I am a gun owner typical gun owner
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The fact is, there’s no such thing as a “typical” gun owner. There never has been. With at least 125 million gun owners in the US (and that’s probably significantly understating it) gun owners come in all shapes, sizes, colors, political bents and proclivities. Just like the rest of the population. Check out our ‘I Am A Gun Owner’ series and photo album from a few years ago if you need proof. 

Reader Elaine D. is a case in point. In fact her email made us think this would be a great way for more of you to tell your stories. If you’d like to share, send an email to us describing how you’re not the “typical” gun owner. Send it to [email protected] with One Gun Owner’s Story in the subject field. We’ll keep your name confidential if you’d prefer. Here’s Elaine’s story:

By Elaine D.

I’m the child of a Vietnamese war refugee and a Vietnam war draftee. My Vietnamese grandfather was a Viet Cong general who would be considered a terrorist here, but in Vietnam is considered a war hero for liberating his people.

My Vietnamese family was on all three sides of the war–South Vietnamese allied with the Americans, Viet Cong, and North Vietnamese sympathizers. So, I’m half Vietnamese and half white.

I first obtained my LTC in 2015. Truth is, I did the basic class and obtained a pistol to send a message to a former boyfriend who, a year after we broke up, still hadn’t gotten the hint that I no longer wanted to be contacted, if you understand me. But I didn’t do much with it once he went away, though I held onto that first (terrible) pistol for a while since I’d earned the right to carry it.

I came seriously back into shooting in March of 2016 when I learned that I was going to be going to Africa for five weeks, out into the remote Kalahari, in June/July of this year. At that time I got my Lantac Raven and started studying with Jeff Gonzales at The Range at Austin and spent the next year taking courses and getting serious about the carbine.

The question of whether I needed to conceal my family history in the shooting world due to a high population of American military/ex military in that world was one I struggled with for a long time. Actually, though, those who know have been quite accepting.

Up until shortly before the trip there was the possibility that I would bring a rifle with us. I went to Africa with an anthropologist who has been documenting the history and traditions of the Kalahari San people for about 50 years.

In the end Namibia’s gun restrictions and the complexity of the situation meant we scrapped the idea of bringing a firearm because the only way to do that is to be affiliated with a hunting/safari mission and that was not what we were doing. Plus there isn’t always the best relationship between the indigenous people and the safari operators and it’s very complicated and dangerous out there if you get crossways with the wrong people.

So…taking the rifle along didn’t happen for political reasons, but I’m still glad I prepared for it as much as I did.

I got back into pistol this spring and, after needing to go through a few firearms to find the right ones, I found mine and now that’s what I’m focusing on. Pistol is my weak point but it’s slowly, slowly getting stronger. It just needs a lot of work.

It hasn’t always been easy being almost the only serious woman shooter in most of my training courses. Like most women, I came to shooting as a self-defense need, but I have taken my training process and ownership far beyond what most women do.

Being a Democrat and a woman in a world full of people who are rabidly Republican and male hasn’t been easy either. However I will also say that when it comes to who I’ve chosen for training (primarily Jeff Gonzales and I used to take courses with Lee Vernon at Combative Weapons Solutions when he was still teaching firearms courses) I have been treated very fairly. The flak I’ve gotten has mostly come from other participants in the training classes, some of whom didn’t seem to think that a woman should be holding her own with them.

Friends on both the left and right have expressed concern that I would be “targeted” for writing something like this. I doubt that’s a concern that would be expressed to your “typical” gun owner simply for doing a piece of writing. I am not sure whether this concern has to do with my race or my gender. Or maybe both.

Other friends of mine in the shooting world have been telling me I should write to y’all and provide a “diversity in the shooting world” article. At first I laughed because I thought that y’all would lose your readership by posting something from a person like me. But then I saw you put up the Larry Vickers video. One of my shooting friends actually served with Vickers.

So that’s me. I love guns, shooting, and training and I hope this inspires others to do let the world know that all shooters aren’t the same, by any means.

