Like it or not, every firearm owner is a de facto member of the gun lobby. Their actions, responses to questioning, and general disposition will affect the perception of all firearm owners.
Those who are passionate about firearms sports or those with a tactical proclivity, tend to be rather outspoken about their passion. Fortunately for the broader community, these two groups are generally quite confident in their position around firearms and firearms rights, and while some have a tendency to be a little too outspoken, their representation is nonetheless effective.
But what of the average man in the street who carries a firearm for self-defence? If one is to take the meandering conversations on popular social media sites as a yardstick, then it's evident that they will only be able to hold a full conversation around firearms using acronyms.
"I like to EDC my G19 with 147 grain JHP in an AIWB, but sometimes I'll go IWB at 4 o'clock FTW. FYI."
While this could possibly come across as competent discussion on a gun group, it's likely to leave the average newcomer to firearms wondering what aircraft licence is required prior to owning a firearm.
Yes, you may have an array of acronyms at your fingertips, but the complexity of these is lost on non-gunners, and even more worryingly – it's likely to intimidate them. Best practice when questioned around firearms is to keep discussions uncomplicated and avoid acronyms at all costs. Using too many technical points and waffling on ad nauseam about the value of appendix carry as well as the terminal ballistics of a round is going to bore people – for starters.
When asked about daily carry of a firearm, I prefer to stress the importance of the responsibility that goes with owning a firearm, and not to make out like training is a chore. I've heard far too many people insisting that if you don't train once a month then you shouldn't buy a firearm at all. While I certainly agree that regular training is essential, one doesn't have to make it sound like an onerous chore.
Rather discuss how much fun it is to train in a group, with social competitions, and the regular break from daily routine and work for a few hours that such can provide. Focus on the positive aspects of a little exercise out at the range and the mental focus required. That's likely to entice people, rather than repel them.
Nobody ever said that BEING the gun lobby in South Africa would be an effortless responsibility. It takes a little time to get comfortable with how you answer questions related to firearm ownership, and to ensure that the answers you're giving are befitting of a responsible and rational individual, making you an asset to the cause, instead of a weekend-Rambo who damages it.
By: Craig Pedersen