"I had no idea you owned a gun..."
I've gotten that a lot, and I know I'm not alone.
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The thing is, what qualifies an individual as a gun owner? Conventional wisdom would say that if you own a gun, you are by default a "gun owner." However, culture tends to assign a certain visual representation to gun owners. Many, like myself, don't always fall into that "easily identifiable" outward appearance.
Remember that episode of Friends where Joey acts like he has a Porsche?
When someone mistook him as the owner of a long-parked Porsche on the street, he began to enjoy the attention and status he got from it. Then... when the owner finally came to claim his car, Joey went all out to "act" like a Porsche owner to regain the status.
He looked ridiculous. He then collapsed his fake Porsche that was made out of boxes. It's a good episode... you should rewatch it.
Culture tends to look for Joey's when they're identifying gun owners.
Imagine 2 middle-aged men are standing in line with you at the DMV. One is wearing a MAGA hat, some camo, and a wallet chain. The other is wearing loafers, a Ralph Lauren quarter-zip, and has one AirPod in.
... which one is the gun owner?
Maybe it's one of them. Maybe it's both. Maybe it's neither.
Pew Research Center has a great article from 2017 that breaks down the demographics of gun ownership.
According to their research, at surface level, the research fits the social trend. Gun ownership skews male. It skews right-leaning politics. It skews rural.
However, as you dig deeper, you begin to see there is an interesting grey area that bucks the social norm.
Gun ownership is quite high in the suburbs, and overall 42% of US households have at least one gun.
I think the most eye-opening stat is that 52% of non-gun owners could see themselves owning a gun in the future. This includes 45% of female non-gun owners.
Remember, being a gun owner doesn't just mean "AR and/or AK-style rifle" owner or owner... handguns are far more common than rifles, shotguns, etc.
The other divide in the general conscious is that gun ownership falls at the Democratic & Republican party line.
According to Gallup, only 55% of Americans consider themselves Republican or Democrat. This leaves the remaining 45% as independent/non-affiliated.
Contrast that with the Washington Post article that shows gun ownership falls into 50 million of the estimated 118 million US households... and we certainly can't say that only rural, white, middle-aged males are gun owners. Either party would love an additional 45% locked-in market share.
As the old (uncomfortable) saying goes, "stats are like hostages... you can make them say anything." So of course... a majority of the guns in the US fall on the stereotypes. By no means, however, does that account for everyone.
For me, owning a gun is part of my life... but owning a gun isn't my life. Just like owning a minivan is part of my life... but owning a minivan isn't my life.
A perk of working at Faxon is that I can walk from my office down a few hallways to see these things being made. I see the people working the machines, turning raw materials into barrels and other parts. I see the back and forth between manufacturing and quality control. I see the people assembling and testing the firearms. It's amazing.
I enjoy target shooting. I like knowing I have another tool to protect my family. I also like the machining and engineering that goes behind it. However, a gun (to me) is primarily a tool that I hope and pray I never have to use outside of a target range.
Maybe your preconceived notions of what a gun owner looks like are pretty accurate, but maybe they're not all-inclusive.
Check out Dustin & John's Discussion on the Article: