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Old October 31, 2002, 12:54 PM   #1
birdie
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Range Rant

This might upset some people but I wanted to get it off my chest.

We as shooters/gun owners need to clean up our act.

To often at the ranges I visit I see people dressed in military clothes, those tee shirts without arms, covered in the "cold dead fingers" kind of slogans, dirty jeans and general poor personnal hygiene. This reflects badly on the majority of gun owners who are not like this.

Recently a local TV station did a piece on CCW in our state and visited a range that I was at with a couple of my friends. We had just come from the office and where dressed in pants, polo shirts, jackets, basic business casual. Also at the range were a bunch of people as described above. Guess who made it onto the local news, not us, but they showed a couple of guys, torn jeans, shirts with the stupid slogans, long hair, baseball caps firing large calibre hand guns.

Needless to say the news portrayed people who are interested in guns and/or CCW as low income, uneducated trash.

Its unfortunate that we are always portrayed in this manner, most of my fiends shoot and have CCW and do fall into this stero type.

It also puts off a lot of people who might be interested in shooting but have been put off when they turn up at a range.

I think someone, wish I had the money, would make a fortune if they opened a up market, clean, family orientated range.

Sorry for the rant.
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Old October 31, 2002, 01:20 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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I've been thinking this for years.
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Old October 31, 2002, 01:24 PM   #3
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The NRA Range in Fairfax, Va is pretty clean cut. Better than Clark Bros or Blue Ridge on any given day....

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Old October 31, 2002, 01:41 PM   #4
Brian D.
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"It's a free country, man!"

The statement above, while true, is often just used by some folks to excuse their lack of taste or tactfullness. I personally agree with you, it's hard to make a case for gun owners being normal, decent folk when you see some of our "brethren" looking as they do. I'm no fashion plate myself, but if I'm looking "too casual" at the range the last thing I want to do is go on camera. Unfortunately, if there were one "slob" at the store, everybody else was dressed up, the reporter would go right to the "slopjar" person for an interview. And the fool wouldn't THINK of taking a second to straighten up before going on camera. I remember going to a public hearing about an impending local "assault weapon" law being debated by city council. Of course the area militia group showed up downtown in their forest cammies. Hundreds of other pro gun folk had made a concerted effort to dress up in coat and tie for the event, with tasteful lapel buttons. I went over to the militia leader, intro'd myself, mentioned how maybe they ought to think about adopting a "uniform" for coming into town and addressing urban legislators, maybe polo shirts and chinos or something similar. This suave fellow told me: "These are the only clothes I EVER wear." I thanked him for helping to set back our cause, and suggested he remove the piece of Skoal from between his teeth before he spoke to the TV people. Of course the meaningless legislation went on to pass, the "commandos" had scared one maybe vote over to the anti-gun side.
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Old October 31, 2002, 01:47 PM   #5
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I'm all for dressing appropriately but aren't some of these people that freak at camo wear around guns the same type who will say let teenagers express themselves anyway they want? Spike piercings, flourescent hair etc? Not to mention how adults in the music industry look. I agree that we do not need to give them more ammo but the inconsistency irritates me as well.

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Old October 31, 2002, 01:52 PM   #6
Peter M. Eick
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You want to draw attention at the gun range???

Try showing up at lunch time in suits and ties with slug guns and hi-powered rifles. When we were working ANWR exploration for my company, we had to practice during lunch hour taking out bears at different ranges. We were in "business attire" meaning, dresses and suits and ties. We did this a lot, and every time the whole range would stare.

Kinda made you feel like you were a "G-man".......
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Old October 31, 2002, 02:01 PM   #7
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Going along with dressing appropriately. The martial arts organization I was in, required, at minimum, a tie, a suit and tie perferebly, when we had seminars. It looks much better when a large number of people are dressed up when they are carrying gun cases that contain swords and staffs. It also leant a sense of decorum and importance to our mindset and made the spirit of the seminar better as well.

