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Old January 5, 2011, 02:54 PM   #1
NRAhab
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Gun Culture 2.0

I was having a discussion with some other gun folks at an event back in November about how the face of the gun community is changing. The general gist of the conversation is that sales of guns designed for carry, competition, and home defense as well as AR pattern rifles has far outstripped the sales of guns and gear that are thought of as "traditional" hunting items. Coupled with the nationwide decline in hunting (permits are down across the country) but the simultaneous increase in gun sales points to a new shooting demographic. You don't really have to look any further than an indoor gun range to see that new demographic. When I walk a firing line and I feel like the old guy, I know that there has been a shift, especially when the only guns I see on the line are 1911s, Glocks, XDs, and M&Ps - all guns set up for concealed carry.

So here's my question, because it's one that I think is worth discussing. How do we reach that culture? A kid walks in a gunshop and wants to see Gun X because he used it in a video game, how do we react? How do we get a generation that does all its research online to find quality information about guns and gear? And most importantly, how do we take a kid that plays Call of Duty (it was Counterstrike when I was that age, oh how the times have changed) and convert them into a lifelong shooter?
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Old January 5, 2011, 03:00 PM   #2
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Introduce them to hunting.
Teach them there is more to guns than CCW/HD/SD platforms
Teach them to shoot shotgun games, BPCR, CASS, etc.
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Old January 5, 2011, 03:06 PM   #3
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- That trend is noted in the literature and industry groups like the NSSF are seeing that as the wave of the future. It was resisted by the sports group for awhile but folks aren't dumb. Jan Libourel of Handguns told me that he would have like to publish more sports, marksmanship, hunting articles but the SD ones sell.

I regret to tell you this but it's the future of the RKBA. You aren't going to get massive waves of young folks from the urban and suburban areas interest in hunting enough to make it dominant in the gun culture.The shotgun games are expensive.

The base of the RKBA movement will be SD in the future. Of course, I'm not disparaging the efforts but just reporting the way the trends are.
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Old January 5, 2011, 03:07 PM   #4
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Interesting Question

So the kids are shooting for sport, except the prey is a target rather than live game.

These ARE kids that really don't know how to appreciate the stillness of the woods, the mist at dawn-some of the great things about hunting...instead, their attentions are so short I don't think they could stand sitting against a tree or in a tree stand. Can you imagine? They still-hunt while running...
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Old January 5, 2011, 03:26 PM   #5
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I agree that SD and run-and-gun games are the future of the RKBA movement. I don't want to lose the hunting culture, but just take a look for a moment at the TV shows used to market hunting. It's 20 minutes of two dudes whispering and 1 minute of actual shooting action. Contrast that with a show like SWAT TV, which has lots of shooting and action and shows people the exact same gear that they see in video games. Is it any surprise that shows like that are what people want?

Look at History Channel's Top Shot as another good example. Great ratings, incredibly popular, and not a single "hunting" rifle to be seen. Even the one rifle that is actually a hunting rifle (the Remington 700) was portrayed as a sniper rifle.

I'm not even speculating about converting the Call of Duty players to hunters. I just want them to be shooters and active in the gun culture. How do we do that?
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Old January 5, 2011, 03:35 PM   #6
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Shorter attention spans...

... are probably at least as much to blame as lack of exposure.

I've never been a huge fan of fishing, because I don't like sitting around all day waiting for a bite.

I'd rather be canoeing, kayaking, rafting, etc.

Similarly, while I do sometimes hunt, and plan to hunt in the future, I have to admit I enjoy the faster pace of a games oriented range.

And I don't get the slow fire rifle guys, who shoot a round a minute (or less). I have no problem with their enjoyment or pursuit of the hobby, but it doesn't grab me.

And I'm in my 40s...
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Old January 5, 2011, 03:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRAhab
So here's my question, because it's one that I think is worth discussing. How do we reach that culture?
Hunting is in decline partly because of dwindling available land, and steadily rising costs. When I was a youth, I lived in a rural area and many of my friends had family land I could hunt merely by asking. Hunting clubs were a couple of hundred bucks or less for membership.

Today, much of the land I hunted in my youth is covered in housing developments. Lease prices have gone over the moon here in Georgia; landowners who used to just look to cover taxes now look at leasing as a revenue stream (can't blame 'em).

