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My good friend Michael Bane has an interesting podcast up this week, talking about American gun culture and how that culture is perceived in American media. On the podcast, he compares an article in Forbes by Elizabeth Macbride, which claims that guns in America are mainly used as a political virtue signal to others who have a certain belief in the American dream, with a blog post which talks about how guns mean many things in America, but one of the biggest reasons why guns are so popular is because they’re so much fun to shoot.
And they are.
However, there is an element of truth to the idea that owning a gun is a sort of virtue signal, especially in today’s world where such things seem to be so complex. A “Blue Lives Matter” bumper sticker is seen a logical and necessary way to counteract the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and the circles in a Venn diagram of people who more than one AR-15 rifle and those who have a Gadsden flag on their rear window does tend to overlap somewhat.
Is there virtue signaling inside the gun community? Of course, there is. However, there is actual virtue to be had, and had in abundance. While there are gun owners out there who believe that their Second Amendment rights will be secured solely by a witty rejoinder on Facebook, there are also thousands of people out there who are introducing new people each day to the fun of shooting guns with friends.
It is perfectly fine to proclaim your pride in owning a gun, (or in my case, guns) and we gun owners should proclaim our support for the Second Amendment as well. However, we need to put those words into action by also taking someone who doesn’t (yet) own a gun out to the shooting range. Guns, after all, are the gateway drug to freedom, and it’s time to get more people hooking on the joy of liberty.