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  1. I am not sure how Elaine D. reconciles her love of shooting and training with belonging to the Democrat party which is rapidly moving to becoming rabidly anti gun. I think the “rabid” Republicans, in the gun community in particular, prefer the GOP, because squishy as many elected Republicans are, they cannot compare to the confiscatory views (ultimately on all weapons) of the Democrats.

    • because people can have differing and varied opinions? Perhaps she is concerned more about the healthcare or immigration than the 2A. There is no one single politician in any party that completely displays 100% of what the ideal politician is. Politics is always going to be on a continuum because life is not always black or white, despite what many 2A people believe. That is why i choose no party and rather vote my conscious during an election, after weighing the costs and benefits of a particular candidate, from the local level to the reaches of DC.

        • Completely agree with Ralph here… It really is as simple as liberty or anti-liberty.. anyone who is anti-gun is anti-liberty, and the dems are clearly anti-gun. What’s the #1 reason people are anti-gun? Fear!
          Liberty doesn’t come without consequences, but that doesn’t only apply to guns. Those who would throw the second amendment away have shown they prefer safety to liberty. This is why the democratic party has moved to erode other freedoms as well. Hate speech is not protected speech? Due process disappears with red flag laws, or asset forfeiture. Don’t forget about the patriot act form the republicans. We need leaders who stand up and say “look, freedom comes with a price” and then stand by it when something bad happens.

          Not sure if any of that made sense but the bottom line is you can not be pro-liberty and a dem.. and once we wrangle the dems we need to do the same to the GOP.

        • “You either love your freedom or you’re a Democrat. Everything else is bvllsh!t.”

          Quoted for truth !

        • You mean like the freedom of gun grabber Rick Scott in Florida? Now that’s freedom here! Oh well at least we are a “right to work” State so we can enjoy the freedom of laughable wages and high cost of living.

        • “You mean like the freedom of gun grabber Rick Scott in Florida?”

          Republicans can do it, but Democrats own it.

      • She seems to value gun ownership and the right to keep and bear arms, but the party she associates with is hell-bent on taking that away.

        That’s why political parties aside from R and D need to gain ascendancy, because not everyone fits into a convenient box. However, it does seem that the third parties are hellbent on self-sabotage half the time. The Libertarian Party is in chaos. The Greens never have their shit together.

        I looked into the Reform Party out of curiosity. It actually seems it could be a home for pro-2A people who share some of the Democratic Party planks with regards to healthcare. Their take on anything in the Bill of Rights is – “leave it alone”.

        However, the Reform Party seems to have had eaten itself after the Buchanan mess, and obviously when the party founder, Ross Perot, endorses Republicans.

        • “She seems to value gun ownership and the right to keep and bear arms, but the party she associates with is hell-bent on taking that away.”

          Straddling the fence will get you hurt!
          Middle ground is difficult to identify if it exists at all these days….

          ‘She seems to value gun ownership and the right to keep and bear arms, but the party she associates with is hell-bent on taking that away.

    • I don’t much care what your political beliefs are . . . so long as you understand what it actually means to be a Democrat versus a Republican in the year 2018. “Democrat” or “rabid Republican” doesn’t tell me much beyond making Elaine sound like a pretty typical “bumper-sticker-logic” liberal. “Rabid” Republicans—who can often be counted to have read von Mises, F. A. Hayek, and Marx and can speak intelligently about their salient differences—tend to think of people who can’t go beyond such slogan slinging as useful idiots. I’m not saying Elaine is, it’s just that her all-too familiar condescension is showing. But, then, she does live in Austin so that’s to be expected. People in Austin probably think she’s a conservative.

      • “…“Rabid” Republicans—who can often be counted to have read von Mises, F. A. Hayek, and Marx and can speak intelligently about their salient differences—tend to think of people who can’t go beyond such slogan slinging as useful idiots.” ”

        I cut the above out simply as a launching point to carry on your discussion. The thesis of Elaine D seems to be something along the line of, “I am a liberal Democrat and am proving 2A supporters wrong about Democrats and the Second Amendment because I shoot guns as preparation for self-defense.” Such a proposition seems to scream that it is OK for the right sort of people to have guns for self-defense, but otherwise government’s primary purpose is to remove danger and hardship from life.