When I was a youth, we regularly walked down the street with pistols, shotguns and rifles, on our way to the woods. What would happen to the kids of today if they did the same?

In this age of technology, we seem to have less free time than ever before. Time for hunting seems to always be in competition with some other obligation.

Kids today have many more options than we did growing up, "going outside to play" is looked at some kind of cruel and unusual punishment. The waiting and watching of hunting can't compare with the instant gratification of video games and television.

By the way, this wasn't way back in the dark ages, I'm only 37 years old...
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Old January 5, 2011, 04:16 PM   #8
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What about information gathering for those kids? Let's make me a hypothetical Call of Duty player, and I want to find out information about the Remington ACR I play with. If I google search for the Bushhamster...er the Remington ACR I get a bajillion results from Remy's product page to various blogs and forum posts. If I wanted to then buy that gun, the experience becomes more disjointed.
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Old January 5, 2011, 04:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by oneounceload
Teach them there is more to guns than CCW/HD/SD platforms
There is?

Why do you feel you (or anyone) has to teach them this? Why should it make eny difference whatsoever? As was commented on innumerable times during the run-ups to both Heller and MacDonald, "The 2nd Amendment was never about hunting."

If somebody is interested in firearms for personal defense and nothing else -- so what? That's my interest. I'm a Vietnam veteran and a senior citizen. I have never been hunting in my life and I most likely won't start now. But I love firearms, and I take the defense of myself and my family and the Constitution seriously.

None of that requires a hunting license.
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Old January 5, 2011, 04:40 PM   #10
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People don't hunt because hunting is slowly becoming a rich man's sport. Rich people from the cities go out and buy up rural land and turn it into hunting preserves for other rich city people. At the same time, old family farms are being bought up by land management groups and a handful of rich rural landowners. If you're not in tight with the land management group or the rich landowner you don't get to hunt that land either. Not to mention that playing xbox provides instant satisfaction for today's short attention spanned youth.
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Old January 5, 2011, 04:46 PM   #11
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Hand in hand with the reduced hunting area....

... is increased hunter density.

I've had friends switch to bow and muzzle-loader, for the sole reason of minimizing the chances of getting shot by some random dude who doesn't properly check his target and backdrop.

Not that such ever happens...

Did I mention we don't take our horses out on trails during deer season?
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Old January 5, 2011, 05:10 PM   #12
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What's interesting to me now is the number of comments that refer to the XBox generation as "short attention span" in the pejorative sense. This is actually the kind of commentary that hurts us - the blanket painting of the youthful shooter demographic as having a short attention span, being uninterested in gun safety, etc.

Check out this guy's youtube channel: www.youtube.com/freddiew - he's an amateur film dude that likes video games, and makes great, fun videos using film effects and airsoft guns. I think they're awesome fun to watch, and I'm not alone since he gets literally millions of hits on every new video he drops. I want those people watching his video to come to the range and shoot guns, but when they get disparaged in forums and gunshops for being "young" or "short attention span" I feel like it hurts us as a movement. How do we overcome that culturally and start welcoming these people, and even recruiting them?
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Old January 5, 2011, 05:27 PM   #13
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NRAhab...

... it isn't disparagement, it's just statement of observed fact. Studies have been published on it; educators set up lesson plans based upon it. One of the results of the internet and electronic revolution has been a decrease in attention span, with a rise in multi-tasking capability.

In general, kids today have shorter attention spans, but they can often do a whole lot of things at one time.

The desire for instant gratification has also been noted by various studies, with regards to the last couple generations. Not that we all don't like instant gratification, but the older we are, the less we seem to expect it.
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Old January 5, 2011, 05:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
There is?

Why do you feel you (or anyone) has to teach them this? Why should it make eny difference whatsoever? As was commented on innumerable times during the run-ups to both Heller and MacDonald, "The 2nd Amendment was never about hunting."

If somebody is interested in firearms for personal defense and nothing else -- so what? That's my interest. I'm a Vietnam veteran and a senior citizen. I have never been hunting in my life and I most likely won't start now. But I love firearms, and I take the defense of myself and my family and the Constitution seriously.

