Gun Culture 1.0 is/was built around buying guns for hunting and the target sports. It sprung up shortly after World War II, supported by written magazines like Guns&Ammo and Field&Stream. These publications mainly talked about guns in the context of outdoor pursuits such as turning Bambi and his many woodland friends into tasty meals and other such things. The act of shooting was, at best, the final link in the experience.
Gun Culture 2.0 is about buying a gun for concealed carry and practical shooting. It sprung up after the NRA asserted itself as a force to be reckoned with (rather than a sportsman’s organization) and the concurrent liberalization of concealed carry laws across the country. Focused on pistol bays and shooting ranges, it brought guns in from the farms and ranches and into the modern home. Shooting is the primary focus of the activities in this culture, with the gun (usually a concealed pistol) used to secure a person from harm rather than secure a source of food.
Gun Culture 3.0 will be an extension of Gun Culture 2.0, but it will be about how do you integrate the gun that you’ve already purchased into how you live. Pick up a copy of Field and Stream: How many of the articles in the magazine are about guns, and how many are about what you DO with a gun once you bought it? Now pick up a copy of Recoil or Shooting Illustrated or Guns. How many of the articles in those magazines are about the latest and greatest Blast-Inator 3000 firearm and how many are about how you can fit a gun into your lifestyle? How many of the ads in those magazines are about guns, versus all the other things that happen in your life?
Concealed carry is still huge, and hunting is still going strong. Gun media, however, is fixated on the idea that the reason to buy a gun is the gun itself, not the reasons why you want to own one beyond “It’s a gun”. Gun Culture 3.0 will talk about how guns and the security they provide, integrate into our larger life. Enthusiasts buy guns because they are guns, everyone else buys a gun to do something with it, and that’s what Gun Culture 3.0 will be about.
The gun owners of Gun Culture 3.0 are part of the mainstream of American culture, and it’s high time we start acting like it. We’re not on the fringes of American society, it’s the cultural elites in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles who are out-of touch with what makes America, America.It’s time to make gun ownership as common and accepted as motorcycle ownership and make a trip to the (gun) range as controversial as a trip to the (driving) range.
We live our lives. We own guns. We carry them. Deal with it.
UPDATE: When I got my concealed carry permit 10+ years ago, my instructor said that only one in three of us would actually carry our gun. Gun Culture 3.0 is what happens when that changes. Gun Culture 1.0 was/is fairly respectable and respected: You could (well, until recently) own a gun for hunting and not be considered a “Gun Nut”. No one blinks at a copy of Field&Stream or Outdoor Life in a doctor’s office waiting room. Gun Culture 3.0 will be when no one blinks at a copy of Front Sight or The Tactical Journal in a waiting room.