Jacqueline and I volunteered to promote 2nd Amendment rights at a gun show this weekend. The show is fairly small for the Phoenix metro area and it tends to have older guns and an older clientele. A family of ‘gun show tourists’ (non-gun owners) stopped at the table to talk to us, because we “looked normal” (our wookie suits had just been picked up from the cleaners). I looked around and saw nothing that looked abnormal, then I noticed the vendor across the aisle with a President Obama dressed as Hitler T-shirt. Ughh!
The sightseeing wife asked a ton of questions about guns, where to shoot, and how to pick out a gun. It was also clear that she was interested in protecting her family, and target shooting, and learning what-in-the-hell this gun culture thing is all about.
After talking to her about guns for at least five minutes, the woman finally noticed that we were both open carrying. I don’t know how anybody could miss the purple Elsie-nine on Jacqueline’s hip. As we talked about buying a gun, the conversation took a strange turn:
Woman: Do you actually own another gun?
Me: Yes, of course.
Jacqueline: We have a gun for each purpose.
Me: Different guns for different purposes.
Woman: Purposes? <BLINK!>
Me: Yes, it depends on what you want to do with a gun.
Woman: ????????????? <ZOT!!!>
Me: What do you want to do with a gun?
Woman: <Bug-eyed vapors! Bzzzt! ZOT!!!>
Me: Do you want a gun for target shooting? Hunting? Plinking soda cans in the desert? Long range rifle competition? A compact self-defense gun for concealed carry? Or a home defense gun?
Woman: (looking perplexed) I don’t know.
Me: That’s okay, figuring out what you want to do with a gun will help greatly in choosing the right gun. Give it some thought before you go shopping.
Jacqueline: While you’re here at the fun show, ask if you can pick up guns that you might be interested in buying. See how they fit in your hand and make sure you can reach the controls (slide release, magazine release, and trigger).
This back-and-forth went on for quite some time. We recommended she take her family to the Arizona Game & Fish Department Outdoor Expo to try different types of recreational shooting and guns, then take a NRA First Steps class, then go to a local indoor range on ladies night and try a variety of handguns until she found one she liked and worked well for her hand size, while fitting her intended use. Of course, she needs to practice with the gun to develop and maintain her skills.
Many people have been conditioned by years of dishonest anti-gun propaganda, yet they are interested in learning reality (and unlearning the propaganda). When I asked the woman what she wanted to do with a gun, it must’ve come across as, “who are you going to kill?” She was baffled and apprehensive about the question, but relaxed quite a bit when I mentioned four possible recreational uses. I think it was at that point she realized much of what she knew, just wasn’t true. You could almost hear the ‘pop’ of her paradigm shifting without a clutch.
My experience with this inquisitive woman was an important reminder that we can all be good ambassadors for gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. We can’t write off the people who’ve been lied to by politicians and newscasters over the years. If you see lost and scared gun show tourists, stop and give them some help. They’re easy to spot, because they don’t look like normal fun show attendees.
Tags: 2nd amendment, Arizona, gun culture, Outdoor Expo, Shooting