None of that requires a hunting license.
Quite a narrow view you have


Quote:
So here's my question, because it's one that I think is worth discussing. How do we reach that culture? A kid walks in a gunshop and wants to see Gun X because he used it in a video game, how do we react? How do we get a generation that does all its research online to find quality information about guns and gear? And most importantly, how do we take a kid that plays Call of Duty (it was Counterstrike when I was that age, oh how the times have changed) and convert them into a lifelong shooter?
That's where MY comments came from

Quote:
"The 2nd Amendment was never about hunting."
Nor was it about you defending yourself from robbers in the wally world parking lot.........so what?

Making people life-long shooters means having a broad perspective and appreciation for ALL of the aspects of shooting, even if you do not currently participate
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Old January 5, 2011, 05:33 PM   #15
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Fair enough, but being one of those short attention span kids myself (HEY LOOK A SHINY THING) it comes across a lot of the time with a sort of "those durn whippersnappers with their XCubes and whatnot". While it may not be intended that way here on TFL, it often comes across in gun shops and other meatspace venues.
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Old January 5, 2011, 05:37 PM   #16
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Stereotypes come from actual observations - whether or not totally justified - it IS based on reality........if young kids have the attention span of a gnat, whether from video games or whatnot, the reality is what it is
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Old January 5, 2011, 05:42 PM   #17
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But that goes both directions, and it's not helpful for either side. If a young kid has a mental image of gunshop employees as being "surly old-dudes that don't like me" what's his motivation to go shooting or something? Wouldn't it be better if when we meet younger kids looking for information on their favorite game guns that we treated their inquiries with respect and the goal of converting them to a long time shooter?
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Old January 5, 2011, 06:01 PM   #18
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My limited experience...

... dealing with current teenagers and guns.

My godson loves XBox Online and is a complete Halo junkie. Although he also likes COD, etc.

One would think he'd like to try out some actual firearms.

Brought an AR, an M1 Garand, a scoped 700, a 1911, a Model 18 .22, and a .44 Mag to his family's house. His dad and I were going shooting.

My godson had no interest, since he'd have to stop playing XBox.

Note: He'll only go out with us on his dad's cabin cruiser if we let him bring his XBox....

My younger cousin wanted to learn to shoot, and picked up both pistol and rifle shooting pretty quickly. Ultimately, he wanted to go deer hunting, but when it actually came time to go, he didn't like hiking in and carrying a 336, and he was thoroughly discouraged when we didn't see hogs or deer on day 1.

On Day 2, he decided the weather was iffy, and he'd rather play video games.

He still likes to shoot, but he doesn't like the physical effort or boredom involved with hunting.

Neither boy is too keen on cracking books; both do well in school, so they can read and comprehend just fine, but reading for enjoyment is an alien concept to them.

I'm not sure how to change that, across the board.
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Old January 5, 2011, 06:14 PM   #19
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My solution.....

..... is a cliche', but an apt one:

"Take your kids hunting, so you don't have to go hunting for your kids."

If your kids have the attention span of a gnat, then blame the parents. Yeah, the guy/gal in the mirror. Fix that while you can. Idiot boxes are evil.

If your kids are grown, and you have no grandkids to take fishing or hunting, volunteer to be a mentor, or teach hunter safety. Don't like kids? There are disabled folks who need someone to take them out hunting....... your fish and game/wildlife/forestry/game and parks/whatever your state calls it's game wardens will help you out .... but you have to put in the time.

YOU. That is the solution.
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Old January 5, 2011, 07:10 PM   #20
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Every shooter has certain tastes. Olympic target shooting requires amazing skills, but it does not interest me personally. I much prefer IPSC/IDPA/3-gun type games. If your goal is to get lifelong shooters, you'll need to find what they want to spend a significant portion of their life shooting.
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Old January 5, 2011, 07:49 PM   #21
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Defensive/tactical shooters are just as much lifelong shooters as the hunting and shotgun game crowd. So I don't see much need to "convert" them to hunters to keep them around; I came into shooting out of a desire for personal and home protection, and I have yet to ever go on a single hunt. I haven't even taken the Missouri Dept. of Conservation hunter education course. But I *do* have a rather decent firearm collection and I do go shooting with regularity.

