I have been a part of the shooting community for as long as I can remember. I have been to dozens of gun stores and shooting ranges in several states. I have always enjoyed shooting as a fun activity and seen it as something positive to do with my family. I compare shooting to playing darts or shooting baskets; it is a sport. I have noticed in my travels and experiences some odd things which maybe you have come across as well.
Often times I have gone into gun stores or shooting ranges to be greeted quite poorly. When interacting with staff I have been often treated with the attitude that I was bothering them or even worse -unwelcome. I don’t know what this phenomenon is in the shooting community but it needs to end. I have rarely experienced the kind of indifferent treatment that I have received at gun stores at any other place; heck even Walmart employees are more friendly than many gun store owners. The whole Billy Badass act is really cringe worthy and totally unnecessary.
As members of the shooting community we need to treat each other as FAMILY! Do not embrace the media stereotypes that gun owners are low IQ bully type people. That simply is not true and we are the only ones to show the world that. By growing our shooting community through positive interactions we will become stronger and more respected as solid members of society. Uniting along the lines of our common hobby we can form a bond of brotherhood (and sisterhood). By greeting each other kindly and treating other with respect it makes it much harder for the maniacs who push gun control to demonize us (although they will try).
Be a gun owner who is compassionate towards other gun owners. Remember that your interactions always matter; you are an ambassador of the shooting world. People who are thinking about joining the shooting community need to be welcomed with open arms and not turned off by people playing the tough guy role. It is silly and childish. We must created a culture of acceptance among fellow shooters.
I am thrilled about each and every one of you in the shooting community. The more of us there are means good things; lower gun prices, lower ammo prices, more shooting ranges, more accessories, and more manufacturers. Simple economics. We need to start using our power in numbers and demand our rights according to the 2nd Amendment. If states like California had a truly united shooting community it would be impossible for laws spitting on the 2A to be passed. Being a part of the NRA is cool but it is not the end all be all of being a part of the shooting community. Your role is much greater than you know.