Combat-wounded Marine Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Johnny “Joey” Jones is not unfamiliar with firearms. He’s handled more than his fair share of handguns, semiautomatic rifles and more. Learning to shoot a traditional shotgun for recreation might be what has added something extra special for him about what the Second Amendment means.
“Being involved in the recreational side of the Second Amendment, in my opinion, is just as important,” Jones told NSSF’s Larry Keane during a SHOT TV appearance. “It’s not as easy of a talking point – you know self defense is a big deal, and it should be, but the recreational side of owning guns and exercising that right responsibly, that gives my son and I something to do. It gave my dad and I something to do together. It’s going to give my daughter and I something to do. It’s a family tradition.”
Jones lost both legs to an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan. He’s mobile on prosthetics these days and observed that walking around the exhibits and halls of SHOT Show this year felt different to him, in a great way. Keane and Jones discussed the changing face of the American gun owner and the significant demographic boost to diversity experienced in the industry and community throughout the past two years.
“The face of the Second Amendment is the face of any American,” Jones explained. “This Constitution – the Bill of Rights that we have – they’re for all of us.”
The two discussed that 40 percent of gun buyers in 2020 were first-timers and 40 percent of those were women. African-Americans purchased firearms at a 58 percent higher rate in 2020 than 2019. Asian-Americans and Hispanic-Americans saw similar increases in buying trends in the mid-40 percent range.
During their conversation for SHOT TV, Keane and Jones also spoke about the non-profit organization Boot Campaign, a veteran life-improvement organization for which Jones works. Boot Campaign had a booth presence at SHOT Show and enjoyed great foot traffic of interested attendees stopping by.
“The organization has some real meat and potatoes behind it now,” Jones said. “They provide help in the five areas that really plague veterans the most; traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder, addiction or self-medication, insomnia and chronic pain.”
Wrapping up their discussion, Jones made sure to make it known he’d be back to SHOT Show again.
“It really means a lot for me to be here this week to say hello to folks and listen to them…and just talk about how new people are coming in to exercising their Second Amendment and this is the place for a lot of people where that gets started.”
You can watch the full SHOT TV discussion with Johnny “Joey” Jones here.
Matt Manda is Manager, Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.