(courtesy gettyimages.com via slate.com)

slate.com‘s published a photo gallery called THIS IS WHAT GUN OWNERSHIP LOOKS LIKE IN AMERICA. Click here to view. Then tell us if you think the gun pics betray Slate’s anti-gun bias, your pro-gun bias or what.

121 Responses to Question of the Day: Is This What Gun Ownership Looks Like in America?

  1. So THAT’S who won the Walther….

    It looks pretty balanced to me. Honestly, the two family shots MAY skew it slightly toward the gun owners as nut jobs stereotype, but only slightly. Just a vibe I get off of those two pics.

        • Joking? Ignorant? My comment was simple enough. Of all the photos in the collection linked, a relatively pretty girl’s photo was chosen. I suppose it was meant to be a humorous swipe at the Israeli Models aficionado. Laugh. That actually bothered you?

    • Agreed. I suppose one’s reactions to the photos depends upon one’s views about armed citizenry.

  2. I still have a hard time understanding why out of all issues, gun rights causes liberals to be so openly mean, vile, and dishonest. mainstream media outlets (for what little they are worth these days) have no problem putting out hateful, racist material and using horrible stereotypes (women are to irresponsible and minorities are violent) when talking about guns. why does the left feel so emboldened when it comes to gun rights?

      • Agree. They are “openly mean, vile, and dishonest” any time their beliefs are challenged, especially if they don’t have much experience with other views.

      • not to be hostile here, but you have seen mainstream media saying that men who oppose obamacare have small genitals?

        • It may be that they are especially vehement in demonizing gun owners at the moment. But you can’t say they are kind, even by comparison, to Christians and Tea Party members. Say something the gay community doesn’t like, and see how far out of their way they will go to destroy your business and reputation (not all gay people of course; most pretty much mind their own business like everyone else). Dress up like an Obama rodeo clown for fun, and see how many Democrats call your work and try to get you fired. Say something the unions don’t like and see how fast they show up at your house to try to intimidate you and your family.

          I get where you are coming from for sure, but this rabid in-your-face stuff is standard leftist MO.

        • Indeed, Old Ben, it has long seemed to me that the physical intimidation by unions and the tactic of aggressive pickets of political opponents are the two reasons the Dem left is anti-gun. It seems obvious. They deeply resent having their threats deprecated.

    • I think the gun-control issue is so fear-inducing to prog-tards (notice I am not using the catch-all “liberal” as it defames the classical definition of liberal as open-minded, willing to consider new ideas and debate on facts, etc)

      I prefer prog-tard because it combines the best of two words that explains how the Left, ie marxist-socialist, collectivist-communitarian, community-organizer race panderers and professional victimhood hucksters who have DELIBERATELY hijacked it, with careful collusion and patient work since the 60’s, in politics, academia, and the media, applying with Alinsky-ite tactics and deep pockets funding across multiple non-profits, even to the point of infecting the once neutral Civil Service via unions (IRS) and other institutions like the DOJ (affirmative action creds and intellectual rigidity requirements for DOJ Civil Rights hiring since 2008 read Christian Adams)
      based on the really insane philosophical thinking that informs its current leaderships thinking- read up on Soros beliefs about the world, for more…

      and the equally non-politically correct “retarded” label, to describe the ability to reason among too many young college graduates, which I have to be sympathetic to- after all, if you had been brainwashed thru out by the pomo tranzi-nazi, foucaltian politics of meaning and its about the narratiive, vs the simple facts, and classical reasoning. of the Socratic, Aristotolean, Western tradition) then you too would be clueless…

      but there comes a time, and some of us have been thru it- when you have had that first job for awhile, and saved up for a house, have kids on the way, or working two jobs to pay for your family, when you WAKE UP to REALITY, and realize, hey- I’m responsible here. Not the “village” to raise my kids, or public schools, or the church of liberal beliefs as explained by Slate, and so on…

