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Maestro Pistolero
08-01-2010, 1:55 AM
The gradual rehabilitation of the image of gun ownership and gun owners in the mind of the public must accompany the return of this right to the people. That there is honor in the judicious use of arms is a largely absent concept in the mainstream consciousness. We must work to change that. Taking a newbie shooting is about the best way I know to do this. This is what I am trying to do, one shooter at a time. I try to exemplify and demonstrate, just by being who I am, what it means to be a law abiding gun owner.

We now have a generation or two of Americans who, to one degree or another have not grown up being socialized into what it means to be an armed, trained, law-abiding American. In fact, the very word 'armed' is almost synonymous with 'dangerous' in the mind of most people. That must change. To me, the presence of armed, law abiding citizens evokes feelings of comfort, safety and a sense of social stability.

Because many have not grown up being socialized into a culture that keeps and bears, the training and re-education of these folks in terms of safe gun handling practice, etiquette, and habits is going to be very important going forward. It's up to us to help.

They need to learn that firearms protect our freedom and liberty in many ways that aren't always the first that come to mind. Private keeping and bearing of arms can prevent the need for an overwhelming police presence in our day to day lives in order to suppress crime. This kind of oppressive environment is analogous to the constant authoritative presence of standing armies that were so feared and detested by the founders. So, with or without an active militia, the exercise of the right is still essential to the security of a FREE state. Put another way, it is essential to the FREEDOM of a secure state.

It is alarming that the government must be sued left and right in order to be held to the standard that the constitution prescribes, when it is our very way of life and system of government that hangs in the balance.

But once we get passed the heavy lifting of restoring the right (outside of the home) and folks begin to get a taste of the freedom, they are not going to want to let it go so easily again.

Someone once told me that one of the most motivating things we can do to another human being is to trust them. With the obvious exception of felons and the like, we Americans have already demonstrated (in the more free parts of the country) that we can be trusted with both the right and the responsibility that accompany the judicious use of arms.

6114DAVE
08-01-2010, 2:02 AM
+1 good piece maestro!!!

kcbrown
08-01-2010, 5:23 AM
Great piece, Maestro! I do have one quibble:


But once we get passed the heavy lifting of restoring the right (outside of the home) and folks begin to get a taste of the freedom, they are not going to want to let it go so easily again.
I disagree. They let it go easily before, when they had the freedom already. I have no reason to believe they won't do so again. People don't change that way.

yellowfin
08-01-2010, 5:55 AM
The circumstances were much different then.

CCWFacts
08-01-2010, 8:16 AM
I agree, rehabilitating the image of gun owners and gun ownership is something we need to do long-term. Court rulings are great, but ultimately, we need backing from society as a whole to be able to preserve this right. Other countries, including Cuba and North Korea, have RKBA in their constitutions and it doesn't do them any good. The constitutional right gives us a great starting point, but I hope it's not the ending point.

ScottB
08-01-2010, 8:44 AM
Every right has corresponding responsibilities of equal or greater magnitude.

Maintaining a positive image across a group requires all the individuals in that group to be self aware to the point that that they can perceive how their expressions of their desires are peceived by the public at large and how those perceptions affect the individuals interests individually and as a group.

Unfortunately, we cannot require responsibility as a condition of ownership nor can we mandate maturity and having a clue as a condition of ownership - witness innumerable threads and posts on this site as proof of at least the second issue (sorry if that rubs some the wrong way, but its true).

