I’ll admit that my first gun was combat tupperware. But my second gun was a 1911. They have always held a certain mystique for me. If I had the money, I’d drop it on a Wilson or Ed Brown in a heartbeat.
Tracy over at Pretty Pistolera talks a bit about the benefits of becoming a shooter.
The core fight seems to be whether or not it makes sense to work within the political system, or if we have lost the battle for our gun rights and should stand around shouting “Shall not be infringed!!!”.
I’m honestly shocked at this kind of talk. I understand people who have been in the fight for years getting down. I’ve thought about gun rights and been aware of the struggle for about 15 years or so. Look at what we have accomplished in that time:
1) RTC in 40 states
2) Sunset of the AWB. More then that, the AR-15 rifle has become the most popular rifle in America.
3) The SCOTUS pronouncing the right to have a firearm to be an individual right.
4) Perhaps even more importantly…SCOTUS specifically calling out self-defense as a legitimate “reason” for firearm usage.
Let’s be honest….the MSM has controlled the “marketing” around gun rights for years and years. This creates problems such as this silliness which creates a completely distorted view of the “dangers of gun ownership.” There is a more subtle problem, however…like the fact that Hollywood would have us believe that you can walk down to the local 7-11 to pick up a machine gun. The MSM doesn’t control the message anymore.
As I posted yesterday, I think that the most important theing we can do as a culture is to change hearts and minds. The ultimate goal is to make gun ownership unremarkable. We do that by letting people see that gun owners are normal, everyday people. The “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!” crowd thwarts that. Folks like Tam, Breda, Tracy, Squeaky & Ahab, Sebastian, and Bitter help.
Here is why we will win: the truth is on our side. We don’t have to lie about statistics. The anti-gunners do. We don’t have to control the medium to convince people. The antis do.
I want to write like Marko when I grow up.
I’m the proud dad of a four year old girl. She and I have been talking about guns and safety. She knows all about Eddie Eagle. Eddie Eagle is a program sponsored by the NRA, and teaches kids a very simple set of rules:
If you see a gun: STOP!
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.
You can view the Eddie Eagle training video here.
She can also recite the four rules perfectly. Today, she saw some of the neighborhood kids playing with some toy guns.
“Dad, why are those boys pointing guns at each other?”
“Well, they are playing, sweetheart.”
“Dad, you never point a gun at people. Never point a gun at something you aren’t willing to destroy!”
And yes, she used those words. Did I mention she is four?
I had to wipe a little tear from my eye. I’m so proud of my little girl.
Both of these posts have gotten me thinking about how to win hearts and minds. I’ve believed for a long time that the secret to winning the war for gun rights is to change public opinion. I think that people can fall into the categories I’ve outlined in this picture. (Click to embiggen. Sorry for the pic…I have the all the art skills of a scat flinging monkey)
People fall somewhere along these two poles. They are somewhere between hostile to guns and gun rights and friendly. This is largely an emotional axis. They are also somewhere between knowledgeable and ignorant. This is largely an intellectual axis. BTW, I choose the word ignorant intentionally. I know that this work usually has a negative connotation, but I believe it is appropriate here. People who are ignorant about something don’t know what they don’t know.
When we consider how we talk to people, we need to think about what quadrant they are in, and where we want to move them. For example, someone who is in the lower left box are ignorant and hostile. They don’t know too much about firearms, and they don’t like them. We have the opportunity to move them along both axises. We can bring facts and figures and try to move them from ignorant to knowledgeable, or appeal to them emotionally and move them from hostile to friendly.
Folks in the top right are very tough to crack. They are knowledgeable but hostile. Josh Sugarman is probably the best example of this type of person. He knows about firearms, holds an FFL, knows the true statistics, but doesn’t care. We can’t reach them by telling the truth about firearms. We can’t do a lot with these people….they need to be refuted and isolated.
Folks in the bottom right are the folks we need to reach out to. They are neutral or even friendly to us. They don’t know much about the gun culture, or shooting. They are the next generation of gunnies. Our goal is make them educated activists. These are the folks we run this risk of turning off with silly letters like this.
Folks in the upper right are solid gunnies. We need to encourage them to become active, and to reach out to others to keep the cycle going.
I believe that most Americans are to the left and slightly down. Most people don’t know much about guns. And they are slightly hostile do to the long standing messaging by the MSM. Guns are bad. Guns are evil. You are 40 times more likely to shoot a family member then an intruder. That’s how Clear Channel can donate billboards to an anti-gun group and honestly not think they were doing anything wrong. Who is in favor of gun violence? It’s only when you think about the problem and understand the true numbers that it becomes obvious.
Consider the common refrain: “I just don’t like guns!” That is a classic lower left statement. Bringing an argument invoving facts and figures, or even worse, a “from my cold dead hands” screed runs the risk of pushing someone up into upper right. You address the intellectual arguments, but not the emotional component. You run the risk of turning them off permanently. I believe the best way to bring a new shooter is to slowly move them upper right. If you can’t do that, moving them right is better then moving them up.
