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 Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 4.13.44 PM

TTAG’s “I Am A Gun Owner” project continues. [Click here for the Facebook album.] The concept remains the same: show the world that American gun owners are not [all] old fat white guys. Or right wing Republicans. Or Southern rednecks. Or straight or gay or Christian or Muslim or any one thing in particular. There is only one thing that unites the people in the photos: they all cherish their gun rights. As the diversity of participants’ backgrounds manifests itself, some commentators have criticized depicted gun owners for their non-gun beliefs, accusing of them of hypocrisy and betrayal. While Dan and I never hesitate to delete comments to maintain civility, we haven’t deleted the lion’s share of these remarks. Here’s why . . .

I understand why many gun owners can’t understand a boldly pro-gun American who holds contradictory views. A former Obama supporter who wants to join the cause? Heresy! Pro-abortion but pro-armed self-defense to protect children? GTFO! The comments section reflects the resulting incredulity and outrage. To put it diplomatically, these concerns are not without reason.

But I like to think that gun owners with collectivist views are on an intellectual journey. They’re waking-up to the Second Amendment’s underlying implications, and what it means to own a gun in a country where gun ownership is under threat. They are identifying with their fellow gun-owning Americans, “coming out of the closet” and dedicating their time, effort and image to the cause.

The IAAGO photo gallery helps them appreciate a simple truth: they are not alone. And maybe, just maybe, it helps “absolutists” (like yours truly) come to grips with the fact that American gun owners’ differences are less important than our mutual respect for, and faith in, our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

Wishful thinking? We shall see. Meanwhile, we will leave enough of the “dissenting” opinions to show that we are so tolerant that we even tolerate intolerance (within limits). If you know what I mean.

To those considering submitting a photo to [email protected] (PHOTO in caps in the subject bar), rest assured that Dan and I won’t let any comments get “out of control.” As always, you can email [email protected] if you consider a comment unacceptably inflammatory.

And to those who would lambaste our politically incongruous photo contributors I refer you to the words of Thomas Jefferson. “We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.”

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  1. “… our differences are less important than our mutual respect for, and faith in, our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.”


    • +1000

      It is not at all contradictory to be pro-gun and pro-choice or pro-equality. They all stem from the same philosophy. Likewise, you don’t have to believe that a right was given to you by a deity to treasure that right.

      • Sorry; only pre-selected ‘combo’ belief packages are allowed. You have two to choose from. If you try to pick and choose some from column A and some from Column B, you’ll be soundly vilified by…well, everyone.

        It is not permissible to support all freedoms, for all people.

      • Exactly. I am an atheist. I do not believe that my rights were given to me by a god.

        However, I do believe that when the fathers designed the country they believed that the people should be armed. Just in case the King of England came looking for back taxes. And when they created the government they created certain inalienable right that the government cannot change.

        Talking trash about those that are supporting the Gun Cause in the time when we need as much support as we can get is simply idiotic.

        Talk about divide and concur. “They” won’t have to do it, if we are going to do it to ourselves.

        • Brother Bear: think of the “God” in the Constitution’s case simply as an entity that cannot be argued with. So when we say our rights are God-given, that means our rights weren’t given to us by any earthly power, and therefore no earthly power has the ability to take them away.

    • +1

      respect and support of the constitution is not a leftrightblackwhitetallfat proposition, it is to be an American.

  2. RF, my only request to the folks working the moderation detail is to gently redirect discussion that veers into non-2A hot button territory. I have yet to see any constructive value arise from any thread that touches on abortion and reproductive rights, to put it mildly.

    • +1

      I would also throw in discussions of religion / God / Christian vs Muslim vs Atheist. Attacking someone’s support of guns because of their religion (or lack there of) is silly.

      As a Christian, I find the attacks usually thrown against Muslims and Atheists to usually based on broad, hateful stereotypes – all Muslims are violent child rapists, Atheists are selfish pricks, etc…

  3. Lets face it, the Second Amendment is there to protect all other rights, whether we agree with, or approve of the thoughts behind them. In pure irony, we fight to defend 2A even so people can talk about taking it away, as much as we may have to disagree with that, the end result, we we are trying to protect their fundamental (albiet misguided) RIGHT to say it. As the saying goes…I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    Right now, firearms owners are under attack. We must marshall ALL out forces against this assault, whether or not we agree with them on otherissues. The enemy of my enemy is my friend…..who cares what you believe elsewhere, of you will stand and fight to protect 2A? So, for this fight, we must all hang together, or we most assuredly will all hang separately…..or at least, lose the most precious of all rights…who knows what happens after that….

