Gun owners, social media and the rise of a new firearms culture
March 4, 2019 11:38 AM   Subscribe

The Heavily Armed Millennials of Instagram
Beyond the bunnies and the operators, the tactical world breaks down into a handful of smaller niche categories: competition shooters, “Don’t Tread on Me” 2A defenders, ’Merica-loving irony bros, young bearded dads, legitimate preppers, YouTube stunt shooters, self-defense feminists, conceal-carry exhibitionists (gun in waistband, bellybutton exposed), religious operators (meet @pewpewpreacher), fashionista tactigals.
posted by peeedro (60 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Amy Robbins created the clothing company Alexo Athletica, geared toward women who want to carry concealed weapons while they exercise.

Where the fuck are they working out that they feel the need to pack while hitting the elliptical?
posted by NoMich at 12:02 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Jogging or biking in bear country would be a valid use case, for certain definitions of valid.
posted by neonrev at 12:10 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


This part got me:
The most outrageous company is probably Tactical Baby Gear. It sells camo-colored backpacks, harnesses and other accessories for parents who carry guns and infants at the same time. If you go to its Instagram account, you’ll see lots of photos like this: a dad wearing an over-the-shoulder TBG diaper bag, gazing lovingly at an infant dressed in an American flag onesie, all while holding a rifle in the air. (About 5,800 American children are wounded by guns every year; 1,300 are killed.)
Their tactical baby carrier is a marvel of fragile masculinity, and yet, to me at least, its flack jacket styling evokes the image of using a baby as a human shield. Call of Daddy, indeed.
posted by peeedro at 12:20 PM on March 4 [24 favorites]


TFA says the founder was creeped on during early-morning and late-night runs while training for a marathon. Which I absolutely believe.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:20 PM on March 4 [25 favorites]


It's probably a function of where I live, but I know a lot of women runners who are feeling super vulnerable after the murder of Mollie Tibbetts. I don't think any of them would carry a gun while they were running, but I think some of them might be tempted.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:21 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


This is what happens when mainstream exercise clothing companies refuse to incorporate practical pockets in their women's lines. We turn to 2nd amendment wingnuts just so we have a place for our keys and phones. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, THE GAP?
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:25 PM on March 4 [44 favorites]


neonrev, a halcyon day, ArbitraryAndCapricious:

Yes, makes sense. Thank you
posted by NoMich at 12:27 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Where the fuck are they working out that they feel the need to pack while hitting the elliptical?

A little further down it mentions that the problem became apparent to her when she was training for a marathon, and was getting some harassment while running on the street. I would go on to say I'm sure that it isn't intended for the gym, but I don't feel confident in that because, well, 2019.

This is basically a group of people for whom firearms are an accessory/lifestyle choice. It feels like the same outgrowth of the internet that has brought us the cut-throat world of mattress reviews, YouTube streamer burnout, parenting blogs and similar things - there's a market for this, it must be exploited. Some people will make money, others will spend a lot trying to get to that high "influencer" level, and the side effects are someone else's problem.
posted by nubs at 12:28 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Where the fuck are they working out that they feel the need to pack while hitting the elliptical?

I come from a tradition of gun ownership, mostly sporting and hunting, with older family members that range from 'carry in their car while traveling for some increased sense of well being' to 'carry in their car 100%, fuck all logic and PITA that comes with it and I may or may not be making a statement while doing so". I don't carry anything and the one (historical, family memento from grandfather's WWII service) firearm I have inherited already is well secured/hidden while I come to terms with selling/donating it because it's really not a thing I see being worth the overhead for me or my kids down the line.

I don't know where I'm going with that except to say that female individuals who feel at risk while working out is pretty darn near the bottom of my list of "fuck these individuals who take the 2nd amendment to an extreme for X or Y reason or a lack of any reason whatsoever". You can argue, with good and sound logic, that a pepper spray container would be just as good/better/easier to stow in some tights or shirt or fanny pack or whatever and that's fine but that sub-population isn't one that I'm directing my rage/low-boiling anger for doing, hopefully responsible, gun ownership wrong.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:31 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


NAA makes a .22 mag that would most def either halt; or seriously discourage unsavory beasts, be they four legged or bipedal.

Not a lot of PITA bounce or cumber with seven ounces.
posted by Afghan Stan at 12:32 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


... revolvers, like the iconic Smith & Wesson .38 special. They were classic but slow to reload, and carried only five or six bullets in their chamber.

