Earlier this year, I had an extended family dinner in my native land of Colorado. For reasons best left to bureaucrats, the Rocky Mountain State doesn’t recognize my California CCW permit, but I didn’t feel anxious. The odds of an armed assault on a downmarket Mexican restaurant are lower than the chances of intestinal attack. Besides, my brother is a Colorado resident with a concealed carry permit. As the conversation progressed and my burrito started to vanish, the group discussion led to guns. Several family members explained why we need to ban concealed carry for “safety.” It became gradually harder to stay silent . . .
I didn’t have to. My mother took that opportunity to out myself, my father and my brother as all having permits to carry concealed weapons. It was then known that there was a loaded gun – duh duh DUH! – at that dinner table. As the sopapillas arrived, Mom also revealed that I was carrying a gun at an anti-gun cousin’s wedding on Catalina Island (which is in California). I was asked not to bring it, but I did anyway because I guess I don’t listen and…well…it’s my gun. It goes everywhere with me.
News spread quickly around the table about me being an – make that the – outspoken gun owner. Which is strange, considering I wasn’t the one carrying. Still, I held my own and said my piece. It’s what I do. I’m not sure how the subject changed to camo and bullet-proof vests, but it did, and I was asked several times about both items.
Is it that hard to understand that I don’t wear camo because I don’t hunt and it’s not my style, and I don’t have a bullet-proof vest because I don’t think I need one? Is this a new stereotype of gun owners? Because I was recently asked about both items again by an anti-gun friend. “Why don’t you ever talk about your bullet-proof vest?” You mean the vest I don’t own?
Where do people get these anti-gun stereotypes? You guys know what I mean; male gun owners are painted as dumb racist rednecks. The antis think of armed women either as macho men’s brainless gun bunnies or irresponsible, paranoid parents, likely to leave guns around for their kids to play with.
The truth about gun owners is that we’re an incredibly diverse group with a wide range of interests and styles, united by a common belief in both mutual and self-defense. We’re coherent enough to look out for each other, but different enough to have passionate disagreements on the smallest of things. Kinda like a family.