I am not interested in politics and am among a minority of shooting enthusiasts that decline to beg, berate or bribe those in government for“gun rights.” There are many exciting organizations and people that are doing marvelous things in this department, and I have no quarrel with them.
As a pioneer in the entertainment shooting industry, I have been in the fortunate position to help create a new market and wish to share some ideas about how even those that are not “involved” in the political process are benefiting the cause. Interestingly enough, Don Wills, currently a Congressional candidate, offered me the idea of luxury entertainment shooting.
For hundreds of years people have enjoyed shooting guns. Shotgun games have traditionally been most popular in the commercial entertainment shooting industry.
Over the last score of years, a plethora of “machine gun ranges” have popped up around the country. These facilities offer people the opportunity to enjoy shooting fully automatic guns, often at targets containing human faces. Gleeful shouts akin to “Kill him” can be heard from shooters and their companions. For a mere $50 several people have had reinforced the perception that machine guns are used for killing people. This does not happen on my property so it is none of my business. I simply ask you to consider what has “been said.”
Being one of the first viable commercial luxury entertainment shooting firms in the world, we have directed our felt and projected attitude in a different direction. Our generalized demographics are high net worth individuals, families and corporate groups from urban centers. Many of our clients are aligned with a political party that has a reputation for NOT being “gun-friendly.” Most have never fired a gun and have always considered all guns not to be tools, but rather solely instruments of death.
When an international media corporation sends its top advisors and board members to enjoy our shooting activity, it is of great importance that we do not portray shooting enthusiasts as camouflage wearing Bubbas who want to kill cute deer, chipmunks, kindly ATF agents and speed limit signs. We agree with the NRA Training Department’s philosophy of referring to firearms by names other than “weapon”when teaching basic shooting instruction. When voicing encouragement to hit a target, we encourage shooters to get“it” rather than “him.”
A couple years ago I was visited by three Orthodox Jewish school teachers from the Bronx, NY. They openly shared with me that they had previously gone out of their way to sign anti-gun petitions. They were in an area where I was teaching and decided to try it out for themselves. They had an absolute blast of course, and while shooting, one of them asked if I had any assault rifles. I picked up a glove and lightly slapped her arm, then responded, “No, I don’t. All of my rifles, including the AR-15 and the AK-47 are sporting rifles that have never assaulted anyone, and while in my hands they will NEVER initiate violence. I DO however have an assault glove, because it just hit you.” We all had a good laugh, and they left with information to contemplate about firearms ownership and use. Several weeks later I received a card from them, and it included a drawing of a glove with a red circle and hash mark through it with the caption, “Ban Assault Gloves.” They voiced their changed opinions about guns.
My assault glove story is not how I typically interact with clients, but demonstrates that at times I DO engage in friendly conversations about gun ownership issues. More frequently, I say nothing at all. Clients anticipate a speech about guns being good, about having to pry them from my cold dead hands, about how many Messicans are crossing the border and killing little blond-haired children and about me needin’ to shoot them folk if they step foot on my property. Many clients comment as they leave about how they expected to be preached to about gun rights, and how pleasantly surprised they were when it was absent from our conversation.
So, what I am suggesting is that perhaps having a good time shooting targets with fun sporting guns, talking about the beautiful mountains & sky, about our shared appreciation for dogs, about the fun plinking sound a bullet makes when it hits a metal target and about how much fun we are having, perhaps more is being said than what we are saying.
Perhaps there is a time for ranting and raving and proclaiming to the choir our passion for keeping our guns, and perhaps being less verbose also help make guns more acceptable in the public eye. I suggest that we all invite an anti-gun friend to shoot 22’s with us and never mention anything political, just have fun. If they start the conversation, we might be wise to skirt it. See what happens. Trust me.
Photo by gruntzooki