In making terminology errors like this, the Washington Post is really shooting itself in the foot.

Related previously: the tactical duty kilt.
posted by exogenous at 12:36 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


They were classic but slow to reload, and carried only five or six bullets in their chamber.

Yea, it's sad that terminology isn't right but that isn't leagues away from the proper "carried only five or six cartridges in their chambers". But yea, pedants will split hairs over anything, don't get a gun nut started on 'magazine' vs. 'clip' or, as in this case 'bullet' vs. 'cartridge' vs. 'shell'.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:40 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Where the fuck are they working out that they feel the need to pack while hitting the elliptical

They're tribal/lifestyle identity markers. They don't have to make any more sense than that, like Platinum Ford 150 trucks that never see a dirt road or a jobsite they're entire service life (two years, on lease). They're Gucci purses or Tag Heuer watches.
posted by bonehead at 12:40 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Remember, an entire generation of people in the US has been through war and conflict, and now associate weapons with hard work, national pride and public service.
posted by bonehead at 12:42 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


From the niche categories listed in the FPP, the only group I can empathize with is the self-defense feminists. Being a white male, I've never been fearful of walking around or ever considered safety when going anywhere. Also the idea of an ex or some stalker wanting to physically harm me is something I've never had to deal with. For many women -because of men- gun ownership could be based on reality as opposed to whatever fantasy a lot of the people in the article are living in.

For a lot of people in this country, the biggest danger they face is driving a car. By owning guns many people are inviting danger into their lives and the lives of those around them.
posted by blairsyprofane at 12:45 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


The self defense angle is somewhat undercut by the glamour shots of the company's owner posing with machine guns while wearing high heels and expensive dresses.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:52 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I would say that close to nobody in the USA "goes to war" in a meaningful costly sense. People aught to be embarrassed that they play dress up for war as adults. It's a bunch of fetish BS and it is the indulgence of childish appetites and juvenile fantasy.

American gun culture seems fundamentally non serious. For the most part guns are toys for recreation. Totally self indulgent.

I have long said if I was a woman I would be carrying a gun but that is because I am a man and I feel like I know how bad men can be. That said I surely would not glamorize it. It is like butchering pigs, it is an ugly thing you do to stay alive.

Is there an instagram of gunshot wounds?
posted by Pembquist at 12:53 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


As someone who owns firearms and enjoys shooting them, albeit a very left-wing one, this is one of the more balanced articles I've actually read about guns in a while. It matches with a lot of what I really hate about the gun industry, which is a lot. And it matches with a lot of what I hate about the gun media. I persoanlly consume historical firearms related media (primarily c&arsenal and forgotten weapons) and a little biit of media related to competition and getting the damn bullets to go where i want them to. I'm not a huge fan of the Tactical Timmy lifestyle. I have listened to podcasts with several people mentioned in the article. It wasn't till now that I knew what the female ones looked like because audio only podcasts. The authors focus on female bodies and Hooters makes me uncomfortable.

That being said starting with the graph the reads "Foreign gun manufacturers like Glock and Beretta saw a way out" and the next couple the author makes A LOT of downright wrong statements. To someone who is not familiar with the history of firearms development they may seem trivial. But the people like me who've got that pedantic gene and are familiar with the history he's talking about it makes me shake my head because of how wrong it is and how easy it is to find the correct information these days. I understand that people who are on the other side of the debate don't give a damn about the pedantic details of firearms. But at the same time a lot of the loopholes to the laws they try to pass to restrict firearms ownership are created because they don't understand firearms. And a lot of the dumb, ineffectual laws that do nothing other than make politicians feel good about themselves are the result of people who don't understand Firearms passing laws about it. Who is that Alaskan Senator we used to make so much fun of because of his series of tubes comments? Same thing. politicians who don't understand a thing but make laws about a thing out of fear is really not a great method to construct effective public policy, regardless of what your politics are. Personally I hate all forms of hierarchy but that's just me.
posted by nestor_makhno at 12:56 PM on March 4 [15 favorites]


“I always get that one question, ‘Why does anyone need an AR?’ I say, ‘Because they’re fun.’ ”

Is 'because they're fun' an NRA talking point, or did a bunch of gun owners spontaneously come up with it on their own?
posted by box at 1:03 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


The forever war generation?