So I think the better question might be "how can we take those who begin with a relatively fact-challenged media-based introduction to guns and make them responsible members of the shooting community?"

To that I would answer that we just be courteous and gentle when we have to "redirect" folks from silly notions. An example would be before I ever fired my first shot- I had visions of hitting bulls' eyes with a .44 magnum in each hand. Yeah, stupid, but that was because I was genuinely ignorant. I didn't know any better. Believe me, the more I shot, the more I learned. Encourage them to shoot, and to shoot different things.

While I think oneounceload is a bit "old fashioned" in his view of the firearm community (no offense meant), I think he is correct that we are also well served by inviting them to other disciplines. I got into skeet by accepting an invitation from a local fellow to go shoot some clay targets. Now I shoot skeet leagues with regularity. If they like shooting handguns, they may be like me, and be eager to try out these scatterguns on the flying orange discs.

Just be willing to invite and be gracious. The more standoffish and elitist you act towards the noobs, the less they'll see you as having anything to offer.
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Old January 5, 2011, 08:01 PM   #22
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I think we need everyone in the "Gun Culture" to learn and understand that what we, or they, should choose to do with firearms is entirely valid and no more, or less, valid and respectable than what anyone else should choose to do with their firearms.

When "we" learn that the "Gun Culture" is a "we" and not an "us" and "them", we will be a stronger voice more likely to bring some otherwise temporary or uninterested friends into the fold.

I don't care if some dude became interested in firearms after playing COD and all he wants is an AR-15 and a Desert Eagle so he can impress his girlfriend at the annual family BBQ, so long as he doesn't care that I want my guns to hunt and protect myself with and have no interest in his Desert Eagle.

I have a right to mine, he has a right to his and we should all support and protect each others rights.
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Old January 5, 2011, 08:15 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NRAhab
I want those people watching his video to come to the range and shoot guns, but when they get disparaged in forums and gunshops for being "young" or "short attention span" I feel like it hurts us as a movement. How do we overcome that culturally and start welcoming these people, and even recruiting them?
Get your kids into a Scouting program, or another with an outdoor emphasis.

Insist upon a reasonable balance between indoor and outdoor playtime.

Take those computers and video games out of the kids' bedrooms and put them somewhere where the time they spend on them can be monitored.

If you are a range member, see if the range won't invite the local Scouting troops for a range day. Maybe your range can hold some kid and family friendly shooting contests.

Be tolerant of others who may not have the same tastes as yourself. I'm not into the "black rifle" thing, but my gun club is made up of mostly older members who have a decided prejudice against anything except traditional firearms.
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Old January 5, 2011, 08:15 PM   #24
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If your goal is to get lifelong shooters, you'll need to find what they want to spend a significant portion of their life shooting.
My point exactly - how do you know what they might be interested in if they have never been exposed to all of the disciplines I mentioned as did others?

Quote:
While I think oneounceload is a bit "old fashioned" in his view of the firearm community
Not really, I like my Glocks.....as well as my 1929 first gen Colt DS. Owned an EBR, son owns it now....point is, I went through ALL of the disciplines with rifles, handguns and shotguns......after trying them all, and now living where I do with different shooting opportunities, I have decided what I like to do............many of these young folks have only the "knowledge" they gained from video games.......they need exposure to other disciplines so they can determine if something else might have an interest to them
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Old January 5, 2011, 08:29 PM   #25
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Not really, I like my Glocks.....as well as my 1929 first gen Colt DS. Owned an EBR, son owns it now....point is, I went through ALL of the disciplines with rifles, handguns and shotguns......after trying them all, and now living where I do with different shooting opportunities, I have decided what I like to do............many of these young folks have only the "knowledge" they gained from video games.......they need exposure to other disciplines so they can determine if something else might have an interest to them
Fair enough, and good point. For all they know, new shooters might prefer sitting in the woods with a Remington 700 waiting for a deer or standing around with a bunch of guys on a skeet field with a Browning Cynergy to running and ducking with an AR or AK.

It's also been somewhat proven with my shooting "pilgrimage." I got in with pistols, being generally uninterested with long guns. Well, lately I've shot WAY more rounds at the shotgun club than I have with a handgun. I found something that's generally more engaging. Not that I haven't lost my first love, but that I've discovered other things that are fun.
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