When I first started writing about guns more than a decade ago, I quicky realized there was no large overarching “gun community.” Instead, what we have are incredibly diverse groups of gun owners, as well as subgroups, sub-subgroups and sub-sub-subgroups.
There are tactical shooters, muzzle loaders, collectors who may seldom fire a round, hunters of all types and persuasions, varied groups of target shooters, at least a half-dozen different flavors of clay killers, single-action shooters whom I thought were crazy for dressing up and playing cowboy on the weekend until I actually attended one of their events – they have a lot of fun – long-range magicians, machinegun owners, gun-rights groups, instructors of all types, policy wonks who may not even own a firearm but who spend every waking moment making sure we can, gun dealers, AK guys and gals, AR disciples, liberal gun owners and minority groups, 1911 believers, and of course Fudds. (Note: this list is far from comprehensive.)
Over the years, there has been tension between some of these groups, mostly good natured. Serious bolt-action fellas occasionally look sideways at us tactical shooters, especially when we park our black rifles next to them at the range. A few gun-rights groups don’t play well with others. AK and AR owners will never agree on which is the better platform. The 1911 guys are mired in the early 20th Century and proud of it, and everybody hates the Fudds.
Because of our diversity, which I consider a strength, there has never been a real national spokesman who can legitimately say: “Speaking on behalf of all gun owners …” Some gun-rights groups have tried, but none speak for me, and none ever will. I speak on behalf of exactly one gun owner – me.
All of us were happy in our own niches, minding our own business until Joe Biden nominated David Chipman to lead the ATF. We all knew that Joe was no friend of ours, and that things were about to get serious, but no one expected things would ever get this bad. A lifelong anti-gun activist to run the ATF? That’s crazy, even for Joe Biden, and Joe reset the bar on crazy.
Chipman’s nomination galvanized gun owners into action like nothing ever has. Almost overnight, decades-old feuds and complaints were forgotten. Everyone became solely focused on one goal – stopping Chipman’s nomination cold. Of course, Chipman helped. The weaselly little fella looks like he still has undigested paste in his belly that the bullies made him eat in the third grade. And every single time he opened his mouth he stuck his foot in it. He’s probably become accustomed to the taste of black Kiwi. In our world – which has more than it’s share of swagger and bravado – David Chipman isn’t fit to paste-up targets on a BB-gun range. Our friends in the Senate saw right through him, and they handed Chipman his hat with his head in it after his testimony. Kudos to them. Our Senators’ actions won’t soon be forgotten. Their tough questioning showed the rest of the world what we all knew: David Chipman is a sick joke – a racist rat who’s unfit to lead a Cub Scout troop, much less the ATF.
While things are looking good on the Chipman front – good for us, not good for him – it’s too soon to crack the bubbly. Whoever is calling the shots at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – and it’s certainly not Joe – is a crafty adversary. We can’t let our guard down yet. We need to keep the pressure on, especially for the undecided Senators, Manchin, Tester, King and Sinema.
When all of this is said and done, and Chipman is working the drive-thru at some burger joint – a job he’s actually qualified for – I hope this spirit of unity continues. I find it incredibly refreshing and a lot of fun. Besides, when we unite, there’s nothing we can’t do. Maybe, when Chipman is cleaning out grease traps, we can focus our energy on Constitutional Carry for everyone? Seems like a great idea to me, but I only speak for myself.