The most obvious social media promoted in my view are the NRA types like the Kent State pants pooper girl and the Russian spy girl.
posted by nofundy at 1:04 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Q: Why does something get in the news?

A: It's rare and unusual.
posted by aurelian at 1:16 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I have long said if I was a woman I would be carrying a gun but that is because I am a man and I feel like I know how bad men can be.
posted by Pembquist

Unfortunately, we also have to worry about someone easily overpowering us, taking any weapon we have, and using it against us.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:25 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


I carry bear spray a lot and have friends who carry hand guns. Although they're gonna be of marginal use against a bear
if it comes to it, but that's another story. I think it would be worth having a concealed carry just to avoid the "hur dur, why you chick with gun?" conversations with every man you meet on the trail. To be clear these guys are usually evenly split on whether it's a good idea to carry a gun but they all feel the need to tell you what they think and make sure you know they are still more badass than you even though you are packing. Thanks men! Helpful!
posted by fshgrl at 1:33 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Remember, an entire generation of people in the US has been through war and conflict, and now associate weapons with hard work, national pride and public service.

There are a few Americans who have been through war and come out the other side as loudmouth gunmongers. There are many, many more of us who went to war, came back, handed in our issued firearms that we never shot in combat, and did not jump on Instagram to wave our new toys around or show off a new MOLON LABE tat.

And the vast majority of the "THIS IS MAH GUN COME AND TRY TO TAKE IT ALEXANDRIA OCOMMIE-CORTEZ" crowd has not, ever, in any meaningful way, been to war. They fear the Other because they have been told to, or they just think that guns are cool because their friends think guns are cool, or they want everyone to know that libruls suck.
posted by Etrigan at 1:35 PM on March 4 [23 favorites]


This is what happens when mainstream exercise clothing companies refuse to incorporate practical pockets in their women's lines.

My wife bought a concealed carry purse so she has a spot for her tablet...
posted by 445supermag at 1:36 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


There are many, many more of us who went to war, came back, handed in our issued firearms that we never shot in combat, and did not jump on Instagram to wave our new toys around or show off a new MOLON LABE tat.

This. I don't know a single ex military person who acts this way.
posted by fshgrl at 1:40 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


AR type rifles, because they are comfortable and relatively inexpensive to shoot, have led to a great increase in rifle shooting for fun. Practical shooting games like two gun and three gun are very popular. 40 years ago, most centerfire rifles were for hunting, their ammo was relatively expensive, and they kicked so hard that they weren't much fun to shoot.
posted by Bee'sWing at 1:42 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


"...hand guns. Although they're gonna be of marginal use against a bear "

I'm of the really really loud noise factor is going to scare the wildlife away factor more than anything short of two+ pounds is going to stop crazed animals.
posted by Afghan Stan at 1:43 PM on March 4


Getting details like cartridge/bullet and clip/magazine wrong is a bit baffling; it's not like this is arcane knowledge or something. A five minute drive through Wikipedia will set you right.

Which leads me to wonder: is this a sort of performative ignorance? Do people intentionally get the terminology wrong to show a certain contempt for the subject matter? Or is it some sort of "haha lets troll the gun nutz" thing?

There are lots of articles about various subjects where the authors take much more care. Sure there are sometimes errors or gaffes in technology articles, but generally they're of the too-much-oversimplification or glossed-over-details varieties. But anything about firearms seems to invite laziness on a scale that I have to wonder if it's not conscious or unconscious group signaling.

Anyway... I'm surprised it's taken so long for someone to come up with womens exercise clothing that's designed for carrying a firearm. It makes sense, and I certainly know a fair number of women whose outdoor exercise routines are curtailed or at least designed around safety concerns, and not of the wild animal variety. (Though if it's not really well-designed, I can only imagine the chafing... especially if you're training for a marathon. Ouch.)

Also, changing trends (slowly changing, but changing nonetheless) in military recruitment and the composition of police departments and various security services has produced what I expect is a historical high-water mark (in absolute numbers, for the US) of women with firearms experience. So it makes sense that someone would go after the womens-specific concealed carry clothing market, even if it's just for off-duty cops or whatever. It's there, and it's almost certainly underserved, so why not.

Unfortunately, we also have to worry about someone easily overpowering us, taking any weapon we have, and using it against us.

