screening of the 2023 film Good Guy with a Gun.

“Wesleyan’s Center for the Study of Guns & Society is doing unique and vital work to enrich our national conversation on firearms. The Center’s annual conference connects experts from a huge range of backgrounds so we can learn from one another,” said Brian DeLay, the Preston Hotchkis Chair in the History of the United States in UC Berkeley’s History Department.

Read more about the conference in The Wesleyan Connection, and see photos from the event.