My family is gathering for my father’s memorial service. Once again, my blood relatives and their relations are treating me with disinterest, distrust and distaste. At 50 years of age, I can let that one go. But I find it odd that they find it odd that I like guns. Suffice it to say, I’m not ashamed of who I am and what I love. First my wife and children. After that, well, those of you who share my fascination with the ethics, morality, politics, business, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns—and those who don’t—are welcome here, my home away from home. As for my father, I know he’d appreciate the joie de vivre I’ve found amongst the TTAG community and, of all places, down at the gun range. Gun guru Wayne’s beaming face in this video, triggered by shooting a paper target with a Mossberg HS 410, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Except, of course, for my father’s smile. I know he’s dead. But he is missed.
Back during the dark days of the Clinton years, I was on a couple of pre-internet chat boards and on one of them a suggestion was made that gun owners take a page from – of all things – the gay rights advocates.
Even though it's considered very chic and cool to be gay these days (hey, even Rush Limbaugh is down with it!) there was a time not that long ago when homosexuality was considered shameful and immoral (and of course there are places now where it still is considered that.)
One tactic the gay rights advocates came up with was the "we are everywhere" meme. It's easy to be anti-gay when you don't actually know anyone who's gay. But if you find out that Bob, your golf partner is gay, or Susan, your sister-in-law, is a lesbian, then all of a sudden that perspective changes. Gays are no longer "the other", but simply someone we know and interact with regularly.
It could be the same with gun owners. I'm not saying that gun owners with non-gun-owning family members should walk around with a pistol on their hip, a rifle over thier shoulder, or wearing a t-shirt that invites the reader to remove the gun from their "cold dead hands", but if the opportunity presents itself (say a co-worker is ranting about those "crazy gun owners" who oppose this or that "reasonable" law) then it might be good to point out that not all gun owners are crazy, in fact, you're talking to one now.
Is it a risk? Sure it is. Just as gays "coming out" to family and friends was (and is) a risk. They run the risk of being shunned for their "immoral" lifestyle just as we run the risk of being shunned for being "gun nuts." But the more moderate among them might admit that a person can be a gun owner and still be a sane, rational person.
And that's how we win. One opened mind at a time.