Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Say It Loud!

I'm armed and I'm proud!

Finished listening to the latest BB & Guns podcast.  The lovely Breda and JayG discussed how they approach letting people know that they are gunnies.  The callers added in their own two cents, and I have to say that I agreed with everyone for the most part.

I'm not a gun nut.  I'm certainly not a collector.  I can count the number of guns I own on both hands, barely.  I stack the ammunition deep because I'm a cheap bastard and buy in bulk as much as I can, not because I'm getting ready for the revolution.  I don't lust after the newest hotness from Ruger, KelTec, or the sundry AR-15 vendors.  I do admire the craftsmanship of a well turned out firearm, especially antiques, but I doubt I'll ever have enough disposable income to invest in collector grade firearms.

But I am a shooter.  Luckily for me, my work environment has a lot of shooters in it.  One of my shooting buddies is my manager, and there are at least 10 hunters and recreational shooters within a stones throw of my cubicle.  Kentucky in general seems to be pretty OK with people owning and legally carrying guns.  One of the benefits of living in fly-over country, I guess.

Outside of work, Irish Woman's Indiana family is definitely pro-gun.  At the annual Hoosier Roundup, almost all of the campers and trucks have at least one NRA sticker on them.  We spend the late summer talking about prospects for hunting, and the Christmas party is heavily leavened with hunting stories from the deer season.  One brother-in-law in particular has introduced me to several of the gun stores in Indiana, and when he can make the long drive down he joins us at Knob Creek.

The other side of Irish Woman's family, on the other hand, is much more mixed when it comes to guns.  With the exception of one brother, the rest of the family is thoroughly steeped in the left-wing doctrine of the "Only Ones," where only the police and military need access to firearms.  When Irish Woman let slip that I had purchased a shotgun, there were actually members of her family who advised her to get out of our home for her own safety.  Amazingly enough, I've never told these relatives that I have, on occasion, come to their homes either with a gun in my pocket, or at least a gun in the glove compartment.  Heaven forfend that they should learn that I am taking my daughter to the range so she can learn to be a responsible gun owner and shooter.

I guess the point of all of this boils down to situational awareness and discretion.  When I'm among friends, we openly talk about guns, including what each of us is carrying if it's an environment where we can carry.  When I'm not among other gunnies, I try very hard to not be "The Guy with the GUN".  I've heard this called "Don't scare the white people".  Even though it's perfectly legal in Kentucky, I have only open carried a couple of times in Kentucky, and then only when I'm away from Louisville.

If someone asks me my hobbies, I'm honest and list shooting and hunting along with reading.  If I'm carrying and someone I know isn't very cool with firearms asks me, I'm honest and tell them that that I'm carrying.  I've put out a general invitation to my friends to go to the range with me, and a couple have made soft commitments to go once the weather gets better.   I just don't make it an issue that will cause problems in a social or work environment.

But I don't hide my hobby.  I don't lie when asked about it, and if someone wants to honestly discuss guns, hunting, or gun rights with me, even if they are diametrically opposed to it, I engage with them.  I probably won't convince them, but I will at least give them something to think about.  Who knows, if I keep talking to them, they may take me up on the range trip, and if they enjoy themselves they may become shooters themselves.

So what do y'all do?  I'm especially curious how people in countries that are definitely anti-gun tell people about the hobby, or how people who travel to a lot of different anti-gun areas discuss it with the locals.


Old NFO said...

DB, FWIW, most of my overseas trips to Japan, Australia and Italy I have had discussions with folks about guns, and probably 80% of them were positive... Even in Japan which is VERY anti-gun! Most of the Japanese were curious about shooting in general, and a few who had been to Guam and Hawaii would pipe up and talk about their experiences at the ranges (seems to be one of the must do things when out of Japan)... When i run across a true anti and they start the OMG a GUN crap, I ask them if the have a fire extinguisher or insurance, or knives in the kitchen; when they say the do, i ask them why, a knife is just as deadly, then why an extinguisher, they will always come back with I want to save my house. I ask why, since the fire dept is just minutes away... They come back with some personal safety answer, which I then turn around to self protection when the cops are minutes away and they just look at me with a perplexed look, like what??? :-)

DaddyBear said...

Thanks NFO. I remember the Germans who lived near our range at Lager Lechfeld in Germany as always being curious about our guns. A few of them had Waffenkarte, and most of the men had served in the Bundeswehr, so we had something we could talk about. Now that I think of it, it's not uncommon to hear a European or Asian accent at Knob Creek on occasion.

MrG's said...

I have a few discussions with people that moved down to the south from the northeast and when they discover that I own firearms, I have gotten the ever popular " How can you own guns..they are dangerous" to " why do you own guns". They act like they have seen a live snake. I reply that owning a firearm is voluntary, and owning a firearm is taking responsibility for your own safety as well as your family. I continue with then seconds count, the police are minutes away and by supreme court ruling, they arn't obligated to protect you.

Julie said...

I am pretty open with it here in Aus - JayG and I had a bit of a discussion about the topic and workmates awhile back - prompting this post from me:

On the whole I find people quite positive about it and most discussions end up with me offering a "come, visit the range" invitation and more often than not I'm taken up on it.

DaddyBear said...

I have had the same conversation with folks who come to Kentucky on business from our corporate offices in New Jersey. Some of them would like to have guns, but due to the restrictive laws in their state, they consider it too much of a hassle. A few have recoiled a bit at the thought, but for the most part respect that we all have our rights. Only one was militantly anti-gun and anti-gunpeople. But I didn't like her before the subject came up, so no loss.

Julie, your post is spot on. Although I don't know if I'd be brave enough to bring it up in a job interview! ;-)

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