This is covered in most firearms-based self defense courses, at least the better ones; the problem is that the solution is basically "shoot the other person when they're 6-10 feet away". If someone is within six feet of you (or so), you're already dead; they can close that gap within the reaction-time envelope it takes a normal person to fire a gun. I have significant doubts that the majority of people carrying guns are really mentally prepared to use them, TBH, because the actual use is so different than what people tend to think it is from TV/movies.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:45 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


a somewhat tangent... i think the fetishization of guns in the US has more to do with the over the top, bonkers politics of the NRA and the republican party than it has to do with guns per se. it is entirely possible to be a left of center person who favors more stringent gun laws but owns one gun and target shoots every so often while abhorring the gun bro culture. both the quiet gun fan and the gun bro come from american gun culture, of course, but the former is reasonable about it while the latter is not.

certainly, the second amendment isnt going anywhere and so it can seem hopeless to try and reduce gun violence. yet ads for cigarettes used to be aired on tv and fetishized, but after the death toll became clear, they were regulated into oblivion. cigarettes remain legal and highly addictive, but their use has plummeted. that seems to me to be the most practical way to make guns less common too. tax them heavily. make them more expensive. limit their advertisement. fund PSAs on gun safety and spotting mental illness and depression among gun owners in one's family. by doing the exact opposite, these Insta characters are not helping.
posted by wibari at 1:56 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


I agree with you whole heartedly Kadin2048. On your last topic the average beat cops aren't that great at retaining firearms in a fight without a holster that actively retains the pistol. I've viewed "fight for the gun drills" but never taken part. It's an eye opening experience on what someone's actual abilities are and how 9 often training beats size.
posted by nestor_makhno at 1:59 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


From TFA:
Both were aimed at military customers and pushed back against the trope of broken-soldier victimhood. “Whatever f—ing construct of every Hollywood movie about veterans, where they’re sucking down pills, it’s not me,” he says.


Is that still a major trope? I thought pop-culture had done a more nuanced job (although at times it's still quite flawed, but you get that).

I got busted in the head by Iraq, wound up in the Repat hospital for a few stints to deal with PTSD. Met a lot of dudes like Mr Best both in and out of the repatriation system - some who were affected by their service and in vocal denial, some who weren't affected but were very defensive nonetheless.

This particular strain of veteran ego defence is unhelpful but also quite telling. CF "No Homo" bros.
posted by Outside Context Problem at 2:25 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


"ads for cigarettes used to be aired on tv and fetishized, but after the death toll became clear, they were regulated into oblivion. "

I'm not aware of a cigarette ever saving anybodies life; but I kinda get some of the analogy.

Yeah. If there was a ~vanish~ and make everything start all over button for the firearm situation; I'm sure a good number of 2a folk and gun owners would be in line to push it. With the current Red Flag laws covering 14 states and counting; eh; not picturing too many lining up to push that hypothetical button.

If not registration; licensing; such as with autos. Sit in on a class, take some tests, and although ownership is not necessary; a license is granted.
A Lot of kooks would self-identify during a licensing class - which would require at least some socialization, which might give cause for at least one anonymous phone call or tip line contact. No need to own a gun; but well, get caught without a license? Ummm. Love me some 2a weekend plinking, umm; there are A LOT of untrained folk out there that have little or no idea about how a gun works, and too often seem to send rounds in all directions. Licensing and classes would help in many ways.

As it is now; about any fool out there knows not to check the wrong boxes on a purchase form - consider Colorado. Check the 'I smoke dope' box; and no purchase. Respectfully; how many people are actually going to check that box during a purchase? How many MMJ licensees are going to check any future box that concerns a "Own gun" box?

About the worst mess of the early 21st century yet. World won't be melting for 50+ years; but geez. Do we ever have a daily of gun issues.
posted by Afghan Stan at 2:25 PM on March 4


The authors focus on female bodies and Hooters makes me uncomfortable.

I don't think you can lay that entirely on the author. Just taking a quick look at the concealed carry women's workout clothing brand's IG, they are considerably more male gaze-y (warning, butts) than marketing from a mainstream brand like Lululemon.

