It seems to me that the average gun owners age has been increasing over the past few years and that as America becomes more urban and diverse(which usually means more liberal as well), we will see a gradual restriction of gun rights. thoughts?
If you enjoyed reading about "Are the demographics against gun rights?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
September 25, 2009, 10:54 PM
definitely a possibility
September 25, 2009, 11:08 PM
Unfortunately, it's pretty likely.
It's just plain sad.
September 25, 2009, 11:15 PM
In the past few years we've gotten more CCW passed, the AWB is dead, and we've made headway in a number of polls.
Don't be too pessimistic.
September 25, 2009, 11:16 PM
Yes you are correct and I would like to say more but this forum does not allow it....................................
So what do we do other than complain about it? We get out there and teach people to shoot!
I'm sure part of the problem is that shooting is not a cheap hobby, so older people are more likely to be able to afford it than your typical broke 23 year old. I think the bigger problem is that most of them were not lucky enough to be introduced to it by their parents like I was. The remedy for that is to take your friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc to the shooting range.
One thing that encourages me is it does seem to me that today's youth are more interested in shooting than my generation (I'm 33) was at the same age. I came of age during the Klinton years and many of my peers were force fed the line that guns are evil. I think younger people today are more independent and eager to experience things for themselves, rather than taking their elder's words at face value. These kids just need someone to give them a hand in getting started.
If every person on THR introduces just one other person to shooting that's a big impact. In fact, I'd like to challenge everyone to do just that. Maybe I should start a new thread, but how about it? Is anyone else up to it?
September 25, 2009, 11:31 PM
Well, reach out to the younger people!
I'm 19, I've been shooting since I was 8, quite a few people don't grow up in homes with parents that own guns though, it's nice to pass on the hobby, but have you ever considered passing it on to people that AREN'T in your family? Heck, even if it's just good friends of your kids that show an interest and seem mature enough, that's what my father did for one of MY friends, and now he's...quite on our side haha.
Personally, every person I get to know well and that I believe is responsible, I suggest to try shooting/come shooting with me at some point, I've had a few takers, some on the fence, but I haven't had anyone turn me down outright yet....the interest is there, it's just most people my age and younger don't have anyone to TAKE them shooting and to help foster the interest.
September 25, 2009, 11:33 PM
I have 4 nieces and 1 nephew. I'll get them all out to the range at some point. Their parents aren't gun owners, but they aren't anti-gun either. My nephew (13) is coming out with me to the shotgun range next weekend. After he comes back beaming, the younger nieces will be whining about why they didn't get to go.
Take friends and family to the range, and show them a good time. I really think that's the best way to steer someone into being pro-gun.
My family is not a gun owner family. I became the first gun owner at age 33. Three years later, I'm still the only one, but I'm making good progress for my family, relatively speaking.
September 26, 2009, 12:09 AM
Have several family and friends members who own firearms. Got to shoot my first time a few months ago and I'm middle-aged.
I'm around people who are quite anti-gun. Some of them think no one, even law enforcement should possess guns. The term "gun violence" gets thrown around a lot. It appears that they don't believe common folk have the sense to own anything they consider dangerous.
The funny thing is the people I do know that own guns come from all political persuasions not just Red state conservatives.
September 26, 2009, 12:12 AM
Depends. I am around a young crew in the ER, and a huge number of them are interested but don't know how to start out or have just had a boyfriend take them out and it was fun. I have become the go-to guy since many know I collect and shoot. I always try to be professional and businesslike and keep the persona of the educated collector and find many or most either become more interested or start seriously shopping. Many are surprised to find out what some of the laws are about and how restrictive the state is and how open others are. Even the anti's are surprised and tell me about how I am different than the drunk bubba stereotype they have been conditioned to expect. Even have a former medic partner who was vehemently anti gun from Washington DC when I first met him. His son and daughter are both diving and shooting partners now and his son owns several nice rifles and stuffed my freezer with wild pork not too long ago. Progress is made in inches and feet not miles and yards, and you catch more flies with honey than buttermilk. Like it or not, we have become symbols and ambassadors and need to keep that in mind all the time.