        Elaine D presents a familiar case where a leftist, liberal, statist declares something is fine for them to exploit, but doesn’t understand that the same thing is not only fine for everyone else, but is a fundamental plank of freedom, liberty, and self-reliance. Do we really need to guess whether, faced with a choice between continued permission to own a gun, and any one of the favorite causes of the left? The article is an attempt to ingratiate an nominal anti-gun liberal into the Second Amendment support groups, displaying that a leftist is not so bad, after all.

        Elaine…we can endorse your right to possess and use a firearm, we cannot endorse your belief that government is the source of rights, granted via permissions, and at the whim of government largess toward it subjects in every other facet of life.

  2. Most of us couldn’t care less about your gender or ethnicity. But Democrats are the enemy, period. We occasionally get Ds here trying to get credit for being pro gun, but if you really are a pro gun Democrat then it’s clearly not a priority for you. They would take our rights away in a heartbeat if they had the votes (not just gun rights either) so kindly gargle razor blades for giving them one more. Your kind are NOT welcome here

    • There are many so called Republicans that want gun control and any other control they can think of. They believe that guns are OK for them and their kind, but the rabble should not have them. So not think for a New York Second that all Republicans are pro 2nd Amendment – there are many snakes out there.

      Stay vigilant my friends!

      • Some Republicans are not friends of the people’s right to keep and bear arms, true. But Democrats have gun control and civilian disarmament as one of main parts of their party program. Vote for Democrats is a vote for disarmament of law abiding citizens.

    • Well, apparently I am welcome here, Red, since Dan made the decision to feature my writing. You can certainly send a request to him that he not do so. Sorry it’s so tough for you that someone who doesn’t think exactly like you do is being given a platform here.

  3. Plenty on both sides are OK with CERTAIN guns…some want them ALL banned, too…
    a spectrum of gun ownership…just like the new spectrum of gender…not just for and against

  4. And here is another thread that is likely to turn in to a mud slinging mess where people can’t can look objectively at a topic.

    • Yep, I’ve just made a batch of popcorn and sitting down in a comfy chair. Let the the mud slinging begin!

    • You want objectivity? Okay…

      The current DNC votes lock-step to restrict gun rights. Gone are the days of Truman, JFK, or even Jim Webb. To vote Democrat today is to vote for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment. Until sanity returns to the Left, that is what it will be.

      One can not be pro-gun and a Democrat today. Those are facts, sadly.

  5. Yeah, for some bizarre reason the maniac small minded hard core Rush Limbaugh listeners can’t reconcile the concept that someone could hold what they consider liberal opinions or viewpoints and be an avid shooter/hunter/gun owner that advocates for 2A rights.

    I chuckled over this as I just voted on Friday. And not for any Republican candidates save one who I don’t always agree with but trust as someone who holds to their principles no matter what the lobbyists want.

    • “…can’t reconcile the concept that someone could hold what they consider liberal opinions or viewpoints and be an avid shooter/hunter/gun owner that advocates for 2A rights.”

      It’s really simple enough that some like you can understand it.

      If you *vote* your ‘liberal’ viewpoints, you are stabbing your gun rights in the back.

      See? Simple enough that a ‘Turd’ like you can understand it… 🙂

      • Not so, at least where I live. The Republican candidates are embracing changes in gun laws due to the recent shootings to curry favor with a larger part of the voter base. The NRA’s state lobbyist is having a hissy fit because they’re not returning their calls.

        “I support gun rights and the Second Amendment, but I’m in favor of an assault rifle and bump stock ban.”

        Quoted from a local Republican candidate in a debate from last week.

        So much for stabbing someone in the back, eh? Like the candidates who look at the flag outside to see which way the wind is blowing before they speak. No shortage of “bull” there.

        • Republicans are far from perfect, but the current DNC *WILL* restrict freedoms, while the Repubs *may* do it. Pick your poison.

        • “I support gun rights and the Second Amendment, but I’m in favor of an assault rifle and bump stock ban.”

          Yes. You can find anti-gun Republicans. I don’t even consider the GOP especially pro-gun. They are at best ambivalent, but tend to support their constituents desires regarding guns. But, it is WRITTEN INTO THE DNC PARTY PLATFORM that THEY want to ban semi-automatic weapons.

