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Gun Culture 1.0 v. Gun Culture 2.0

SayUncle says he doesn’t get ranges that ban carry. I think it’s one of the sillier things you’ll find out there in the gun community, but their is an explanation for why it’s more common than it should be. The most frequent retort is that insurance is the reason, but I don’t actually believe that’s the case most of the time. As someone who is currently an officer at a local club, I can probably speak to what’s driving some clubs to adopt this.

Part of it goes back to Michael Bane’s assertion of there being a Gun Culture 1.0, and a Gun Culture 2.0. I’m reluctant to use this analogy, because there’s not really as clean a division among the gun culture as it implies, but it is useful for illustrating the mentality difference from those in the culture who are self-defense oriented, and those that are more connected to the traditional hunting and shooting culture. There is significant overlap between the two cultures, but there are even generational differences in how one approaches the subject of concealed carry, for instance.

The vast majority of clubs are run by people from Gun Culture 1.0. This is certainly true of my club. Except my club does allow concealed carry, you just have to keep it concealed, and aren’t permitted to draw or shoot your carry piece except in an emergency. Pennsylvania has had concealed carry longer than most other states (since 1989), so even most people in Gun Culture 1.0 here carry, even if they aren’t shooting IPSC, IDPA or any of the other action or practical shooting disciplines. The reason clubs are run by Gun Culture 1.0 is because those are the people with the time to invest in overseeing a club. It takes a lot of work, and it’s not something most people in their 30s and 40s have time for. I barely have time for it, and I just basically try to do my job and not much else.

The other major factor that plays into rules like this is that most club boards are responsible for dealing with range incidents. If the club is large enough, the board is typically going to see a parade from the small minority of people who’s gun handling and safety mentality is either poor or non-existent. It’s relatively easy to fall into a mindset that your members are not to be trusted, since you’re dealing with grave stupidity on a regular basis. You’ll never see the 99% of people who are safe. You’ll spend a lot of time interacting with the 1% who aren’t.

I’ve always wondered whether it would be better to set high standards for getting into a private club, but once those standards are met, you are essentially bound only by a handful of safety oriented rules. Our club has a qualification, but it’s essentially being able to hit a rather large piece of paper at ten yards with a pistol. You have to be a real wild man with a gun to fail our qualifier. If you were going to allow someone to, say, draw from holster, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to make them qualify to do so, so someone can verify they know how to do the task safely. The unfortunate fact, at least based on my experience at clubs, is that if you allowed it broadly, it’s not going to be too long before someone puts a round in their leg, or even worse, someone else’s leg. There are a few local commercial ranges that allow draw from holster, but both have armor plating between stalls. Most clubs don’t have the money for that kind of setup, and most people don’t want to be next to a Cletus who can’t avoid finger f***ing his trigger guard every time he draws if the only thing separating you is a few feet of air.

My club probably implements a reasonable compromise between Gun Culture 1.0 and 2.0, when it comes to carrying on the premises. Not all do, and that’s unfortunate. But it’s also a product of the fundamental nature of clubs, and the membership. Clubs are civic organizations, and not really structured like businesses. People in the GC 1.0 age group are more familiar with and better at navigating that kind of organization than people in the GC 2.0 age group, who tend to want to think of shooting facilities as a product they buy or don’t buy, rather than a civic, membership driven enterprise. This is understandable, but without GC 2.0 stepping up, eventually we’re going to lose a lot of good places to shoot, and that will really be unfortunate.

26 Responses to “Gun Culture 1.0 v. Gun Culture 2.0”

  1. If you were going to allow someone to, say, draw from holster, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to make them qualify to do so, so someone can verify they know how to do the task safely

    Seems like a person might be joining a club to learn how to do just that (and I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to require competence). Perhaps having different levels of competence giving different levels of privileges while at the club.

    The club I used to belong to (CRC) was pretty forward-thinking regarding carry on the range (and class III, too), though it had no indoor facilities. It was also in a relatively rural area.

    This is a good discussion to have, as well as what we might do to change things.

    • David says:

      Baby boomers were very good at becoming leaders, building great things, and working hard at something they love. It’s too bad that they are not teaching younger generations how to be leaders, mentoring younger club members for future leadership positions, and continuing to expand the clubs.

      It seems most of them are just there for the $.75 beers and a bar they can still smoke in.

  2. David says:

    Gun Culture 1.0 = NRA bullseye, egg shoots, bolt action hunters
    Gun Culture 2.0 = USPSA/IDPA, CC/OC, MSR AR15′s, and a few hundred rounds a month.

    The one club I belong to is very much a 1.0 club. With nearly 300 acres, it has one 100yd rifle range and 1 bullseye pistol range. It’s quite pathetic. The club also sits on a mound of money. While I agree with them buying more land, I can’t understand why they built an air rifle range that no one uses and it’s taking years to build two defensive ranges which 100s of club member are begging for.

