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Colion Noir wrote this fantastic article last week on NRA Sharp entitled “Don’t Hide Your Pride.” I highly recommend you give it a read. I happened upon it at a time that perfectly coincided with Nick, Dan, and Robert asking me to start generating more content for TTAG taking this blogging thing from “part time hobby” to nearly full time consumer of my mornings, evenings, and weekends . . .

Over the last three years, I’ve never really made it a secret that I wrote for TTAG around friends, family, and co-workers. Hell, back in September 2011, I posted an article about bridging the gap with non gun folk. I never denied “gun guy” status, but in certain situations, I’d certainly steer the conversation elsewhere.

That has in the past and will continue to earn me some boos from the gun guy absolutists in the comments section, a situation I’ve become more comfortable with. No ambassador ever made inroads by beating people over the head with how awesome their represented interest is. I prefer a more gentle touch. To quote our president, “So sue me.

But with my increased output at TTAG, I felt that it was time to come out of the shadows a bit more with my public and online persona. First up was adding “writer” to my LinkedIn profile along with the description of my regular day job. A few of my friends and some of my family contacted me  after the change to ask if I’d thought it all the way through. They were worried about my job prospects a bit as “gun writer” isn’t nearly as lucrative as “technology sales” has proven to be. If I ended up leaving my current company, they worried that future employers might not be so open-minded as my current place of employment has been.

That’s a valid concern and one that definitely crossed my mind. But the simple fact of the matter is that exploring firearms is more than a hobby for me, I treat it as part of my identity. Furthermore, I don’t write contentious stuff. I tend to focus on hunting, the outdoors, gear reviews, with the occasional rumination on the political aspects of firearms sprinkled in here and there. So if a company isn’t open-minded enough to look at my body of work and simply says “guns = bad/no hire”, I’m really not interested in working for them. Simple calculus really.

The biggest change came in my conversations with people. When someone spouts something ignorant like, “Well just don’t get mad and shoot us all with your guns,” I calmly explain that statistically speaking, as a Texas CHL holder, I’m one of the least violent people they’ll meet all day. When people ask me what I do for a living, my generic response was a description of my 8:00 – 5:30, but now I also add that I write for the most popular gun blog in the world. A cursory Google search will tell them the same thing anyway, so it’s no use hiding the fact.

Furthermore, while most people don’t give a damn about my actual day job, guns are cool/interesting/terrifying/controversial, so dropping that on them usually starts up a conversation. And that conversation can tell me a lot about the person I’m talking to.

As a matter of pure statistics, those conversations fall into a few easily identifiable buckets. People tend to say the same predictable stuff and I have answers for pretty much every direction a conversation is likely to take. I’m fully committed to winning hearts and minds, and talking openly about firearms certainly stimulates that conversation.

Not to compare myself to Mr. Noir, but I’m also a  young city dweller with an interest in firearms who breaks the stereotype on what a “gun nut” looks like. Add in the fact that Leghorn and Bruce Krafft have stuffed my head full of facts and I’m a pretty decent ambassador for gun rights, if I do say so myself.

So that leaves me with a statement followed by a question. The statement is that I’m now openly carrying my gun guy status, a position change that Colion Noir helped me make. I’m a gun guy, I write for a gun blog and I regularly carry a gun concealed on my person when and where it’s legal to do so. And each fall I take to the field with a gun to hunt animals that I then eat for nourishment. The question to you, dear reader, is about your own status. Do you dodge, deflect, and defer on your gun hobby? Or do you wear it openly as a point of pride and aim to engage those around you in conversations about your passion?

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  1. Welcome aboard Tyler…
    I have to say that the more people see their normal friends and families are in fact legal and sane gun owners we can shift the tide of perception.

  2. I come from a pro-gun, pro-hunting family (as does my wife) so they know I own and carry. Almost all my friends know I own and many know I carry. Beyond that I don’t wave too many flags. No t-shirts, no stickers on my car. I do post to some firearms rights pages on FB, but that’s about it.