      And I think the Millenials are waking up- they and Gen X, who came before them, are pretty hip to knowing when they are being “marketed to” on the innertubz and the boob tube, and some are not buying the BS, as they start to see the reality of life, having to pay off that $100,000 in student loans for their useless “communications” degree, whilst working at Starbucks for the benefits…

      And I sense that Slate, as pitiful as it has been in past, is waking up too… they are following their customers interests, after all- if you are going to be monetized by the internet biz, you have to… so you start to see stories like this, and the photo essay on hunting stands- http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2014/03/16/jason_vaughn_photographs_wisconsin_deer_stands_in_his_series_hide_photos.html

      And given Slate is most popular in the tech geek world, you are seeing a reflection of maturity there- young men looking for meaning, and still being young men, manly things- interest in the military, guns, competition, girls,

      sliding under the radar screen of what they privately mock as post-radical femi-nazgul panty-twisting… Lena and PJ Boy are the creation of the top down imagineers of what THEY think the Kool Kids Should Think- like Doonesbury that stopped being funny and edgy, to become boringly predictable about 10 years ago… btw, as long as I am OT- check out Day by Day, if you haven’t already… http://daybydaycartoon.com/
      Chris unafraid to poke holes in prog-tard mind-control…with sexy chicks too!

      But, forums- yeah, expect the trolls to live there, paid and unpaid- just like WAPO, and Kos, and DU- theres a whole ecology of lower-forms of life living there and in their mom’s basement- one step removed from Jared Loughner type nutty.

      • Agree with your detection of a trend among Millennials. My contact with them is largely through my son. His friends are products of UM families, mostly liberal outwardly. Yet of my possessions that his friends sometimes see through the glass door to my home office space, it is an EOTech they saw and covet, according to my son. One of the liberal girls in his set is the first person I barely knew that went out of her way to ask me for a range trip to teach her about pistols, which was very surprising. It may be the pickup in crime from near zero to a few armed robberies last year that is causing this, as the city intrudes on the suburbs. No robber has pulled the trigger…yet. There hasn’t been a murder in decades here. Perhaps it’s the kids’ increasing exposure to the city?

      • Anyway- sorry for the rant…(too much caffeine!) but keep up the good work, and MORE GUN REVIEWS!!!

        PS: I did notice you doubled up on the t-shirt girl ads… works for me!

  3. First off, that girl is 17? Looks almost 30 to me.

    Seems they picked some pretty homely families to represent gun owners.

    Dan Baum somehow made it into the photos despite being an anti-rights goober. We’ve heard from him enough times here to know that, as well as his low opinion of rural Americans. Think that C96 is a legal SBR, BTW?

  4. The picks selected by Slate show a definite bias, however, since I haven’t seen the entire photo essay, I can’t say whether the original photographer had the same bias, and Slate is just passing it on.

  5. That’s a pretty small sample, pretty meaningless for anything close to being representative.

    Can’t call it negative, though…

    • Dude seems like he tries to be an “edgy gun-guy democrat/pseudo-intellectual”. I’d guess he just coddles his gun and uses it as a prop to be cool.

      Quoth his blog: http://www.danbaum.com/ourgunthing/2012/08/15/common-sense-gun-law-4-limit-ammunition-sales/

      ” I wouldn’t support a ban on large ammunition sales, but I’m intrigued by the idea of requiring a report similar to those required for multiple handgun sales. I’m sure gun guys wouldn’t like such a law, but could they live with it? Is this something they could accept, in order to make their non-gun-enthusiast neighbors a little more comfortable with widespread gun ownership, and in order to lift from themselves the odium of NRA-style intransigence? Or is this the camel’s nose under the tent, and if gun guys give in on this one will they end up being sorry? I confess to being unsure. What do you think?”

      • He didn’t seem like too bad a guy when his writings were featured here but he certainly looks the part.

      • Baum’s not so bad. He is a rare breed: a Democrat willing to listen.

        Yeah, he’s not all in on gun rights like we are. But he’s better than most people commenting on guns, gun rights and gun policy. Upon recommendations here, I picked up his book Gun Guys and read it a few months ago. It is not without faults, but it possibly the most even-handed look at gun culture in America you’re likely to find. Warts and all.