Since these are aspirational Instagram lifestyle influencers there's going to an emphasis on aesthetics; the most successful ones are very fit, pretty people, both the beardy and the curvy genders. The article leads off with a description of the "ruggedly handsome" Mat Best and how his followers read into the sexualized subtext of his imagery. Both masculinity and femininity have a very particular visual construction in this culture, I don't think you can write about the intersection between this version of gun culture and IG without acknowledging that.
posted by peeedro at 2:49 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


certainly, the second amendment isnt going anywhere and so it can seem hopeless to try and reduce gun violence. yet ads for cigarettes used to be aired on tv and fetishized, but after the death toll became clear, they were regulated into oblivion. cigarettes remain legal and highly addictive, but their use has plummeted. that seems to me to be the most practical way to make guns less common too. tax them heavily. make them more expensive. limit their advertisement. fund PSAs on gun safety and spotting mental illness and depression among gun owners in one's family. by doing the exact opposite, these Insta characters are not helping.

The problem is that most liberals and leftists worry about and expend most of their political energy on mass shootings (which are tragic, but kill relatively few people). Even in the worst years, I don't think mass shootings have killed more than a 1,000 people.

Gun suicides on the other hand? Over 23,000 people in 2018.

Your solutions are excellent ones to address the majority of gun deaths. But most people want to waste time worrying about "assault weapons" and magazine capacity limits.
posted by Ouverture at 2:59 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]




Good point peeedro. I purposefully don't use Instagram so it was weird hearing women I've heard talking intelligently about issues seemingly reduced to "the Hooters girl with a gun." In the defense of the generalized gun industry, I will point out that the so-called "booth babes" trend is slowly dying. In conclusion gun media, itself a part of the gun industry, is a land of contrasts.
posted by nestor_makhno at 4:22 PM on March 4


I'm of the really really loud noise factor is going to scare the wildlife away factor more than anything short of two+ pounds is going to stop crazed animals.

Bears don't care. You can try to scare them by shooting into the ground near them and they'll ignore it.

A gun is for shooting, not waving around. If you're going to use it to defend yourself from a bear you need to be wiling and able to shoot the bear dead or nearly dead immediately not mess around trying to decide or negotiate. Which is why bear spray is a much better choice for most people. And why a handgun is almost as useless as a pointy stick. Almost no one is that good with a large handgun.
posted by fshgrl at 4:30 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Bears don't care. You can try to scare them by shooting into the ground near them and they'll ignore it.

Though from what some people I know claim to have experienced, bears can ignore being shot straight in the head, too. Another reason bear spray is a better choice.
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:20 PM on March 4


Many people on the pro gun side also have concluded that bear spray is more likely to work than a gun on a charging bear too. The statistics bear this out. Pun intended.
posted by nestor_makhno at 5:33 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Getting details like cartridge/bullet and clip/magazine wrong is a bit baffling; it's not like this is arcane knowledge or something. A five minute drive through Wikipedia will set you right.

Which leads me to wonder: is this a sort of performative ignorance? Do people intentionally get the terminology wrong to show a certain contempt for the subject matter? Or is it some sort of "haha lets troll the gun nutz" thing?


Other way around. It's a "well actually" from the gun fans.

You shoot a bullet. You load a gun. You load a gun...with bullets. Yes, the bullet/primer/propellant/case combination is called a "cartridge," but when you've loaded your gun with cartridges, you've inherently loaded it with bullets, and literally no one's going to load a bullet that's been extracted from its cartridge.

The folks who get bent out of shape about cartridge versus bullet are the same folks who get upset when Grandpa talks about "tin cans" even though aluminum has been in widespread use for 60 years.

Detachable magazines are so often called clips that getting upset at this point is like fighting the tide. This nomenclature has, ironically, been spread by gun culture. Turns out "clip" rhymes a lot easier than "magazine", so "clip" makes it into music.
posted by explosion at 6:40 PM on March 4 [20 favorites]


There are a few Americans who have been through war and come out the other side as loudmouth gunmongers. There are many, many more of us who went to war, came back, handed in our issued firearms that we never shot in combat, and did not jump on Instagram to wave our new toys around or show off a new MOLON LABE tat.

I appreciate that the article at least pointed out that some of the people making a living (or a reasonable facsimile thereof via being an influencer) out of veteran chic had not actually served themselves. I think that they could have been a bit more critical of Mat Best, whose attempt to promote his brand with a Reddit AMA was, ah, subject to some criticism.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:01 PM on March 4


A good handgun is $1K to $2K. Ammunition at calibers larger than .22 is something like 20 cents a round. That adds up quickly if you put a semi-automatic firearm through its paces, especially if you like to do something moronic like bump-firing.