  3. “So if a company isn’t open-minded enough to look at my body of work and simply says “guns = bad/no hire”, I’m really not interested in working for them. Simple calculus really.”-

    This is a great statement. Definitely agree. Absolutely have no interest working for anti human rights bigots. You could easily compare such companies to companies that discriminate by race and sexual preference, being that the RKBA is a fundamental human right. Hmm, maybe one of us who is discriminated by their employer aught to take this to court.

  4. Well, it’s kind obvious I’m a gun guy now that I’m OC’ing. A couple of “friends” that I’d had for over 15 years; not just casual, but I hung out with them regularly; disowned me after I started to OC. They knew I was CC’ing, but I guess out of sight out of mind. Oh well.

    I do wear an American Flag T-shirt regularly. Greatest country in the world, 15 million illegal aliens can’t be wrong.

  5. Why yes I do! I get the whole “don’t go crazy and shoot us” comment and sometimes this one, “when you bring your gun to work and start killing people, remember who your friends are”, to which I remind them that mass shooters kill friends and enemies alike because they disassociate the human from the target. I love the look I get with that line.

    • I think that’s my biggest beef with both sides of the gun debate. I truly do want an open debate, I’m not just paying lip service to that. And I’ve certainly been rocked back on my heels at times and forced to consider and reconsider some things that I’ve held dear for years. The moment I stop doing that, the moment I think I’ve crossed from “nut” to “fanatic”

      • So you are willing to compromise on some rights? In other words, you have an open mind regarding the 2nd amendment? I thought the gun debate was settled Constitutionally and everything since has just been an infringement. I am no fanatic but I can’t give an inch on my God given rights and my duty to oppose tyranny.

    • I fully admit I’m unlikely to change my mind regarding guns (I don’t think any infringements by government are appropriate).

      That said, I don’t consider myself a fanatic. I’m well aware that my position is considered “extreme” by many people. But I think whether or not is perceived as a fanatic depends less on the positions one takes and more on one’s demeanor when discussing the issue.

      If one is calm, polite and well-spoken when discussing the issue, one is far less likely to be considered a “fanatic” IMO. Sometimes, it’s necessary to “agree to disagree” with someone and end the discussion – something that I think most actual fanatics fail to understand. Sometimes, it’s better to end a discussion/argument rather than continue it.

      If someone mentions something to me that I haven’t considered before, I’ll definitely think about it a bit, but I still think I’m unlikely to change my position (which is essentially that acts which do not harm or threaten others should not be criminalized). In short, IMO, if I behave with civility and at least consider ideas that are new to me (even if I ultimately reject them), then I’m not a fanatic. I’m simply someone who holds positions on issues and believes in those positions.

  6. I work at a place where the owner is a gun guy, his son is trying to get his own concealed carry permit in NJ. Four out of the 5 guys in my department are gun owners, one of the secretaries got her husband a Ruger no 1 rifle in .257 Roberts as a Christmas present. The none gun owners are in the small minority, and I haven’t heard any out right anti-gun stuff come out of anyone of the 40 some odd employees we have, not once in the 27 years I have been here. My dad still actively shoots trap at 79 years of age, my mom taught me how to shoot, my brother shoots, my sister and her husband shoot competitively and hold concealed carry permits in multiple states. So to answer your question, nope, I don’t keep a low profile about my being a 2nd Amendment supporter, I wear my NRA hat most everywhere I go. (my John Deere hat got too grungy)

  7. I am out & proud. I’m also old & self employed so I get little fall-out. I generally don’t wear gun logo stuff or sticker my car or home though. No need to advertise I am armed. I make no judgement on those who wear NRA gear or plaster the truck with bumper stickers. And Tyler I like your articles. Keep up the good work.

  8. Hey Tyler I am just like you and Colion, an Urban Millennial who owns guns and is open about it. Most everyone that I associate with knows I own guns and I have rarely gotten flack for it. I think it’s part because, like we all assume, there are more gun owners than most surveys let on, more than a few of my friends like me also own guns or plan on owning at least one gun, and most of the ones in my social circle who do not are generally pro-2nd amendment in so far thinking people should be able to defend themselves with a gun.