  4. You Sir are a gentlemen and scholar. Don’t take offense I mean it the most tongue in cheek manner. In truth though WE can all learn something new I damned well know I have. 😉

  5. We even argued and fought among ourselves from time to time, but when the firefight started, (incoming), we were all in agreement on how to respond.

    • A few people have emailed asking about their pic. Just to be clear, we post ALL of them. It’s just that we have received plenty of them and can only put up about five a day. Which means we have a backlog.

      We will get to your pic. Thanks for your patience.

  6. keep it up RF and TTAG readers hows the diversity and real gun owners to kick back the lies Media are saying about us right now.

  7. Those are salient points you make. It is sometimes difficult to know who to welcome and who is simply wearing wool with wolf intents. Stating ‘I am a gun owner’ is nice, as I know those of varying beliefs are. However, we already know that the grabbers don’t necessarily hate guns, but simply want them for the privileged. These are not on our side, as even we are not simply about guns, but self defense, defense of freedom, and individual rights guaranteed by our constitution. Being a gun owner and not believing in these things does not place you among those fighting for the spirit of firearm liberty.

  8. As one of the commenters who’ve expressed non firearm opinions, I appreciate the freedom of expression here. Important as they are to our freedom, there’s more to life than firearms. I realize not everyone agrees with me, but I have as much of a right to express my opinions as the folks in the photos. Most sites would squash any controversial discussions in the bud, and well, that’s just no fun, is it?

    • It’s not called the truth about abortions. Or the truth about the fiscal cliff. It’s not even the troth about females in the front lines.( though that’s slightly more relevant) Lets keep it on point.

      • True enough; but then again, the truth about guns is that guns are about far more than guns themselves. Who needs yet another blog arguing muzzle energy vs. accuracy and their respective impacts on self-defense efficacy? Do we really need to spill another thousand gallons of virtual ink clarifying the differences, and dangers of not recognizing them, between .223 and 5.56? Of course not.

        Guns are inextricably enmeshed within history, culture, politics, philosophy, sociology and all flavors of self reliance, independence, and individualism. They’re important to many policy debates; whether land use and tort reform, environmental impact, criminology, and many others. They’re fundamental to the nature of the relationship between the individual and the State. To dismiss blithely, as being off point, these other issues some have raised, misses the point yourself. It’s poor to the point of being pointless.

        Nevertheless, as a newcomer to TTAG, I’m starting to feel which way the wind blows in here. To paraphrase another social commentator, I’m seeing here a lot of guys who like all the pretty articles, and they like to write along, and they like to shoot their guns, but they don’t know what it means. What a pity.

      • Exactly! So why do they post pictures of people with sheets of paper saying they are “pro-choice”? Isn’t this site supposed to be ONLY about guns?

        • the project is representing that people of all types are bound together in firearms ownership, that the “truth about guns” is anyone, Abortionists, Creationists, Blacks, Hispanics or Communists can own them.

          I’m surprised that the supposedly intelligent are missing the whole thrust. Not everyone is like you, and as much as “the gun control establishment” wants to pigeon hole gun owners, its not the case at all.

          Me? I voted Obama. I’m registered Communist. I flip the bird to abortion protestors, and wish women every right that a man has to do whatever she wants in combat (and don’t know why its discussed here), and while I like to think there’s some sort of higher power, I’m pretty sure the Christians got it all completely and utterly wrong.

          But yet, here I am, just another facet of the truth about guns. Maybe I read Democratic Underground, but I don’t always agree with their spiel.

  9. Well said Robert, except that part about gun owners being “old fat white guys”. I are one. 😉 Keep up the good work.

  10. I think the IAAGO project will be successful–and may help influence the 2A cause in our direction–precisely BECAUSE it includes so many people with varying beliefs and opinions on other issues.

    I am politically and socially conservative. Yet I know people, including some close relatives, whose political views differ sharply from mine AND enjoy their firearms. While we continue to disagree on a wide range of issues, the one thing that brings us closer is an appreciation for the Second Amendment. Equally important is the opening it provides into a larger conversation. As we know all too well from recent events, for many on the left, it is easy to take an event like Sandy Hook and then demagogue the Second Amendment with wildly irrational, emotional, and non-factual “arguments”. The more that our liberal gun-owning friends can see this happening, the more they may be open to seeing it as a pattern that affects other areas of society and politics as well.