This might have something to do with the "economic anxiety" that's associated with the same demographic.
posted by ocschwar at 8:29 PM on March 4


Which leads me to wonder: is this a sort of performative ignorance? Do people intentionally get the terminology wrong to show a certain contempt for the subject matter? Or is it some sort of "haha lets troll the gun nutz" thing?

As someone who owns and likes guns, and who can be plenty pedantic, I think this is one of the least important things possible to get hung up on. It is usually clear what people mean, whether they say clip, magazine, or whatever. I am sure there is plenty of performative ignorance, but does it matter?

I will always be critical of crime fiction novelists who goof on basic gun details, though. That should be just part of the research and isn't any harder than making sure your character isn't driving a Volkswagen Camry or a Honda F-150.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:36 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


A good handgun is $1K to $2K.

I mean, you can definitely spend that much if you want to, but quality starts a lot cheaper than that.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:37 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


On Twitter I regularly use something like "here comes the 'it's called a magazine' people" when threads start attracting pedantic comments, it's such a trope. I feel like this tendency is somehow related to the aphroism, "a music nerd is a person who knows the drummer's name."
posted by rhizome at 9:00 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


But at the same time a lot of the loopholes to the laws they try to pass to restrict firearms ownership are created because they don't understand firearms. And a lot of the dumb, ineffectual laws that do nothing other than make politicians feel good about themselves are the result of people who don't understand Firearms passing laws about it.

That's some class-A right wing revisionist BS there - the notion that liberals are just too ignorant to understand guns. There are lots of ex-military Democrats in congress. There are lots of Democratic congress members who own or have owned guns.

The reason you get stupid gun laws with ridiculous loopholes is because the NRA wrote them that way - word for word. There is absolutely no gun law passed in congress that hasn't gotten worked over by the NRA.

Please spare us the "stupid liberals just don't understand guns" speech.
posted by JackFlash at 9:20 PM on March 4 [20 favorites]


As an Old, just wanna point out for the nth time that the assumption that certain behaviors/prejudices/beliefs will disappear once the older generation dies off is naught but wishful thinking. We despised our parents, who despised theirs, and so on. In time, the Olds -the bane of every younger generation - die. And yet, everything wrong with the world continues to a greater or lesser degree through the generations.

This article illustrates that point.

Too, also: weaponry is almost as pointless an 'investment' as diamond jewelry. We have generational stockpiles of both, enough to lavishly outfit practically everyone, so the only way to continue to drive sales of new is to keep pushing the fear/competition marketing: you need this. Except, really, you don't. And once you're gone, your kids will silently curse you for having spent so much money on this crap while telling them you couldn't afford to set up a college fund for them.

And when will we realize we have too many diamonds and guns, and let the markets for both crater?
posted by Lunaloon at 6:25 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


FWIW, I was thinking of the Post using "chamber" to refer to the cylinder. C'mon, it's even shaped like a cylinder! The mixed use of bullet/cartridge honestly didn't even register with me, nor would mixing up magazine/clip.

Basically I find it sad that the people who wrote that and edited article about guns apparently know even less about guns than I do.
posted by exogenous at 6:36 AM on March 5


Maybe it's due to "a bullet in the chamber" being a common turn of phrase/metaphor? Even if it's inaccurate.
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:47 AM on March 5


My husband is a retired Army paratrooper and has become a 2A gun enthusiast (ranting loon) over the past ten years. Yes, since Obama was elected. In David's case, it's not racism but the right wing scream machine about "they're coming to take your guns!" that brought this on. That message sold a lot of weapons, and that's why it was used.

I disagree with him on this subject. I think guns = danger and only loons carry guns or keep them loaded. We no longer discuss it.

Of all the gun nuts I've met, David is the only one I'm not afraid of, because he has extensive firearms training and personal experience (he has killed people and seen what guns do). But he really truly believes the world is a scary place and everyone should be armed. He still thinks I should get a concealed carry permit. (No.)

Also? You never met a more obnoxious pedant when it comes to terminology. He will post 4 paragraph attacks on anyone who dares misuse a word about guns. UGH.
posted by corvikate at 7:03 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Too, also: weaponry is almost as pointless an 'investment' as diamond jewelry. We have generational stockpiles of both, enough to lavishly outfit practically everyone, so the only way to continue to drive sales of new is to keep pushing the fear/competition marketing: you need this. Except, really, you don't. And once you're gone, your kids will silently curse you for having spent so much money on this crap while telling them you couldn't afford to set up a college fund for them.