    In regards to how I talk about my gun hobby when addressed, it really depends. When people I don’t know ask if I own a gun, I say, “yes…I own multiple guns.” If they press and ask why I say “I own one gun for self defense, the others are because I can and I like them.” I don’t go into rants about the government because I think that doing so is detrimental, at least initially. Overtime, if those people show themselves as open minded and are genuinely interested into why I own, I tell them my reasons. In short, I make no apologies about being a gun owner but I also don’t try to beat them over the head with it and if they want to know more, I tell them without sermonizing them.

  9. As a copywriter in a large Boston ad agency in the 1970s and ’80s, I made no secret about being the resident “gun guy.” My office was decorated with militaria, with an 8′ BAR training model displayed on the window ledge, in front of the camo netting draperies. When we won the U.S. Repeating Arms (Winchester) account in 1981, I was working with our company president, my art director, account exec and media guy…all gun guys. Yeah, this was in Boston, believe or not!

  10. Still in the closet, as it were. Don’t want to deal with silly/dumb comments. No good to come from being “made”. Stereotypes suck and people can project unwanted responsibilities on you.

  11. Depends on the circumstances. I live in an affluent suburb about a mile from one of the most dangerous neighborhooods in Chicago. When the local paper interviews me at a gun rights event, I politely decline to give my full name and address… Call it OPSEC or whatever you want, but there are folks out there that look at that stuff and actively target gun owners. I’m not so naive to believe that it would take more than 15 minutes, a crowbar and an angle grinder to break into my house and defeat a pistol safe. The second to last thing I ever want to come home to is a dead dog and an empty gun safe.

  12. Hard to identify with this – one of my favorite photos is my brother and I, with me holding a Nichols Ranch Stallion .45 Mark II six-shooter in my right hand, finger off the trigger. I was about 5 yrs old at the time.

    Of course, I still have that cap gun, in working order, in the original box, with all of the original accessories (2 sets of grips, “cartridges”, and cartridge belt. Sort of set a pattern for my future gun collecting.

    Hey, some of us never apologized for being gun aficionados. Any person who tried to make me choose between their company and my guns would be advised to not let the door hit them in the butt on the way out…

  13. Person to person, I make no secret about who I am. On the Internet, I prefer to be in stealth mode. The reason? I don’t know who is watching. And no, I don’t mean the NSA or any other alphabet agency. The G already knows everything it wants to know about me, and probably about all of us. I’m referring to thieves and swatters.


  14. I treat my ‘gun guy’ status the same as I do any other aspect of my life that I’m passionate about and that is as ingrained in my personality as guns and a couple other areas are. I don’t deflect or disown my love of guns and hunting and protecting those rights, what I don’t do is fly it in anyones face. I wear my gun or knife paraphernalia with pride and when asked I explain, when confronted by gun ignorance I do my best to be as knowledgeable and passionate a proponent of our 2nd amendment rights as I can be.

    My view on anything in my life that I’m this passionate about is to be proud and unashamed while maintaining respect for opposing views. All the while not allowing others to force their views on me. Sometimes that can be contentious, but I try to not let things escalate to that point. My personal view is that my maintaining that respect, staying true to myself while not forcing my views on others is what a person of character ought to do and I strive always to maintain my character.

  15. When I was actually “social”, pretty much everyone I socialized with in the last couple of decades has been gun folks–some preppers, even, before that term became popular. At one of the weddings in our circle, the bride had a gun on her leg and the groom and groomsmen were all packing under their tuxes, who knows how many other guns were out there among the attendees. So I didn’t have to hide anything. I am running my own little shop now, I don’t bring up guns with customers unless someone pulls out his CHL for ID or some such.

  16. My status?

    I fly under the radar, not out of guilt or embarrassment, but simply for security. You never know who on the periphery might unwittingly blab and the message reaches someone who finds knowing where there are guns to be a useful piece of information, particularly if they can associate an address.

    With those *who I trust* to also be discrete, I am willing to speak freely and share experiences and information, but in the presence of most non-gunners, spouses and kids – low key all the way. Spouses and kids to often have big mouths, for different reasons.

    As is said, “Loose lips sink ships”. That starts with me.

  17. Congrats on taking the leap to full time writing and being true to whom you are, personally, and in your profession. Professionally, I think authenticity stands out, and integrity is in too short supply, so nurture it, without qualms. You can always make money. Honor once lost, like trust, is much harder to regain.