The bottom line: it all comes back to individual conduct and appearance by gunowners that is mature, appropriate, informed and not "me, me, me" and "I gotta right, so screw you"

Unfortunately, I read a lot of the latter here

craneman
08-01-2010, 9:29 AM
My personal feelings on this is the vast majority of citizens believe quite strongly on 2A. We (people who frequent CGN)are firearms enthusiests. We are on a different level than the majority of the populace. Our level of enthusiasm is a small minority. Likewise, the level of the anti's is far above the normal majority of the population. Rural area's of our country are very pro RKBA. Firearms are very prevelent and a way of daily life in many cases. It is looked upon as a tool to be used if needed. We, as a nation, have grown and the demografics have changed. We have become less rural and the majority of the population has shifted to being more urban. Firearms are less prevelent in the daily lives of most city folk. They see movies with guns in them (generaly bad) they see firearms on the police (associated with authority) and its no wonder the views of the country have changed. The power of the voting public has shifted to the urban areas. The vast majority of people I have spoken to, believe in the 2A in our Constituion, but the level of passion is lower in urban areas, it seems. It is not thier hobby or passion, they don't hunt and it is not looked upon as a tool, so changing views about CCW and AW is pretty far down on thier list of priorities. It seems the urban areas have the most "sheeple" and educating them is a HUGE undertaking. It would take a few lifetimes for a group as small as us to make a dent in the majority of the voting public. Legal actions are the best alternative if you want to see change in our lifetime. I am not saying we shouldn't educate, we should always take the time to introduce new blood to the sport. I am saying that I don't believe it is the way we will see change in our lifetimes. Heck I have heard it from hunters themselves, "why on earth would you want an AR?". Because I like to shoot them. Pretty simple answer, but they insist it has no sporting purpose, because THEY don't use one for a sporting purpose. The Cowboy Action shooting crowd stabbed the whole shooting community in the back during the Safe Handgun Roster debacle. As long as it didn't effect them in a negative way (single action, cowbay shooting guns are exempt) they were all for it.:confused: Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.....cripes, our own firearms enthusiests are helping to cut our throats. WTF?

Apocalypsenerd
08-01-2010, 10:19 AM
Maestro, great post. Taking someone to the range is a good start to altering the culture. I will endeavor to take more first timers to the range.

We also need to somehow change the language so that "criminal" and "dangerous" are not words constantly associated with firearms owners. Fortunately, it seems the antis are losing money and ground in this debate, and that will make their rhetoric less visible.

BoxesOfLiberty
08-01-2010, 10:20 AM
Well Said, Maestro.

My wife and I will be taking a group of non-shooters to the range next weekend. We have been doing this a couple of times each summer for several years now.

We'll start at our home with a pancake breakfast, brief safety orientation and safe handling demonstration for each of the firearms that will be used. Afterward we drive to the Los Altos Rod and Gun Club where we'll spend a couple of hours shooting .22s and a variety of handguns before we all break for a picnic lunch.

After lunch we'll head over to their manual trap range for some informal aerial targets. By this point everyone is comfortable with the basic concepts and ready to enjoy the shotguns (with low recoil bird shot). This is very social and everyone has a blast.

Over dinner someone will invariably ask about what is involved in buying a gun, and discussion will wind up including firearms laws, the second amendment, and various self-defense issues.

If past experiences are any guide, everyone will have fun and ask to be included in future shooting activities. Out of about half a dozen newbies that we take each time, about half will solicit advice about selecting their first firearm over the next year or so. A few will also solicit permission to invite friends or family members to join us the next time we go shooting.

Even those who don't become gun owners, come away with a more positive view of firearms and firearms enthusiasts. I often hear surprised comments about how nice all of the gun folks seem to be.

We ask our attendees to take care of their own range fees, but we supply food and ammo. Each time we do this we spend a couple of hundred dollars on ammo and targets (mostly 12ga and 20ga shells), and I feel like it is the best possible investment in defense of our 2A rights that I can make.

Skidmark
08-01-2010, 11:37 AM
Because many have not grown up being socialized into a culture that keeps and bears, the training and re-education of these folks in terms of safe gun handling practice, etiquette, and habits is going to be very important going forward. It's up to us to help.

Now hold on just a minute here. Socialism and re-education camps? :eek: What, are you some kind of shill for hope and change?

:D

I like your thinking, and am doing my part to spread good warm feelings about firearms to those who have not had the pleasure of handling and firing them. And with that, a dose of talk about responsible gun ownership, and the primacy of self-defense.

