The Importance of Being “Out”

Eugene Volokh discusses “preference falsifiction” in regards to gun ownership.  I think it highlights the importance of making sure people know you’re a gun owner.  I don’t think you must, or even should, wear it on your sleeve, but hiding and pretending we’re doing something wrong because some people don’t approve of it will kill our rights in the long run.  If people know other normal people who are gun owners, they will be less likely themselves to support taking them away from whatever people they might imagine engaging in the practice.  As long as people don’t know they know someone who shoots, hunts, or keeps a firearm for self-protection, that leaves a blank canvas on which the anti-gun groups and media can paint whatever they wish.

14 thoughts on “The Importance of Being “Out””

  1. I really think we need to come out of the closet, way to many gunowners hide it like they would porn.
    When the gays came out of the closet look how much power they suddenly gained as a group!!

    If all gun owners were more open & I see the ground swell being so large that even the idea of gun control would really go away forever.

  2. As I mentioned in the Volokh thread, nearly every time I’ve admitted to owning guns to co-workers or acquaintances, I’ve gotten a reaction similar to what I’d expect if I’d admitted to worshipping Nyarlathotep under the full moon while naked and covered in pudding. The admission doesn’t cause Silicon Valley liberals to reconsider their support of gun prohibition; it just results in their mentally classifying me as one of THOSE people.

  3. I hid my interest in guns for quite a while, in large part because most of my family is anti gun (my dad vehemently so)

    When I bought my 1st gun and made my 1st trip to the range I couldn’t help but feel like what I was doing was wrong. I’ve since learned not to feel that way and have no problem being openly pro-gun around my family. Doing so has opened me up to ridicule from my father, but he will always believe he’s right, so I simply ignore what he has to say on the issue.

  4. Frankly, the exercise of my 2nd Amendment rights should be no more controversial than the exercise of my 1st Amendment rights. If I get the “ohmylord!” from people I know or run into, I tell them that and ask them if they’d be this freaked out about my blogging or talk show.

  5. Agreed.
    But you have to be careful if you have CPL and are carrying. In some states, you cannot disclose that you are carrying concealed.

  6. My home in Baltimore, Maryland, was robbed a few years back of 3 firearms.

    They were kept in a child-proof but not burglar-proof Stack-On gun locker, shortly after I had some plastering work done in my home. The contractor was a neighbor we had known for years. His temporary workers were two lowlife scum he met through his evangelical Christian church. He employed them for about a month before our work, in an effort to help them stay off drugs, and fired them about a month after the job at my house. While we suspected the plaster workers, neither we nor the police could prove anything against them. One scoped .270 Ruger, less than a year old at the time of the theft, was found rusted in the woods near our home 2 years later. The Remington 12-gauge shotgun and Ruger 10/22 were never found. The Stack-On was opened by the thieves, using a pair of gardening shears and a hammer they picked up in the basement after breaking in a window. I am glad no member of my family was home when they came upstairs to the bedroom with the gardening shears and a hammer.

    I did not tell anyone about my firearms. The plaster workers may have seen the green Stack-On locker, locked but sitting in the back of my bedroom closet, but only if they cased the house while working. They missed several handguns and all my ammo, stored even more discreetly elsewhere in the house. They missed cash and some valuable art. They did not take electronics left out in the open, which would have been easily pawned for cash. They rifled through the bedroom and got some other valuables, but left the rest of the house unsearched as far as we could tell afterwards.

    One reason not to tell people that you have firearms in your home is that casual knowledge about what you have in your home can lead to unpleasant consequences like burglary. I lost three inexpensive but valued firearms, perhaps fueling the illegal use if guns in Baltimore, MD, without telling anyone that I had them.

    I now keep my firearms stored more discreetly in my home, in such a manner that someone looking for them would have to spend a greater length of time and be very lucky or skilled to find them. And I don;t let workers in my house without watching them from the same room for the entire length of their stay.

  7. I understand that being “out” has possible consequences. I don’t keep NRA stickers on my car because I don’t want to advertise “Gun inside!” I’m not very big on advertising gun ownership to strangers, but within your social circle, I think it’s important that people know you’re a gun owner, hunter, shooter, what have you.

  8. There’s a chicken/egg component here. Take, for example, this excerpt from Emily Yoffe’s Slate piece Guinea Get Your Gun: How I Learned to Love Firearms:

    “So anathema are guns among my friends that when one learned I was doing this piece, he opened his wallet, silently pulled out an NRA membership card, then (after I recovered from the sight) asked me not to spread it around lest his son be kicked out of nursery school.”

    You think that father is going to tell his friends and cow-orkers that he is a gun owner?

  9. There’s a difference between being “out” and being “flamboyant” (and yes, i’m still talking about gun ownership!)

    Whenever discussing politics or “hot topic issues” I never pass up the opportunity to let some rights-hating liberal know that I think of them just as crazy for not believing in the inalienable right to self protection as they think I am crazy for having an affinity toward “Scary Assault Run Rifle Weapon Death Machines(tm).” But I don’t go out of my way to voice my position to any open ear that will listen either.

    Confidence is knowing you are in the right without having to PROVE you are in the right unless the situation warrants it.

  10. It was not that long ago in the early 1990’s that if you in your child’s school said that you have guns, you were ostracized and even worried about liberals thinking you were dangerous and insane. The worry that parents have about Child Protection Service if they dare to discipline a child in public and then those liberal do gooders find guns, then they can call a home dangerous to a child. This may seem ridiculous but it is true. Now we have the Smoking Nazis and some judges saying that a parent in a custody dispute cannot have the child at home if they smoke. Smoking is legal but see how a socially disapproved action can have severe consequences.

    The real need for guns is when bad things happen, natural disasters like Katrina is an example. I grew up outside Washington DC and the concern about an atom bomb was real. My mother tells of the time she had the car packed and us kids ready since on of my fathers coworkers warned her that we might have an attack. My father worked in No Such Agency when nobody really did not know about it. The risk was real and almost happened. WE had prepared boxes for years for disaster planning with canned goods and all for survival. Guns are a necessary part of that. When civilization breaks down guns are necessary tool for survival and they may be taken and used against you. No need to advertise before that happens.

    Criminal will target homes with guns.

    VT had a poor young fool who had pictures of his long arms on a face book account. They were all taken and his computers too because they thought he may have been the shooter. If he had not advertised he would have been safe. Instead he was targeted.

    Students who have pictures posted with guns on the internet have been expelled from school. Denied admissions to colleges.

    I have no problem with neighbors who see guns going in and out of cars when going to a range. Most of us know that this neighbor or that has a weapon. But we don’t brag about it.

    I rather talk progun and let people wonder what I actually have at home. I will talk more openly with another gun hobbyist. But liberals will often look at you like you are insane.

    Another instance was pediatricians were told to ask children about guns in the house. My child’s doctor asked when I was out of the room and then I came while the question was asked. I had a fellow scout leader who had the same thing happened so I was prepared. I said that whether we had guns or not were our business and not the doctors. She justified the question by bringing up the storage issue. I just answered with we support the 2 Amendment and the doctor dropped the issue.

    So people have good reason to be paranoid about telling about what they owned. The whole reason we are against registration is so the gov’t can’t have a list and come by and take weapons. Many people have unpapered guns, just for that reason and think of ways to hide them in case of the gov’t deciding to take guns. Look at Canada, people have had that happen. Same in England. So I have to say until societal opinion changes enough that it OK to have a gun in the rack of the pickup in the city. Or students feel they can bring a gun in school for show, like I had some school kids did when I was in High School. Or kids can carry long arms on buses in NYC city and DC without being hassled. When that happens then people can be more safe and open about their guns.

    We have a long way to go before we get back to pre 1968 freedoms about guns. Even then people did not brag about their guns to strangers since they feared even then about confiscation.

  11. My new neighbor noticed I was wairing a gun club T-Shirt yesterday. In liberal Mass it could have gone a LOT worse.

    I tend not to guard my feelings or ownership of guns too much, but also with no due process for us here in Mass (permits are for ownership, and may be revoked for any reason…such as open carry, which is legal…)

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