    Personally, I am sure you already know this, Tyler, by what I sense in your writing about you and your family, but my advice to other young men is listen to Mr Noir, and learn. If you dodge the bullet of dealing with a judgemental ignorant woman who believes she knows who you are, based on one thing, and worse, believes she is morally superior to you for same, then you will avoid a lot of drama and even heartache in life.

  18. I’m half-in, half-out, as it were. Most people I’m friends with know of my possession and interest in the subject, but I usually don’t bring it up unless someone else does.

    I have a few “gun shirts”, but you can’t really fathom what they mean unless you are a POTG.


    People think Five Five Six is a band, ha ha.

    Am I ashamed of my gun ownership and interest? Hell no. Someone asks, I’ll tell them. But from a pure “security” point of view, I don’t heavily advertise the fact, nor do I lead into a conversation with a gun topic.

    For the most part, in this urban area, most of the guys I run into are ambivalent or pro-gun, with very few being anti. Most of the antis I run into are girls. And most change their mind the minute they get to fire a gun.

  19. Out and proud. I’m the “gun guy” at work, and since I’m surrounded by female nurses, I tend to be the go to guy for questions about first guns, etc. I know who the antis are here at work, and ever since a few uncomfortable episodes right after Newtown, we kinda have a truce going. I don’t knock holes in their stupid arguments, and they don’t get hysterical and start crying when I crush their delusions.

  20. I’m known as THE gun guy among my friends, even though others appreciate and shoot. At work, when I raced stock cars, some thought it was cool, some thougt it was crazy, some were not interested. Same with shooting. I know which of my fellow teachers are gearheads and what they like, and which shoot for fun, food, or competition. My students usually figure out my interests between what they gather and what I offer, but I do not force my views on them… Regarding ANY issue. In fact, I will frequently challenge any position they take, even if I agree, in the interest of showing them how to argue with facts over emotion. Also, I have friends I disagree with on many points, and that is fine.

  21. I have found that liberal anti-gun friends will go through several stages a la Kubler-Ross:
    1. Shock (“But… but you’re a college graduate!”)
    2. Denial (“Can’t be. The NRA must have brainwashed you.”)
    3. Bargaining (“Maybe if I say I support the Second Amendment, he’ll agree to give up his gun.”)
    4. Acceptance (once they realize you haven’t and won’t shoot anybody, even when angry, and that you are, indeed, the same person you always were)
    5. Forgetfulness (unless you OC)

    The initial stages are unpleasant, but be ready to give an answer and you’ll be fine.

  22. I’m pretty open about it. I’m pretty open about everything. I’m an atheist and a Libertarian too if we’re keeping score. Not gay though. Sorry.

  23. As a fellow IT guy, I have been where you were Tyler. I have always been into guns and more importantly 2A rights since I learned to shoot in Boy Scouts, but never owned a firearm till recently. The recent purchase was a big step by me because I live behind enemy lines in the Northeast. Undoubtedly I received the welcoming response from my spouse who’s initial reaction was GTFO while in a restaurant. That was extremely embarrassing and pissed me off.

    I have definitely been more vocal with my 2A advocacy in social media. I have some supporters, likely many detractors (who have probably unfriended me), but most probably just ignore me. I am fine with that; it’s what I believe and I won’t apologize for that. But like you I have also gotten the comments related to job propositions and what not and have decided to take the same stance as you.

    But also like others have said and for similar reasons, for now I won’t be advertising what I own, how often I use it, etc. In my neck of the woods it does invite trouble and could be used to take away my rights versus enhance them. Unlike Noir, I don’t have the direct support of the NRA behind me.

  24. I have TSRA magnets on all my vehicles, because I want to promote membership. There’s a big NRA sticker on my husband’s truck too. When I’m dong my daily exercise walking around the neighborhood, I sometimes have on pro-gun t-shirts or caps, but I don’t like to get too much in other people’s faces about it when going to a group activity. If I want to be subtle, I let them figure out what “LaRue Tactical” on my cap means.

    I let it all hang out at our family get togethers in the country, so my most amusing and politically incorrect t-shirts get their best use there. My siblings and I make sure all the kids are brainwashed on gun rights.