Mark
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Old October 31, 2002, 02:09 PM   #8
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I don't wear camo, "Big Johnson" or "cold dead fingers' slogan shirts, or torn up clothes to the range. I also don't care to go to "up scale" gun clubs as most of them have a membership that is so full of themselves it drives new shooters away just as fast. There will always be ignorant people (we know most of them as Democrats ) that enjoy the same hobbies who just can't seem to enjoy the hobby without inflicting harm upon it.
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Old October 31, 2002, 02:38 PM   #9
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Birdie, I couldn't agree with you more! Its nice to hear someone bring up this subject although I'm afraid it isn't going to change the way some people dress or behave themselves. I really enjoy going to the gun shows that come to town yet I always leave with this weird feeling about some of my "associates." There are lots of average folks who like to collect/shoot guns that blend in with those that don't and they are the strongest group to successfully promote and maintain our gun rights. The camo wearing survivalist look just doesn't gain a lot of favor or respect with the people we need to convince that the right to bear arms is an important one and that it makes logical sense. In fact they probably do more to undermine these rights than anybody else, including the antigunners. Unfortunately, guns, knives and other weapons attracts a certain element that probably would not relate to some of the more genteel hobbies. I don't have a problem saying this because I have been "into" handguns for 20 years and I have a life outside of this hobby as I'm sure many of you do as well. The sad fact is that these folks aren't going to change and we as sane, rational and "normal" appearing people need to carry the banner so our rights will always be protected. I am now stepping down from the box, thank you very much.
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Old October 31, 2002, 02:47 PM   #10
rick_reno
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range rant

I'm a rangemaster at our local city shooting range. I don't care what people wear as long they are safe - you could show up in your camo loin cloth and shoot if you handle your firearm safely. During the summer months I usually work the Wed. evening family shoots (family shoots for $3) and we get a lot of people who get off work, go home, grab the kids and come right to the range. This isn't polo shirt country, it's Carhart country and most of the working population works in jobs that aren't in those carpeted boxes you call cubicles. They work in timber, some mining, construction, etc. and they get really dirty. It doesn't bother me if they show up at the range in their work duds and haven't had time to shower, shave and put their golf clothes on.
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Old October 31, 2002, 02:54 PM   #11
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That's not the point.

NO-one is suggesting dress codes for the range.

What WAS expressed is the very legitimate concern about poorly-dressed (usually also exhibiting the same level of subject knowledge and public speaking skills) who show up at public hearings and rallies in cammies and similar wanna-be outfits.

Family night at the range? Come as you are, and welcome.

Public hearing on a proposed gun law? ON-camera interview with some reporter whose ignorance of firearms is exceeded only by his/her hatred for them? Dress up or shut up, if you truly wish to help preserve Second Amendment rights.

"Rambos" and similar militia morons are the Brady Bunch's best friends.
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Old October 31, 2002, 03:01 PM   #12
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Rick

Thats fine with me also, as that represents the people in your community. My point is every time I see a "gun owner" represented it is the sterotype
that I mentioned in my post.

Never do I see someone like my wife, who is a Sales Director, dressed in a nice business suit, being shown as representative of a gun owner/carrier.

I work in marketing and I know if approached by a pro gun group to promote gun ownership and usage, I would not be showing the good old boys dressed in fatigues covered in anti government slogans.

On a couple of occassions my wife and I when we have been at parties have been able to at least make people stop and think, when the go on about those "jerks" who own guns. That people like us
"the country club set", own and carry guns.
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Old October 31, 2002, 03:18 PM   #13
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I've got combat boots, cammies, and boonie hats. I wear them out to the range because they're comfortable for the environment. When I'm out in public, or when I'm modeling for a poster for Oleg, I'll wear what's appropriate. When I'm debating with an anti in person, I'm a perfect lady. I can't afford to be seen as anything else, especially since I know I am representing all gun owners, whether I like it or not. That's also why I like the RKBA stickers on my vehicle - people who see them and then me rethink the "beer bellied redneck gun owner" stereotype.

Oleg has a friend named Paul. When you first look at him, you see a slim man over 6' tall, a scruffy beard, "weather-worn" skin, and a soiled NRA cap. I've never seen him in anything but camo. Most people freak at the sight of him - they immediately think he's the psycho who sits in a tiny one room cabin making pipe bombs. If they just interacted with him, they'd realize he's one of the warmest, friendliest, and most intelligent people around.
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Old October 31, 2002, 04:09 PM   #14
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Some of the nicest people wear cammies because they spent their expensive chino money on another case of ammo. Some of the biggest pricks in the world have been known to wear a suit on occasion. Heck, Hitler was quite the snappy dresser. Want him at your range?

Gun owners are all types and stripes. I have seen every demographic of dress demonstrate amazingly good and appallingly dangerous gun handling. The guy with the baggy pants nose ring and gold chains is just as much a gun owner as is the cammo wearing fella or you or I. Not everyone can look like they just stepped out of suburbia and be "normal" It is up to the individual to make the choice whether or not they will be responsible gun owners and further will they clean up for the camera. What they wear during their personal recreation time at the range is their business.
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Old October 31, 2002, 04:11 PM   #15
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We gun owners are a varied group of people. Some of US may come off LOOKING and SOUNDING ignorant - and maybe some of us just plain are - but we all have a right to own guns and shoot them in a fashion that's in accordance with the law and local custom. We call this America.

