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For about twenty years now I’ve been writing about guns professionally, that is, someone has paid me to do it. I’ve written on all manner of firearms from inline muzzle-loaders to precision bolt-action rifles to squad-automatic weapons. Although I’ve never tried to be controversial, regardless, when you are talking about firearms there will always be someone who disagrees with you. I’m experienced enough to gauge the controversy level when I’m working on a piece. Anytime you introduce a new topic about hardware or question the status quo, people get their hackles up and the letters to the editor pour in . . .

With the advent of the “blog”, the poisoned pen has become the “poisoned keyboard.” But that’s part of doing business and even men in their thirties living in their mom’s basement are entitled to their opinions. Despite all this I’m still dumbfounded when a simple article, of which the topic is non-threatening or plain common sense, stirs up pushback.

Case in point: with the huge numbers of first-time gun buyers these last few years, I wrote a very simple piece addressing what I called the “First Gun Phenomenon.” In the article, I offered some basic advice for “non-gun” folks who might be looking to purchase their first firearm. As non-gun people don’t, as a rule, read gun magazines or gun-blogs, I tried to branch out and offer the article via a more universal arena.

My business partner suggested that I put the article out through the various online free article sites. “Try EzineArticles, they’re the largest,” he said. EzineArticles claims to have 450,000 plus “expert” authors who have submitted myriad articles about subjects as varied as business, real estate, home repair and gay/lesbian lifestyles, to name a few.

After filling out the appropriate forms to be considered for submissions, I sent in my First Gun piece. An auto-responder produced an email thanking me for my submission and informing me that the EzineArticle editorial staff would review it within a week.

After seven or eight days I received an email from them telling me my article had been rejected as it “promoted a product” and that was prohibited. I had attached the Student of the Gun weblink in the author description. I surmised that my website address was the issue.  Their email suggested that I edit the article and resubmit it, so that’s what I did.

In the mean time I also submitted an article suggesting that anyone who owns a firearm for personal defense should also learn traumatic first aid to save a life, not just take one.  After another two weeks I finally received the naked truth from EzineArticles, they are prejudice against firearms. The polite dismissal is listed below:

Hi Paul,
Thank you for your email.  Your articles were placed in problem status as we are not able to accept content on guns unless it’s in the context of hunting. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance at this time.

Thank you,

So there you have it. Hot on the heels of the Google’s “No Gun Ads” decision, we have more naked prejudice against legal, commonplace items. Apparently topics such as choosing a first gun and life-saving first aid training are too controversial for EzineArticles. Attached below is the controversial piece that stirred up this reaction.            

First Gun Phenomenon

I suppose you could say that I’ve been a member of the gun culture my entire life. When I was in elementary school all I ever wanted to do was be outside “playing Army” with my toy guns. At age eleven I was introduced to a Daisy BB gun by my maternal grandfather and the die was cast.

That’s how it’s almost always been. A father, uncle, or grandfather introduces a young person to firearms and they either get the bug or they don’t. The United States has had a “gun culture” a lot longer than I’ve been alive, folks who passed their love of firearms down to their family members.

As an industry, Firearms and Ammunition manufacturers have gotten very good at marketing to the choir. They’ve essentially been servicing the same type of customers for the last hundred years. We know how to market to each other, but what about the new or first time gun buyers?

First-Time Gun Buyers
After every crisis — riot, hurricane, earthquake, terrorist attack, etc. — we see a spike in gun sales. These spikes normally abate quickly and it’s back to business as usual.  That circumstance, however, has changed. Today, gun sales that were once considered a kind of “spike” have become an undeniable trend.

Since the end of the year 2008 the numbers of first time gun buyers, particularly in the handgun market, have risen dramatically. Thousands upon thousands of men and women are purchasing or considering purchasing their first gun. The sales figures from both Ruger and Smith & Wesson will bear me out on this.

First time gun buyers aren’t necessarily “gun people” or a part of the traditional gun culture. They are men and women from all walks of life who have come to the personal decision that now is a good time to own a firearm. These folks are on the outside of the gun tent peeking in.

Being a first time gun buyer is tough. Mention in public that you are considering purchasing a gun and you are hit from both sides. On one side you have the pop culture pacifist trying to talk you out of such a vile and dangerous decision. On the other side you have the well-meaning, but often abrasive, “gun guy” who bombards you with stories of his favorite blaster.

Money for Training
If I were to give direct advice to a first time gun buyer, I’d tell them to save some money for training.  Rather than spend $750 on a pistol with nothing left over, they’re better served with a $400 pistol and $350 for practice ammunition and training.

Far too often, Americans will try to buy their way around training. It can’t be done. A $1000 pistol in the hands of an untrained shooter is no different than a $500 pistol in the same hands. No amount of custom accessories will make up for poor gun handling skills.

When it comes time to secure training, do your research. Check around and ask folks who have actually taken the courses, not just read about them. The more training and experience you receive the better able you will be to make the right decisions. Keep in mind that some of the most worthwhile training might require travel if there’s not a school nearby.  Make it an adventure. Think of the time and monetary commitment as an investment in yourself.   PGM

Paul Markel © 2012


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  1. Nice piece. I don’t agree with Ezine though they are a private organization and have the legal and subjective right to do what they want on their site. Still, I might send an email to Karen and tell her that I find Ezine’s anti-2A publishing attitude, in banning non-hunting gun articles, falling into the anti-1A camp too.

    From their website:

    Editorial Guidelines for Submitting To
    1g. Must Not Contain Illegal or Overly Controversial Content.

    Weapon/ Firearms/ Ammunition/ Balisongs/ Butterfly Knives or Brass Knuckles – Any content that promotes, advocates, or describes the use of weapons for any purpose other than legal hunting activities will not be allowed. Article content that discusses or reviews hunting weapons is acceptable.

    Examples of prohibited weapons include:
    Butterfly knives, balisongs, shivs
    Guns, gun parts and hardware
    Brass knuckles, throwing stars

    Examples of acceptable weapons-related products include:
    Weapons content concerning use in martial arts
    Content related to weapons used for hunting
    Weapons content NOT advocating any hate or violence
    Replica and antique weapons, E.g. swords, bo staffs
    Airsoft guns
    Paintball guns
    Stun Guns and Tasers

  2. I’m a marketing guy, and have never been a fan of EzineArticles. A lot of what they say about themselves is a stretch at best. But I really really dig your point about training. I’ve easily got much much more money wrapped up in real training than I do in firearms (paid for by me, not as part of my job)… To me, good training is 10 times as valuable as another firearm. Plus, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

    … I should note, I am a trainer myself on the weekends, so I am biased.

  3. we are not able to accept content on guns unless it’s in the context of hunting

    I get it. It’s okay to wax Bambi’s ass but not okay to save your own. It’s also bad to shoot clay pigeons or paper targets because, uh, I don’t know why.

    Does anybody remember the instrumental theme to “Dragnet?” Ezine should adopt it. It went something like “dumb da-dumb dumb.” ‘Memba?

    • What I want to know is how many of these spineless, sniveling little anti-gunners, when put in the situation where they have to fight for their life, how many would fight back with any means necessary, and how many would die a pacifists death. My bet is on the former of the two, so their argument that guns used in defense against humans in self defense are somehow worse than guns used in hunting is just moronic.

  4. Well Paul, you are always welcome here to post!
    I find it surprising that you can read on their site Tools for At Home Bondage, or Anal Sex – The Irresistible Call Of Tightness!, or The Truth About Personal Self Defense Weapons. Yet when you discuss in a non aggressive way what a first time buyer might want to know, it is shot down! Ridiculous!!!


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