But I was wrong. This coffee-table book is the child of Krause Publications, which puts out (via its imprint F+W Publications) the Gun Digest. So it seemed highly unlikely that they would be doing a hatchet job on us. And they didn’t. What we have here folks, between two covers, is that greatest of rarities, a fair picture of who owns guns.

The author is photojournalist Kyle Cassidy, and he spent two years, traveled 15,000 miles, and visited the homes of over 100 people who own firearms. He took their pictures, with their guns, and asked one question: “Why do you own them?”

The answers are very brief, and include about every reason imaginable, but high on the frequency list are: “Because I can” and “Because I choose not to be a victim.” And a lot of these are very serious guns. There are black rifles, and suppressed guns, and full-auto guns, and sporting rifles, and antiques. They are owned by rich people and poor people, creepazoids and all-Americans, the normal (whatever the hell that is) and the somewhat out of kilter. In short, everyfreakinbody.

And a startlingly high percentage of these people have cats living with them.

Armed America is $30, and will be available on August 1.