L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 203, December 16, 2002
HAPPY BILL OF RIGHTS DAY!
I Am A Gun Owner
Special to TLE
Despite the supposed win for armed pilots contained in the Homeland Security Act (I guess something in all those hundreds of pages had to be less than grotesque), the individual right to keep and bear arms is still in trouble. Thanks to the mainstream media, too darned many Americans can only see gun owners as bare-pated white supremacists, camouflaged militia nutcases, evil "DC snipers," or just everyday, run-of-the-mill criminals.
Violence waiting to happen.
Sometimes it seems like the best we can do is be seen doing something peaceable, but still unusual: Marches and protests.
Other than that, gun owners just aren't seen at all. No wonder the ill-informed propaganda victims have the wrong impression of us, and can't identify with us.
No wonder it's so easy to pass victim disarmament laws.
Some groups attempt to counter this demonization. Armed Females of America and the Second Amendment Sisters both try to shatter the gun totin' guy stereotype, albeit with different tactics. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership wants to correct the false impression given by those slugs Schumer and Feinstein. Even "I am the NRA" tried to plug into the regular-joe image.
Some of you may recall an abortive attempt at a "Wear Your Gun Day," which was intended to make us ordinary types a little more visible. That one flopped because of the simple fact that an invidual RKBA is not recognized in America anymore. Too many people were afraid of being arrested if they tried actually wearing a gun openly.
There have been brave exceptions, who did get busted. But the mainstream media simply painted them as lone loonies.
SO WHAT TO DO?
Let's try something of which I usually disapprove in RKBA: Compromise.
Let's shoot <g> for a "Gun Owner Day." It goes like this:
I'm proud of being a gun owner, capable of defending myself. Even when I'm not openly wearing a gun, I wear a pin, button, or badge that does make the point. Which gave me the idea...
With estimates of gun owners in American ranging from 80 million to more than a hundred million, I know we're everywhere, but usually no one recognizes us for what we are. I propose to change that. As in the hoped for WYG day, I suggest we pick one day and wear something that does identify you as a gun owner. But instead of openly carrying a weapon - or do that, too, if you want - put on a button. Maybe a label, a sticker. Just make the point that you are an everyday person, and a gun owner.
Not a bloodthirsty psychopath.
Make people understand that we're everywhere, and not a threat.
I'm going to fire up my word processor and print out some labels on Avery 5263 forms. They will read simply:
I'm going to break out my Badge-A-Minit kit and make buttons that read the same way.
I expect I'll generate some graphics for this, too. I'll post all files on my website. Then I'm going to write to every RKBA group I can reach and ask them to join me.
And on February 10th - which I'm declaring GUN OWNER DAY - I'm going to put on my pins, button, and label, and let the country see that I'm just one of a hundred million decent people.
How 'bout you?
February 10th is another compromise. I want to get on with this, but I want time enough to spread the word.
If you can wear a gun, I think you should. But at least wear a label. It's no tougher than those "I Voted" stickers they hand out at the polls.
Sadly for America, there are places where even the sticker may get you busted. Announcing to the cities of Chicago, New York, or DC that you own a gun at all is up to your personal judgement.
The message we express is important. Use any words you wish, or mine, but stick to positive ideas. "I am good." "I am a mother (or father)." I am nice." Don't get negative; avoid declaring that you are not a criminal. "I am not a crook" didn't work for Nixon, and it won't work for you. Don't create an accidental mental association in the minds of people you meet.
Hopefully, people are going to ask about your sticker. Have answers ready. Positive answers: Try reminding questioners that going armed for defense is simply the same expression of the will to survive demonstrated by a little furry critter being stalked by a wolf; a cornered rabbit doesn't dial 911, then wait to be eaten, nor should you.
Carry additional information to be given out to the curious: Granpa Jack comics, GOA flyers, directions to the local gun club, spare stickers.
Are you up for it?