So, I deeply agree with the last part (all of my guns but one were inherited/gifts from family.) Guns are durable goods that last hundreds of years and will still perform their basic function quite well, if maintained and stored well. It's a common complaint for people I know, especially in rural areas, that guns just sort of pile up. I will disagree on the first part slightly, because the one gun I bought was an investment and has roughly doubled in price in the last 2 years. The SKS I inherited has something like quintupled in value since it was purchased. I've kicked myself in the ass mentally a dozen times for not jumping on a milsurp import dump when I had the chance. Like a lot of things, new guns sold after the collector market got wild are never going to be as valuable unless they are utter shit that goes off the market fast and gets valuable as a curiosity.
posted by neonrev at 7:19 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


The problem with drawing a parallel to cigarette and tobacco regulation generally is that there's no legal impediment to regulating tobacco. I mean, there's no reason why tobacco just can't be banned, completely, tomorrow. Vote in the House, vote in the Senate, smudge of ink from the President, and it could be DEA Schedule I—you could have DynCorp dumping glyphosate on tobacco farms from helicopters by next month.

Similarly with cars: there's no Constitutional protection to own or drive a car. It's entirely within the government's purview to say "it's a privilege, not a right" and bring down the hammer whenever and on whomever it pleases. Again, it's subject to some Federal vs. State power arguments, but the "state" writ large owns the territory.

Reasonable people can disagree with the current Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment, but it's basically a done deal at this point, at least for several decades. I don't see the composition of the Court changing so much that it will revisit Heller, probably in my lifetime; if you're waiting on that, it seems likely be a long wait.

So if we're interested in gun control, it makes sense to look at gun control that will hold up in the post-Heller legal environment. Fantasizing about confiscatory policies or restrictive tax regimes that are de facto bans doesn't strike me as especially productive. (I mean, if you're going to engage in political fantasies... well, mine are going to feature more luxury space habitats.)

As others have suggested, I don't think you'd actually get that much pushback from gun owners to closely-tailored policies that solve obvious and well-recognized problems; polling supports this. And I think, conveniently, the same aspects of a policy that would avoid attracting the eye of the USSC are also approximately the same things that would probably sell it to a skeptical (although not as skeptical as I think some people think) public.

In particular, I think you could pass a universal background check bill if it was done in a way that didn't end gun shows. In some places they are sort of a cultural institution, and going after them is a third rail. Rather than just grab it over and over, the practical solution seems to be to devise a way to do background checks that's compatible with non-dealer transactions. Or just don't—it's not clear that a significant percentage of guns used in crime come from gun shows, so why screw with them? More generally: why stop progress on policies that would matter—improving NICS so it includes all domestic violence incidents, for instance, which I think would fly with the public—for a largely hypothetical yet highly-polarizing issue? It doesn't make sense, except for those more interested in the fight than the actual progress.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:09 AM on March 5


In particular, I think you could pass a universal background check bill if it was done in a way that didn't end gun shows. In some places they are sort of a cultural institution, and going after them is a third rail.

This is the reddest of herrings, and you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to sell it as a reasonable response to regulation. What evidence is there that the modern gun-rights lobby will allow any regulation? Show me any regulation that has been offered in the last 20 years that wasn't pushed back on with the full weight of the NRA and its lobbyists, even if they have to resort to "This is the first step leading to the slippery slope to CONFISCATION!"
posted by Etrigan at 8:30 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


In particular, I think you could pass a universal background check bill if it was done in a way that didn't end gun shows. In some places they are sort of a cultural institution, and going after them is a third rail.

Yeah, this is laughable. This is what the gun lobbyists say - simultaneously:

1. You don't need to have universal background checks because most of the sellers at gun shows are Federal Firearms Licensees who already do background checks.
2. Universal background checks will be the end of gun shows because private sellers won't be able to sell guns at gun shows.

One of these two statements must be false, yet gun advocates argue them simultaneously. You simply cannot argue in good faith with gun nuts.

Not to mention that universal background checks isn't just about gun shows. It is about all private sales.
posted by JackFlash at 8:54 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


More generally: why stop progress on policies that would matter—improving NICS so it includes all domestic violence incidents, for instance, which I think would fly with the public

For people sorely interested in proper knowledge, y'all sure don't seem to be up on the news. It's almost as if the pedantic insistence on a certain kind of terminology (not even an accurate kind of terminology, thank JMB and the US Army) is an excuse to exclude people who are likely to have a certain viewpoint.

