I have mentioned before that I struggle a little with how much of my gun tottin’ ways to keep under wraps and how much to let hang out. In the beginning I had no intention of ever letting anyone know I carried a gun. My plan was to lead a normal life and to not advertise that I pack heat.
The thing is I started to become an advocate for woman and carrying and, of course, I just plain love it. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of gal. There is very little gray in my world. When I am in, I am all in. I am extremely passionate and I am a doer. Not necessary 2 of the best qualities when trying to keep things on the down low. I keep telling myself that carrying a gun is just part of who I am and I need not make it my whole life, problem is, it is my whole life.
I enjoy other things and I can carrying on a non gun centered conversation, but if I had my choice, I would pretty much talk about my kids, food and guns. I love to shoot guns, I love to talk about them, I love to wear bullet necklaces. I am not trying to make a statement or be cool(done been verified that I am not), I just wholehearted love all things weaponry.
I also think we are living in a time where people who value their rights, not just to carry a gun, but certainly that, need to stand up and be accounted for. It is become a rubber meets the road kind of situation and blending quietly into the background just might earn us the right to stay silent and not much else.
So, as I said earlier in the week, my plan was to go to Memphis and blend in, but anytime anyone asked me what I was doing or what I enjoyed, out came GUNS, GUNS, GUNS. Ok, I was a little more subtle, but not much. Without fail 100% of the time the first thing anyone said to me after I said I was heading to Memphis for pleasure to a shooting course was…Are you in law enforcement? This did not bother me, much. I understand that women shooters are still in the minority and especially if they look like me. All I mean by that is a non descriptive plain ol’ housewife. There is nothing that screams hunter or gun nut, except the gun, the 2nd Amendment T-shirt and bullet necklace, but I wasn’t wearing any of those that day. The readers of this blog know that most people who shoot guns and hunt and are all nutty for firearms are regular people, but the rest of the world is not that well informed. We know that they might be surprised at who is part of a well regulated militia, but since they don’t know what they don’t know, I was not offended.
What did bother me were the people that thought I was “sweet as pie” and “just lovely” until they found out I like to shoot and at that point decided I was now a scary threat. Nothing changed about me, nothing. I never, not once whipped out my gun or started making threats. My squealing high pitched voice did not turn demonic and at no point did I attempt to sacrifice a small child and yet more than one person decided that by virtue of my gun, I was no longer a person who was afforded the right to be treated with decency or courtesy. I was fair game to be rude or insensitive to. I was not bothered in terms of how individual people viewed me as an individual. Being out of junior high, I kind of don’t care much, but it did bother me as a whole. These people form opinions based on nothing more than fear and then go perpetuating a lie. That bothers me. Many of these folks vote and have influence over others and that makes them a threat to me, not the other way around.
Alas, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The gentleman that picked me up from the airport was named Kevin. Kevin was the nicest man and he was full of opinions. He talked and talked and told stories and I loved every minute I spent with him. On Sunday, I needed to be picked up from Range Master and taken to the airport for my flight home. Kevin got my bags, put them in the car and then started talking to me about gun owners and those who carry permits.
Kevin: I don’t understand all these new laws letting people carry guns. It’s crazy.
Me: You are against laws that allow law abiding citizens the right to self protection?
Kevin: No, No, but there is so much crime in Memphis. Guns and killing every where. I don’t think we need any more guns.
Me: Do you think the laws that are made to protect the innocent are contributing to the crime in Memphis?
Kevin: I think some people are just using the new laws to get guns and carry them places they are not allowed and then shooting people up.
Me: Do you think that there are a lot of criminals that are concerned with following the laws? Do you think the criminal needs a law in order to carry a gun into, say a bar and start a problem?
Me: Kevin, I would encourage you to look up the statistics of gun related shootings and see how many of those involved licensed conceal carry permit holders and of those shootings how many were used for the purpose of self defense. I am guessing you will find the number of licensed permit holders who commit crimes to be very low. Please then compare that number to the gun crimes committed by people without a license. You might be surprised at what you find.
Kevin: Huh, good point yes, good point. You know mam. I can do that. Yes, I will do that.
I have no way of knowing if he will or not check the numbers, but I tend to think he will. He seemed genuinely concerned and not like he was looking to just find a reason to justify his point of view.
Conversations like I had with the man from Starbucks and Kevin lend me to believe, I am probably not gonna be one of the quiet ones.