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Pro-Gun Myth of the Day: False Flags

I have often seen articles like this presented as false flag operations by people on the pro-2A side of the debate, or at best that they are anti-gun activists trying to burnish their creds by pretending to be gun folks.

For decades I was a member of the National Rifle Association and had its conspicuous round insignia on my cars and trucks. I was even enrolled into the “National Rifle Association of America Millennium Honor Roll.” It wasn’t that I thought the NRA and its members had some ill intent when I decided to discontinue my membership; it was because of the evermore unlikeable image of the NRA to many people. An organization that used to mostly represented hunters and sport shooters, and even wildlife conservation has become a spokesperson for the manufacturers and marketers of military-like assault weapons. If you want to see this trend, just go to a gun show and see all the black and camouflaged semi-automatics that are replacing the aesthetically appealing guns with contoured fine wooden stocks and elegant inlays and engraving. These new quasi-machine guns have all sorts of unusual configurations and often are collapsible to be more easily concealed. The guns displayed at shows more and more like those in news photos of confiscated gang weapons.

But the idea that there aren’t people out there who think this is a myth. There are, actually, a fair number of them, though they are increasingly in the minority within the gun culture. Why? Because they are dying off. Look at the picture of the dude on the article? He’s almost certainly pre-Boomer. That’s the cohort you’ll find the largest number of this type in.

Call them Fudds, call them whatever, but they are real. The shooting sports went through a major transformational change during the past several decades, and the divisions that transformation created are, in my experience, almost wholly generational.1

There is significant anxiety among many older shooters about the new shooting culture, and that’s what you see expressed in the above paragraph. That’s why they always yearn for the good old days of “aesthetically appealing guns with contoured fine wooden stocks and elegant inlays and engraving.”

Make no mistake, this guy is not pro-gun, as it’s defined in the current movement. He’s more on the side of the Brady Campaign than NRA. But really, he’s only in favor of guns and shooting sports he likes. The rest of you who have different tastes can go to hell. If you spend enough time around gun people, you’ll run into this a lot more often than you’d be comfortable with.

1 I’m making gross generalizations here. Of course there are exceptions. I know many more pre-Boomer shooters who “get it” than don’t. But you don’t find this attitude as much among younger shooters who actually shoot and participate in the culture in some meaningful way. Unfortunately, “I don’t like and am possibly scared of your shooting sport,” is common across the Board, even if there isn’t as much drive to go join the Brady Campaign or speak out about it in a newspaper.

20 Responses to “Pro-Gun Myth of the Day: False Flags”

  1. Whetherman says:

    I think I can comment on the generational aspects, because I’ve gone through some changes over the years, though that didn’t necessarily align me with my Boomer generation.

    C. the early ’90s, my bitch was that the NRA and the American Rifleman weren’t paying enough attention to paramilitary gear, because that had swung to being my greatest interest, and those of us who had been (relatively) “early adopters” of paramilitary interests saw a trend coming. We were ahead of the curve, that if it wasn’t born with the “militia” fad of c. 1994 – 1995, at least arrived at some level of stable growth at that time.

    Today, I have swung back to longing for the “old days” of guns more inspired by hunting and sport, than by their potential paramilitary applications. For that matter, shooting games less inspired by combat maneuvers, and more inspired by classical “marksmanship.” I once liked that “old culture” better, than the culture I feel now. Perhaps that can be explained by declines in testosterone, but whatever, there has been a change in “the gun culture” that is hard to place a finger on. And given that mostly, “generations” are arbitrarily defined, it is harder yet to put a finger on the fundamental causes of “generational differences.”

    Now, all that said — any complaints I may have about the NRA have nothing to do with the shooting culture they are catering to at any given time, and more that they appear to be pandering to another culture that in fact has nothing at all to do with either shooting sports or gun rights, other than as guns and the gun rights issue are useful decoys for attracting support to their factional political candidates.

  2. I was find it interesting to point out that the guns they do support ownership of were the military and gangster weapons of their day, so by the same logic they should have been banned long ago. According to their own logic the NRA did not do it’s job ridding the US of weapons that did the same things when they were members that they accuse modern weapons of doing now, so they simply are hypocrites.