          Dems vote as a unified block against your rights, so even if YOUR representative is pro-gun, when it comes time to vote, do you really think it’ll be FOR guns?

          • “Dems vote as a unified block against your rights, so even if YOUR representative is pro-gun, when it comes time to vote, do you really think it’ll be FOR guns?”

            You hint at the great disconnect between the constitution the founders created, and the political developments immediately afterward…political parties.

            Washington and John Adams warned us severely about factions and parties. Once the political environment fostered political parties, the party superseded first principles. The founders actually knew parties would lead to where we are today. And if you think about it, our constitution cannot survive party loyalty. If a political party can (will, and does) punish a member for not following the party line, what keeps the elected representatives from subordinating principal to party? With powerful powerful parties, the constitution becomes nothing more than a political hammer, the scepter of power, a tool to be reformed and deformed to the will of the party.

            The moral thread of the constitution was represented by a principle of good will among gentlemen. That is, so long as people were willing to play fairly, to accept a common precept about honoring first principles (as enshrined in the constitution), the union was relatively safe. But once the goodwill, the social compact, was no longer honored or respected, the entire edifice falls into chaos, with no noble principles – only tyranny of power. The fall was not precipitous, but gradual until the mid-1990s, after which, the descent into chaos and depravity was inevitable.

  6. I know many Asians who are pro gun but vote D for the social spending and other socialist positions. They think they’ll keep the guns no matter what.

    I think they are very misled.

    • Misled? Right now, Harvard is being sued for discriminating against Asian Americans — the same Asian Americans who are throwing their lot in with the people who hate their guts.

      You call it misled. I call it suicidal.

  7. My brother was killed by a Viet Cong in 1970, and I was fighting ’71-’72, against Vietnamese. I gather you are an American, and that war was long ago and far away, I could not care less any more, and I have a lady so your gender concerns me not at all. OTOH, you sound too intelligent to be a Democrat, you should reconsider. What does the Party have as a platform, for example? Because I hear nothing except to make the nation fail so it can be blamed on Trump. Not much of a concept.

    • There are a number of reasons I vote Dem. And it isn’t because I love Hillary. I felt there were better candidates but that’s the one we ended up with. I hope we do a better job of selection this next time around.

      The main reason is healthcare. The healthcare I’m getting under the ACA is the best I’ve had in well over a decade. It’s flawed and expensive but you know what? Everything before it – and I’ve been on every kind of plan there is – was just as expensive and didn’t provide half the care this does. Why do I need healthcare? Well, the US gov’t dropped a shit ton of Agent Orange on the areas my mother lived and worked in, and I was conceived over there when she was in the thick of all of it toward the end there, since she was in Saigon before she left. I was born with an impaired immune system and chronic respiratory problems, very likely from in utero exposure to toxic chemicals.

      So. I have to go where the healthcare is. That’s a big reason. I’m a lot more likely to die from illness than to have to fight off the government with my guns. That’s just a fact. I don’t like the Democratic party stance on guns and after the midterms are over I’m going to look for who I need to talk to in my own party to express my views and see what can be done to create a space for a more realistic stance.

      Another is immigration. My mother’s an immigrant. The stances and attitudes displayed toward immigrants by certain portions of the Right bother me. How do you differentiate between an invading horde and people who are desperate refugees? Because my mother was one such, and was because the US pulled out of Vietnam.

      Third, I’m pro choice.

      Those are some of the big reasons.

  8. Elaine D, welcome to the family (America and shooters) !
    I’ll shoot with you anytime, b/c unity on God-given, Natural rights is more important than political differences.

    • Sorry, Gregolas, but “unity on God-given, Natural rights” is very much a part of politics.
      Those who are unified on such rights are on the political right, while the political left is very much against that thinking.
      The left wants us to think such rights are granted by the government, and can, then, be removed by the government.
      Anyone who thinks differently isn’t paying attention.

      • “Anyone who thinks differently isn’t paying attention.”

        I think you meant to say, “Anyone who thinks differently should be denied government rights.”