Regardless, the anti's, and especially the media, will often go out of their way to find the most objectionable stereotype to represent their intended quarry. So it doesn't really matter if 99% of us attend the range in black tie and form meaningful sentences from multi-syllable words. That's not what an anti-gun media wants to portray. They'll seek out the few ya-hoo/camo/TAChie/banger types and that's what will grace the tube and front page. Sure, it's not fair. Reality is that the media is often biased as hell.

There's always going to be someone we don't want representing our interests. But we can't reasonably expect every gun owner to conform with our individual or majority standards when it comes to appearance and mannerisms. That wouldn't be what we call America.

I don't mean to sound like some flag-waving nut, but the whole second amendment, RKBA thing is about the fundamental values that make up our way of life. We shouldn't forget that there are other fundamental values that must be preserved along the way - no matter how personally distasteful or inconvenient that may be at times.
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Old October 31, 2002, 05:10 PM   #16
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Gee guys, I sit a computer most of the day, at an international corporation.
(We like Dilbert cartoons. )

But I recently bought some camo pants, just for the range.
I like the double knees and seats, and I don't worry about getting gun oil on them.
But, I usually wear the $55 American Shooter shirt that my wife got me, with my camos.
And Timberline boots.

I still have most of my teeth.

I know what you are saying though.
Gun show, town meeting, I'll be the nerdy looking guy in khakis.

If we could just get the American public to realize that the typical shooter is an accountant, and a sharp looking lady (runt), and a Dad that works 9 to 5, a highschool cheerleader, a housewife,.....etc.

And when you get to know us, we are some of the nicest people that you would ever meet.
And if push ever came to shove, you would want one of us covering your back.

I try to take every opportunity to "educate" non-shooters about the history of firearms in our country.
Every now and then I see that light come on above their head, and it feels really good.
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Old October 31, 2002, 05:11 PM   #17
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You've got to remember too that if the press showed up at the range and 99% of the people there were well dressed the reporters would seek out the one person in the "Kill 'em all" T-shirt for the interview. They have a job to do you know.
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Old October 31, 2002, 05:21 PM   #18
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I couldn't give a rat's ass what people wear to the range or to a class. What gets me worked up is when I go to my local FREE outdoor range and some stupid SOB has spent thirty minutes shooting .22s through one of the 4X4s that hold up the roof supports. Shot through the whole thing for S&G And then you got the guys who will blow through 5000 rounds of ammo and leave their friggin brass all over the place. The range is free. All they ask is clean up after yourself and some gunowners can't be bothered. What kind of image is that going to make? And, less we forget, the ignorant dumbsmucks who ignore the "No ALcohol Behind This Point" sign and decide that blasting away at fifths of whiskey and wine bottles is the way to go.

If people in the media want to make gunowners look bad, they will bypass 99 people in "business casual" for the 1 guy in camo pants and the "Osama, Yo Mama" t-shirt.
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Old October 31, 2002, 05:40 PM   #19
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Agreed that we should be able to wear what is comfortable. Also agree that when our moment in the spotlight comes up we need to do a PR job. When we have tweaked the uninformed interest and have them on the range then they, too, will decide to be comfortable. Gotta get them there first.

HOWEVER. The polo shirt is probably safest. I work for a company that requires dress shirt, tie, wingtips, etc. When I visit a customer like PIXAR animation where the people across the table have green hair, black fingernail polish and earrings (and that would be the male employee), rather than projecting the professional image our corporation wants we find ourselves in an almost advisarial situation. Gotta tone it down.

Maybe the firearms people as a whole need a cadre (wow, how long has it been since you've seen THAT buzzword?) of PR people to handle this stuff?
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Old October 31, 2002, 05:58 PM   #20
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I obviously can't speak for anyone else but the intent of my post is not that people don't have the right to look or dress however they please, I happen to be a very big supporter of that right, but that you pay a price for these choices. It happens every day, we are judged by others on many different grounds, one of which happens to be the way we present ourselves in the way we dress, the way we wear our hair etc. I can personally vouch for this because at age 53 I have changed my look and style over the years and believe me people do react differently based on your appearance. I can agree whole heartily with both Navy Joe and ZeusOne when you say that some of the nicest people wear cammies and that we are a varied group of people, as we should be. I happen to be a product of the 60's and as such was a long haired hippie at the time. I also know that many people didn't take me very seriously because of the way I looked. Did I have a right to look and dress the way I did? You better believe it but people did pass judgement. Now I don't go to the range in a suit and tie or even in my khakis and loafers, that's not the point, at least of my response. My point is, look and dress however you want wherever you want, but be aware that if you come off looking like the unabomber that is how you will be percieved whether you think it is fair or not. By the way, in case anyone misunderstands, I am not referring to blue collar vs. white collar, that's not the issue and that's not the type of appearance that came to my mind when I read birdie's post. To me the bottomline is, when you want to sell something you need to package it properly and I'll probably catch a lot of flack for saying this, but I do believe that if every body that was into guns came off as a rhetorical spouting, I'm with stupid/I'm stupid T shirt wearer and camo pants kind of person our gun rights would be in even more trouble. Ever wonder why the presidents of the NRA always dress nicely and project a certain image? It's all in perception.
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Old October 31, 2002, 07:06 PM   #21
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Many people are worried about lead contamination, especially at indoor ranges so some people wear clothes they would not normally wear (kind of like if you are painting or something). I never wear a hat normally, but will wear a hat while shooting because I don't want lead and junk in my hair.

