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It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything here on TTAG. My apologies, my daughter was in town, and my 12-year-old offspring is a force of nature, and not to be denied when she in for the holidays. But all good things must eventually come to an end (all too soon, if you ask me) and so we made our pilgrimage to Love Field to put her on a plane to Amarillo. But before that, we’d planned to come over a day early to see friends, let her get in a little shopping at her own version of Mecca (Sam Moon Importers, if you must know), and attend a party billed as “Pistols and Pizza,” where a bunch of friends go to a gun range and shoot holes in pieces of paper, then indulge in some really good pizza (Urban Crust, if you must know). Sadly, events conspired against us, and we got outta town late, forcing to miss the range time, and meet up for pizza alone.

The good news, is I was able to sneak in a little range time this morning with one of the guys, whilst my daughter went off on yet another shopping safari to store or stores unknown, in deepest, darkest Plano. I went to what I discovered to be the nicest range/store I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit, a place in Plano called the Bullet Trap.

The Bullet Trap is much more than just a handgun range. It’s also got a fully-equipped rifle range, a retail store, instructional classrooms, and a knowledgeable staff. It’s also near-squeaky clean, well-lit, well-ventilated, and they let you pick up your own brass. (!)

On the negative side, like every other range I’ve visited, they have a stated policy that no loaded guns may be brought into the store/range. You have to unload them before you bring them into the range, reload them, and then shoot. I’m sorry, but I think that’s colossally stupid, not to mention supremely ironic. I mean, here I am, doing my conceal carry thang, and I’ve got to unload my bloody gun to enter a gun range? Has the whole world gone mad? I expect that kind of thing from government offices and hospitals. But from gun ranges? I mean, what are the odds of some moron going postal there? And if they were gonna do so, would a sign stop them? Noooooo!

Upon leaving the place, wandering to parts North later on, I was surprised to see one of those giant billboards that grace either side of Central Expressway, advertising the self-same range I’d visited earlier. “Whoa,” I thought, “I can’t believe they have a billboard advertising a gun range right here in the middle of the Metroplex!” Then I realized, I am in Dallas, deep in the heart of Texas. But then a deeper thought ran through my head, namely, why does it come as a surprise that a gun shop would advertise using a billboard?

Now I’m fully aware that billboards are the advertising methodology of choice for most gun shows, but these are typically lower-rent billboards, like an 8-sheet junior (5 feet x 11 feet for you non-advertising types). It’s fairly unusual to see a giant, 30 sheet bleed poster (10 feet 5 inches x 22 feet 8 inches) dedicated to guns. First of all, those suckers are expensive – both to produce and to rent. And then there’s the prominence thing…I don’t have any data on this, but I’d bet there are certain parts of the country (San Francisco, Chicago) that would bloody well ban billboards or stone to death any billboard company that stooped to accepting a gun dealer as a customer. In this part of the country, it’s not out of the question. But it still got me to thinking about the nature of guns and advertising.

25 years and another lifetime ago, I was around for the birth of the computer industry, up close and personal. When I went to work for a software publisher, I found that the state of personal computer advertising (circa 1987) was about 20 years behind advertising in the real world. (Trade secret: all I had to do was to emulate advertising styles, trends, and “look and feel” from the mainstream publications and I looked like a friggin’ genius to my bosses. Heh.) Much of what passes for advertising in the Wonderful World o’ Guns has the same problem. A lot of it is either sexist (women displaying impressive cleavage to sell guns – how very 1970s!), or contain so much info that only a propellerhead could love it. But aside from a need for a huge makeover, I think there’s a bigger force at work here. Guns have been marginalized by the mainstream media into what amounts to a sub-culture. And not a “cool” one, but one that is regularly portrayed as, well, creepy.

Why? I’m not saying that the mainstream media/Brady Bunch/Bloomberg cabal is putting us on the same plane as those sick, twisted creeps that want to legitimize pedophilia, but I seriously don’t think they look on gun owners/manufacturers/sellers much differently from NAMBLA. Now THAT’S creepy.

Thing about it. The mainstream media (when they are not using guns to sell tickets to movies) treat gun culture as social pariahs. I mean, everything you hear about gun owners, manufacturers or sellers is pejorative in the extreme.  A gun owner doesn’t own a tactical rifle – it’s an “assault rifle.” Gun dealers are “facilitating straw man purchases” or selling “crime guns.” (What in the HELL is a crime gun?) The manufacturers are “irresponsible,” “war mongers” or “profiteers.” And if you are involved in a shooting, you can bet your bottom dollar some reporter wanting to make his Progressive bones is gonna crawl up your ass with a proctoscope, examining any and everything that you have done in your life to show some kind of evidence of being some kind of reactionary redneck, suspiciously holding on to your God, your guns, and your religion.

Yep. Guns are portrayed in the real world as objects of suspicion, derision, and to be feared or mocked, along with the people involved with them. Which is why that giant billboard surprised me so much. I don’t know what the answer is. But until we begin to change the perceptions of the general public, get ready to put up with the memes of the left about “black rifles,” “cop killer bullets” and “days of the wild West.”

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