Colion Noir wrote this fantastic article last week on NRA Sharp entitled “Don’t Hide Your Pride.” I highly recommend you give it a read. I happened upon it at a time that perfectly coincided with Nick, Dan, and Robert asking me to start generating more content for TTAG taking this blogging thing from “part time hobby” to nearly full time consumer of my mornings, evenings, and weekends . . .
Over the last three years, I’ve never really made it a secret that I wrote for TTAG around friends, family, and co-workers. Hell, back in September 2011, I posted an article about bridging the gap with non gun folk. I never denied “gun guy” status, but in certain situations, I’d certainly steer the conversation elsewhere.
That has in the past and will continue to earn me some boos from the gun guy absolutists in the comments section, a situation I’ve become more comfortable with. No ambassador ever made inroads by beating people over the head with how awesome their represented interest is. I prefer a more gentle touch. To quote our president, “So sue me.”
But with my increased output at TTAG, I felt that it was time to come out of the shadows a bit more with my public and online persona. First up was adding “writer” to my LinkedIn profile along with the description of my regular day job. A few of my friends and some of my family contacted me after the change to ask if I’d thought it all the way through. They were worried about my job prospects a bit as “gun writer” isn’t nearly as lucrative as “technology sales” has proven to be. If I ended up leaving my current company, they worried that future employers might not be so open-minded as my current place of employment has been.
That’s a valid concern and one that definitely crossed my mind. But the simple fact of the matter is that exploring firearms is more than a hobby for me, I treat it as part of my identity. Furthermore, I don’t write contentious stuff. I tend to focus on hunting, the outdoors, gear reviews, with the occasional rumination on the political aspects of firearms sprinkled in here and there. So if a company isn’t open-minded enough to look at my body of work and simply says “guns = bad/no hire”, I’m really not interested in working for them. Simple calculus really.
The biggest change came in my conversations with people. When someone spouts something ignorant like, “Well just don’t get mad and shoot us all with your guns,” I calmly explain that statistically speaking, as a Texas CHL holder, I’m one of the least violent people they’ll meet all day. When people ask me what I do for a living, my generic response was a description of my 8:00 – 5:30, but now I also add that I write for the most popular gun blog in the world. A cursory Google search will tell them the same thing anyway, so it’s no use hiding the fact.
Furthermore, while most people don’t give a damn about my actual day job, guns are cool/interesting/terrifying/controversial, so dropping that on them usually starts up a conversation. And that conversation can tell me a lot about the person I’m talking to.
As a matter of pure statistics, those conversations fall into a few easily identifiable buckets. People tend to say the same predictable stuff and I have answers for pretty much every direction a conversation is likely to take. I’m fully committed to winning hearts and minds, and talking openly about firearms certainly stimulates that conversation.
Not to compare myself to Mr. Noir, but I’m also a young city dweller with an interest in firearms who breaks the stereotype on what a “gun nut” looks like. Add in the fact that Leghorn and Bruce Krafft have stuffed my head full of facts and I’m a pretty decent ambassador for gun rights, if I do say so myself.
So that leaves me with a statement followed by a question. The statement is that I’m now openly carrying my gun guy status, a position change that Colion Noir helped me make. I’m a gun guy, I write for a gun blog and I regularly carry a gun concealed on my person when and where it’s legal to do so. And each fall I take to the field with a gun to hunt animals that I then eat for nourishment. The question to you, dear reader, is about your own status. Do you dodge, deflect, and defer on your gun hobby? Or do you wear it openly as a point of pride and aim to engage those around you in conversations about your passion?