Caldara: I gave one of my guns to a first-timer, here’s why you should too
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special someone, may I suggest a gun.
You might recall a few months ago I wrote I was going to give one of my guns to a first-time gun owner and challenged others to do the same. Why? Not only is it nice to pay it forward, it thwarts the demographic threat to the Second Amendment.
Gun owners are buying more guns. Great. But what we need is more gun owners.
Politics is the lagging indicator of change. Culture is the leading indicator of change. And America’s cultural elites hate guns. The media works against guns. Hollywood works against guns. K-12 education and higher ed work against guns. Bigoted urbanites work against guns. Without expanding the base of gun owners, the gun-phobe cultural manipulation will end gun rights, not in this generation, but in a future one.
Nothing melts away the emotional fear of guns like getting comfortable with one you own.
So, I asked readers to write in and tell me why I should give them a gun. I got a lot of responses. Overwhelmingly the people who asked were in their 60s, 70s, and many in their 80s. Their reasoning was almost always the same, “I want a gun for protection.”
But I was taken by 28-year-old Brittany Lazzeri who wrote to me that she was curious about guns; didn’t really know what it would be like to have one, and had no idea where or how to go about getting one. As she said, “all I know is you can’t buy them at Walmart anymore.” (Thanks again anti-gun culture.)
We met at a friend’s place who has his Federal Firearms License to run Colorado’s cumbersome and expensive background check. Our system makes anti-gun Massachusetts’ system look easy and affordable. Most Colorado gun shops now charge about $50 to do a transfer. If it cost a dime to transfer a Quran, the ACLU would rightly sue.
Brittany’s first experience at an indoor range was similar to my first — awful. For the uninitiated, a dark, loud indoor range is scary. The first time I went I was certain a ricochet from the hand-cannon wielded next to me was going to kill me. Just another emotional fear that melted away as I learned about guns. But that takes time.
Brittany quickly ran into what turns off many new gun owners, particularly women — male jerk gun owners. Brittany couldn’t go to the range without some guy bloviating at her, spouting his detailed knowledge about what caliber and gun the little lady should have. Not only did she not understand what they were saying, she didn’t ask for it.
When she connected with a female instructor to run interference and teach her, it made all the difference. She got the hang of it, becoming comfortable loading, unloading, firing and storing the pistol. She started having fun shooting.
A big change was how people started judging her for being one of “those people” who own guns. She got to experience the famed tolerance and acceptance of the left when her friends started treating her differently. She got that weird feeling of people judging you when you’re trying to buy ammo.
In the urban/suburban world, it’s easier to come out as gay than as a gun owner.
But some of her friends were supportive, including a friend whose boyfriend is an anti-gun, Trump-loathing liberal who would never “let” his girlfriend get a gun. Ah, tolerance.
The biggest change for Brittany is the peace of mind. She recently broke up with her live-in boyfriend, and now living alone, she knows she can protect herself. She used to have a baseball bat nearby. She now realizes how silly and what a false sense of security that was.
She’s learning that gun haters don’t want to be safe. They want to feel safe.
And now Brittany wants to take her supportive friend, the one with the gun-hating boyfriend, out shooting.
And that’s how we change culture.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.