    I went to a ladies’ car care seminar recently and one of the attendees was wearing a cap from the gun instruction business where she works. No one thought it unusual.

    Living in TX makes it easy to be a gun rights advocate, but there are a few fudds in my hood who probably think pushing for more carry rights is a little tacky. They probably won’t fight it though, as a non-gunowner might.

  25. I started a new job last fall. Some of the items about my desk is a cartridge collection and a glock calendar.
    I’ve already evaluated a few guns for coworkers and am smithing on another.
    I am always willing to talk about hunting, shooting, etc

  26. People only act like dicks to gun people when they think their friends or family will laugh with them.
    Prove them wrong. Make them think differently because, hey, uncle joe likes guns and he seems like a nice guy.

  27. I openly carry my sidearm where and when it is legal for me to do so. That’s about as far as I go with it unless someone asks. Around here, most people don’t even bat an eye (and probably don’t even noticed) despite its relative rarity.

  28. I was always interested in the history of design and development in firearms. I was introduced to shooting by a friend I met at university.

    Most employers knew what I did and would ask how did I do on the weekend’s competition. I compete in service rifle where each week is a different course and distance.

    One employer did not like that I was a firearm owner, despite the fact they were a rural supplies company that sold guns and ammunition through their retail outlets. I didn’t say anything about my sport at the next employer. And the same again at my current workplace, although I suspect they know because I was subject to a federal police check because the company is in the financial industry. I am not going to be the first to say anything. Safer that way.

  29. I’m pretty pro-gun, and even wear my TTAG T-shirt from time to time. I just wish I had more time to write. I do my best to be an ambassador for good cops as well. If I have time to write a review for a Savage 110 BA, I’ll do that as well.

    Glad to have you with us.

  30. I guess the way I approach it is like anything else. If someone asks, I’ll be as open and honest as the situation warrants (i.e., more open with friends than strangers), but I’m not advertising anything, either. I don’t think of “gun owner” as any more a part of my identity than “bicycle owner” or “table saw owner”. It’s just one of many interests I have.

  31. I do have a sticker for a gun company on my car. While my wife’s family is anti gun they know I’m a gun guy and we just never talk about it, they are liberal democrats, not going to waste the energy. Though I will say at the dinner table one of my brothers-in-law brought up the idea that I could use a gun to kill a raccoon and the astonished look on the others faces told me a lot.

    My friends from HS and college, yes, I’m quite open, some agree, some disagree but it’s not a big deal to them.

    I don’t advertise in the neighborhood as I don’t want them stolen.

    And yes I’ve taken women and men out to shoot. Some liked it some didn’t. I have said we all need to be armed, ask the Zulu’s, the Armenians, the Kurds, the Russians, the German Jews, hell, anyone in Africa, the American Indians, anyone in Mexico or South America, folks in China before the Second World War, blah, blah blah…………and anyone around at the time of the American Revolution.

    Yes, I home carry and I’m not nuts.

  32. Great writing. My contribution: Waving the gun-guy-flag is ill-advised if you suspect that you’ve got at least one anti-gun person within your human resources department. Employers (such as mine) might be very much populated with POTG; all it takes is one H.R. department anti-gun person and your awesome job with your pro-gun company is toast. Be vigilant.

  33. I dont care for Mr. Noir but the pic is mega cool. I own that gun minus the can and cleaned an f class target at 500yds with factory match ammo. Sig ssg 3000 for the money is da bomb diggity!

  34. I never steer a conversation to guns, but I am ready if guns become the topic. In that regard, I guess I’m “passively out” about guns. I’m not going to hide who I am, but I’m not going to rub other’s noses in it either. There’s a lot more to social interactions and indeed life than just guns.

  35. I’m open about being Pro 2A. I conceal carry pretty much everywhere except my day job where they are forbidden (stays locked in the car out of site). If the subject is brought up I don’t hide the fact that I CC (and have for the better part of 20 years now). I don’t do Facebook (UGH the modern day AOL) but I do a little with Twitter and I blog (have my own domain). I have a lot of gun related stuff on my Blog but also a lot of content from my other interests (comicbooks, IT related stuff etc.).