M. D. Van Norman
08-01-2010, 11:39 AM
Maestro, the word you were looking for is prescribe, not proscribe.

That said, the cultural victory you describe is very close at hand now. Once the right to carry becomes feasible for the law-abiding public in California and/or New York, the long struggle will turn forever in our favor. The right to arms will have a practical, daily meaning for the vast majority of Americans and will eventually become as normalized as other civil rights.

And then it will spread beyond our borders.…

Maestro Pistolero
08-01-2010, 1:16 PM
Maestro, the word you were looking for is prescribe, not proscribe.


You are correct, I will fix that.
Thanks.

Apocalypsenerd
08-01-2010, 1:17 PM
Damn Boxes, awesome effort. It almost makes me feel ashamed of only taking my non-shooting friends to the range for an hour or so. Pancake breakfast? I wish you had introduced me to firearms.

Well Said, Maestro.

My wife and I will be taking a group of non-shooters to the range next weekend. We have been doing this a couple of times each summer for several years now.

We'll start at our home with a pancake breakfast, brief safety orientation and safe handling demonstration for each of the firearms that will be used. Afterward we drive to the Los Altos Rod and Gun Club where we'll spend a couple of hours shooting .22s and a variety of handguns before we all break for a picnic lunch.

After lunch we'll head over to their manual trap range for some informal aerial targets. By this point everyone is comfortable with the basic concepts and ready to enjoy the shotguns (with low recoil bird shot). This is very social and everyone has a blast.

Over dinner someone will invariably ask about what is involved in buying a gun, and discussion will wind up including firearms laws, the second amendment, and various self-defense issues.

If past experiences are any guide, everyone will have fun and ask to be included in future shooting activities. Out of about half a dozen newbies that we take each time, about half will solicit advice about selecting their first firearm over the next year or so. A few will also solicit permission to invite friends or family members to join us the next time we go shooting.

Even those who don't become gun owners, come away with a more positive view of firearms and firearms enthusiasts. I often hear surprised comments about how nice all of the gun folks seem to be.

We ask our attendees to take care of their own range fees, but we supply food and ammo. Each time we do this we spend a couple of hundred dollars on ammo and targets (mostly 12ga and 20ga shells), and I feel like it is the best possible investment in defense of our 2A rights that I can make.

radioburning
08-01-2010, 1:35 PM
Great post Maestro. I'd add that more long range shooting ranges would help us out, here in the L.A./O.C area. A lot of people will never go shoot a rifle because the nearest rifle range is a 40 minute drive.

kcbrown
08-01-2010, 1:48 PM
The circumstances were much different then.

Most certainly the legal circumstances were different. I suppose that may be sufficient, but I doubt it. It requires not just that the courts have recognized the 2nd Amendment as an individual and fundamental right, it also requires that they continue to do so. And that's highly dependent upon the makeup of the Supreme Court as well as that of the lower courts.

Even right now, I have to regard the hold we have on the Supreme Court as extremely tenuous. By my off the cuff reckoning (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=4700466&postcount=24), we have a 75% chance of losing at least one critical person on the Supreme Court within the next 5 years. Gene has mentioned that this 5 year window is a critical one.


But the social circumstances are almost certainly even worse now than they were back then -- people today are notably less independent-minded and more inclined to depend on the government than they were when we lost these rights. The desire to be free to the degree necessary to be willing to fight for liberty requires an independence of spirit that is vanishing in our society. Oh, sure, we have it, but we are very much in the minority.

And so, I stand my ground with my original statement: people today are, in general, no more inclined to fight to keep their RKBA than they were back when they lost it the first time. If anything, they're even less inclined to do so.

v/dBrink
08-01-2010, 2:45 PM
Please expound on your ideas and share your thoughts for that large segment of the California population that is not of .. "an Anglo-American regime of ordered liberty”.

That would be...oh... 50% of the California population.

