The fact is, there’s no such thing as a “typical” gun owner. There never has been. With at least 125 million gun owners in the US (and that’s probably significantly understating it) gun owners come in all shapes, sizes, colors, political bents and proclivities. Just like the rest of the population. Check out our ‘I Am A Gun Owner’ series and photo album from a few years ago if you need proof.
Reader Elaine D. is a case in point. In fact her email made us think this would be a great way for more of you to tell your stories. If you’d like to share, send an email to us describing how you’re not the “typical” gun owner. Send it to [email protected] with One Gun Owner’s Story in the subject field. We’ll keep your name confidential if you’d prefer. Here’s Elaine’s story:
By Elaine D.
I’m the child of a Vietnamese war refugee and a Vietnam war draftee. My Vietnamese grandfather was a Viet Cong general who would be considered a terrorist here, but in Vietnam is considered a war hero for liberating his people.
My Vietnamese family was on all three sides of the war–South Vietnamese allied with the Americans, Viet Cong, and North Vietnamese sympathizers. So, I’m half Vietnamese and half white.
I first obtained my LTC in 2015. Truth is, I did the basic class and obtained a pistol to send a message to a former boyfriend who, a year after we broke up, still hadn’t gotten the hint that I no longer wanted to be contacted, if you understand me. But I didn’t do much with it once he went away, though I held onto that first (terrible) pistol for a while since I’d earned the right to carry it.
I came seriously back into shooting in March of 2016 when I learned that I was going to be going to Africa for five weeks, out into the remote Kalahari, in June/July of this year. At that time I got my Lantac Raven and started studying with Jeff Gonzales at The Range at Austin and spent the next year taking courses and getting serious about the carbine.
The question of whether I needed to conceal my family history in the shooting world due to a high population of American military/ex military in that world was one I struggled with for a long time. Actually, though, those who know have been quite accepting.
Up until shortly before the trip there was the possibility that I would bring a rifle with us. I went to Africa with an anthropologist who has been documenting the history and traditions of the Kalahari San people for about 50 years.
In the end Namibia’s gun restrictions and the complexity of the situation meant we scrapped the idea of bringing a firearm because the only way to do that is to be affiliated with a hunting/safari mission and that was not what we were doing. Plus there isn’t always the best relationship between the indigenous people and the safari operators and it’s very complicated and dangerous out there if you get crossways with the wrong people.
So…taking the rifle along didn’t happen for political reasons, but I’m still glad I prepared for it as much as I did.
I got back into pistol this spring and, after needing to go through a few firearms to find the right ones, I found mine and now that’s what I’m focusing on. Pistol is my weak point but it’s slowly, slowly getting stronger. It just needs a lot of work.
It hasn’t always been easy being almost the only serious woman shooter in most of my training courses. Like most women, I came to shooting as a self-defense need, but I have taken my training process and ownership far beyond what most women do.
Being a Democrat and a woman in a world full of people who are rabidly Republican and male hasn’t been easy either. However I will also say that when it comes to who I’ve chosen for training (primarily Jeff Gonzales and I used to take courses with Lee Vernon at Combative Weapons Solutions when he was still teaching firearms courses) I have been treated very fairly. The flak I’ve gotten has mostly come from other participants in the training classes, some of whom didn’t seem to think that a woman should be holding her own with them.
Friends on both the left and right have expressed concern that I would be “targeted” for writing something like this. I doubt that’s a concern that would be expressed to your “typical” gun owner simply for doing a piece of writing. I am not sure whether this concern has to do with my race or my gender. Or maybe both.
Other friends of mine in the shooting world have been telling me I should write to y’all and provide a “diversity in the shooting world” article. At first I laughed because I thought that y’all would lose your readership by posting something from a person like me. But then I saw you put up the Larry Vickers video. One of my shooting friends actually served with Vickers.
So that’s me. I love guns, shooting, and training and I hope this inspires others to do let the world know that all shooters aren’t the same, by any means.