    It’s no wonder that the amendment we discuss so much on these pages was placed quite deliberately by the Founders immediately after the First.

    • it was placed there to protect slavery, which was more important to the southern states than freedom of speech.

      Cheers 🙂

  11. Really? Tell that to Wendy and see if she appreciates all this “honesty.” The insults to her are such an embarrassment to all of us. She has revealed our true colors.

    • Who is “us”? If you can’t defend your decisions or actions when others question you, I suggest you grow up and grow a thicker skin.

      • I guess he means “you”. Part of growing up is learning focus. This site has an alleged agenda (aside from making money from sponsors) — to help promote 2A and encourage responsible gun ownership. This isn’t achieved by bashing those who actively support 2A but don’t lug around the rest of your wacko political baggage. Last I checked this wasn’t an arm of a GOP social media blog.

        • I am not condoning the bashing, and part of growing up is focus. The other part is being able to ask questions of others decisions and engaging in a dialogue. I stated in the Wendy thread that I don’t agree with her choice, but defend the right that is is her choice. I personally would like to find out what her rational was in voting for BHO, twice.
          Calling those who disagree with you as “wacko” is NOT part of growing up. But, in time you will realize this, also.

        • That is a grown up response? Are your sensibilities hurt when some one questions your decisions? Like I stated I don’t condone the bashing, but sure as hell can ask the thought process behind her choice. I am always interested in the viewpoint that is different from mine. Discussing them can be difficult, but is a learning opportunity. Some day, you hopefully will grow up enough to realize this.

  12. Robert, I love what you’re doing and I thought this was a particularly eloquent: “…that American gun owners’ differences are less important than our mutual respect for, and faith in, our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.”

    Liberals who support the second amendment aren’t lost or confused, they’re consistent supporters of personal freedom.

  13. However unpleasant it sometimes may be, the ability of all to express what they want to express, whether that be the person in the picture or the commenter, is something that should be valued.

    If you want a place where only like-minded views are allowed to be heard and positions are not allowed to be challenged, there are plenty of gun-grabber blogs out there.

  14. As the guy on the bottom row, second from the right, I say that I’m glad to have an open discussion about any topic. I prefer to keep things civil, but I can be sarcastic or nasty, if that’s what’s desired.

    My guiding principle is to ask what will increase choice for each citizen. I don’t care about large groups, be they corporations, churches, or governments. What makes life freer for one person at a time?

  15. While I understand your motives with the I Am a Gun Owner photos, I am reminded of and recommend the movie “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. This movie is about the Soviet/communist takeove of Czechoslovakia in the sixties. Photographs of dissidents and protesters were obtained by the government and used to identify “enemies of the state”. And this was long before photo recognition software. I am a gun owner. I support TTAG and the Second Amendment. I will NOT be submitting a photo.

    Yes, I’m paranoid, but am I paranoid enough?

    • No. In this day and age of technology, if you’re gun-interested enough to post on TTAG about this, and the government REALLY wanted to yank your info, unless you’re using electronic precautions (which in that case, you’d be better off not posting) they can find you.

  16. If you cherish your gun rights then you should vote like you do. Instead of voting for a gun grabber like Obama or wasting it on a fringe candidate that has no chance.

    • The people who didn’t vote are the ones who wasted their votes. Not the ones who voted for independents.

      Tangled, according to your logic people shouldn’t have voted for Obama, shouldn’t have voted for independents – and then what, should have voted for the candidate who *did* sign an AWB?

  17. I know several people who are card-carrying members of the Communist party and who own firearms.

    They are not on a journey. They simply realize that when capitalism ultimately collapses they will probably have to fight off the old fat white guys. Stalin was a great shot, if you will remember 🙂

    I have no taste for it, myself. I will let others do the fighting for me 🙂

  18. I can disagree with others when it comes to other issues but still stand with them on gun rights. That is the nature of politics. Those who horde into compounds are missing the best part of America.

  19. A lot of the posts on some of the IAAGO photos really bothered me, and not because they are rude. People are rude; I don’t give a shit. It bothers me because I’m realizing that a lot of my teammates don’t understand how to win the game we are playing. We are trying to get overwhelming popular support for the RTKB so we never have to find out if we really mean it when we say “Molon Labe”. If we are only willing to accept support for the RTKB from people who also vote like us or view the world the same way we do, we will lose.

    • Agreed.