September 26, 2009, 12:27 AM
I disagree, I think we are stronger than even. the national groups NRA, GOA,ect have increasing membership. Many new gun owners. The best way to get Americans to want something is to tell them the can't/should have it (possible AWB). Many new AR & AK owners. Remmington the company than make bolt action hunting rifles now make a hunting AR configured rifle. All the Tacticool stuff appeals to a younger generation. I think we have more active pro gun right people today than 20 years ago. Introduce new people to firearms the right way and the brady bunch will never convince them that gun are evil.
September 26, 2009, 12:43 AM
I don't know at all that it is against us. If there are 40 million gun owners, all of them are always adults. Kids don't count. What is working against us is that culture is drifting. For example, there are far fewer of us that work jobs with traditional titles and hours, it's more difficult to just get out and hunt or shoot than it used to be.
But when I try to think that gun culture is shrinking, the numbers in my state certainly don't show it. All of the deer tags for all of the regions sold out, I didn't get one. On the freeways on Sunday nights, there is one load of ATVs after another. ARs were on fire for popularity here BEFORE the crisis. A couple of months ago we had a wilderness rights rally at the capitol building and you couldn't park for blocks. I have four boys who will all be well-trained, even if they ultimately don't like shooting as much as I do.
We have more guns in society than ever before. There is a whole new crop of new guys trying it for the first time. We are more vocal, organized and active than ever. I don't know at all that we are shrinking.
September 26, 2009, 12:55 AM
It is the immigration flux that will eventually kill the 2nd amendment. People who come here do so from countries that have demonized gun ownership. I see it all the time with Indian and Chinese co-workers that have an irrational fear of guns.
September 26, 2009, 01:21 AM
any reliable source or statistic?
With a median 80 million gun owners statistically accounted for, I don't know if I'd say so, personally.
September 26, 2009, 01:47 AM
Yep, reach out! Once I get some more ammo, and a .22 pistol, I'm going to take some of my younger (college age) friends out for a shoot...teach them how to safely use a firearm, how to aim...to not pound out a magazine as fast as possible, etc. The basics.
The more people that we have out there that have at least shot a gun, the better chances we have of finding new supporters to our rights.
September 26, 2009, 07:59 AM
The problem we ALL are going to run into, regardless of age, are those dumb***es that make fools of themselves with unsafe behavior because they're making a video to post on YouTube.
Or that's where it will eventually end up.
We've seen men in their 40's and 50's shooting large caliber weapons only to have a piece ricochet back towards the shooter and nearly removing his own ear (it's been posted on here). I've seen college age folks make videos buying ammo at Cabela's so they can goto the range and point loaded shotguns at the camera (and the person holding it) on designated ranges. We've seen the cop shoot himself in the leg in a school classroom. And I believe we've all seen the AK-47 catch fire from an incredible amount of excessive shooting.
Teach those that you can, and let Darwin have the rest.
September 26, 2009, 08:32 AM
I think that hunting is on the decline in many parts of the US and that might have a pretty big impact, as in the past many kids probably got introduced to firearms by going out hunting with their dad. But as far as shooting in general I think there will always be young people getting interested in it. Especially now with the video games like "Call of Duty" for instance which features very realistic WWII weapons. I grew up in a liberal state during the Clinton era and my parents didn't own guns but I became interested in them because of a strong interest in military history.
Most non-gunners aren't necessarily anti-gun, they just have never been exposed to the sport and might be a little intimidated, or not know to where to begin.
As far as the immigration impact, I think it will go both ways. Sure there will be alot of new immigrants that are scared of guns and want nothing to do with them. But im willing to bet that there will also be a good number that will be excited at the prospect of being able to legally own firearms in their new country.
Personally in my area I see alot of first generation Hispanic-Americans participating in the sport. Also have meet a few British ex-pats at the range and gun store, as well as Polish and Russians.
September 26, 2009, 08:57 AM
I'd second the above post. I got interested in guns from being interested in WWII and playing Call of Duty way too much. The first gun I bought was a 1911, the first rifle I bought was a M1A and the 2nd one I got was a M1 Garand.
So far I've gotten the wife into shooting (she's got her own evil black rifle in 22LR) and introduced one of her friends to guns.
September 26, 2009, 10:03 AM
I think that it's a shift among shooting sub-cultures.
