This, unfortunately, is what the typical anti-gun person thinks a gun owner looks like:
“old, fat, white guys and they’re all racists and they hate everyone.” (Sarah Cade, Star Tribune)
For a group of people so “woke,” they sure aren’t afraid to show their intolerance, ageism and body shaming, are they?
Why it is okay for anti-gun folks to stigmatize 118 million people? As nearly half of the American population, we gun owners are far from marginalized, but anti-gun and anti-Second Amendment media, politicians and organizations are trying their hardest to make that happen.
I am righteously angry that the gun has come to represent racism, bigotry, misogyny and hate.
Before our last election, I really thought that a lot of this old-school way of thinking was letting the door hits itself on the ass —I mean, seriously, was white supremacy even really a thing anymore? Women were shattering the glass ceiling on Capitol Hill, not marching on it, and it wasn’t an issue that LGBTQ were serving in the military…or using the restroom, for that matter.
But a shift occurred, and fear led to a lot of divisiveness and people started putting other people in little boxes again. And like the media will media, they didn’t just stoke that fire, they dumped an entire gallon of gasoline on top.
We cannot deny the influence the media has on our culture and groupthink. Our standards of beauty, the style of clothing we wear, the types of cars we desire to drive are all heavily swayed by what we consume through our newsfeeds and from the commercials and television shows we choose to watch.
We’ve all fallen victim to the fake news phenomenon. I know normally smart, sane people who believe the stupidest stuff after scrolling a few scary headlines on social media.
Let’s face it, if you aren’t a gun owner or have little to no experience handling a firearm, it’s pretty easy to believe what an “authoritative” figure says about them. It’s like any subject you’re unknowledgeable about. Like when I go to the mechanic. I know diddly squat about cars. The mechanic can tell me anything with confidence and I’m apt to believe them.
Study after study shows that when we watch news, movies or programs that represent something or a group of people in a negative light, we tend to have an equally negative opinion about that thing or group. For example, research from the University of Missouri found that 54% of people believe that all people with mental illnesses are dangerous after reading an article about a mass shooting. An associate professor of strategic communication at the University, Cynthia Frisby says, “News media serve as a powerful mode of communication and have incredible power in influencing public opinion on controversial topics, especially those topics that involve race, gun violence, shootings, killings and injuring innocent victims.” Showing images of firearms and shooting only in the context of a crime would naturally make those folks relate firearms to only violence and crime.
Frustration isn’t a strong enough word to describe my feelings about how no other representation is depicted of guns and gun ownership.
This is what mainstream media shows us:
- The use of firearms in law enforcement, both fictional and real—beautiful-looking detectives fighting bad guys in cop shows and trigger-happy cops in the news shooting black men
- Insane white men shooting up schools
The average American has never heard and never will, of Kim Rhode, who made Olympic history in 2016 when she became the first female to win a medal in six consecutive games. Why? Because Kim Rhode’s Olympic sport is shooting. They haven’t heard of Gabby Franco, Venezuela’s first female Olympian shooter and the History Channel Top Shot’s only female contestant to make it to the final round. The majority will never listen to a podcast or read a blog post written by transwoman and Second Amendment activist Erin Palette, President of the Pink Pistols and founder of Operation Blazing Sword—two pro-gun LGBTQ organizations. Maj Toure’s Black Rifles Matter GoFundMe will never go viral. All because these people don’t fit the stereotype the media want to perpetuate.
Their lying to us that people of color, women, and LGBTQ don’t own guns.
A gun isn’t a symbol for anything. It’s an object. A mere tool. A tool that has allowed women to break Olympic records. A tool that allowed Harriet Tubman to protect slaves on their way to freedom. A tool that granted us our liberty and helped create our great nation.
A gun doesn’t stand for inequality and racism, just like a tape measure doesn’t stand for bulimia or obesity. A gun is simply a tool. When you need to hang a picture with a nail, do you reach for the screwdriver? No! You get a hammer because it is the most efficient way to pound a nail into a wall.
My life matters. Your life matters. His life matters. Her life matters. Their life matters. A gun is—by far—the best way to protect those lives.
Free to Be You and Me
If the gun symbolizes anything, its freedom and empowerment.
Gun ownership, especially for minorities—who are more likely to be victims of crime—allows us to be free from fear and maintain control over our lives.
For me, the gun means:
- I can go out late night alone.
- I feel safe in my own home.
- I’m secure knowing my body will not be violated.
- The things I worked so hard to achieve aren’t endangered.
- I will never be forced to depend on or need another person to protect me.
It means I can live as independently as I wish.
Stop putting gun owners in a box. Assuming who I voted for, what religion I practice, where I sit on social issues or what my domestic situation is, only makes an ass out of you…not me.
Only 5.64% of Americans identify with “promoting white interests above those of other racial groups.” (Vox) In fact, the majority (67%) of Americans do not fit in any extremists group. All most of us want is to find common ground.
They say that prejudice against fat people is the last acceptable discriminating practice in our country, but I disagree. It’s the prejudice against gun owners that’s still widely believed to be okay.
What do you guys think about this? Tell me in the comment section.
-Girl Gun Owner
PS: Sarah, mentioned above, who is non-white and “passionately liberal” is now a gun owner and pro-gun activist. Read her story here.