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Old October 31, 2002, 07:59 PM   #22
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Regardless of the militia looking folks, if they showed up and are in a protest I bet they also voted as well.

I am not about to care how I look. I might be working on my pond or driveway and get board and go shooting. In mud covered cloths, dirty smelly bearded me. And a sweat stained napa or old ratty hat.

I don't care what folks wear, I care if they know and follow safety rules properly and are respectful folks.

Stereotypes are some thing people who shoot tend to think of as well, mini van mommy ring some bells? The parents scared of a bb gun or slingshot ring some more?

The problem I see is the media, they choose who is on the talking box, they edit things to sound better with the required spin, and all sorts of things.

I will never be someone who showers once a month and has clothes that totally reek. I might be someone who wears the same work clothes for a few different days due to a nasty dirty job likely to ruin those clothes.

I do have to admit I live in the boonies. I ran from the burbs real fast and far then got tired and moved in. So my shooting might be at my place or at some local outdoor ranges. Being in the boonies you see a lot of the redneck stereotypes around.

I also know these guys tend to vote since whenever it is brought up they are interested in the loss of rights locally and federally.

I know this is not about a dress code, but I think the problem is the gun owner who is worried about losing mag capacity, certain guns, or whatever, and they do not vote.

Often some people say how the hunter with his scoped 308 is the one who does not care about the loss of some of the rights other gunners enjoy.

I see this as not embracing those who have not had the advantages you have had. I live in the boonies, I have seen folks living out of very small campers and they call it a house.

Accept all who safely use firearms for entertainment, protection, hunting, collecting, or whatever other reasons there are.

Complain to the news who chooses what is seen on the talking box.
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Old October 31, 2002, 08:22 PM   #23
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My usual outfit:
Steel toed shoes - most comfortable way to spend an hour or more standing in one place. Of course, since I wear them whenever I do jobs around the house, they're dirty and worn.
Old blue jeans, t shirt, and maybe a long sleeved shirt - I don't wear my best clothes because I don't want to get oil or grease on them. I don't want my good clothes to start smelling like hoppe's or gunpowder.
Hat-whatever one I find first.

Wearing 'nice' clothes would waste my time (extra cleaning involved) and possibly ruin my clothes. So I wear what is comfortable and practical. I don't look slovenly, but I'm not going to get on the cover of GQ by a longshot. I'm there to shoot my guns and have fun. I am not there to impress anyone or alter the perception of gunowners on the odd chance a camera crew walks in.

If someone has a problem with the way I dress when I enjoy my hobby, that's their problem, not mine.
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Old October 31, 2002, 09:24 PM   #24
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You don't have to wear yuppie scum gear from Territory Ahead catalogue like some of our yuppie scum TFLers, but you should shave, wear clean clothing, tuck in your shirt and pick up your brass. Set an example for others around you and they will think it's a rule and do it without being told.

Gomez, the only way to turn range slobs around is shame. Whip out a trash bag from your range bag and say "here, I'll help you pick up your rubbish." Some guys just think they can leave their garbage around because "everyone else is." Geez, what is this? The Army?
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Old October 31, 2002, 09:37 PM   #25
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Funny story (vaguely related)...

When I got married last year, some of my extended family flew in from Europe. Their first trip to Arkansas. I was already kinda worried about what they would think, and wanted to make sure they had a nice experience. On our way home from the (very) rural airport, we got behind a pickup truck... Hand-painted rough cammo-looking colors, two men in neon orange jumpsuits (hunters or jail-escapees, don't know), "Don't like my driving, call 1-800-EAT-LEAD" bumper sticker, tail gate open, deer in the back, shotguns sticking out of the cab, swerving around the road like you would not believe... Ha ha ha.

You never know when you'll REALLY make an impression on someone. On the other hand, who cares? People will believe what they want to believe about a group of people, and they will find things to support those ideas, no matter what you do.

I do, however, try to dress nicely all the time, because "look good, feel good, do good" was drilled into my head too long ago!
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