Like most folks, I have my morning reading. I tried getting the paper for about six months but frankly all that accomplished was a great deal of recycling. I’m a product of my generation. Every morning, after my run/PT, I love to sit at the table sipping coffee and checking my morning websites.
I get the GunsAmerica blog notifications every few days and read those regularly. Like most gun websites there is the usual diatribes about the government taking all the guns and libs making life difficult for everybody. (Since I don’t vote necessarily liberal or conservative – depends on the issue – I love taking the middle road, moderate, also like my generation. We hate tags.)
This morning, I was looking through a post on Ruger’s new 1911 and some new idea for storing your handgun next to your bed when this thought occurred to me: the gun lobby needs to get out ahead of their image problem.
Currently, what I read on a regular basis (and this is skewed because I don’t spend much time doing so) seems to focus on the “threat to the second amendment” and “those crazy gun-hating, america-bashing, licentious liberals ruining our country as fast as they can” sort of stuff. Not helpful. Makes gun owners like me want to run away, fast.
I like to think I’m thoughtful. I like to think that I approach issues in a nuanced, reasonable way. I don’t really think it’s all that helpful to have massive rallys where everybody shows up armed to the teeth with their favorite automatic weapons. I mean, really, do you think that you are scaring the government? Really? The guys with Abrams tanks? The guys who can control a hellfire missile from around the globe? Do you think that the “evil government” is afraid of large groups of people with automatic weapons? Been there, done that. Not helpful. Makes you look crazy.
How about responsible gun owners take a page from the responsible drinkers book. Everyone knows that cool, responsible drinker who sips their slick Disaronno on the rocks is not making InBev a ton of money – the real money makers are the folks who unhealthily consume massive volumes of alcohol on a regular basis. The drunken orgies where people legally and illegally down thousands of dollars worth of fermented mash – not pretty places. Not something anyone wants to see in a sexy commercial. Just like the guy who smoked a few cigs a week after important events or to unwind from the day does not make tobacco companies any money – the real money maker is the guy who goes through three packs a day and had intense brand loyalty. That’s gold.
Everyone likes to see the moderate, cool consumer. I like to see the responsible gun owner. The videos I see about firearms usually resemble something like Boondock Saints meets the Matrix (“we need guns, lots of guns…”).
What if every gun company made a concerted effort to put the responsible gun owner out front. Try really hard to put out the message that the “right to gun ownership” comes with a huge responsibility to take public safety seriously. Messages like:
If you have a gun – lock it up.
If mental health issues run in your family, ensure that who has access to weapons is able to responsibly use that weapon.
If you are angry and depressed, get help, don’t purchase a weapon.
Responsible gun owners take classes in firearm safety.
Responsible parents teach firearm safety.
Make sure when selling a gun, it’s to someone responsible.
I’m sure there are more and better messages out there. I think that this approach would be a first step by gun owners to at least try to show they care about public safety rather than doubling down on “it’s our right to own whatever we want, shoot whatever we want, whenever we want.”