    • Thanks so much! I’ve actually been shooting seriously for a couple of years, but only decided to “come out” about…let’s see…five days ago. I appreciate it.

  9. Most gun owners could care less about your race or your gender…when it comes to guns, neither of those things make you a better shot, nor do they determine if you Love freedom and embrace personal responsibility or not.

    Keep shooting and practicing. We all could stand to be better! 🙂

  10. Unlike the brave and courageous Syrians whom fled their country the Vietnamese fought hard for their old country they and their children will fight harder for their new home here across the puddle I suppose. Democrat, Republican don’t matter, we need more American patriots.

  11. I don’t care what your ancestors did…I assume my Transylvanian Saxon relatives fought for the “wrong” side in WW1& 2. But being a dem sucks. They hate your gunrights. Lot’s of R’s suck too. I found out Republican Erika Harold got a ZERO(!) from the NRA in the Attorney General race in Illinois. And she’ll “vigorously” enforce the evil gun laws(fighting the so-called sanctuary pro-2A counties). All the dem AG’s had no problem sticking to the party line. So I gotta’ go Libertarian. I’ve talked to a TON of black folks who have a retarded disconnect about their rights. If it was up to the Dumbocrats we’d have NO gunrights…

    • Erica Harold is a woman “of color,” running as a Republican and she’ll need some crossover vote from Ds to get elected. She has a better chance than any of the other Republicans on the state ticket and could possibly be the only roadblock Prickster and Madigan might encounter in the next four years.

      Less of two evils, indeed.

  12. Being as everyone has a constitutionally protected right to own firearms, I do not endorse kicking rabid leftists (or Dimwitocrats) off the firing range. Nor would I discuss politics with them. However, if they stick their face out to be slapped, well, I am an accommodating sort of fellow.

    Elaine D is probably in the US because the fickle politics of Dimwitocrats failed her family; we ran away when the going got tough. For that I apologize to her. But anyone who declares they endorse the public policy horrors promoted by Dimwitocrats, and comes to a strong 2A support blog expecting a warm welcome deserves to be slapped.

    A person who is intelligent enough to recognize that they need to be responsible for their own safety, because government has thoroughly proven government cannot keep you safe, and still promotes dependency on government is suffering from some sort of mental illness. While normally one would look to provide aid to the mentally ill, being a Dimwitocrat (leftist/statist) is a conscious choice; a choice to sink into mental disability.

    So, I would shoot my .22 alongside anyone at the range, do not try to insert politics into the session. Just as I welcome anyone to the blog (as if I own it?), don’t expect a warm welcome when you plant your mental illness flag. You may have an important perspective, but that does not mask your duplicitous mind. Someone once wrote, “A double-minded person is unstable in all their ways.

    This blog is about guns and gun politics. State your case, expect to be trashed for it (guns or politics). Nothing poizinul,l, it’s just bidness as usual.

  13. The gun grabber is desperate to keep the myth going that only older white people own guns. They can’t get away with that image because of the internet. Truth finds a way out. It always does.

  14. I gotta be honest, I don’t understand how anyone can be pro-gun/2A yet be solidly Democrat. Aren’t those two mutually exclusive right now?

    Full disclosure, I can’t stand politicians of any flavor, Pub or Dem.

  15. I know plenty “liberal” gun enthusiasts.

    Most think gun control is a great idea. They spout off about England or Australia and how well it has worked. They almost always own guns and shoot for defensive purposes, and believe that it’s an inferior solution to the bad guys simply not having any firearms at all i.e. I have a gun because others do as well, but no guns is best.

    I’m not going to bore anyone with counterpoints to this philosophy, obviously it is seriously flawed (and also doesn’t speak to the reason for the Second Amendment). I’ve never met a Democrat that keeps arms in case the government turns to tyranny and needs to be overthrown by the people. No, this is not the philosophy of the Antifa types, who want to overthrow a government and install tyranny.

  16. Glad to hear from any fellow shooter, and regardless of your politics on other issues I hope you become an ardent defender of 2nd amendment rights in this country as well – we need all the help we can get.