House Passes Second Gun Background Check Bill In As Many Days
An amendment to give federal background checkers access to a larger criminal database called the National Data Exchange failed to get enough support, and was withdrawn. Proponents of the idea say it would make up for information gaps in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

Neither Thursday's bill or the one passed on Wednesday, dubbed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, is expected to garner much support in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The White House has signaled it would veto the bills in the unlikely event either reach President Trump's desk.
anyway, keep insisting that if Democrats only did things the right way and included common-sense gun legislation, their Republican colleagues would join them in passing "good" bills that the overwhelming majority of Americans support.

one of the common objections to current gun control regimes in california and new jersey is they regulate "cosmetic" or other essentially useless features of military weapons. this is used as proof of their supposed ineffectiveness.
instead, we can see that the military features and look of the styled "black rifles" have totemic power that attracts people, makes the guns important symbolic expressions of self, and is used as an avenue of self-empowerment and self-development. Heres'a nice overview that references Carlson and Stroud. gun-as-signifier ties back into the instgrammed millenials of the FPP.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:39 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Show me any regulation that has been offered in the last 20 years that wasn't pushed back on with the full weight of the NRA and its lobbyists

Uh, getting rid of bump stocks? Like...four months ago?

Since that's (AFAIK) the only Federal gun control bill of any significance that's passed recently, it's worth thinking about why that sailed through: it was a solution to a very obvious problem (duh, the Vegas shooter did that much, but I don't think that's the only widely-recognized problem), and—perhaps more importantly—it didn't adversely affect many gun owners. So there was no fight. It was an idealized case, but it shows that regulations are certainly not impossible when they're not goring too many people's oxen.

The current House Republicans seem to be forming a DJT-themed suicide cult, so I would admittedly not expect much of anything useful (not just on gun control, but literally anything) to happen there before 2020. But in the long term, they're either going to hew to public opinion, or they'll get voted out of office—the result is, over time, the same. Policies with widespread popular support (both popular and, due to the way US government works, geographic) will be passed; those with significant popular or geographic opposition, won't. Insofar as you can state any iron laws of US politics, I think that's one of them.

So, here's the metric that I'd use for evaluating proposed policies: how many people does it personally, negatively impact, in the sense of making something that they own, or something that they do, illegal? Rank order proposals in ascending order, starting with the ones that impact the fewest people. If you want to actually accomplish things, start with the low-hanging fruit. And anything you can tweak within a policy that makes its adverse impact felt by fewer people, will do that much to undermine arguments against it. People don't care about policies that don't affect them, or they do so in a very different and abstract way; but they're willing to do a lot (like becoming a single-issue voter for a time) when it's something that does, and there's basically (in my experience) no arguing with that.

I don't think the realm of low-hanging-fruit / not-many-gored-oxen regulations has been exhausted.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:30 PM on March 5


Show me any regulation that has been offered in the last 20 years that wasn't pushed back on with the full weight of the NRA and its lobbyists

Uh, getting rid of bump stocks? Like...four months ago?
Rather than sit back and watch a legislative over-reaction, the NRA asked Congress to let ATF review its prior determinations on bump fire stocks. Some have used our October 2017 statement to claim that NRA supports ATF’s final rule, but as NRA-ILA’s Executive Director Chris Cox noted only days after our statement was issued, “We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything.”
Since that's (AFAIK) the only Federal gun control bill of any significance that's passed recently

Not a bill.
posted by Etrigan at 12:51 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Uh, getting rid of bump stocks? Like...four months ago?

Not a bill.


Getting details like bill/rule and NICS modernization wrong is a bit baffling; it's not like this is arcane knowledge or something. A five minute drive through Wikipedia will set you right.

Which leads me to wonder: is this a sort of performative ignorance? Do people intentionally get the terminology wrong to show a certain contempt for the subject matter? Or is it some sort of "haha lets troll the gun grabberz" thing?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:01 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


[Folks let's drop the sidebar about how gun control should work or whatever - the post is about something more specific. There's no benefit in rehearsing a related fight we've had hundreds of times, especially if it's going to get heated.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:32 PM on March 5


« Older no longer a viable wildcat population living wild...   |   What is the kindest thing a stranger has done for... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments