When it comes to gun ownership and the Second Amendment, the majority of people that are not gun owners themselves, when asked to describe the typical gun owner, they would paint a very similar picture. The Average gun owner is a white man, generally between 30 and 65 years old, lives in a rural community, is straight, married, has a couple of kids, a stay-at-home wife, and votes Republican down the ticket. He is a flag waving, pick-up truck driving, do-it-yourself’er that attends NRA conventions and enjoys hunting, fishing, and lets his AR-15 influence him into becoming a homicidal maniac bent on killing children, puppies, and anyone with a Hillary 2016 bumper sticker on their Prius. This is not because the average non-gun owner actually knows people like that, but rather because that is what the media and anti-gun politicians have told them for years.
Now, it is no surprise that some of American Gun owners may fit a few of the physical, racial, religious, economic, and residential assumptions, but that is only one bristle of the paint brush that has been used to put us all on the canvas. The fact is that there are a LOT of different people, from every corner of American society that enjoy, and practice their Second Amendment rights. When I introduce the average anti-2A, non-gun owning person to individuals that do not fit their preconceived idea of who a gun owner is, I am often met with surprise or even doubt.
“Wait, you mean to tell me that a 50-year-old lesbian tree hugger that operates a Pet Grooming business is a competitive shooter???”. Yes…that is exactly what I am telling you.
It can be very difficult for those unaware of variety of members of the 2A community to come to grips with the fact that a good portion of our family do NOT fit the mold. What’s worse is that many of these people have no idea that the people who are most likely going to find themselves in need of a firearm are the very people they are voting to disenfranchising through their desire to institute greater gun control measures. They do not understand that there are many in minority communities that are at a greater risk of experiencing violence…and by “minority”, I am not speaking of ethnicity, but of all factors that relegate individuals into smaller categories.
When the pulse Night Club in Orlando Florida was attacked by a madman, resulting in 49 deaths and 53 wounded victims, it sparked a national outrage. Within minutes of the reports, there was a call for increased gun control. What was not said at the time is that the reason the gunman was able to commit such an atrocity was because the Pulse Night Club was a Gun Free Zone. So strict was the limiting of self-defense tools that even one of the bouncers, an Off-Duty Police office moonlighting as a security guard, was required to remain unarmed. For nearly THREE hours, the shooter was able to systematically corral, select and execute innocent patrons while Police remained outside the club. It was not until shortly after 5AM that they breached a wall, entered the club, and killed the gunman.
Now, while there was that predictable call for more gun control, another, less predictable call was made…a call to arms. It was clear that the club was targeted for 2 reasons…first, it was a Gay Night Club, and secondly because the shooter knew that he would be met with ZERO opposition from the people enjoying their night. With those two factors in mind, there was an awakening among those in the Gay Community, an awakening that I am encouraged by. Men and women from the gay community suddenly realized that not only were they being targeted for their lifestyle, but when it comes to their ability to stay alive, that THEY would have to be their own means of self-defense. They realized that a tragedy of this magnitude could have been either prevented, or at least halted if one or more of the patrons were able to return fire.
This was the spark that ignited the fire of Self Preservation. The Gay Community began to realize that when their lives were being threatened, they could not wait for 3 hours…EVER AGAIN. In the days and weeks following the Pulse Shooting, applications for Pistol Permits began to spike, not only in Florida, but in other cities that have high populations of Gay and Lesbian citizens. The community realized that if this could happen in the Sunshine State, surely it could happen in ANY state. Not only was there in increase in pistol applications, but many self-defense training centers noticed a higher than normal enrollment in classes, not only for firearm training, but for hand to hand combat tactic as well. Suddenly, the gay community was “woke”, and “carrying”.
Then we have the ongoing atrocities in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Wilmington, and a variety of others that have high populations of citizens on the lower part of the economic ladder. Week after week we see reports and read stories of dozens of shootings being perpetrated, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives. While many discount those losses as being “gang related”, and therefore unimportant, there are a number of victims that just happen to have been innocent bystanders. Let us not forget that many residents in these communities are targeted for crime because the criminal element understands that crimes will go unreported due to fear of criminal retribution, and that because of local leaders, their victims have already been rendered helpless because of gun control measures. However, times and perceptions have begun to change. Recent landmark court decisions, such as Heller, have ruled that Gun Ownership IS the right of the individual, and local courts have begun to follow suit, ruling that preventing the citizens from arming themselves is a violation of their civil rights.
Even after the courts have ruled against them, these cities STILL have tremendous obstacles put in place to prevent their citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights. However, many have decided to fight back…not only against the criminals that want their victims to be unarmed, but against lawmakers who have made them easy-pickens FOR the criminals. Many of the resident of these cities with Draconian Gun Control Measures have had enough and have decided that they would bear the burdens placed on them in order to protect themselves. They have foregone everyday luxuries just to meet the unreasonable financial burdens associated to permit applications and background checks. They have taken it upon themselves to become armed, trained, and ready to defend themselves as they have also become “woke” to the fact that THEY are their own first responders. They understand that law enforcement agencies have either been stretched to the breaking point, or worse, conditioned to believe that these communities are beyond saving. The good and decent people of these communities deserve better…especially from those state leaders that insist that they are better off if left disarmed, and vulnerable to the whims of madmen and gang members.
With just these two examples alone, we can see that the demographics of the American Gun Owning Community are not exactly in line with the common perception that many have of the 2A community.
There are the single mothers, the survivors of domestic violence, college students living far from the comfort and security of their families. There are the women that find themselves as the main source of protecting the family after the death of a husband. There are the husbands and wives of military personnel on deployment that now have to guard the gates of their homes while their spouse is off guarding a nation. There are the night shift workers, cab drivers, truck drivers, waitresses, and those that must make several connections on public transportation just to get home….many that travel in the dark of night, through less than desirable neighborhoods. There are literally millions of Americans that do not fit the profile of the American Gun Owner, yet they are the ones in the greatest need of the means of self-defense, and they are arming themselves too.
However, the American politician does not see how their brilliant plans actually hurt their constituents much more than they help…then again, maybe they DO see it, but they also see more benefit to their political ambitions by having a subservient, dependent, and helpless populous. They insist that applicants demonstrate a “NEED” when it comes to owning a firearm. They insist that higher permit application fees will weed out those intent on criminal activities, when they actually deprive lower-income Americans the ability to defend themselves. They insist on having firearm manufactures redesign their products to impossible-to-meet standards like “micro-stamping firing pins” that will undoubtedly drive the cost of firearms beyond the point of affordability. They insist on gun owners obtaining “insurance” in order to own the firearm, and then(like in New York) they make the insurance “illegal” in their state. They demand that there be a tax on ammunition set so high, that only the wealthier members of society can afford to practice, train, or even keep an extra loaded magazine in the nightstand drawer. At every turn, the most vulnerable of American Citizens, in the communities where they are most in need, are prevented from being able to exercise their own Constitutionally Protected Rights. What is even more insulting is that when the citizens wage a legal challenge to these laws, the law makers use TAXPAYER money to defend their position….they use OUR money to fight against us.
What is probably most troubling about all of the financial roadblocks is that this is the perfect example of “Class Warfare”. Many of those that tout the benefits of gun control are also the very same people who speak of economic disparity. They insist that these taxes, fees, and regulations are somehow justified, but the only people within those communities that can afford them are the people in the same financial class as those writing the rules and mandating those fees. It is as if they feel that the economically disenfranchised, many of whom are members of the minority community cannot be trusted with their own self-preservation…especially if the tool used for that purpose is a gun. I’m sure that the wealthier members of these communities do not find that the $300, or $400 licensing fee to be that much of a financial burden, but the same cannot be said of a single mother of 3 that is already stretching her budget to the breaking point, or the guy, making just this side of minimum wage, that has to walk home from work because he cannot afford an Uber.
Yet you will find that there are those will defy and overcome those obstacles. They will make the sacrifices, work the extra hours, add that second job JUST to be able to “buy back” their right to protect themselves, and their families. These are people from all corners of the American landscape…people that cannot be classified as the “typical” gun owner. When you consider that there are over One Hundred MILLION Gun Owners in America, it becomes quite clear that one must look beyond the media generated stereotypes to see who the “average” American gun owner actually is…and we are anything BUT average. We are every color, religion, gender, sexual persuasion, from all economic backgrounds. We are the perfect blend of what makes America so beautiful…..We Are Americans.
So, if you have the opportunity to do so, introduce yourself to people that you may think are outside of your familiar circles. Get to know people that you would otherwise think you don’t have much in common with. Talk to people in your neighborhood or your church, the parents of children that attend school with yours. Be outgoing and friendly. Make friends with people that might be a little “different” from yourself. Whether you are left or right, black or white, straight or gay, it really doesn’t matter. When you open yourself up to new people, you might just find that the person you least expect to be a Second Amendment Proponent is an active member of the shooting community. Hell, you might even find a Range Buddy, hunting partner, or best of all, someone who will stand beside you and lend their “unexpected” voice to the cause of liberty.