    • Whetherman says:

      “I was find it interesting to point out that the guns they do support ownership of were the military and gangster weapons of their day…”

      First I have to ask, who is that “they” you are talking about? It sounds more like you are referring to my parents’ “Greatest Generation,” and they are close to all gone now. But my father remembered, approvingly, how there were full-auto WWI relics all over the place when he was a kid, and he didn’t see it as a problem. Of course his attitude about almost everything was “people ought to keep their noses out of other people’s asses…”

      My personal not-very-profound observation is, that people either love or hate the guns they had in the military, depending on their attitudes at the time. I hated the military but loved my M-14; M-16 variants I just can’t fall in love with, because I only saw one of them while I was in the military, and didn’t get to handle it. (More “generational” stuff.)

  3. Pete says:

    One of the first things anti’s throw back at you is the NRA endorsing of banning open carry back in ’66 when the Panthers marched in CA. I remind them that was 50 years ago and the type of gun owners then, the Fudd, are not the NRA of today.

    They can’t seem to believe that the NRA really and truly wants every demo to own so as to make banning guns almost impossible.

    • Alpheus says:

      In a similar vein, anti-gun people like to point out that Reagan signed into law the ban of open carry back in ’66. The impression I have is that they expect me to like Reagan in general (which I do), ergo I just have to agree with everything that Reagan did.

      Heck, not even Reagan agreed with everything he did! (One particular example — he signed “No Fault Divorce” into law, and had regrets about doing so years afterward.)

      But it also makes me wonder: “So, you think Reagan was right about banning open carry. Does this mean you agree with all of Reagan’s other positions?” I somehow doubt that the answer is “yes”…

      • Whetherman says:

        I just have to make one of my annoying comments, to the effect that no faction or ideology seems to have a patent on “Whataboutism,” i.e, making the argument “Well, what about what your guy(s) did?”

        I often cite Reagan vis-a-vis the Black Panthers, but when I do it, it is in the spirit of one of the many examples of his/our hypocrisy, i.e., that our guys will still regard him as St. Ronald, because he only advocated gun control for certain classes of people.

        (Tip for the future: Never become one of the wrong kind of people, if you hope to keep your rights.)

    • 1967, not 1966. There were conservative Republicans in the legislature who insisted self-defense was a legitimate reason to have a gun. Reagan was not very conservative (except relative to Democrats) when he was governor.

  4. OldTexan says:

    I too was in the M-14 US Army 50 years ago, did a whole lot of shooting as a kid and not much for a number of years after the Army. I had a couple of shotguns and pistols and one .22 rifle and I was neither hot nor cold about gun issues.

    Then with my kids grown up and my sail boat racing days behind me I started hunting more, added dove hunts and deer to my interests and now 20 plus years later I have been an active competitor in shooting sports. I have owned, traded and given away to my son and sons-in-law a lot of guns and have a few left including 3 AR’s in different configurations and I also like my old wood and blued steel guns too.

    I am a member of three gun club/ranges, an NRA member and this month have only been out shooting five times so far including our local Steel Challenge on the first Saturday of every month. Tomorrow I am taking the NRA Range Safety Officer course since our local club is offering it, you can’t have too much safety.

    So don’t give up on us old guys born during WWII, some of us still have a lot of interest in all kinds of shooting and we want to support the younger generations and continue to build on what we have. My grown son, in his mid-40s is taking a three day pistol course in Utah this weekend and he is an avid competitor along with brother in laws.

    We have a big tent with our gun guys and there is room for all and the goobers that think black guns should go away might want to go meet and shoot with the younger generations men and women.

  5. Zermoid says:

    I would also like to point out the old NRA was mostly about training police to use their weapons​ better. Hunting and recreational shooting were a secondary concern…

    • Whetherman says:

      “I would also like to point out the old NRA was mostly about training police to use their weapons​ better…”

      I am curious what time-frame you are referring to, as I started reading the American Rifleman in the 1950s and had a collection of back issues going back into the 1940s, and I don’t remember a time when the NRA gave that impression — though police training was well within their spectrum of interests. I became a member in the early ’60s when I turned 18, and a Life Member about a decade later; in the early ’60s you still had to have someone like a cop or military officer vouch for you, to become a member.

      Diverting to pure history for its own sake, I well remember a time when members would write in the monthly column “In My Experience. . .” about performing loading/shooting experiments of only 6 – 7 rounds, because that was all the primers they had available or could obtain. Components remained somewhat rare for a few years after WWII, and I remember my father and uncles stockpiling components in 1956, when they feared the situation in the Middle East (Suez, etc.) might lead to another major war.