    They do no youth or community outreach programs, few events open to the public, and no education and training programs. They are not setting the club up to be sustained 20 years from now. The average age of the club is sixty something, this mean this club will literally be dead in 15 years if they don’t start bringing in younger shooters and the activities they are into. This does not mean that the bulleye elitists have to go away, but they have to open their eyes to other disciplines of shooting that are not NRA slowfire.

    • Sebastian says:

      Mine doesn’t really have a problem with membership. I think the average age of our club is pretty reasonable. We do have some of the problems you mention, however. I have to wonder how common some of them are to all clubs.

      Our club is still largely not run by baby boomers. Several of our board members are Greatest Generation still, including the President and Vice President.

  3. Right Wing Wacko says:

    Both ranges I frequent allow Open Carry. Both have similar rules, any gun that is going to be used on the range will come in unloaded and boxed. If it’s in a holster it is to remain in the holster the entire time you are on the premisis (with the obvious exceptions).

    Neither allow drawing from a holster. For that I use a gravel pit out in the woods :)

  4. Sterling Archer says:

    I belong to Delaware County Field and Stream (http://www.dcfs.org).

    They don’t allow CC. The average member is in his 60s with no sense of humor. Not very welcoming to newer shooters.

  5. Sean says:

    Wow. I live in a blue state (WA) and aside from strict rules about target placement and firing line protocol, I can shoot most any gun, any way I want.

    You can holster draw, shoot steel core projectiles, etc. That said there’s a 4 hour orientation for new members, and all members must hold active NRA membership (for insurance I understand). There’s a waiting list to join, and the board doesn’t tolerate idiots.

    There’s a black powder, archery and shotgun range for the traditional folks. Truth is, aside from just before hunting season, we see far more glocks and ARs than revolvers and bolt actions.

    Personally I cannot see the point of joining a private club if you cannot practice shooting the way you intend to shoot.

    • Drang says:

      Depends on which club you’re in. If you can get a membership in Cascade Rifle & Pistol, they’re not so restrictive. It’s a somewhat exclusive club, though, membership restricted to a specific number.

      As a resident of the Evergreen state, of course, I can’t help but giggle at the thought that a state that started concealed carry in 1989 could be considered to have had it a long time; WA has been “Shall Issue” since the mid-60s.

  6. Dann in Ohio says:

    A preacher once said that you can tell a lot about the viability and potential longevity of a church by the average age of it’s members… if the average age is over 50, it has likely lost viability which will quickly shorten it’s longevity…

    We have a strong youth program at our club and support both the Boy Scouts and 4H Shooting Sports through use of our facilities, but there are still lot old, gray-haired guys around… We’re actively trying to get more youth and younger folks involved…

    Dann in Ohio

  7. mobo says:

    If I owned a range that was open to the public, I would absolutely ban carry on my property. I wouldn’t do pat-downs or anything, but I would make sure that my policy was known. Remember, as owner, you can be held liable not only in civil court, but also criminal if some overzealous prosecutor decides you were negligent.

    Remember that gun range in Mass. where the 8 year old shot himself with the micro-uzi? If I remember correctly, there were criminal charges against the event organizers (?).

    • Bitter says:

      Massachusetts brought charges against the range, the organizers, the gun’s owner, and the gun’s handler.

      The club came to an agreement with prosecutors and had to pay $5,000 to the Shriners Children’s Hospital and $5,000 to Baystate Children’s Network. They also would have had to pay their club’s attorney. And, no doubt, their insurance rates may be higher.

      The organizer was found not guilty, and the charges were dropped against the other two once the verdict was decided for the organizer.

      • Ben says:

        The irresponsible actions of those cowboys (I believe one was a testosterone-fueled LEO) who thought that an event hosting full-auto submachineguns would be fun for toddlers backfired on them. I’m all for guns, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Sadly, the parent snapping pictures and the organizers learned a lesson the hard way.

  8. Brice says:

    When I got my P226 last January it was stupid cold here. Like minus ten before wind chill. I did something I never do, I went to the indoor range. I started with some slow drills just to get a feel for the gun, then started doing presentations from the holster. Not fast, just going through it like any halfway sane shooter does when working with a new gun. After a few mags. I holstered the gun and started policing my lane area because I was worried about the amount brass on the ground. I damn near knocked the range officer over. Apparently holster work is not usually allowed and he was keeping a very close eye on me. He never stopped me, but my shadow usually isn’t that close. Judging by other other targets I could see, there were other people that he needed to be paying attention to.

  9. Dannytheman says:

    I specifically did not join Delaware County Field and Stream and joined Lower Providence Rod and Gun because of the no carry rule at DCFS (Idiotic). LPRG has a small indoor range, 6 lanes, and a nice new outdoor pistol range. They do not have a skeet range, and do not have table trap, but they have a nice 5 station trap lay out.

  10. mobo says:

    And one more thing….

