There are several things that the pro-gun folks in our country do that really annoy the hell out of me. And while I certainly wouldn't wish to force others to act as I desire, I do suggest that perhaps some of these things are turning off those folks who are ambivalent about guns, or on the fence regarding the "gun culture" that we claim to represent.
1. First, can we stop referring to people who are opposed to gun ownership with derogatory names? I get it, we're tired of being demonized, blamed, and insulted every time there's a gun-related crime or death, and yeah, it sucks being blamed for the actions of others. That said, we lessen our moral position when we refer to them as "limp-wristed liberal pussies," "libtards," or other such terms. If we want to be treated with respect, we should start by treating others with respect. They are humans. They have emotions and beliefs and goals. You don't have to agree with them, but let's start giving people a little respect, and show, by our actions, that we're not the ignorant, racist, backwards rednecks that we've been portrayed to be.
2. While we're redefining how we view those with the polar opposite view on guns, can we redefine how we treat others in the 2A community who happen to have a different view of a particular topic? The most obvious of these is the "Open Carry/Concealed Carry" battle that has been played out on a thousand and three websites/gun fora. The most vile example I can think of is something I saw on the FaceCrackBookSpace this week after Bob Owens' passing. An Open Carry advocate actually posted that he (she?) hopes the Catholics were right when it comes to the penalty for suicide, because Bob was apparently "opposed" to open carry. Now, it matters not if Bob did oppose OC (he didn't, just that he preferred CC), but seriously... This is just wrong. Bob had his opinions on various gun subjects, as do all of us. Calling each other names in a deliberate and sincere insulting fashion drives a wedge between us, and that weakens us as 2A supporters. Yes, we can poke light hearted fun at each other -- Glock Fanbois vs. the 1911 Grumpy Old Farts -- but keep it light. Lay off the insults.
3. Girls and Guns. Guys, women are sentient beings. They are perfectly capable of forming their own opinions about guns, they know better which gun they like to shoot and which they don't, and they've got more about them than "Here, this gun is pink, you'll like it." Stop telling women what gun is best for them. Let them figure it out. "Here, I brought you a Glock 19, a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, a 1911, a Kahr, and a Walther. If you want, we can try others as well. Pick the one that you prefer" is a MUCH better way of getting women into shooting. Yes, they can handle something larger than a .22LR. No, they're not "too weak" to handle a .45 ACP or .357 Magnum. And no, you're not necessarily the best person to teach them, nor should you be offering unsolicited advice about grip, stance, etc. If you have a woman in your life who wants to learn to shoot, buy her admission to a class taught by a professional (a different professional, if you are one), and let her learn on her own pace. Because when you spend all your time on the range with her correcting things she's doing that you believe are wrong, the message you send is "You don't know what you're doing" and that breeds resentment.
3b. Speaking of women and guns: Stop objectifying them as sex objects. I like women, doubly so the attractive women, but the plethora of "Hot chicks posing with guns" is getting annoying. Want to know what's really attractive when it comes to women and guns? THIS. That's a woman, a shooter, an athlete, competing in shooting sports, and doing well. That is attractive.
4. Drop the word "tactical" from your every day lexicon. I've seen the label applied to a freaking cooler, for crying out loud. Ninety-nine percent of shooters will never be in a "tactical" scenario in their lives, so let's quit pretending to be SWAT operators who operate in tactical operations. Focus on being a model citizen, carrying yourself in a polite manner, being polite, and get to the range for more practice. Should you ever find yourself in a self-defense situation, that practice on the range will serve you better than the two-day tactical combat techniques class you took back in '13.
5. Open Carry as a form of protest. Yes, it may be legal to walk into Starbucks with an AR-15 over your shoulder. That doesn't mean it's smart. Tam once said "There's a difference between carrying a gun and carrying a gun AT someone." I think that's wise. Your AR-15 isn't bringing the undecideds to our side. It's probably achieving the exact opposite, actually. Open carrying an AR-15 or SKS or whatever as a form of protest is similar to a couple fat bearded guys dressed in bridal gowns kissing on a float in the Independence Day Parade to advocate for same sex marriage. Legal? Sure. Polite? Not at all. You'll have better success bringing the undecideds to our side by taking them and that AR-15 to the range.
Generally speaking, I find the 2A crowd to be welcoming, open-minded, and kind. But there are things we do that we can improve on, and we need to make sure we keep the moral high ground. These are things that put that position in jeopardy, and we can do better.