Occasionally I’m reminded that there are still a great many firearms enthusiasts clinging to the notion that in order to be a shooter and 2nd Amendment supporter, a person must fit a certain mold. While 99% of the firearms community seems to have pretty much gotten over the gender and race thing, I still notice quite often that you’d better be pretty enthusiastic about praying with the group and voting Republican if you want to be a member of the “club.”

It appears we still often require our 2nd amendment supporters to be pretty far right wing in both religion and political party. That’s all well and good for small groups and clubs here and there if that’s the overwhelming desire of their members; however, if our intention is to bring in more shooters and future 2nd Amendment advocates, how about we focus on the Bill of Rights and try not to alienate potential recruits with needless political party and religious affiliation grandstanding. It does nothing for the cause, even if it does make us feel better about ourselves.

And yes, anybody who is offended is not forced to attend your event or meeting. That is exactly right. And guess what, they won’t. If your objective is to form a splinter group of your church or political party, have at it; you’ll get a small group of intensely loyal, energetic followers and attendees, but you’ll do nothing to help bring in the millions of young people out there who are often quite independent in their thinking these days. THEY are the future of the 2nd Amendment, not you or me.

While Gun Culture 2.0 has been written about and discussed a great deal lately, this issue is not just about age. In addition to making certain we are welcoming young people into our sport, we must continue to make certain we are not turning off ANYBODY who is interested in participating in the shooting sports and helping support the 2nd Amendment.

My concern about the future of the 2nd Amendment is that we are not opening the doors wide enough for everybody and making them feel welcome. By “everybody” I mean anybody who is honest, safe, supports the 2nd Amendment, and enjoys the shooting sports. Their political party preference, religious preference, gender, race, nationality, or sexual preference should not be factors. And, of course, it’s easy to say that none of these things ARE factors, until a prospective new shooter gets up the courage to venture out to a 2nd Amendment meeting or event and is surprised by all the praying and Democrat bashing. He doesn’t complain or say anything, of course; he just doesn’t come back to that or any other event, and he may even lose interest in pursuing the hobby. After all, the crusty old ill-tempered guy at his local gun shop seems to be cut from the same cloth.

As one who “leans Libertarian” myself and tends to have a few “out of the box” views on many issues, I sympathize with folks who find AR-10 rifles fascinating and want to support gun rights, yet just don’t feel all that welcome in the shooting community. And what’s wrong with THAT picture; why would anyone ever foster an environment that is not welcoming to one of our own “kind,” a shooting enthusiast! Much of it is unintentional, of course, which is why I’m suggesting we all make an effort to think about this.

Our large viewing audience at Hickok45 is a sort of laboratory, where every day I am inundated with messages and comments from shooting enthusiasts and shooting enthusiast wannabes of all ages and types from all around the world. Believe me, they are not all of the same mold; they come from a wide variety of backgrounds. More than you would imagine consider themselves “liberal.” Many even vote Democrat, and my educated guess is that a vast number of them would not be interested at all in participating in YOUR or MY religion. They just want to get into shooting and learn more about it.

Thousands upon thousands of people in the shooting sports are doing an incredible job of welcoming and training new shooters. I applaud them. There’s a great deal of diversity out there in the shooting community, especially in the younger population. Let’s do all we can to embrace that and make people feel welcome to the greatest game in town, shooting!

I think most of you are like me in that I couldn’t care less about somebody’s personal preferences or their politics and religion; show me somebody who loves to shoot and respects the Bill of Rights, and he or she is definitely a friend of mine!

Life is Good,