        • That is… quite the image. I’m not sure I understand the metaphor. Could you explain?

        • Not convinced he’s pro-freedom given what I see on the blog. There is a world of difference between writing on a personal blog and writing for a blog such as this – it’s intended audience. In the quote, he’s basically saying he’d accept intrusion. I do not – Gov’t can stay out of my personal and lawful business.

      • Okay, so what do we get in return? Repeal of the NFA? National open and concealed carry? No? Unless you got something even better then F*** **U!

        • As I said, he’s not a gun rights guy. He’s not too invested in protecting our 2nd Amendment Rights, he’s interested in culture. So there is no bargain of “what do we get in return?”. His attitude is one of “These few things aren’t really important. Let’s let them go to show the haters that we’re not a bunch of [insert stereotype here]”

          I think following his advice is a bad idea. As do you, apparently. But Baum is aware that gun culture is not what his peers in Liberal Land say it is. He’s willing to try, willing to learn and willing to push back against his own party. That alone puts him head & shoulders above a lot of the left.

  6. Not bad at all; reg’lar Joes and Janes, for the most part.

    I wish most coverage was so neutral.

  7. I see that Lindsay Makowski has a Bulldog to take up the slack while she’s in the middle of a magazine change.

    • I hate wallpaper. After removing a bunch in our house I’m convinced that it would be easier to rip out the sheetrock and redo the walls….

      • Been there, done that. Same reaction. I HATE wallpaper now. If someone asks me the fastest way to get rid of wallpaper, I tell them… Tear down the wall.

      • Same here. About a third of the way through I wished I could just paint over the crap and be done with it.

  8. I would rather have any of the people in the photos on my side in gun fight than any of the smarmy and ignorant metrosexuals at “Slate.”

    It should run a photo essay of what Europe would have looked like if Americans with guns and thermonuclear weapons hadn’t been stationed there for decades to keep the Soviets at bay. “Klement Kraus from Stalinburg (formerly known as “Hamburg”) poses next to his monthly potato ration in a stylish offering from Brown Coat Factory Number 27.”

  9. Shannon tweeted this out to her followers with the headline : “HUH”

    Her crew took that on and started tweeting back things like “of course”, “naturally”, etc.

    At the end of the day I piled on and basically said “yes, we all see how you are. these are people, normal average people. you behavior proves that MDA are class snobs.”

    that shut them up.

    • go for you. I hope you realize you’ve probably been blocked now. Would not want anything in that bubble they create. I am blocked myself.

        • Yes, keep it up Mina, and we others can take a lesson from her-
          talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words…

          its ok to b1tch and kvetch here, amongst friends, and educate the occasional liberal or indendent that dares to come here – and I thank them for their courage to speak up, for fear of being ad hominem’ed for it gets a little sharp-elbowed in here…:)

          but its another thing entirely to go into the “enemy camp” in search of the sleepers, those waiting to be educated, who do need help,

          and social media is one way to end around the thought police…
          read “An Army of Davids” – it works:

          http://www.amazon.com/An-Army-Davids-Technology-Government/dp/1595551131

          Eventually, if you educate enough people to wake up, and use their own brains to analyze the facts, instead of depend on “Those Who Know Whats Best For All Us Little People”

          the PR hacks and community organizers will slink away, for there will be too few for them to sell their negative programming to…

          Just keep “speaking truth to power”…

          “Cant stop the signal, Mel”

        • Truthfully, engaging the enemy serves on Twitter serves two major functions only:

          1. win over the “un-decideds” (there are not many of them on this hashtag)

          2. (much more important) Illustrate in action how to hijack the amygdala of the Liberal enemy; show the technique works and how to do it for the benefit of fellow pro2A folks

          Ben Shapiros “how to debate Liberals” made into miniature in 140chars or less.

          Demonstration. Distribution of the method. That’s my goal: to get it out there.

        • @rlc2 – one minor gentle correction. It’s not “Mel” it’s “Mal” (for Malcolm).

