A repetitive theme on the various gun blogs has been to “come out of the closet” and let your friends, family and co-workers know that you are indeed a “gun nut.”
Having worked at the same company for the last 15 years, I have been there and done that. MY friends and family have been well informed for some time now. It truly is the work place where bridges can be built between those who are ignorant or openly hostile to the 2A. Access to a broad cross section of society I would not normally be exposed to, has allowed me….uh….well….access to them.
I certainly didn’t start out that way, 15 years ago. At that time, gun ownership was as uncontroversial to me as car ownership. I thought everyone was armed.
Spelled out in our “New Employee Orientation” notebook was the fact that carrying a knife at work was immediate grounds for termination. Knives were lumped in with guns and explosives as firing offenses.
I have been carrying a knife every day since the age of 6, and I wasn’t prepared to stop now. I had a choice to make. At first, I switched to carrying a concealed knife, rather than the openly displayed pocket folder I was used to. It didn’t take to long after witnessing some of my peers openly carrying some serious Bowie blades on their hip for me to relax my standards a bit. While not exactly “Crocodile Dundee”, seeing those around me openly carrying bladed weapons and receiving ZERO attention, I decided to go back to openly carrying my trusty folder.
After 10+ years of openly carrying a tactical blade at work. I have never received a single comment about it other than a co-worker asking to borrow it for some required activity. More times than not, the request was made only because the knife they were carrying wasn’t sharp enough to get the job done. I also make it a point to “whip it out” every year at our annual Christmas party to open my White Elephant gift.
Management. Says. NOTHING.
Perhaps it’s because they already trust me handling Bunsen burners, liquid nitrogen and concentrated nitric acid.
Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that my manager also carries a knife at work.
Back to my point. Everyone in my immediate work group now knows that I am indeed a gun-nut. I’m the guy they ask when they…
1. Want to know a fair price for firearm “X”.
2. The best home defense weapon.
3. The best weapon for the wife who “has small hands.”
4. An appropriate weapon for a 13 year old daughter.
5. Good deals on bulk ammo.
And then there are the neutrals who ask me what types of guns I own and why. This is where the prize lies.
One of my neutral peers seems genuinely curious about my “hobby.” I call it that because that’s how he views it and I have not gone out of my way to alter that perception, mainly because it is accurate.
I have spent hours with him, at his request, explaining that regardless of ones personal views of gun ownership, firearms are a piece of history and their collection is no different than those who covet old stamps or coins. Noone can deny that firearms have played a pivotal role in human history and he does appreciate that. At first, his perception was that my collection was little more than “wall hangers.” Again, I did not immediately try to alter that perception. He seemed to like the idea that I deliberately stored/displayed my 98 Muaser next to the Garand, my AK-47(s) next to my AR-15(s) after I explained the relationship.
OK, I’ve rambled for a bit simply because I gave my word to Thirdpower that I would post something everyday in his absence and this is currently what’s spilling out of my head.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the neutrals in the 2A debate are comparable to “independents” in the political arena.
Engage them without scaring them. Yes, by all means “come out of the closet” as a gun nut.
I only ask that you consider the packaging you’re presenting on the store shelf. We’re never going to convert the true antis to a pro-2A position. That’s a lost cause. The true expansion of our freedoms lies in people who are neutral enough to listen to the arguments made and form a position based on what they know of you as an individual.
Come out of the closet, and continue working side by side with others as a human being.
Some will see contradiction of epic proportions, most will see you as no more dangerous than coin collectors.
This is how we will win.