Growing up we had guns but I was taught not to talk about them. This is a fairly universal practice for gun-owning parents because there are plenty reasons why you wouldn’t want your kid telling strangers what kind of guns you have. If you are a gun owning parent I’d suggest you teach your kids not to talk about your guns. But the question that you need to ask is whether or not you should talk about your guns. Most gun owners these days were raised not to talk about their parents guns so their default answer to this question would likely be no, they shouldn’t talk about their guns. But for a country that plans on keeping their God given rights I don’t think that is the correct answer.
To see this let’s take a brief look at the progression of gay rights in America. Over a relatively small number of decades gay people in the United States (and much of the west) went from being culturally shunned and legally unrecognized to being both culturally and legally accepted. How did this happen? The short and simple answer is that people in favor of gay rights talked about gay rights and got people to understand their viewpoint, or at least got them to understand that plenty of normal people are gay.
Gun owners should be doing this same thing because gun rights are widely misunderstood and constantly under threat by those who don’t understand them. We should be working to get more people to understand guns and gun rights and what I think is one of the most important ways to do that is to get people to see that plenty of normal people own guns.
How do we do that? By talking about our guns. We don’t have to be constitutional scholars or weapons experts or out there arguing with gun control activists all the time to promote gun rights, we simply have to be willing to talk about our guns.
What does this look like? Obviously talking about shooting with friends at work and stuff is one thing, you don’t have to make it your whole personality and you probably shouldn’t nerd out on it but if someone asks you what you did over the weekend and you happened to go shooting tell them you went shooting and if they ask tell them what kinds of guns you shot and that it was fun. It is that simple.
You could also choose to wear tasteful hats or shirts with guns or gun logos on them. Many people advise against doing this because they believe it might cause criminals to think you have a gun on you which would place a target on your back. Other people might say that wearing gun related clothes would scare criminals away because they think you could have a gun on you. There is no data to support either of these claims so you should ignore them both (these same sort of arguments are used when talking about the practice of open carrying firearms). What surveys of prisoners have confirmed is that smart criminals avoid attacking people who look “organized” so as long as you are relatively well groomed and carry yourself with confidence you shouldn’t have to worry about what criminals might think about the logo on your hat. I recently was tagging along with a friend through the employee entrance to of hospital and he talked to a nurse or doctor leaving who was wearing a Sig hat. I found the presence of a gun logo on a normal person encouraging in a generally anti-gun space.
Another thing you could do (assuming you are the type of person who regularly posts on social media) is posting pictures of you shooting on social media. There are a few reasons why people may be hesitant to do this. They might be afraid of loosing “friends” because of a post like that. If you think that way I’d like to invite you to ask yourself a few questions: Who are you? Are you you, or are you the fake you you put up on social media? And more importantly: Who do you want people to be friends with: you, or the fake you? If anybody ever unfriends you on Facebook over anything you post that person probably isn’t someone that you should want to associate with in the first place, it is simply necessary a removal of a fake friend from your life.
One other reason that people may be afraid of posting things about guns or even just talking about guns with people is that they are afraid of the feds coming after them. To these people I’ll simply ask “Why?” It is perfectly legal to own an AR-15 in the United States, the ATF is not going to come knock on your door if there is a picture of your perfectly legal AR-15 visible on your Instagram story for 24 hours. If you don’t want the feds to come after you don’t do anything illegal. (Of course you’ll need to know the law to do that) Someone might try to refute that argument by saying, “What if you are falsely accused of some terrible crime? They might dig those posts up and use them against you.” This is the kind of claim that you should ignore because it is unhealthy to live with that level of paranoia. Is this possible? Yes but it is incredibly unlikely and ultimately out of your control and you should not live your life stressing about things that are out of your control.
Now, could there be a future date where gun ownership in America becomes illegal and the feds start digging through your social media to find evidence of you owning guns? Yes, but that won’t happen if gun bans and gun confiscation remain unpopular. Talking about guns with people is how we can ensure this will never happen. Your friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances are unlikely to support a politician who would put you, a normal person, in jail for something that has been legal since the founding of the country. But if they don’t realize that there are normal people in their lives who own and enjoy firearms then they’ll be more likely to fall for the false propaganda the media puts out claiming that no reasonable person needs a gun or an AR-15 and that people who own them are terrible people who don’t care about public safety. You don’t have to convince people to start supporting the NRA, you just have to make sure people know that gun owners are human.
So talk about your guns with people, especially the guns the government wants to ban, and if you haven’t already buy an AR-15.