There comes a time for every shooter to decide do I tell someone that I like to shoot or that I carry a concealed firearm. This is a very personal choice and can have profound consequences. Just look to media over the past year. Some very outspoken gun rights advocates have received death threats against themselves and their families. Some have been forced to move after their addresses were published on social media. Some kids in New Jersey faced suspension from school for going to a range with experienced parents for a day of fun shooting, and posting non-threatening photos on Social Media.
Oh, that’s wouldn’t happen to me, I’m not a public figure. Well, that may be, but it doesn’t protect you from bullying behavior from intolerant people. In my experience, most people are ok or neutral, but I’m not walking around telling everyone or being obnoxiously obvious, either. People in my office generally know I shoot, have instructor credentials and have written a few books. I get teased good naturedly at times, people will come for advice. But not everyone is positive. There is a woman who is a rabid anti-gun nut. She states that NO ONE should have a gun, period. She will make statements like this when I’m nearby. She will sometimes pose what seems to be a reasonable question, then turn it around into a rant against shooting. No argument is acceptable; she is against self-defense, hunting and recreational shooting. This is baiting and bullying, I have to ignore her when she starts in. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve experienced this type of reaction, and likely won’t be the last. I had a woman complain that my owning a gun made her feel unsafe. This was in an office, she had never seen it, they were prohibited on the property. She had eavesdropped on a private conversation with another co-worker about a trip to the range. She made a complaint to the company and I nearly lost my job. Most people are fine, but for the irrational or strongly opinionated, some will stop at nothing to make you regret them find out.
This reaction gets even more extreme when children are around. Many people support teaching children gun safety, and families enjoying the shooting sports together. Others see it as child abuse or reckless endangerment. Just look at some states that are requiring foster parents to remove guns from their homes or not be allowed to provide a loving home to kids who need it. There are still youth shooting teams, sometimes in schools, sometimes Scouts or other organizations. But there are parents who would not allow their child to be friendly with another who shoots because they think it is dangerous. In truth, well trained shooters are safer than the child who stumbles upon a gun with no idea how to use it safely. But that is logic, and this is an issue often responded to with emotion, not logic.
Some extremes illustrated here but it happens. My policy is to not bring it up unless asked.