Gunners are the people that take up class time. Gunners feel the need to speak up with a question they have, or a hypothetical they thought of, or a comment they have, and they typically do this 3, 4, even 5 times during a class.
You're not paying all this money to sit there and listen to some smart-@ss talk about his experience last summer as an intern with a senator when such and such a bill was introduced.
Class also is not the time to be making up your own hypos and asking the professor about them; that belongs with your study group or office hours.
Gunners also feel the need to ask the same question 2-3 times in a row, worded slightly differently each time, becuase they don't understand that if they're having trouble with a concept, they need to go to office hours and not waste my time.
Gunners also volunteer to answer questions whether they've really thought through the question or not. If something pops in thier head that sounds good, the hand goes up, leading to an extra 10 minutes of the professor poking holes in the guy's answer because it was poorly thought out to begin with.
People who ask legitmate questions, or answer the professor's question when they have something that's well reasoned and intelligent to say is fine, and they add a lot to the class. But gunners cross a line, and it wastes everyone else's time and money when they do. The longer it goes on, the more frustrating it gets, hence the hatred people have for these individuals.
Here's my rant:
I have recently been harassed and made fun of behind my back by several students in my 1L section for being a "gunner" or "classhole". Even threats of pissing on my laptop and suggestions telling me to commit suicide have been made. They have thrived on the one or two instances where perhaps I may have brought up a hypothetical in class that drew on a bit longer, the one instance where I perhaps did raise my hand to answer a question I didn't fully know the asnwer to, or the one instant I volunteered and perhaps didn't understand the material.
However, I will describe my personal experience as a "gunner":
1) Yes. I have raised my hand 5 times in a class. Perhaps a few times in a week even. Usually, I will raise my hand everyday, at least once, in every class. I don't see a problem with that judging by the fact that several other people raise their hands during that 75 minute class period anyway. The class time I have jeopardized is hardly comparable to:
a) the amount someone who was called upon who didnt read a case did when they were drilled.
b) amount of time constant drilling took of said person when they can't answer a question .
Hence the reason, when there is a request for volunteers, I'd rather participate than listen to a row of dolts take up 30 minutes of class time deciphering the Frigaliment case.
2) My questions usually follow along the lines of what a professor just said and they ask for further clarification. Often it has been because the people behind me are being so loud and obnoxious (presumably the people who call mea gunner) that i couldn't' hear what the prof. was saying half the time.
3) Another type of question I have asked is the hypothetical question. It usually tries to involve as realistic as possible events as I can think of to prove the exception that I am trying to clarify in a particular issue. However, I don't usually bring up hypotheticals as often as I may bring up a question.
I will tell you what I DONT do, that I have, however, seen PLENTY of others do in my class:
1) Run up to the professor EVERYDAY after class. And I mean everyday. There's a guy who does it. I don't do it. I've visited two professors during their office hours. Once.
2) Get into verbal arguments/debates/ disagree/downgrade answers or hypos fellow students give. I keep my mouth shut. Its called being professional. I can't say the same for others.
3) Bring up absolutely fatuous hypotheticals on a regular basis. "If I was at a bar...." or "So If im driving in my car...."
4) Talk about personal experiences or background education, however useful it may be. I have an M.A. in Intn'l relations and a sibling who is an attorney, but I don't use it in my class discussion. Its arrogant and i'd rather steer away from it. Regardless, others do it all the time. ex. "I used to work at the D.A.'s office" or "I was a paralegal" or "I knew a guy that knew a guy that knew a guy..."
5) Use language that may offend another. There are a few people in my class that use words like "Screw" in rape cases and "vegetable" to refer to paraplegics.
6) Volunteer to speak when I absolutely don't know what the heck i'm talking about that day.
7) Bring up questions that have just been answered by someone right before me or reverberate what a professor just said to make myself sound smart. I recognize it in others. Why would I do it?
Is law school fair? No.
Did I deserve to be subjected to social torture the way I was and still am? No.
But I think one should take it as a compliment that they're being called a gunner or classhole. It means they're engaged in law school, want to be there, and others are jealous of their drive. At least you know you're not there for the WRONG reasons, and ultimately this drive will lead to success.