Hunters, High-Power shooters, and Bullseye competitors are almost all uniformly from the two generations previous to Gen X.
Generation X and Y shooters are generally more concerned with issues of defense, and have grown up playing video games with a heavy emphasis on run and gun. As a result, most Gen X and Gen Y shooters are participating in IPSC, IDPA, or 3Gun, or show much more of an interest in defense-oriented shooting and training such as what's offered by by MagPul Dynamics.
On top of the cultural and attitudinal shift towards guns seen in the younger generations, there's also the issue of cost. While it's not prohibitively expensive as a hobby (the way that, say, auto racing or speed boats are) it isn't a cheap interest to indulge, and so someone who's only a year or two out of college is probably just beginning to find his way in the shooting world whereas previous generations had been raised with it.
September 26, 2009, 10:12 AM
19 replies to this thread. If every one of us introduces someone else that's 38 shooters where there were 19 before.
Ok, so let's do something about it. I started a new thread:
September 26, 2009, 10:14 AM
FWIW, I took two complete newbies to the range last weekend. :D
But your point is well taken. We all need to act as ambassadors for the RKBA and introduce people to shooting whenever possible.
September 26, 2009, 10:46 AM
Actually, lately I HAVEN'T been seeing MORE people who'd rather be robbed, raped or murdered than defend themselves with a gun. In fact, it's going in exactly the opposite direction.
September 26, 2009, 12:06 PM
The demographics of population growth in the US has been more and more urban which tends to diminish participation in the shooting sports. This shift has been going on for a long time and will continue to do so. I suspect it is one of the reasons you are seeing more indoor ranges and better membership roosters at private ranges that tend to be closer to urban areas.
September 26, 2009, 01:01 PM
The gun world and organizations need to tailor a message for the expanding demographics. Unfortunately, many try to maintain an exclusive club from the old demographics and political stances.
If folks are liberal - then figure out how to appeal to them on the RKBA instead of locking yourself to the right exclusively.
To be blunt - young, urban, diverse professionals are not impressed or convinced by AR-15s at health care rallies. The choir might get all hot and bothered by such but the cause needs to convince new folks why the RKBA is useful to society. If it is seen as a political totem of the extreme right - it will fail.
Lots of work has gone into convincing women that firearms are useful for self-defense. That works. However, research indicates that preaching armed rebellion over the issues the right is hot about is going to go nowhere fast.
That's my take and it might generate flames from true believers but that's life.
September 26, 2009, 01:13 PM
I, too, would like to see some numbers. I suspect that numbers quoted are often through a source with some agenda in inflating or deflating numbers (NRA membership lobbying, Brady Nuts, etc.).
Subjectively, I observed (in MD, DC, WA, IL, GA, VA, MN, OR, CA as a sample, over the last 25 yrs):
(1) A decrease in overall gun-familiarity due to lack of exposure, particularly in urban areas. This is reflected in the "we used to all go hunting" comments above.
(2) An increase in politicization of gun ownership and political polarization.
The exception to the above was in MN, where I observed high levels of gun familiarity due to hunting culture but, strangely, a much lesser orientation toward gun rights. Almost shockingly submissive at times to external authority. Thinking back to my youth in more rural areas, I think this was probably more widespread. Guns were probably more commonplace but there was less political awareness around 2A issues.
What does this bode for gun rights? I'm not sure. I'm happy that member numbers for GOA/CCRKBA, etc, are increasing, but I am not sure polarization and "identity politics" are good.
My wife was initially anti- by cultural assumption, but rapidly became pro- when introduced to guns, good gun culture, and the underlying ethics and history. I do still recall her obligatory intro NRA class when a young couple (younger than me anyway) held forth at length about all their cultural prejudices and superiority and that the state she was from (WA) "could drop into the ocean for all they cared". I am usually shocked when an older shooter talks like this. I think that is the downside of our increased political mobilization... a lot of people foaming at the mouth, just like with other hot-button political issues in this country.
Subjectively, I think more young urban people are receptive to the idea of guns for personal defense than before. I agree we are all ambassadors in this regard.