  6. RAH says:

    Personally I like the rifles and shotguns with wood. I like the feel and look of a beautiful wood stock Not a fan of black plastic for looks For functionality plastic is fine. But give me blued steel and wood for beauty

  7. Miles says:

    Oh no, there’s people, real deal, soaked in Hoppe’s #9, gun people out there by the boatload with attitudes like this.

    Do you think Jim Zumbo would have written that article that got him roasted over a slow fire and ruined his career if he had any idea that his philosophy was now the anomaly?

    I can guarantee that he and a bunch of his compadres were clueless about the younger generation, and a lot of the older generations as well.
    My Father is 92 and wanted to go kick Zumbo in the seat of the pants up all available flights of stairs, simply so he could kick the idjit back down them!
    Of course, Dad’s always taken to the ‘new and improved’ rifles when they became available during his time in the military.
    Although both he and I just lurvs the M1, there’s been AR-15s & other ‘EBRs’ in the inventory for decades.

  8. Greg in VA says:

    With age the most dangerous thing that can happen is to become set in your ways. An older gun owner who had become used to things being a certain way and the political reality passes you by. The war against the second amendment has changed tactics, the engagements are not the same one he fought fifty years ago. The politics of gun control have descended even farther into hell as if that was even possible and it takes a different methodology to defeat it than in the past. Just as with computers if your frozen to Win98 and an engraved double barrel, it is hard to understand how much the MSR has change the shooting sports and how radically different the anti second amendment cult has become. We can and will survive the “fudds ” because we Are a lot stronger than the odd gun owner that doesn’t understand what damage they are really doing.

    • Jeremiah Weed says:

      I guess I’m not seeing how things have changed since at least the early ’90’s. To me, it’s the same old arguments. The Hollywood and the media is still carrying the water for the antis.

      To be sure, the WAY we communicate has chaned. The OODA loop has gotten a lot smaller, but that works in our advantage.

      Please elaborte.

  9. Geoff says:

    I can’t afford those “aesthetically appealing guns with contoured fine wooden stocks and elegant inlays and engraving.”
    They cost an arm and a leg!
    $3000+ for a fancy shotgun that doesn’t shoot any better than a $200 plastic/polymer stock Mossberg?

    I have 60 to 100 year old battle rifles with wood stocks, the most expensive was $452 to restore it.
    But my other rifles are polymer stocks. Because that is what I can afford.

  10. Akatsukami says:

    But they are false flag articles. The author is in favor of banning guns…just not his guns.

    Turn the matter around. Does Shannon Watts own a gun? Very unlikely. But she does have armed bodyguards. Has she ever said, “In accordance with my principles, my bodyguards will no longer carry guns, but will be armed only with their strength, their unarmed martial arts skills, and their wits”? If so, it has escaped me.

    The same may be be said of Rosie O’Donnell, Mike Bloomberg, a gaggle of anti-gun activists, and a flock of “I’m a gun owner, but..” article writers. They all want guns banned…just not their guns (or the guns that they (think) they control).

  11. Andy Barniskis says:

    “The author is in favor of banning guns…just not his guns.”

    Actually people can be more thought-free even than that.

    When we were “debating” the legislation that would become Act 17 of 1995, Philadelphia gun owners who were due to gain some advantage from it — while the rest of us lost — were wildly in favor of it. One provision of the law amounted to, that anyone who left an under-18 minor alone in their home with a gun was guilty of a crime. One Philadelphia gun-rights activist argued “So what? In North Philadelphia, those kids are all drug-dealers anyway, and the parents are all down in a bar somewhere…”

    It simply appeared not to occur to him that the law would apply to him, too, and if it was going to crack down on those people, it just had to be good.

  12. Thatturahguy says:

    Small correction: the election is being held Thursday, May 25. Then we will no longer hear the twenty- per-hour television ads from both sides. I will not be voting for the dope smoking goat roper.

  13. Roman says:

    Yeah, not a fan of that guy.

    If you want an aesthetically pleasing gun, more power to you. If you want a gun that looks scary, more power to you. If you want a gun that looks more like a sex toy than a gun, more power to you.

    If anything, I encourage people to own MORE guns, and whatever their preference is, more power to them. I want to see Americans owning guns. Period.

  14. ensitue says:

    Liberals LOVE guns and they want to shoot PPL w/those guns. What they detest is honest PPL having guns that they can shoot Back with! These topics will be resolved over the next few months and I will be proven correct

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