  10. Whether it’s pro or anti gun, fair or biased, will be in the eye of the beholder. People of the gun will view it positively MDA will view it in an opposit way. One thing I saw in the eyes of those photographed is confidence.

  11. Yet another confirmation that it is the anti gunners who are the rabid minority.

    Amazing how the opposition labors under a sense of inferiority.

  12. Why is that guy wearing his kid in a harness on his chest? The hell? It looks ridiculous.

    Let mom carry him like that and for god’s sake, if you have to carry him in some device like that, put him on your back.

    • With a small infant it is safer to carry them on your chest as opposed to on your back, especially if they are just starting to hold their head up or when they fall asleep. Yes it does look a little silly, but when you are a father who cares if you look silly when its better for your child. That being said, I always preferred using a stroller than a chest or back carrier (strollers have a drink holder for my beer).

      • Strollers can get away from you or be run over in a parking lot. You can chest carry your infant and have more room for beer in a cooler in your stroller.

        • Also, it allows you to keep both hands on the gun at the range, and let your body absorbing the recoil gently rock the kid to sleep.

    • The baby covers all his vital organs. Sure, a plate carrier is cheaper than a kid, but if you’re already stuck with the rugrat, might as well put him to use.

    • As a father of a 3 month-old, let me tell you that the chest carrier rigs are way easier to use than a stroller, less time-consuming, and the baby generally is quieter, calmer, and happier to ride in them.

      Why the hell do you care what it LOOKS like? If you’re so concerned about what you LOOK like, please, don’t have kids. You’re going to be a shitty dad.

      • Amen, Jeff. If your goal is to look hip, move to Williamsburg and buy some skinny jeans and pink sunglasses. But don’t have a kid.

    • I carried all three of my sons on a similar device, though it was more colorful. It kept us in contact with one another. Think of that what you will; they are all grown, gun-owning, tax-paying citizens.

  13. The article text is the usual crap. “the 9mm is just inches from his baby”, “the pretty girl with such a deadly weapon”, GMAB

  14. Slate published a sample of photos. Are those photos representative of the entire shoot (pun intended)? Fairly benign to me. I work and interact with a good cross-section of people. All people I know who live in the inner city own guns for personal and family protection. All are African-American. All people I know who are business owners or managers, carry guns. If I took a cross section of all gun owners in my area, it would be a cross section of all of my area. I do not know anyone who doesn’t own a gun (even a neighbor who has just turned 90 and is a widower).

    • Swamp, I’d be VERY interested to see that, and I suspect you could even find monetary or at least pro-bono professional journalistic help from ‘somewhere’…

      Doesnt have to be professional slick- just real, the hard part is lining up the subjects- thats where you come in- … I like Oleg Volks work for example, but I am sure TTAG knows more…

  15. Wait a minute, I thought all gun owners were just OFWGs who were buying guns to add to their collections. This photo gallery does NOT fit the narrative!

    Plus, I want one of those holster/stock things for my Broomie …

  16. What’s up with all these non-fat people? I thought you all were OFWGs.

    Got to admit, that C96 looks classy.

  17. It is biased toward women. Who knew that a majority of a American gun owners are women?
    I don’t know what they are trying to say but I think it is a narrative breaker for the average gun control advocate.

    • I dunno…I suspect deeper connections- I trust your discretion tdi, to speak to that-

      but no matter what, we TTAGers probably bumped the Slate pagecount from the “right” side of the world by a couple thousand percent today…

  18. Color me shocked, far more even-handed than I expected. Heck, I was looking for a dozen Kenny -the-dog-shooter clones in male and female configuration. They even included a politically-correct woman of color with a pump gun. If you have something bad to say about that, you must be some kind of misogynist racist, right??

    • Don’t be so sure. Leftists can and do say some extremely vile things about People of Color when they won’t stick to the progressive script.

      • true enough…Clarence Thomas, for example…but still, has to make them stop and pause for a second.

        • Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. Leftists don’t stop and pause about being racist when non-whites dare to think for themselves. Instead, they react as Pino did to Mookie in Do the Right Thing: “Those people aren’t really black/Hispanic/women/etc.!”:

          MOOKIE
          Sounds funny to me. As much as you
          say n— this and n— that,
          all your favorite people are
          “n—-s.”

          PINO
          It’s different. Magic, Eddie,
          Prince are not n—s, I mean, are
          not Black. I mean, they’re Black
          but not really Black. They’re more
          than Black. It’s different.

          http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Do-The-Right-Thing.html

  19. I’ve just been watching Hank Strange’s video of the Kel-Tec factory. Their workers look more like the gun owners I know. Maybe I hang around the wrong kind of people.

    • +1

      It won’t be popular to say this on here, but some of the families pictured look like mutants.

      “Normal” is a relative term, but I’d say the average American does not wear overalls and live in the bayou.

  20. Pretty rounded group.

    I could’ve done without the Clampetts, but some gun owners look like that, whatcha gonna do…

  21. Perhaps it’s just my inner cynic coming forward but it seems like the photographer liked showing overweight people; it’s a chronically annoying stereotype that the AR-15 owner is some 400 lb neckbeard man with a trucker hat, and not a fit, trim, and well-groomed dude in a suit, which I can assure you, exist plentifully.

    • Well, cut the german photog guy some slack- you know Europeans generally dont know too much about US flyover country… there is a LOT of inbred Socialist thinking over there, including the “we who are so much more chic than you crude Americans” superiority complex.

      Just feel sorry for them- thats their weakness…the good news is left-wing thought has come up against the hard reality of facts for some time- the EU Socialist model is clearly NOT working in defense, health, and about to implode in banking,

      but even so, you are going to see the last holdouts from reality in the arts and journolista world…the fact that THIS spread is relatively balanced is a shocker and proof all by itself…that the sea-change is underway…

      I sense envy, underneath it all….

      • Oh whatever. Too may people have been brainwashed into thinking America looks (or should) look like a sitcom cast. These look like the people I see everyday and they look about as underwhelmingly average as all the Europeans I’ve ever seen.

  22. I loved the pictures and enjoyed looking at them. I thought they were very well done. The photographer’s comments I read gave me the distinct impression that he was not judging, and that he was just expressing his art. He seemed to be pleasantly surprised to find that his subjects felt at ease and normal with him around.

  23. Consider the reader — and not yourself. I think the point of this SLATE piece IS to (*subtly*) portray gun owners as OTHER — being how a sample of SLATE readers would have looked culturally different. Ultimate message: “you don’t REALLY care if these folks do years in prison for a 20-rd mag do you? (of course not)

    • If that was their intent than it is a fail. These are pictures of “normal” people not all freaks. Dude with the Range Rover is the typical Slate reader.

      • You’re missing the point. They look normal to you and I. To the average Slate reader in NY, Chicago, Seattle, etc, they look like backwoods hicks that just walked out of the barn in flyover country.

        • Still… some of those Slate readers are going to say, hey, that looks like Uncle Henry, or Grampa, back home…and get that maybe someone is making fun of their family….

          so while maybe some of the young Slate readers are rural refugees to the big city, or pampered suburban kids of helicopter parents just starting out in life, and this susceptible to being programmed,

          dont underestimate the young, and other smart readers at Slate- they are reflecting, on what works, and what doesnt, in the urban core…

          that alone creates a dissonance that will keep sneaking up, and being reinforced by other disconnects from what the elite say should be, vs what you actually see, in your life,

          until the light bulb comes on…. awakening doesnt happen all at once, its bit by bit…

          “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality”

        • Only a small percentage of people read blogs comment and they are not necessarily a cross section of the readership either. Look how many hits TTAG gets and look at how few people actually post.

          The actual quote is:

          “A neo-conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality”

          The current use of the term NEOCON was started by Nazi sympathizer and holocaust denier Pat Buchanan. It really means Jew despite the fact the neo-conservative movement was as much Irish-Catholic as it was Jewish. The kind of people who use NEOCON today are the lunatic fringe on either end of the spectrum. Bascially, neo-confederates, faux Libertarian/krypto-Progressives and your basic neo-communist running as a Democrat.