Apocalypsenerd
08-01-2010, 4:49 PM
By my off the cuff reckoning (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=4700466&postcount=24), we have a 75% chance of losing at least one critical person on the Supreme Court within the next 5 years. Gene has mentioned that this 5 year window is a critical one.




With the expected gains in the Senate this year, does that 75% stand?

510dat
08-01-2010, 6:18 PM
Don't forget the gunshops.

In my opinion, they are the number 2 reason why people don't or won't get into shooting (#1 being public perception/unfamiliarity).

The absolute essential key to preserving fire arms is getting women, and especially young urban/suburban women, involved and enthusiastic.

If only men are involved, it's an intimidating "macho guy thing," when we get women involved, it becomes a "family activity."

BUT

No self-respecting woman wants to go into a dark, grungy shop and listen to a scruffy, profane old man ranting about Obama, liberals, or yelling at somebody for asking about ARs. She's going to walk in, look around, and walk right out.

Look at the places women shop, and then compare that to your favorite gun store; how do those places compare?

When a significant majority of gun shops are well-lit, clean, presentable and staffed by knowledgeable and friendly staff, then the industry will be safe. Until then, we will be nothing more than a peculiar hobby that scares "normal" people.

kcbrown
08-01-2010, 6:27 PM
With the expected gains in the Senate this year, does that 75% stand?

We'll see. I expect it probably does. Here's why...

The problem as I see it is this: the Republican party has been overrun by neocons. The Democratic party has been overrun by a bunch of socialists. Both parties are in love with big, powerful government.

The end result is that if we get someone from the Republican party into the Oval Office, they'll push someone who values government power above all else as the nominee for the Supreme Court (neocons are about expanding government power for the benefit of large private enterprise and for playing military games in the rest of the world). If we get a Democrat in the Oval Office (like we have now), they'll push someone who values government power above all else as the nominee for the Supreme Court (since Democrats these days are about expanding government power for the purpose of implementing socialism).

Either way, we wind up with someone in the Supreme Court who believes government power to override individual freedom. The end result for the 2nd Amendment is probably the same, because individual freedom is the antithesis of government power.


Now, just how likely do you think it is that we'll wind up with libertarians in either the Senate or the Oval Office?

This is where the claim that people will fight for their freedom when they taste it rings false. If such people were prevalent then both major parties would be losing seats.


ETA: Oh, and if the person we lose isn't replaced, then we still lose, or the Supreme Court winds up deadlocked with a tie on 2nd Amendment issues (I've no idea how such things are resolved, or even if they're resolved).

Skidmark
08-01-2010, 9:35 PM
Look at the places women shop, and then compare that to your favorite gun store; how do those places compare?

When a significant majority of gun shops are well-lit, clean, presentable and staffed by knowledgeable and friendly staff, then the industry will be safe. Until then, we will be nothing more than a peculiar hobby that scares "normal" people.

I was in Irvington Arms last week, to pick up a new gun. A nice young woman behind the counter, and a female customer cam in behind me. Lemme tell ya, they were not there for the calm soothing decor... but it is a clean, well-lit shop, staffed by knowledgeable people. I'm just saying that gun shops will probably always look like gun shops... what matters is how customers are treated once they're buzzed through the door.

Blackhawk556
08-02-2010, 3:18 AM
The manager at work knows I like guns and has told me stuff that makes me want to punch him in the nose. I keep cool and just walk away right away, no need to argue and make myself like a bad person.

If I start arguing with him he'll just think worse of me

Maestro Pistolero
08-03-2010, 2:04 PM
I would be interested in everyone's thoughts on how to do this on a national scale as well.. Like hiring a seriously talented, resourceful PR company, (think BP's recent campaign) to help begin reshaping public opinion. Long range, strategic plan, big thinking kind of stuff.

Bugei
08-04-2010, 8:07 AM
I agree that rehabilitating the image of firearm owners is going to be necessary.

