Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gun Culture 2.0

I got to spend a really nice Friday this week.  I took off the day and spent it with my older brother; just he and his wife, with my wife and I.  We live about 150 miles apart, so we're close enough to get together if it's important, but, somehow, it's rarely important enough to get together.   As we talked about what we were up to, how life was going and getting all caught up, I naturally talked about doing some shooting.  My brother seems to be where I was a few years ago; he's not anti-gun, just hasn't bothered to get one.  I believe that's where most of America is.  

Why am I telling you this?  Kevin, over at The Smallest Minority has an excellent piece on Renormalizing the Gun Culture.  I consider this really important. Kevin says,
"As I see it, there are essentially three "gun cultures" in this nation: the criminal gun culture, the genteel gun culture, and the gonzo gun culture.

The criminal gun culture is self-explanatory. It exists everywhere, even (perhaps especially) where gun ownership by individuals is heavily restricted or forbidden. The genteel gun culture is the culture of what many of us term the Fudds, the people whose only interest in firearms is for hunting, for example,  or who only shoot sporting clays and see "no reason" for any type of firearm other than what they themselves own.  "Nobody needs" type X gun, as far as they're concerned."
Kevin then goes on to define the gonzo gun culture as
"The gonzo gun culture is the one that encompasses all other forms of shooting and collecting, from those of us who shoot IPSC and USPSA to those who spend literally thousands of dollars annually just feeding their Class III habit. We're the ones who shoot a lot, and like pretty much anything that goes "bang!" "
By this definition, I'm a full-up member of the gonzo gun culture. Michael Bane, whose TV series The Best Defense is the one gun-related show I record and watch every episode of, refers to people like us as Gun Culture 2.0.  I've never been hunting, I couldn't tell you the difference between sporting clays and skeet shooting - if there is one - and I wasn't raised shooting.  2.0 people come from the self defense side and get interested in shooting for fun. 

Normalizing the idea that good guys carry guns seems extremely important.  I'm not looking for social acceptance - I couldn't care less what the elitists think of me - but society has been brainwashed by Hollyweird and the media into thinking the only gun culture is the criminal culture.  I think this is the underlying root cause of the tragic killing of Erik Scott last summer.  I can't imagine this would have happened if the "20-something security guard, who made a 911 call to police" wasn't freaked out over someone in the store having a gun.  It seems that in any real tragedies there's usually more than one thing that goes wrong, and if that account is right, Scott did make the mistake of staying in the store when the first employee told him he was not allowed to carry there; but the police made the mistake of shouting conflicting commands and then shooting an innocent man before he could mentally process what was happening to him. 

Look, I know police work is stressful and I know it's split-second decision time.  The goal is not to be in that situation.  Maybe, just maybe, if crime isn't the first thought when someone is seen with a gun, Erik would be with us.  I'm sure there are others as well.  

(image from our friends at the NRA, strangely enough)

If nothing else, the constant drum beat that the criminal gun culture is the only gun culture makes it easier to get other weapons bans, magazine bans and all the other fascistic crap the other side is pushing for.  So how do we normalize the idea that safe, sane people carry guns to protect themselves and their families?  Especially if we all don't have Oleg Volk's talent and ability to create eye-candy messages?


  1. Good article, although when non-gun culture folk see "gonzo" I believe they will translate it as "crazy", not "crazy for" something.

    And, I hate to say it, but the NRA is not your friend. I guess it is time to add another page to my blog about why I say that, but as a former twenty-year member of the NRA, I know whereof I speak. I'm a life member of the GOA, however, and proud to be, as well as belonging to JPFO.

  2. I'm also a member of all three of those, and the NRA is the one I'm least likely to send money to. I have two more years to go on my three year membership.