        • Well put, tdiinva. And, more specifically, “neo-con” has come to mean Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Bernard Lewis, Elliot Abrams, and Norman Podhoretz. Of course, originally, prior to the Iraq War, the term referred not to someone of a particular people but to any former radical leftist who had seen the light and converted to conservatism.

  24. Why so glum, chum? Seriously, 95% of the photos I see online of people posing with their guns, they all either have this super-serious “I’m trying to seem like a badass” look on their face, or a blank, vacuous stare. Doesn’t anybody ever smile? Or is there some rule I’m not aware of that forbids grinning while holding a firearm in a photo?

    • Maybe it’s a German photographer thing. If you look at August Sander’s collection Men Without Masks, none of those folks are smiling either. In fact, there’s a portrait of a young woman with a flower in her hands and a thoughtful expression on her face oddly reminiscent of the young beauty heading this post.

      • In this case, it could be the Germanic influence. But that doesn’t explain the thousands of other similarly dour photos people post all over the place. The recent “Stand Strong CT” series here at TTAG is a pretty representative example.

        Sure, guns are serious tools. They can even be dangerous. But they’re also a full metric shitload of fun. I rarely see that side of gun ownership portrayed in still photos, that’s all I’m saying.

      • Yeah most Euros I’ve run into aren’t so big on grinning at everyone and everything. I guess it looks creepy to them.

    • Ladies tend to smile unless they’re mugging for the camera or doing a Charlie’s Angels shot.

      Western boys are taught not to smile as it is considered a sign of weakness.

  25. they all looked like normal thoughtful responsable people except the one named Dam baum , he looks crazy and reckless

    • LOL! You sly devil miforest…:)

      Hey Robt- seriously- does ol’ Dan still lurk here from time to time?
      Can you invite a reply?
      I bot his book “Gun Guys” and really enjoyed it, and I recall he was courageous enough to debate here from time to time, when it first came out.

      I remember you saying you won a private bet with him some time later. No need to reply on that, as it was private-

      but I wonder how Dan feels these days, and if he is courageous enough to reply, to this article’s theme…he did have real insight to the mind of some “moderate liberals” and I wonder how many are reconsidering things, including the 2A right to self-defense, from a tyrannical government, for example…

      http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2014/04/01/the-silence-of-the-liberals/

  26. I like the diversity. Gun ownership cuts across social, ethnic, and gender lines. In other words, it’s AMERICAN.

  27. I’m going to have to say no. You can’t put a face on gun ownership. There are over one hundred million faces.

  28. I thought the Slate series was pretty decent… for Slate. Yeah, the text that goes with the photos are dripping with ignorance and hoplophobia, but on the whole, better than I expected.

    But the actual photographer has some photos that are even better, I think, for showing that gun owners are pretty normal, average Americans. Here are three I particularly liked:

    http://charlesommanney.com/STORIES/Gun-Control/6/

    http://charlesommanney.com/STORIES/Gun-Control/20/

    http://charlesommanney.com/STORIES/Gun-Control/27/

    That last photo of a suburban mom who bought a gun because cops didn’t respond fast enough to a call… that’s what we need more of if we’re going to win the culture war.

  29. Elizabeth is only 17? Bummed…
    I’m in the Midwest. These people all looked pretty normal to me. Except I don’t know many people with guns.

  30. pod,

    Thanks for the link. The selection of photos was much wider than what I found on the slate link.

    I thought that slate’s photos skewed a bit to the negative. There was one each man and woman who were attractive in a “mainstream” sort of way. (Not that I’m in that category.) More of the people were overweight and not neatly attired. Absolutely no intent to disparage those people. Unfortunately, people’s minds usually associate neat attire with responsibility. (Blame John Malloy and his research if you have to,)

    As TheSophist notes, the other link shows a better assortment of people who own firearms.

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