Last time I was at the range, I met two young men who'd been brought by another member (former LEO) to introduce them to the sport. One was a vegetarian who didn't want to shoot at human outlines (I am in WA, after all). But both seemed interested and respectful of other people's views and choices regarding personal defense. So I was really excited that our group was reaching out to people in this way. Even if they view it as "golf with noise, but cheaper" I think it is a huge victory in bolstering public support.
One factor that is alluded to above is the availability of ranges. Even near Seattle, there are good outdoor ranges not too far away. But back when I lived in CA, ranges were far away, unfriendly, unsafe, expensive, or all of the above. I think providing good instruction and venues would go far to bolstering the urban shooting population and recruiting new members. The NRA deserves a lot of credit for the former, but ranges seem to be a variable commodity that is primarily supported by clubs and trusts.
This would be a good focus for local activism: "a safe place to shoot". Like Boys and Girls Clubs, but with more noise. ;)
September 26, 2009, 01:23 PM
I am pushing 60 and have a good sized collection but not one of my kids cares for guns eventhough they were brought up shooting. Product of a liberal public education and press.
September 26, 2009, 01:26 PM
Just a quick reply, I don't have time to read this entire thread:
I'm a college student with a permit to carry in Minnesota. In the past week (this is not untypical either) I have had 1 woman out to the range and with some discussion on a longer drive with some friends found out that another woman wanted to go out to go shooting too!
There are a lot of men that are shooting too, so don't think it's dying out yet!
September 26, 2009, 11:21 PM
This afternoon I was at a local spot to shoot with my parents, my kids, and two nephews. There were other cars coming and going, all kinds of people. College kids, families, dates, etc. Plinking and heavy revolvers with chronometers. No shortage of enthusiasm here.
Of course, one must consider, this is up the canyon in the reddest county of the reddest state.
September 28, 2009, 03:37 AM
I don't know about the country in general, but I can say anecdotally there is only one person in my extended family younger than me (I'm 29 and have a pretty large extended family) who likes shooting, and he is far from a real "gun enthusiast" (doesn't own a gun, just comes over and shoots one of mine with me upon occasion). I am currently a senior in college (had to work for a few years before starting school) and I don't know anybody at school who shoots. I'm sure there are some, but I haven't run into any. I have run into plenty of hardcore antis however.
I could see several reasons for this. First, it ain't exactly the cheapest hobby.
Second, the vast majority of the population today is urban, and many urban kids probably don't ever hear anything about guns except gang shootings and gun control. Naturally, that also means they need to do their shooting at a range unless they know someone who lives in the country. I know I wouldn't be doing much shooting if I had to pay range fees and gas every time I wanted to fire off a few rounds.
Third, I think gun enthusiasts suffer from some pretty bad PR, and I'm sorry to say, not all of it undeserved. I'm the biggest "gun nut" I know, and even I feel out of place at most of the gun shops in my area. Granted, we have NO good full-time gun shops around here, but the couple we do have are dark, cramped, stinky little holes run by crabby old guys who usually act greatly put-upon when you walk in the store (I should say, just in case the owner happens to be a THR member, the one exception is B+D Guns, but that's a part-time sort of place with little inventory run by a retired gentleman).
The gun shows I've been to have been even worse, and are usually filled with "camo-clad bunker Bubbas," and I've noticed a definite racist element present at a lot of these gatherings. This puts a lot of people off, myself included. I'd feel REALLY uncomfortable if I was a young kid, just starting out and still learning.
I will say though, I've introduced quite a few people to shooting, and converted several fervent antis to at least neutrality or better. I think if more people had more interaction with the vast majority of us who are just normal, everyday Joes, there would be more people interested in firearms and shooting, and fewer irrationally afraid of guns and gun owners. I think the best way to swell the ranks among young people is to be FRIENDLY, welcoming ambassadors of the sport/hobby.
September 28, 2009, 08:06 AM
There's an old saying, "If you're 20 and not an liberal you have no heart. If you're 50 and not a conservative you have no brain."
Like many old sayings it has a basis in truth. Some of these liberals will come around as life batters them with its harsh truth, and begin to look for the light. But for the most part you need to guide them to the light. So, like many have said, take them shooting, and teach them self reliance and responsibility. No matter how young or old they are when they begin to realize that their old liberal, big brother will take care of me, attitude doesn't work.
If you enjoyed reading about "Are the demographics against gun rights?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!