To start off, I’ll offer a little background about myself and hopefully you can fully appreciate my view. I’m a 23 year old college student in a very liberal town, Boone, in a not so liberal state, North Carolina. I live off campus in “student living” that is in no way affiliated with the school, but is targeted (no pun intended) by college students and is marketed that way. Boone is home to Appalachian State University, which some of you may know from a few years ago when we became “The Giant Killers” when we beat Michigan in their own stadium. Since 2007, the University has exploded in popularity and the town has doubled in size, the majority of which are college students. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m about to tell you what I think is the problem with guns . . .
The problem with guns, in my humble opinion, is a lack of education. I can’t even blame the media fully this time, although they do contribute. I strongly believe that even a vague understanding of firearms would prevent the vast majority of anti-gun views, including what a “assault rifle” is and the likelihood of being “gunned down” by one.
I come from a military family, was raised around guns, and shoot as much as I can. My two roommates, who are also close friends, feel the same way about guns as I do and we all own firearms. Since I’ve been raised around firearms, I feel completely at ease around them. Although, I can certainly understand why a less educated person would not. And this brings me to my main point, college kids, for the most part, are completely and utterly uneducated when it comes to firearms besides what they see in video games.
A friend from a neighboring building stopped by the other day and told me a story that I just couldn’t help but laugh at. He, like myself, is a gun enthusiast and we’ve talked about finding a range close and going shooting together. Well, the last time he was back home visiting he brought back his AR-15, shotgun, and GLOCK 23 with him like we had talked about. When he walked in with his guns his roommates confronted with him with concerns about his guns and he quickly put the guns up so the roommates wouldn’t cause too much fuss about them being out in the open. But, of course, the trouble didn’t end there.
The roommates immediately called the police to report that my friend had firearms in his apartment and was concerned about the legality. Naturally, the police couldn’t do anything since my friend owns all of his firearms legally and the police told him that unless he directly threatening his life, they couldn’t do anything. After the phone call with the police the roommate confronted my friend again and told him he didn’t want the AR and handgun in the apartment and that “the shotgun was fine.” My friend responded politely and told the roommate that the guns would stay right where they are since they are legally owned and aren’t against the lease agreement.
That response didn’t satisfy the roommate so he contacted the management company of the apartment complex we live in and reported the problem to them as well. They told him that there was nothing they could do since he was within his rights to own firearms and they offered to move the roommate. The roommate was offended and insisted that he wasn’t the problem and he shouldn’t be forced to move. The management company called my friend and explained that his roommate doesn’t feel safe living with him any longer and asked if he would mind moving. My friend refused and the matter was dropped in the eyes of the management company.
After that, the roommate now sleeps with his door locked and refuses to communicate with my friend in any way, shape or form which is fine by him. This occurrence, although comical, isn’t surprising based on my experience with people my own age. I constantly get looks of disgust whenever the topic of “assault rifles” pops up and I’m immediately judged. Usually the first words out of peoples mouths is “you can’t hunt with that.” To which I usually reply, “thousands and thousands of people hunt with AR’s, successfully, ever year and me owning my AR has nothing to do with hunting.”
Not that it bothers me personally, but it does bother me that people my age just don’t seem to understand firearms except from what they’ve seen, heard, or been told. If the roommate had any previous firearm experience I feel like he would be much more tolerant of firearms simply because he obviously doesn’t understand that he should be much more concerned about the shotgun rather than the AR. Or that a handgun is much better for self/home defense than a shotgun. Also, most people seem to think that the AR is such a powerful, almighty rifle, although it is very effective, it’s not particularly powerful, comparatively. Firearm ignorance is what is fueling this campaign on our rights.
I’d like to make a suggestion. A suggestion which I’ve been following for a little while now. I suggest that it is every gun owner’s duty to educate the public on firearms. Take a person, a reasonable person, that’s open-minded enough to come to the range, and show him/her a good time. If anyone knows how infectious guns can be, it’s the readers here. Teach them about proper gun safety and if you’re so inclined, throw some statistics about how many people defend themselves with firearms every year.
Show them that guns aren’t scary, mythical, beasts. Instead, they are just tools for different things. Maybe swing by the gun counter before you leave, if your range has one. You might suggest what type of handgun would be good for self/home defense for that specific individual.
I think that this method would be much for effective than, say, open carry rallies and extremist gun owners making a bad name for us. Actually, I think that all the open carry rallies are having the opposite effect. Don’t get me wrong, I open carry and I’m an advocate for it, but I don’t think now is the right time to be parading around with our guns out while the media construes our story. If we show up, concealed guns in tow, then they can’t make a spectacle out of us. They can’t call us crazy gun-toting people if we aren’t flaunting our guns during rallies.
There you have it. There’s the problem with guns. At least from the perspective of a 23 year old college kid.