      On a lighter note…

      DentalPrepper… is your screen name a reference to a coming tooth apocalypse I should be aware of? Will there be a day that demonically possessed dentures run rampant on our streets to savage our flesh? 😉

      • I’m a dental student and I prep teeth for fillings and crowns. I am also a prepper in general, so I think the name fits.

  20. Hey, I have no problem with people who hold different views supporting the Second Amendment as long as they VOTE for candidates that will support the Second Amendment. Saying that you support the Second Amendment but then repeatedly voting for anti-gun candidates because of “other values” isn’t supporting the Second Amendment.

    • The trick is where do you draw the line?

      Why are 3rd party candidates who support personal liberties not “relevant”? Because the people who should be voting for them because they better align with their ideals don’t.

      Instead they do the “practical” or “pragmatic” thing and “hold their nose and vote R”.

  21. Hi everyone. I’ve been reading the site for a while, but never commented before. Recently I contemplated sending in a picture for IAAGO, but decided against it for reasons that were mentioned in this post and many of the comments.

    I am a concealed carry license holder and, obviously, a gun owner. Here are some of the things I would have put on my sheet of paper if I was to make a picture. Although I recognize and appreciate the fact that many of you here are quite tolerant of political disagreements, it seems to me that the overall mood is that of courteous hostility, and that the most I could hope for is being grudgingly regarded as a temporary ally because of my views.

    1. (This one I think most of you will forgive me for.) I was born in the USSR and came to this country as a child.

    My family was granted a Green Card and allowed to enter the US after being deemed worthy and productive. The important distinction is that we came as immigrants, as opposed to refugees (as many of our former countrymen did) and so we received no public aid of any kind. Instead, we have been working and paying taxes ever since we arrived. Now all of us have become US citizens. Personally am against illegal immigration and associated amnesties. I also firmly believe that any immigrant must learn English and integrate into the culture of a country that had so graciously allowed us to join it.

    2. (This is questionable. Neutral probably.) I am a former US Marine.

    Before I begin sounding heroic: I was in the reserves and I was never sent to any wars. Also, I can’t say to have enjoyed my (limited service) all that much. Overall, I cannot claim to have contributed anything to the country in this way. Perhaps I should not have wasted the public funds, which could have been used to train someone more worthy. I was naive at the time and really thought that doing this would somehow pay the debt that I felt I owed to the US for taking me in. I was wrong. Some debts cannot be repaid. Especially by pretending to be someone you are not.

    3. (Probably also neutral.) I went to one of the top dozen American universities.

    I worked full time during the day, and went to school at night. I received no financial aid other than the Reserves GI BIll, which was (sometimes) enough to cover the books. As most universities mine was overwhelmingly liberal, and I ended up spending a lot of time fighting with certain marxist professors. Overall I feel this was not an outright loss, since I am possibly more useful now, and my tuition money could have gone towards some useful research. At least that’s what I like to think. Plus I now have a degree in History, which, among other things, allows me to have a better understanding of what happens when guns are taken from people. It also lends a bit of authority to my arguments on the topic.

    4. (This could go either way.) I work in the videogames industry.

    On one hand I’m a productive member of society, and pay thens of thousands of dollars in taxes. On the other hand, many of those who believe that guns don’t cause violence, are quick to point the finger at games and movies as culprits. This is equally ridiculous, but again and again I’ve seen supporters of the 2nd Amendment who are only too eager to blame anything that’s not guns. Games often make a convenient scapegoat and I don’t like that one bit. Just because guns are obviously not to blame, doesn’t mean that games are.

    5. (Negative points for me here.) I am pro choice.

    6. (More negative points.) I support the right of gays to marry.

    Moreover I also think it would be nice if “sexual deviants” of other types (swingers, BDSM practitioners) stopped being stigmatized. I know many such folks and they are perfectly good people, they just get turned on my different stuff.

    7. (What’s wrong with this guy?!) I support the legalization of marijuana.

    8. (OMG, he’s an evil, immoral heretic!) I support the legalization of prostitution.

    9. (Could go either way.) I am against the war on drugs.

    10. (Some more negative points.) I drive a tiny German car.

    I bought American cars until I realized that the industry wasn’t even trying. When Detroit produces something that is half as good as my convertible luxury roadster, I’ll think about switching back. In the meantime, I know that some people would like nothing more than to smash my foreign ass with their gigantic truck. And honestly, that makes me kind of sad.

    11. (BURN HIM WITH FIRE!!!) I am an atheist.