But the ACLU will take cases -- and win in court -- protecting the civil rights of NAMBLA members and I think we'd all agree that their reputation is pretty nasty. At what point did our civil rights (and only ours, BTW) become dependent on how we're portrayed on the 6PM news? Is there any minority other than the gun owners who feel that they have to rehab their image before claiming their rights?

The fact that this is necessary points to a deeper problem, one that isn't going to be corrected with a PR campaign. Perhaps driving the worst media offenders out of business with boycotts would be an alternative; certainly boycotts have at least swayed media coverage in the past when used by other groups.

yellowfin
08-04-2010, 8:18 AM
The manager at work knows I like guns and has told me stuff that makes me want to punch him in the nose. I keep cool and just walk away right away, no need to argue and make myself like a bad person.

If I start arguing with him he'll just think worse of meThat's the sort of stuff that really burns me up. If that individual said such things about lots of other activities or types of people it would be treated very, very harshly yet we can be abused without any consequences to them whatsoever. We hear on and on that bigotry is supposedly wrong, that tolerance is supposedly the way to go, that we're supposed to accept people, people should be able to be who they are and do what they want, and so on... yet somehow none of that applies.

Maestro Pistolero
08-04-2010, 8:28 AM
Is there any minority other than the gun owners who feel that they have to rehab their image before claiming their rights?I think you misunderstand. Not BEFORE claiming our rights, which we are doing in the courts in a big way. By changing the twisted view of gun owners we are smoothing the road in the future and making the anti's job very difficult.

The fact that this is necessary points to a deeper problem, one that isn't going to be corrected with a PR campaign. It's just one prong of a multi-pronged strategy. If we DON'T change people's thinking, we are in deep doo-doo in the long run. On the other hand, if almost no-one bought the anti's losing approach to public safety, it would be nearly impossible for their agenda to move through the legislature.

Perhaps driving the worst media offenders out of business with boycotts would be an alternative; certainly boycotts have at least swayed media coverage in the past when used by other groups.
Agreed. I've made that point often. If advertisers knew that they were losing their customer base by supporting programming (news, anti gun campaigns, etc) that painted those exercising a fundamental right as extremist, blood-thirtsy sociopaths, they would discontinue their funding immediately.

motorhead
08-04-2010, 11:42 AM
ok, i'll do my part to improve our image. i'll stay indoors!:D

chuckdc
08-04-2010, 11:56 AM
One of the best PR campaigns that was based on this idea was the "I'm the NRA" campaign quite some time ago. Perhaps something similar would be a good idea. Get lots of very diverse types of folks to stand up and represent. Stay far, far away from the "Usual" image of gun owners (sorry, my fellow middle-aged white guys,but we're out of this one, and for the good of the order) Get some people out there showing themselves as responsible gun owners, that look like people that are not what the press shows all the time.
Different ethnicities, women, gay, lesbian, etc. Pink Pistols is a start, but we need it bigger than just that.

Steyrlp10
08-04-2010, 12:32 PM
Don't forget the gunshops.

No self-respecting woman wants to go into a dark, grungy shop and listen to a scruffy, profane old man ranting about Obama, liberals, or yelling at somebody for asking about ARs. She's going to walk in, look around, and walk right out.

Look at the places women shop, and then compare that to your favorite gun store; how do those places compare?

That's one reason we have Lady Calgunners on here. We may be a small group, but I remain optimistic in getting the word out. If it's not at the range, or at a gun show, then it's going to be out on open water with bass anglers. Women, in general, aren't that delicate. They just need to know where they can get reliable information. That's how I got hooked on CGN.

wash
08-04-2010, 1:22 PM
Guns used to be sold in hardware stores, gas stations, Sears, etc.

Registration was for machine guns.

I would love to see the day when I could buy a fancy CCW piece at Gucci, cash and carry.

I doubt we will ever be able to get rid of the FFL system so gun shops and sporting goods stores seem like the only retail places to buy and they aren't Gucci.