I believe that this is why taking a new shooter out to the range, if done properly, is so effective. It addresses the up/down axis…the new shooter has learned some very important things:
- Shooters are normal people
- Shooters take safety seriously
- Guns don’t go off unless you pull the trigger
More importantly…they learn that shooting is fun! That moves them along the left/right axis. Even if they don’t take up shooting as a hobby, they have been inoculated against anti-gun propaganda.
Poor Squeaky doesn’t seem to be having any luck with cars lately.
I’ve been an AAA member since I had my first car. Their basic package is about $45 per year, depending on where you live. AAA is worth every penny for one important reason. If you get stuck, you have to dial one number and someone comes to help you. No worrying about which tow shop is open or whether or not they have trucks. One number, help is on the way.
The last time I used AAA, I was driving from Charlotte to Nashville. It is a long drive, and I wasn’t paying too much attention. I thought to myself “I wonder when I need to get gas?”…looked down…and found out I was running on fumes. Two miles to the next exit….and then my engine died. I was in the middle of Tennessee. No idea where I was. I knew the road I was on, and the mile marker I was at. That was it. I called AAA, 30 minutes later a truck brought me gas, and I was back on my way.
The other cool thing about AAA….it protects the person, not the car. So if your traveling with friends, for example, and their car breaks down, you still get your AAA benefits.
I think AAA is part of the basic safety package that you should have for your car, like a jack or a spare tire. It make sure you are never in a position where you can’t get help. It can be the difference between being able to wait in your locked car for the to truck that you KNOW is coming, versus hanging out the white flag and hoping someone swings by.
Other basic equipment that you should have in your car at all times:
- Spare Tire (Sorry, Squeaky. )
- Jumper Cables
- Flashlight. Make sure the batteries work. A LED/Lithium combo like this is a great choice.
- Multi-tool. I like the Leatherman line. I have a Surge in each of my cars.
- Duct Tape
- Locking Pliers
- Multi-bit screwdriver
Even if you aren’t comfortable working on the car…keep these tools handy. You may run into someone who is.
From Papa Delta Bravo, a mostly funny manifesto that has a good nugget of advice:
…I will purchase a quality holster that fits my exact model, not some cheap and flimsy “fits all” nylon holster which will flop around, soak up sweat, close up after I draw my pistol and possibly dump my pistol out in the dirt, making me look like a putz.
Nothing says n00b like having a cheap holster that can’t hold your gun! Proper holsters are made for specific guns. Galco has a good selection of leather. If you prefer Kydex, I’ve had good success with Comp-Tac.
There are two basic modes of carrying a pistol. Concealed carry, as the name implies, requires that your pistol be concealed. In most states it requires a license, the notable exceptions being Vermont and Alaska. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action has a fact sheet here that has a state-by-state comparison of carry laws.
What lots of folks don’t realize is that in many states, open carry is also legal and and frequently doesn’t require a license. The folks at OpenCarry.org have a state-by-state info sheet on their site.
Open carry is somewhat controversial in the gun culture. On the one hand, I firmly believe that the most important thing that we can do to secure gun rights in the long term is to make gun ownership unremarkable. Open carry serves the positive purpose of letting people see what a gun owner looks like…and specifically that they look like everyone else. Outings like this one go a long way toward desensitizing people to firearms.
This is the kind of attitude we need to change:
Lt. Alan Cavener of the Boise Police Department said reason must play a part in the open carrying of guns.
“We support peoples’ constitutional rights, but we also want to ensure public safety. People need to use common sense about where they choose to bring a firearm,” Cavener said.
Why, Lieutenant? Why is a zoo any different from any other place?
- If you believe in gun rights, join the NRA. It’s important.
- When it comes to supporting gun rights, I have a simple philosophy. Nobody gets thrown off the bus.
From Bitter, we read the story of Pat Wray. Pat is running for the NRA board of directors. Pat is a hunter, and feels that the NRA has has not done enough to address the needs of hunters. The divide between “Hunters” and “Shooters” is a classic argument in the gun culture. Michael Bane discusses the issue a bit here.
I’m not a hunter. I’m not opposed to hunting, and I generally think that hunting benefits the gun culture. But I have a very big problem with hunters (and shooters, for that matter) who think that they can reach detente with gun control groups by sectioning off parts of the gun culture and offering them up as a sacrificial lamb. Gun control groups have employed this divide and conquer strategy for a long time. They have even created false flag groups to help drive the wedge deeper. (For you newbies, the The American Hunters and Shooters Association looks like a legitimate gun-rights group. It isn’t.)
As a culture, we need to remember that we can’t let our breathren down. The gun banners are after all the marbles people. Giving them .50s or “Assault Weapons” or any other subset of the gun owning public will not satisfy them. They are coming for you next.