    That sentence alone is enough to make a whole lot of people ignore my stance on guns and focus on how I am a godless heathen who will burn in hell for eternity. I can be as ethical as I well damn please, but that will win me no points because I do not believe in god.

    12. (Could go either way.) I am against fighting other people’s wars.

    I think we should exterminate those who attack us, but helping one tribe of barbarians fight some other tribe in a 3rd world hole half across the world is not my idea of good foreign policy. We should not waste our time, money and lives on them. If they suddenly become civilized and ask for advice on how to best build their new and beautiful society, then by all means we should share our knowledge. But for so long as they remain barbarians, their troubles should only concern us when we have none of our own left to worry about.

    There’s a lot more. I vote for neither Democrats nor Republicans, instead I “throw away my vote” on Libertarians. I believe in having not just rights but also responsibilities. I am against Unions. I am against political correctness. I am against welfare in its current form and also against socialized medicine. I am against socialists in any form they take, and for a good reason — my family has a rich history of getting robbed and killed by socialists of every imaginable description.

    So overall, I am a lot like you guys in some ways, but nothing like you in others. And this is why I don’t feel particularly welcome here, despite the fact that I wholeheartedly support gun rights. Perhaps I am wrong or even paranoid. Maybe I misread the lot of you. But as of right now I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to send in a picture.

    Sorry for the wall of text. Best of luck to everyone.

  22. “Gun owners with collectivist views” are on either side of the aisle. The worst enemy of gun owners are those that try to pigeonhole people into an easily definable black and white labels–regardless of their gun ownership, activism, blogging abilities, etc.

    Congress critters get into office and want to stay there for life. They will throw anyone under the bus, sacrifice anything they have to, flip flop whatever they need to. A Congress critter with aspirations for more power is even worse. We keep our rights by one means only, and that’s ensuring we are loud enough to be heard.

  23. “But I like to think that gun owners with collectivist views are on an intellectual journey. “

    1. That’s a bit condescending.
    2. I highly doubt it.

    Just because a person owns a gun and wants to protect their hobby from government crackdowns doesn’t mean they’re on a journey toward giving a crap about negative liberty in general.

    • Exactly right. Some people own guns for entirely selfish reasons having nothing to do with preserving liberty and freedom in our society, but in pursuing their own narrow agenda. And that agenda may have more to do with being able to restrict someone else’s rights than to protect the Second Amendment. BHO doesn’t believe in your 2A rights, but he sure as hell believes int he right of his police and military to have sufficient arms to take yours away. Arms in support of fascism is in no way an “intellectual journey”, which is not to say that some of the liberals might not be educated and disuaded from their civilian disarmament agenda, but I wouldn’t bet the consitution on it.

  24. Mr. Farago, I think you have done a good thing here, not just “I Am A Gun Owner”, but in starting and running this site.

    Thank you, sir, for trying to bring the gun owning community together.

  25. The concept remains the same: show the world that American gun owners are not [all] old fat white guys. Or right wing Republicans. Or Southern rednecks. Or straight or gay or Christian or Muslim or any one thing in particular. There is only one thing that unites the people in the photos: they all cherish their gun rights.

    But to what end?

    We’re just preaching to the choir with all this. I don’t just care how diverse gun owners are…I also care about how diverse gun owners can be.

    And until we tone down the ugly comments that inevitably crop up in post after post, there’s no way in hell I’m going to do what it is that we all need to be done–namely, to refer NON-gun owners here to show them that we’re not “old fat white guys” but normal folks who own guns as a normal part of our lives.

  26. I’m one of those gun owners that is a Constitution-thumping libertarian.

    I’m an Army vet, I’m a lawyer, I am for individual liberties at the expense of governmental authority.

    It isn’t the government’s business whether or not I own a gun, it isn’t the government’s business whether or not I go to church, it isn’t the government’s business whether or not a woman gets an abortion, and it isn’t the government’s business whether or not two consenting adults of the same gender get married. I can keep going, but you get the general thrust of my position when it comes to our rights as citizens.

    I cannot understand how someone can clamor about some rights and willingly allow the government control over others, it seems to be illustrative of a certain cognitive dissonance. We don’t pick and choose the rights we like, we don’t get to argue that some rights are more valid than others.

  27. WTF? I sent mine and RF didn’t post it. Ok, maybe it was a crappy photoshop of BO and my impression of what he’d submit. And I could be wrong… Disregard.


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