    NRA is kind of the "800 pound gorilla" in the game. I get the feeling that most of the gun culture 2.0 folks are members of the NRA because they just assume gun owners become members of the NRA. Having everyone in one place helps make us look as big as possible, but I've come to the conclusion that the NRA is way too happy to play the game, and may not even care about winning the game any more. As long as they can remain Important and Connected inside the beltway, that's all that really matters.

  3. Unfortunately, it isn't just about staying connected. They have helped write most of the gun control legislation we suffer under, starting with the GCA of '68 (and possibly before that), failed to notify any of us in time to respond to the Lautenberg Amendment, try to take credit for things GOA and the Second Amendment Foundation have done (sure tried to take over the Heller thing, didn't they? Plus getting into the Chicago/McDonald decision) and generally collecting a lot of dues and donations without really fighting for us.

    They built themselves a really nice gun range in the basement of the new building we paid for, give themselves good salaries, rate anti-gun legislators as "A", and folks that are the real 2nd supporters as "B" (remember the Reid fiasco - we had to hold their feet AND hands to the fire to get them to withdraw support for him.) The museum is really nice, but if we stick with the NRA as our main representation, in the near future the only place we'll be able to see our guns is in their museum.

    There is a lot more, but I have come to the well-supported opinion that giving them money is actually detrimental to our gun rights. I am not alone in this, either. I tried to convince Larry Potterfield (Midway) to hold back the "Round-up" donations until they started to actually represent us again. He answered me once with the same "800 pond gorilla" argument several years back. When I wrote him again during the Reid fiasco, he never responded. Well, he's a businessman, probably afraid the diehard NRA types might stop buying from him. I buy what I can elsewhere now. Natchez, Wideners, Brownells, etc. When I do buy from Larry, I make certain the donation box is un-checked. But, that's just me.

  4. I think we're in complete agreements. I really only have one reason to stay a member, and that's because the gun club I belong to (with the longest rifle range I know of in Florida - 600 yards) requires it.

  5. I'm in. I'm in an NRA/CMP club and we teach kids and noobs, here in California. The kids shoot .22's (FREE! and Moms too!) and the noobs shoot M1 Garands and qualify -- and my brother is a bit similar as far as getting together and stuff, but he has guns.
    The NRA has done huge and important work here, working with the CRPA (California Rifle and Pistol Assn.) and fighting back against the faked-up BS science of the Center for Biological Diversity and its efforts, and we're WINNING. The kids win too. We're not lost. MA has even worse laws.
    The thing is the NRA isn't Congress or the Senate where the don't listen - but they are like the Stupid Party sometimes, trying to work out deals when with the efforts of Alan Gura and others we can really smash-back and defeat illegal legislation.

  6. Unrelated to this posting, I received an email from the Florida state chapter of the NRA yesterday. Our state chapter leader is Marion Hammer, former president of the NRA.

    Some years ago, the state's legislature declared preemption of gun laws over every level of government below the state. That is, if my county were to post a sign in a county park saying, "No Guns", the state's preemption says they can't make that law. The state regulates where concealed carriers may carry, and parks are allowed. The state, though, made a mistake: they didn't assign penalties to this preemption, assuming the city and county governments wouldn't try to enforce gun bans that would fail in court. They didn't think that the local politicians would be sleaze balls who would enact those laws anyway. One of the counties said something to the effect of, "we'll post a no guns sign and if they want to take us to court, they can". They want to force taxpaying gun owners to spend their money to pay for both sides of a court case the counties know they are going to lose.

    The NRA has been fighting at the state level to straighten this mess up, successfully getting a law through committee in both the state house and senate to assign penalties to the local governments who violate their preemption. (Not that we won't have to pay the penalties given to the cities). For a state with relatively sane gun and knife laws, there are some places where the laws were written hastily or sloppily, and they are working behind the scenes to fix that.

    So while the NRA regularly screws the pooch in very public displays - like endorsing Harry Reid over Sharon Angle or not lifting a finger to fight horribly anti-first amendment laws - they do have the capacity to correct themselves and they are doing good work on the local levels.