This Is Not a Gun


Third Edition: ISBN 978-1-953189-09-7
February 2023, English, 5 x 10.5 in, 288 pages, b&w, softcover
Design: Sming Sming Books
Printing & Production: For the Birds Trapped in Airports

Co-published with For the Birds Trapped in Airports!

This Is Not a Gun gathers contributions from 40 artists, writers, healers, and activists who each respond to 40 objects that police officers have mistaken for guns, during a shooting of an unarmed civilian. The project opens dialogue to consider how everyday objects, such as a broomstick, bible, set of keys, iPod, sunglasses, and a pack of Skittles are transformed into ones of perceived threat through the lens of racism and power.

This Is Not a Gun is part of a long-term, multidisciplinary project by the same name, which endeavors to carve out time and space for community to site these issues within our own bodies and stories. The project, by artist Cara Levine, includes a studio practice of carving wooden sculptures of these mistaken-as-gun objects, as well as public workshops to discuss where participants shape these objects in clay, giving presence to their form, the human-rights violations, and racism prevalent in the United States today. Visit for more information.

Foreword by Cara Levine and introduction by Elena Gross. Contributors include: Kemi Adeyemi, Jessica Angima, Sampada Aranke, Quenton Baker, Shamell Bell, Gregory Boyle, Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Elizabeth Dorbad, Amanda Eicher, Ekaette Ekong, Guillermo Galindo, Faye Gleisser, Sonia Guiñansaca, Angela Hennessy, Constance Hockaday, Jessica Ingram, Kate Johnson, Chris Johnson, Christopher Johnson, Ann Lewis, Rodney Lucas, Eliza Myrie, Keni Nooner, Kambui Olujimi, sidony o’neal, Candice Price, Kirat Randhawa, Will Rawls, Joshua Ross, Bayeté Ross-Smith, Emilia Shaffer-Del Valle, Jadelynn Stahl, Ashley Stull Meyers, Khadija Tarver, Jade Thacker, Prophet Walker, Leila Weefur, Amir Whitaker, Marvin K. White, and Christine Wong Yap.

Cara Levine is an artist, educator, and activist based in Los Angeles. Levine is the founder of This Is Not a Gun, a multidisciplinary project aimed at creating awareness, dialogue, and action around systematic racism through art practice. She is an associate adjunct professor in Sculpture New Genres and Foundations at Otis College of Art and Design.

Second Edition: ISBN 978-1-953189-02-8
November 2020, English, 5 x 10.5 in, 284 pages, b&w, softcover
Published by Candor Arts + Sming Sming Books

First Edition: ISBN 978-0-9985006-9-0
April 2020, English, 5 x 10.5 in, 284 pages, b&w, softcover
Production: Candor Arts
Published by Candor Arts + Sming Sming Books