President Barack Obama spoke to the nation a few days ago. He talked around the Muslim terrorist murderers in San Bernardino. He twisted our concern about jihadi immigrants into a fear of firearms. Most of us think the president is wrong. The American people responded by going to the store and buying a record number of firearms. Many of them are first time gun buyers. Experienced firearms owners need to step up and introduce these new gun owners into the culture of safe firearms ownership.
Experienced firearms owners can do what no one else can do. In fact, we can do what the president only dreams about. We can change hearts and minds. That is easier than you think. Our neighbors think of us as a friend, and we start the discussion friend to friend. Lucky for us, our neighbors think gun owners are… Well, frankly, gun owners are just like you. You are an ambassador for the gun culture. That is an important job.
First, you are a welcome and trusted member of your community. As honorable men and women, you are an antidote to the fear spread about firearms. You are the living contradiction that disproves the misinformation spread in the media about guns. You keep your family safe every day. You are trusted as a friend, a neighbors and as a co-worker. Your smile and warm words are more persuasive than a president’s speech or an editorial in the New York Times.
As a gun owner, you are first an ambassador to your family. The obvious place to change a culture is where you live. Be proactive and responsible in how you store your guns at home. Next, teach your children to be safe around firearms.
You are also an ambassador to your friends and co-workers. As a long-time firearm owner, you are a trusted source of information and inspiration. A new gun owner might not know where to get training, but they know you. Offer to take them shooting with you. Make sure they have a safe and enjoyable time. There is a lot that new gun owners need and want to learn. Answer their questions. Remind them where they can get quality instruction.
You are an ambassador to your community. You are a resource at work, at school and at church. Be an active part of those organizations. There are a million new families with firearms in their home every month. They need to learn how to safely and responsibly live with a gun in the house. Share your enthusiasm and what you know. I’ll offer you a hint. As a safe firearms owner, I bet you’ve forgotten how much you know about safely storing and handling your guns. Share what you know, and ask for help if you’re not sure what to say or do.
You are an ambassador in everything you do, be it in a discussion over the back fence or something you post online. Responsible gun owners can take back the image AND the reality of firearms ownership. You are an ambassador for all of us. Wear it well. You are judged by every word and gesture. There is a lot of responsibility resting on your shoulders… and on your smile.
Thank you for all you do.