    No matter what rules a club may have, they will almost always allow you to draw and fire from a holster if you ask them politely and assure them that you are capable of doing so safely. They mostly just want to keep the yahoos from getting themselves into unsafe situations while on their property.

  11. Gaston says:

    It is a 45 minute drive through heavy traffic to the nearest indoor range and over an hour of driving to where I can shoot rifle. On week days, I can usually get some draw practice especially if I can get there early and the range is empty.

    I don’t even try to go to the range on weekends. It is not just a zoo but I see multiple accidents just waiting to happen. I sometimes think this is one of the most difficult issues in firearms ownership. It is difficult to be in between the Elitists and the Mall Ninjas.

  12. dustydog says:

    Human nature – the people that want and need to run things are the people that need to control other people. Those are the people that run for club president, vice president, secretary, etc., and then write the club rules. If a group has a thousand normal individuals and three closet-crazies, a crazy guy is going to be in charge. When he gets run out of office the next year, we find that they guy we replaced him with is twice as crazy. Shoot, try again. Oops, another whack job. Eventually a good person will take responsibility, fix things, and burn out.

    The mindset to be chief rule-decider for a club overlaps quite a bit with the OWS crowd: free time, energy, a desire to be doing “something important” without actually doing anything important.

  13. Homer says:

    As Tam is fond of saying, “stop touching it.” Every time a firearm is handled offers an opportunity for an ND; in five decades of shooting I’ve yet to see a holstered gun discharge by itself. Something tells me there’s a huge lawsuit waiting for the right lawyer when Cletus handles his gun in the parking lot and has an ND that strikes someone else’s car, or worse, someone else, because the range he’s about to patronize makes him unholster and unload before entering, and said lawyer won’t have a difficult time at all demonstrating that a parking lot has neither safety equipment suitable for handling a loaded firearm, nor supervision to ensure any of the safety rules the range has so carefully implemented inside the walls are enforceable there. “Contributory negligence” is the phrase that comes to mind, and there’s a lot of liability in those two words.

    I’d think a prudent range/gun shop owner would be better off strictly enforcing rules that require all firearms not in holsters to be unloaded, and all guns that come through the door or gate in a holster must remain holstered. If someone wants to shoot their holstered gun, either provide an armored booth/safe area for the transition or require that the transition be performed at a shooting position on the range itself.

    Part of being in the gun and/or shooting business – and in the gun culture itself – is a responsibility to establish and ensure safe practices and to educate gun owners, and the public in general, about safe, competent and legal use of firearms; my opinion is that such responsibility includes “teachable moments” about holstered firearms.

  14. Ian Argent says:

    Our county sheriffs open their (deprecated) pistol range to the public every Sunday during the summer. This year, there was a new requirement for a membership card, a price hire for range time, and a required safety orientation. All mandated by the county board – the policies are now synced up with the county archery range. I suspect the board suddenly discovered they *had* a pistol range and freaked.
    One interesting thing is that the range rules against draw from the holster etc are enforced against LEOs there on their own time. I get the impression that the range boss (sheriffs deputy) may be unimpressed by some of the other departments that use the ranges. He stated to the class I was in that he wanted to open on Saturdays as well, and is apparently a hunter and action shooter as well as rangemaster.

  15. ToddG says:

    Actually, a lot of the “1.0″ rules are promulgated by the NRA Range Development staff. No drawing from a holster, no rapid fire, etc. all have their genesis with the NRA and its desire to minimize the chance of an accident that could close down a public range or club.

    Ironically, none of those rules are in effect at the NRA’s Headquarters Range in Virginia, which is open to the public and allows both drawing from a holster and rapid fire so long as you are in control of the gun and all your rounds impact the backstop.

  16. Les says:

    I think I was the blogger that spurred this discussion a bit by posting what one of our local ranges has as policy.

    Some of the resort is http://www.wiilshoot.com/2011/10/regarding-bristol.html

  17. Old NFO says:

    Todd G beat me to it on the NRA range, but I’m also a member of a range in Manassas that requires an 8 hour safety brief and demonstration of your ability to safely handle a weapon. If you want to draw/fire, it requires a separate set of checks and balances, and a different colored range badge so that anyone who comes up ‘sees’ that you are approved for that. We also have action pistol and IDPA shoots on a monthly basis. I think our club ‘tends’ toward a 1.0, but there is a pretty vocal minority (and growing) that is moving the club to a 2.0 culture. And we do young shooter outreach and training about every other month. Great post!!!

  18. Kristopher says:

    I suppose converting a golf course into an open carry trail shoot ( those sand traps should have steel gongs in them, dammit ) would give these safety nazis palpitations …

    • Justthisguy says:

      Kris, they used to play that with bows. I believe it’s called “rounders.”

    • jetfxr69 says:

      There’s an 80% complete golf course “community” for sale north of Knoxville, TN that I considered for just that application. Anybody got $9M for funding this little project?

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