College Students/Gunowners and 2A Visibility


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psyopspec
May 5, 2005, 01:22 PM
College has just ended for me and I have the day off, so here's a few thoughts on gun ownership in a college environment. Last fall, I read a thread on another forum asking shooters if they discuss their hobby at work. I realized it's not something I've tried to spread to others, so this year I gave it a shot. I was pleased with the results.

Background: I go to a religious college in Minnesota that’s located in a border town by North Dakota. I’m 21, and I don’t live in the state my school is in because I cherish RKBA. I’m a couple years older than most of the underclassmen from having served in the army right after high school. Most students are conservative at my school, and about 1/3 are liberal and usually anti-gun. The majority of the faculty are left-leaning.

When I arrived, I was taken aback to find out what the typical American college student is like - the sheer ignorance of this campus rivals a People‘s Temple meeting on Kool-Aid night. It’s easy to find someone who’s hot-headed and has an opinion, but logic is often in short supply (paradoxical at an institution of higher ed, I thought). While the politics and effects of education on the sponge-like mind of young Americans is mind-boggling and often depressing, I did made the best of it. I decided not to hide my gun ownership or 2A views; to the contrary I made it my mission to win converts. I had it working in my favor that college students are somewhat open to new experiences. When given lemons, make long island teas, as I always say.

From last fall to this spring, I ended up taking several green shooters to the range. Their prior experience levels were largely nil, and their motivations ranged from a liberal trying to justify his anti position, to a young conservative who saw shooting a handgun as a Republican right of passage. Most would only go once, but surprisingly it would be mostly ladies that made a habit of it and came back repeatedly. Except for the anti, I’m fairly certain that all are now neutral or pro-2A. A 20 minute drive to the range made this part easier - acting as a trainer, you get a student’s full attention while they’re with you to shoot. I’d use this time in transit to give a safety briefing and sprinkle in some light politics, nothing to blatant or soap boxy - the goal wasn’t to preach but to plant a seed. Go over the four rules, then mention how “movies and television constantly get them wrong, so don’t do anything like that.” This is a keen opportunity to drop in a bit about how the media doesn’t just make a mockery of the gun, but it’s owners, and they’re obviously wrong in that too (having proven myself to be an upstanding and friendly human being to them).

I asked perhaps a dozen people if they'd like to try shooting this year, and only three declined: Two politely, while the third looked at me as if I'd just asked her to abandon her Christian ways and drop acid while watching Kaptain Kangaroo naked for the afternoon. After the first couple went, I ended up taking some friends and roommates as well. And I already have three people lined up who will be going this fall.

Many of us fight for our 2-A rights in a non-public manner; we pay our dues to the various organizations, write a letter on a occasion, and call it good. All of that matters, but don’t underestimate the power of grassroots work in recruiting new shooters. All the people I took to the range can logically refute gun control the next time it comes in discussion with family or friends; I know for certain at least 6 of them will. NRA dues and a letter to a politico take a bit of money and time and are certainly worth the effort, but taking new friends shooting is absolutely priceless in assuring that future generations will be able to keep and bear arms. Keep in mind those around you - fellow students, coworkers, and friends. Don't be silent about our rights, and by all means bring them into the fold if you can. The cost of a few boxes of ammo pays big dividends when you use it foster a new shooter's love for guns and freedom.

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heypete
May 5, 2005, 01:40 PM
...but taking new friends shooting is absolutely priceless in assuring that future generations will be able to keep and bear arms...

Well said!

I'm 22 and going to a community college outside of San Francisco after I got out of the army in August (had a few years of CC under by belt before then, but now I'm getting ready to transfer), and started a rifle club on campus.

Due to insane liability concerns, CYA'ing, and California legal-fu, I haven't been able to make any range trips yet. I have, however, gotten a moderately positive response from the community. Most people have been neutral, but numerous people have signed up for the club -- http://www.csmrc.org/ (thanks again to Oleg and Kit for permission to use the photos) -- so that's encouraging.

As the number of city-dwellers and suburbanites increase, and the amount of anti-gun coverage in the news continues to portray firearms as instruments of murder and mayhem, it's more important than ever to get people (espescially suburban, middle-class people who make up a large portion of the "soccer mom" voting base) out to the range and have positive experiences.