  36. Great column! A friend of mine, who is a gun owner but doesn’t train regularly if ever, was criticizing my public love of guns yesterday. If he wasn’t such a good friend, I would have been offended. I am a Texas CHL holder as well and train with not only my pistols but my rifle and shotgun as I have begun to take up 3gun.
    I think more people should “come out” as gun people! Be loud and proud!

  37. Similar situation as yours. I write for print magazines and was active in training Concealed Handgun License applicants for fifteen or so years. I do not mind being up-front about advocating personal arms but I also realize that not everybody is interested in the subject and a minority of people are constitutionally unsuited to handling weapons or exercising any degree of personal responsibility. So, I don’t PUSH gun ownership- only encourage it among normal people who are inclined to explore the ramifications of it.

  38. Lately, it seems like taking new shooters to the range is more fun than just shooting. So, yes, I wave the flag. Glad to see you go FT Tyler, your posts are great.

  39. I advocate libertarian ideas in public and I tend to make ‘outrageous” statements about the 2A to people in general. Things such as the 2A is a Constitutional check and balance and that people can have all sorts of military style weapons anyplace and anytime.

  40. I keep it covered up most of the time. Mainly around people I see often as I don’t necessarily want them knowing what I keep in my gun cabinet. Beyond that, I definitely try to stray away from gun talk as I feel I’m likely to be judged in anti-gun California. It’s a bummer that I have to feel that way, like a closeted gay in a close minded part of the country, to make an analogy. Hahaha, real talk though.

    And I definitely try to stray from ever talking about politics, so if a non-gunner heard me talk about guns I’m sure a political conversation would start and I gladly avoid those any chance I get.

  41. Well, I’m never going to fly a “COME AND TAKE IT” flag in front of my house.

    Because someday, they just might. Then I’ll feel pretty stupid.

  42. No ambassador ever made inroads by beating people over the head with how awesome their represented interest is.

    What about Popilius Laenas, the ambassador who drew the first line in the sand? He drew the line around the Seleucid king who was invading Egypt and told him that if he left that circle before he gave an order to withdraw, he would be at war with Rome. The king gave the order.

  43. I don’t have any problem telling people about my interest in shooting sports, but I don’t wear it on my sleeve as my foremost characteristic or identifier. That is a position I reserve for “being a disciple of Christ.” That is what I want to have a conversation about. If guns are a hindrance to that goal, I leave them out of it.

  44. I never used gun associated banners on my piick-up trucks. I was worried about someone breaking into my truck for gun stuff and or offending someone behind me. I decided that its their problem if they are offended. I also decided to place a small gadsen flag on my bumper, and a number of gun related stikers on it as well. To ward off potential law offenders I placed a 6 x 4″ magnetic sign in the middle of the rear tailgate. It is a commercial skull and crossbones with the warning contains cyanide solution contains toxic fumes. I have a haz-mat license and sometimes carry the acid associatd with it. No one has messed with the truck so far and occasionally I see people backing up a bit a stop lights.

  45. I do not dodge, deflect or defer, though out here in western South Dakota there is no pressure one way or the other. Open carry is legal (though perhaps impolite) and CPPs are $15 and arrive in the mail within ten days. Hunting is the way of life and the entire state benefits from hunter-tourists (not to mention the bikers currently here for the rally).

    It is interesting that the commonality of firearms seems to reduce the potential for interesting conversations. Politically there aren’t enough opponents around, leaving the only topic available as “my brand and model is better than yours.” About that, we really don’t care enough to argue either.

  46. posting here with a fairly recognizable nickname is maybe the boldest i’ve been. i don’t have any firearm related apparel, but my son enjoys his nra cap. heyjackass t- shirts send some form of message, but largely to like minded folk.
    i advocate for ccw newbies- the illinois process requires a java download, so since i applied early on many friends submit from here rather than infect there own devices. i am for sure more vocal now that ownership resistance no longer includes “but i can’t carry it so it’s useless.”
    it gets overwhelming for the beginner to grasp single, double, da/ sa, hammer, striker, safety, de- cock etc. that’s where the range comes in and here again i’m not shy about displaying varied designs.
    of course if i were supplementing my income thusly i might project a larger presence. but until then i remain in a chicago suburb that, much like joe alluded to (oak park, i’m guessing) above, evanston doesn’t want magazine fed .22’s with thumbhole stocks, pistol grip shotguns or bayonet lugs. we have a MAIG here so why advertise what little is legally kept locally?
    i have to be careful about thinning the chip- gopher herd with a slingshot and acorns around here…

  47. What rifle is that in the picture? It looks familiar.
    I am a proud gun guy, and if asked I will defend my position.