I don't know what we can do about that but I know that I prefer some of the kitchen table FFLs. Beside the FUD, politics and atmosphere of a gun shop, kitchen table FFLs usually don't have as much overhead either.

One thing I would really like to see is network television coverage of some of the shooting sports, like a trap shooting competition or IPSA or something. Nothing too tactical and something with female competitors. The key is network television, not a cable channel. We need to present it to a broad audience and show people there are many fun sporting oportunities for gun owners.

Of course a range trip is the best way, one-on-one instruction and some people could get over their irrational fear of guns (I know one lady who is convinced that if she had a gun in her hands she would start killing people. I'm a bit afraid to test her theory too).

The problem with range trips is that it won't reach everyone.

We need to re-establish the gun culture in this country. Most of the anti-gun laws are really anti-gun culture. For example: banning gun shows at the Alameda county fairgrounds, "Gun Free School Zones" and zero tolerance policies, requiring "good cause" for a CCW liscense and banning mail-order ammunition sales. Look at all of the ranges and gun shops that have been closed down or put out of business by some regulation designed to force them out.

Imagine a school policy where children were not told that they have freedom of speech or that only newspapers have freedom of speech. There was a story here a while back about a child who's education on the bill of rights skipped over the second amendment and I believe another parent related a case of the "collective right" (militia only) being taught and I think that was post McDonald v. Chicago (and certainly post Heller v. D.C.).

We need a cultural change, TV, movies, internet and schools should be the big targets.

joedogboy
08-04-2010, 2:26 PM
There is a concerted movement in our nation to marginalize guns and gun owners. When an armed citizen is shown on TV or in movies, what are the chances that they are a dangerous person, or unbalanced/racist/etc.?
Do ESPN or Sports Illustrated cover Camp Perry?
How many new ranges open each year to replace those that are driven out of business by zoning and environmental laws?
How many gun shops are allowed to do business in your city?

When there are no shooting ranges, gun shops, or gun shows in your community, how will the average person on the street ever have a positive experience with firearms, or otherwise see firearms as anything other than something used only by the police and criminals?

Remember when the NRA wanted to air television ads with the U.S. Olympic shooting teams back in the 1980s, and the networks declined to let them buy air time?

Since the mass media seems to largely be closed off as an avenue for us to portray firearms and armed citizens in a positive light, and the schools are no better, it is up to us to be personal examples/disciples of positive gun culture.

Taking a group of friends to the range and safely introducing them to the joys of shooting and responsible firearms handling is probably the best thing we can do.

Each time you bring someone to the range, and they have a positive experience - even if that is the only time they go - they will always have that personal experience to counter all of the anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti 2A fearmongering, hate, lies, and distortion that abounds in our media and society.

ironpegasus
08-04-2010, 2:34 PM
Guns used to be sold in hardware stores, gas stations, Sears, etc.

Registration was for machine guns.

I would love to see the day when I could buy a fancy CCW piece at Gucci, cash and carry.

While I'm all for being able to walk in to the local 7-11 and get a box of ammo along with my soda and candy bar or get some ACOG lasered up AR with free-float and rails when I stop to pick up parts for my computer from Fry's, I hope that retailers like Gucci will have the common sense to license the brand to manufacturers that know firearms and then sign off on the furniture - the last thing we need is a bunch of social status enhancing firearms that blow your own hand off when you pull the trigger.

dantodd
08-04-2010, 3:26 PM
the last thing we need is a bunch of social status enhancing firearms that blow your own hand off when you pull the trigger.

perhaps that's the first thing we need.

wash
08-04-2010, 3:31 PM
Guns can approach jewelry in terms of the embellishments and finishes used.

The cost can be astronomical too.

Any informed gun buyer would know how to spot a piece of junk so I bet Gucci would start with a reliable and safe design.

Everyone knows that cheap jewelry falls apart because the first thing jewelers do to cut costs is reduce the amount of gold. People should expect the same quality issues if they buy a cheap gun at a jewelry store.