This feature appears in the May ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
Veterans. Butchers. Heavy metal singers. College students. Stay-at-home moms. Stay-at-home dads. Computer scientists. Medical doctors. Writers. Artists. Accountants. Statisticians. Generation Y. Generation X. Baby Boomers. Naturalized citizens. Daughters of the American Revolution.
These are descriptions of just some of the gun owners that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this year at events like the NRA Great American Outdoor Show and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The fact is, no matter how the media and politicians want to demographically slice and dice us, there’s one thing they don’t dare acknowledge—American gun owners are as diverse as America itself.
Some of us grew up around guns and have been gun owners for as long as we can remember, but there are also plenty of people who are becoming gun owners for the first time in their life. Chicago residents who couldn’t even legally own a handgun six years ago are now lawfully carrying concealed firearms for their protection. Public housing residents like Josephine Byrd are suing to ensure that their rights are respected, and states like West Virginia are adopting permitless concealed-carry laws to guarantee that the right to keep and bear arms is as strong as it can be.
Gun owners are finding their voices, and that’s a very good thing. But there is a growing concern that our voices are being shut out of the larger debate. Marie Claire magazine, for instance, apparently interviewed gun owners like competitive shooter Julie Golob and campus carry advocate Antonia Okafor for the magazine’s special section on guns and gun control, but didn’t see fit to include any of their interviews in the finished product. Obviously, the anti-gun media is afraid of what gun owners have to say, which is one reason why I’m proud to regularly feature voices like Julie and Antonia on NRA News “Cam & Co.”