Glad to hear things with you went well. I just talked a friend of mine into buying a Yugo SKS, but he wants to try mine out on Monday before he actually gets around to purchasing. He also asked me to come with him and help him pick out the appropriate rifle, as he knows little about selecting them. This is good, as I need to get more powder when I'm up at the shop. :)

SRYnidan
May 5, 2005, 02:24 PM
I take it you were at Concordia.
My sister is an alumni.
You are doing good work and apparently the ground is fertile.

Henry Bowman
May 5, 2005, 02:32 PM
abandon her Christian ways and drop acid while watching Kaptain Kangaroo naked for the afternoon. I like you use of language. Makes for an interesting visual.

jefnvk
May 5, 2005, 02:52 PM
abandon her Christian ways and drop acid while watching Kaptain Kangaroo naked for the afternoon.

Sounds like fun ;) (oh, if only there were women at MI Tech :banghead: )

I'll have the pleasure of introducing an Argentinian to shooting next semester. He wouldn't go with me, that is until I got the AR.

Taken a couple of kids from Illinois, they were suprised as heck that I (being 18) owned handguns, and that I didn't need permits for the long guns. And that I could just buy ammo without permits. And that I can just shoot out in the country, not at a gun club or whatever. And a few other things that didn't even seem reasonable. One is now hoping to get through all the paperwork (I guess Illinois is bad for buying guns for the first time, according to him) this summer to buy an 870.

And I got to educate some other gunowners on proper safety. No, it is NOT smart to shoot trap right down a trail :banghead: No, it is NOT smart to shoot when snowmobiles are behind our targets, they probably neither see nor hear you, they aren't doing it to make you mad. :uhoh:

psyopspec
May 5, 2005, 02:58 PM
I take it you were at Concordia.
My sister is an alumni.
You are doing good work and apparently the ground is fertile.

Yep. Generally it's a good school.

Smoke
May 5, 2005, 06:58 PM
while the third looked at me as if I'd just asked her to abandon her Christian ways and drop acid while watching Kaptain Kangaroo naked for the afternoon.

That just cost you the price of a new monitor buddy! :cuss:

Smoke :D :D

jobu07
May 5, 2005, 07:03 PM
Well, tomorrow is my last day in college, but I can safely say that over my school days I have been a very visible gun owner on campus ( I commute so my guns are used daily ).

I have taken many libbies shooting and converted some, some still don't want'em, but none think the same way they did. The fun is always mixed in with a healthy dose of what is right and wrong idealistically as far as guns go. I've taken kids from NYC, Massachusettes, Connecticutt, Pennsylvania (Pitts and Phili), Rhode Island, Germany, Turkey, Japan, China, and Russia shooting. While they weren't all gunnies coming or going... they all had a ton of gun! :D

I applaud everyone on campus who takes the time to debate these students (and professors) on a daily basis. Give'm hell guys!

Eskimo Jim
May 5, 2005, 07:42 PM
Spec,
That's great that you've opened the doors for some of your class mates!!!

I was once like you where I tried to keep my interests quiet. I started talking about my firearms interests with a couple of co workers. I've taken two of them shooting and one got his permit. The other guy will probably get his permit before the end of the summer.

My co workers weren't antis, they just didn't know much about firearms. I think that they have both have taken an interest in them now.

-Jim

The Grand Inquisitor
May 5, 2005, 08:49 PM
It seems to me that the only closed minded extremists are the ones here who are so absolutely sure thatthe ever demonized "liiiiberals" are out to get them and their guns.

psyopspec
May 5, 2005, 09:26 PM
It seems to me that the only closed minded extremists are the ones here who are so absolutely sure thatthe ever demonized "liiiiberals" are out to get them and their guns.

Care to elaborate? Upon actually read what I typed you'd discover I mention liberals twice:

Most students are conservative at my school, and about 1/3 are liberal and usually anti-gun.

their motivations ranged from a liberal trying to justify his anti position

It's not demonizing to say something is what it is - liberals are, usually, anti-gun, and the shooter in question only went to reinforce his views (I had told him he couldn't dog it till he tried it).

Wingshooter
May 5, 2005, 09:45 PM
the sheer ignorance of this campus rivals a People‘s Temple meeting on Kool-Aid night.

Now that's funny...

TRLaye
May 6, 2005, 02:49 PM
Students at colleges and universities are just like any other folks. They just need education.

In the twelve months we've, BayProfs, taught 36 students from Berkeley in the Bay Area and an MIT alumni group. Been some of the best classes we've had.

I really enjoy how they put 2 and 2 together and leap to new conclusion about guns.

It is fun and rewarding.

Tom

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