Snobs and Their Opinions Can Hurt the 2A Movement

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Peter Elias, just your average New Jersey gun owner.
Peter Elias, just your average New Jersey gun owner.

One of the things I have noticed over the years is sometimes we can be snobbish and harshly-opinionated toward others. This can be seen as constructive criticism by those giving it, but it can have very different effects on the person receiving it. When dealing with a very seasoned and experienced firearm owner, it can be seen as constructive. When dealing with someone new it can be seen as being made “fun of” or “put down”. That can discourage people and really hurt our movement. Even seasoned, experienced firearm owners can be put off. There are many reasons that people have the firearms, gear, or ammo they have.

A few of the most common reasons for new gun owners are budget, bad advice from salespeople, or bad advice from friends “who know.” Well, I am sure we all have been victim or know someone who falls into at least one of these categories. Let’s start with the budget situation and focus on that since it is probably the most common. Say someone could only afford to buy a used “Cheap-o not cool guy high speed” firearm because that is all they can afford. Yes, it is not the greatest by any means, but it gets them involved. They begin to understand and learn. They get more involved. This is what we want. To tell them something along the lines of “oh that thing is junk and you really screwed up” is not only snobbish but is very discouraging. This is not to say if the firearm is in an unsafe condition, we point it out and ensure this person is directed on what needs to be addressed and where a certified person can do the repair or correction to the unsafe condition. That can happen to any level of firearm or gear as well as ammo.

As for a new or newer person, let’s use this hypothetical example: A 20 something year old guy and his new wife decided to get involved because they have baby #1 on the way and want to protect their family. As well, both are very interested in enjoying shooting sports. Money is tight. No more that it is for the rest of us. So, they buy a used single shot .22 rifle that is a little rough but is an ok shooter and a used pistol in good but used shape that was considered cheap/low-end even when it was new. When things get better financially, they both intend not only to be more active but also buy better firearms and make practice a part of their lives. AWESOME, they are doing the best they can at the moment! So, what do you think is a better approach for an encounter at the range (or online for that matter) for them?

  1. They run into a person who is obviously well experienced and knowledgeable, who is happy to see they are involved and offers to help them with their learning and current equipment, giving them positive advice and encouragement on how to make the best of that current equipment.
  2. They run into a person who sneers at them and completely puts down their gear and offers little more than criticism while they are bragging on how they have the coolest, high-speed, ultra-fantastic, uber-expensive firearm and gear.

These both happen both at ranges and online. Well, option 1 gets us more people involved and enjoying their 2A right. Option 2 makes them feel horrible and will kill any enthusiasm and possibly destroy their chances of getting involved at all.

Be careful about how you interact with people who are doing the best they can. Try to be helpful and encouraging. It will help all of us in the long run. What is cooler, is when they do get their situation under control and can level up their firearm, ammo, and equipment game, they might just come to you for advice on what to get for the next step in their currently-improved price range. Even better, still, is if they ask how to get more involved in the fight to keep and restore our 2A rights. This is what I would think we would want.

If you have all the cool stuff, AWESOME! Now take the time to understand others and help elevate them as their situation dictates. Be the cool person with the cool stuff that is also helpful. You might just be creating a future cool person who will help others and our 2nd Amendment rights movement.

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