  17. All these people getting caught up on R vs D- the R in charge of my state is fine with almost all semiautomatic rifles banned. I can’t buy an AR platform legally, not even a lower to build my own. All I can get is brown Fudd guns.

    Republicans are as worthless as Democrats.

  18. IMO the author seems to have a hangup about her ethnicity and gender that seems odd to me – this is America, you can be who you want and do what you want and for the most part, no one cares. One of the great secrets of life is that other people rarely give you much thought, no matter who you are (or think you are). I started working when I was 14, and have had at least as many female bosses as male, and have been asked – point blank – as an experienced adult “do you have a problem working for a woman?” The question throws me every time, and I have always answered “I’m not sure what you mean”, because I’m not.
    My wife shoots. She carries, too. A fairly dainty girly-girl who goes to the range and immediately starts mag-dumps and then asks me for my extended mags. That woman can go through $50 of 9mm FMJs in 10 minutes and only slows down to use her own uplula mag loader (pink, btw) because I’m not fast enough with the reloads. I think she actually LIKES the recoil. At the range we go to, there’s usually as many women as men on the line. The main difference I see in the women I know is they like to go to classes in a group, which I like the idea of because they always get newbies to go with them (like my wife, these are mostly teachers I’m talking about, so extra points IMO).
    As far as ethnicity, this seems to be something only democrats seem to be concerned about at all. Most of the people I know are Republicans now, because the dems have gone off the deep end. Most of us were dems at some point in our lives, but woke up due to one lie too many and identity politics. I live in (fairly rural) North Carolina, and while I believe most of the coastal elites and city-folk probably think we’re backwards-assed hillbillies (that’s the way it seems on TV, anyway), this is an extremely diverse and very accepting community. After the Vietnam conflict, the special forces allies – who I believe they called the montagnards (highlanders?) or Hmong were relocated right here at their own request because it most resembled their own mountains. This is the way the story was told to me, anyway. They have a huge Hmong festival every year at our county fairgrounds, and there is a great number of them, though I don’t know (or care, really) how many. They have completely integrated as Americans and members of the community, and it had been that way long before I moved here over 20 years ago. No one thinks any differently of them than they do of anyone else here. We have lots of Latinos as well – probably a third of our churches are Latin American affiliated Catholic. A stones-throw away (literally) is the only surviving (AFAIK) Waldensian community in the world – a religious sect that fled Catholic persecution from Europe and landed right here centuries ago. All these people of which I speak can only be grouped by going into their distant past to associate their affiliations, and none of this would typically enter your mind when interacting with them unless it was the actual topic of conversation. We are all Americans here.
    It almost slipped my mind to mention my own three foster children, who happen to be black.
    I do have a cousin, adopted (like me, and my sister) who is half Italian and half Puerto-Rican, who does seem to think people look down on him for his Puerto-Rican heritage, even though no one could tell unless he told you, not that it would or should matter anyway. Theres nothing about his appearnce or even his name that indicates anything at all. He has a real hang-up about it, but then again he lives in Philadelphia, and who knows what those dems are putting in his head. I told him if anyone looks down on him, it’s because he’s short.
    You can’t really trust those manlets.

    • That was a very nice ,openminded, revealing comment. You barred your soul openly, rare in this society anymore. If I lived a little bit north of here I’d look you up. This goes to show that “POTG” can be real humans not just political animals.

    • This is a very nice comment. Thank you.

      Keep in mind that for much of my growing up years I was treated as anything but an American. I was treated as “the enemy” because of the fallout from the Vietnam war. In addition to the hostility associated with that, there were lots of vets freshly returned from the war who could easily identify me as a kid with Vietnamese blood. Those were very dangerous times for me and my family here.

      It’s only in more recent years that I have finally started to believe that most people might not care. What still keeps me from believing this is that there are people whose view of me changed when I learned the history of my Vietnamese family last year when I met them for the first time. My grandfather being who he was DID make a difference to them and cause them to regard me as a traitor. There were few of these people, but it still happened.

  19. Elaine, good for you for writing this article and stepping into a world that was initially uncomfortable. Keep shooting, keep enjoying the sport, and keep being you. And keep writing!

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