Jon Hauptman of PHLSTER Holsters has a saying, “Nobody goes to the anti-gun range.” That captures an inherent advantage that guns have: they’re fun.
That’s easy to forget, and critical not to forget. It’s automatic to go straight to politics, culture war, and the various threats to gun rights, but the irony is that if you spend all your time on that stuff, you’re spending all your time on the opposite of what gun rights are about.
Ask why gun rights are important, and people will give you examples that appeal to their worldview. The gun is for home defense. A check on the government’s willingness or ability to tyrannize. A tool to dispatch rattlesnakes on the farm. A last resort against a mugger. There are dozens of other examples, and they’ll each reflect what matters to the person citing it.
But what they have in common is that they all sprout from the same seed: if someone’s hurting you, you have the right to stop them. That’s it, it’s that simple. That in turn comes from something even simpler: life is awesome, and you want to be here to enjoy it. So while to the unfamiliar, gun rights might seem insular, like a statement of the gun-wielder against society, the reality is quite the opposite: gun rights are only important to the extent that you have a pro-social love of being here. Self-defense isn’t the end in itself. Self-defense is just a means to the end of sticking around to love your life and your community. Someone who doesn’t love life would have no reason to defend theirs.
This bears out in what gun people talk about amongst themselves. Hang out at the range, or take a course like the one Bob Keller coached for OSD a couple months ago, and you’ll see people talking about bullet weights, trajectories, the merits of different aluminum manufacturing processes, and ergonomic efficiencies that’ll shave a couple tenths of a second off your time on a particular drill. In a word: nerdery. People don’t spend hundreds of hours a year — or do their first-ever range trip, for that matter — to perseverate on sturm und drang. They do it because it’s really, really fun. Negative emotions can get a rise out of people. Yes, that is an open zero-day on the human brain. But for healthy people, it’s not a sustainable exploit — only positive emotions will keep them coming back. The dirty little secret of gun culture is that it’s a concentrated IV drip of positive emotions.
If you’d like to invite more people into gun culture, this is your greatest tool — and forgetting it is your greatest pitfall. You’re inviting people to something that’s inherently fun and which speaks to a love of life and community. So lead with that! Even pro-gun-rights people sometimes accept the framing that gun rights are about you versus society, or the gun as some final bulwark against a Hobbesian winter that’s coming. And sure, guns are a last line of defense in that sense. But that’s not you versus society — that’s you pro society. It’s you saying that if society falters and isn’t able to have your back for a few minutes, you’re ready to have society’s back and fill the gap for yourself until help arrives.
Plus it’s just really fun to hit the range. Nobody has fun at the anti-gun range, and everybody has fun at the gun range. Take people to the range. Have a safe time, and have a fun time. Do that well and everything downstream of it gets a lot easier.
This week’s links
Ian McCollum with the esoterica you didn’t know you needed.
From The Reload:
Approximately 7.5 million people became first-time gun owners in U.S. between January 2019 and April 2021.
That’s according to new research published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study used survey data on purchasing habits over a 28-month period to determine how levels of gun ownership changed both before and after the onset of the pandemic. It revealed a significant increase in new gun owners.
“In 2019, approximately 2.4 million U.S. adults became new gun owners (0.9% of U.S. adults); in 2020, 3.8 million did (1.5% of U.S. adults),” the study said. “Overall, an estimated 2.9% of U.S. adults (7.5 million people) became new gun owners over the 28 months before the survey, equal to 10% of all U.S. adults who personally owned firearms as of April 2021.”
Texas municipal bond market shaken up by state law banning participation by banks who deplatform gun businesses
With some of Wall Street’s largest banks having halted public-finance transactions in Texas because of the legislation, Jefferies is leading firms that have seen their business surge. It was the top municipal underwriter in the fast-growing state for the past four months, whereas in the same period last year it was 12th, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“This is the biggest-growing place in the muni market -- other firms that are comfortable with the compliance will likely make a bigger play for Texas,” said Martin Luby, a professor who researches public finance at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. With the law creating an opportunity for smaller firms, “they should get a little more aggressive and will likely ramp up hiring.”
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