  48. I have lived, vs. “come out” as a pretty non-gunny guy, who sees guns as normal, reasonable, and net safe and effective, that is for grown-ups in the real world. I don’t carry or even shoot for decades now. BUT, responding to foolishness I tell people things like these:

    “Well, where I grew up, school was always closed for the first day of deer season, because nobody would show up anyway. That’s how a lot of people there supplemented their larder for the winter, and still do. Guns are both normal, and tools for way more than just harming other people.”

    “I was never a hunter, really, even living out in the woods, and I’m not a ‘gun guy’ now. But, where I grew up, if the groundhogs were running amok in your garden or digging under buildings, you got a 22 and took care of it. That, I did do.”

    “Maybe I’m odd, but the rural / homestead-ish place I grew up, handling dangerous tools is just part of life. A chain saw is dangerous as hell, and if you were old enough and needed one, you got one. And used it, safely, meaning respecting what the machine does, and gravity.”

    “Oh, I had to learn the idea that guns are for macho, and for shooting other people (outside of war) – from movies and bad cop shows, mostly.

    Where I grew up everybody had guns, because it was likely you’d need what they do. That is, dealing with animals, or securing food. It’s not like you even had to be taught the rules of safe gun handling. Mess up and you’d be shunned, just like would happen with any other breach of etiquette.”

    “Well, the gun-rich hinterlands are hardly free-fire zones. It wasn’t until the city-anchored drug organizations started using the area for staging and as a supply corridor that you got people shooting each other. That is, after the influx of former city folks brought the less organized gangs and bad habits with them for half a generation, raising the shooting rate a little.”

    “Oh, no, I don’t have a gun now. I’m crazy-busy and travel all the time. It isn’t worth the bother for me right now. It would be like having a chain saw that you don’t lube & just stick in a corner for months without draining the gas. Not the safest thing, and may not work when you pick it up again.”

    “Oh, maybe I’d get one for my own protection, although I had to come around to that idea. People don’t front off at each other, and don’t resort to deadly force, I thought. At least it was rare enough that you’d treat the exception like a meteor hitting, or lightning. You don’t go courting it, but you don’t expect it either.

    “Oh, guns don’t bother me. It’s been odd for me adjusting to a base level of violence and predation that you need to mitigate against. Tony Montoya spewing arcs of fire at an army of assassins was a kind of visual tone-poem. The violence was symbolic, vs. representational. Until I learned better. It’s amazing how much knuckleheads shoot each other, and other folks, where I am nowadays.” (I live in a medium-sized US city with average or below levels of violence for urban America.)

    “The violence and especially the acceptance or denial of it is even weirder to me than what you just said about guns. I never considered a gun for protection growing up. They were just normal tools for other things. In cities, I very reasonably consider how to protect myself, including perhaps with a gun, given ongoing base level of violence, which everybody seems to accept or deny, guns or no guns.”

    “Oh, I never considered guns for self-defense until I lived in cities. I was in the transition zone of a transition neighborhood when the Rodney King verdict came out. It’s odd sitting in a darkened apartment wondering how far the riots will extend. I found myself wondering about actual predators, singly or in small groups, operating more boldly under cover of the general chaos. As long as I didn’t show lights or movement the building looked like the carriage house it was – not a target. Odd to think that way. I’d have been happier with a gun in arms reach that night, however.

    Statistically, a lot of good people live with that level of risk every day, for years.”


  49. I live in middle America. I am a gun girl. Everyone that knows me, knows I’m carrying. I only carry concealed, I like the element of surprise. I am a firearms instructor and regional director for Armed Lady Premier Shooting Chapters. I wear gun shirts. I hope someone starts a conversation so maybe they will listen to my side. I am never rude but I debate the subjects well.
    Thanks for what you do.


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