Not every gun owner is a gunnie. Gunnies tend to see firearms more in religious or mystical terms, rather than as tools to manage certain situations. And it is exactly that religious view that creates no end of problems for many of them.
Left wing perfervid fantasies, allegations, and paranoia aside, gunnies are nevertheless generally a very law-abiding group. Criminals see guns more as tools of the trade, or as status symbols, rather than attaching to them emotionally. In regard to law-abiding, I’m fairly sure that if, say, stainless steel guns were made illegal to own, a substantial majority of gunnies would simply turn them in, perhaps grumbling and with rationalizations, but nevertheless would comply. Because it’s the law. Moreover, I’m sure sizeable minority of that majority would even be willing to narc out fellow gunnies who didn’t turn in THEIR stainless stuff. Some might only turn in unknown guys seen at the range, but more than a few would be dropping a dime on their own mothers, if it came to that.
Despite – or maybe as an adjunct to – that law-abiding nature, gunnies also tend to live in a chest thumping fantasy world that Edgar Rice Burroughs would be perfectly at home in, a fantasy world that is without any regard for the law. The fantasies range from muy macho handlings of individual predators to grandiose dreams of the end of the world where their manliness and firearms skill enable them to roam the wastelands without problem, a la Mad Max.
Which leads to three thoughts on the fantasy life: The first is that the gunnies living in those fantasy worlds (as opposed to the ones who say “I hope I never have to shoot someone, but if I have to, I plan to do it right”) rarely seem to be, say, combat veterans from the military. As one writer put it, “Reality has a way of killing fantasy.” This is not to say that there are not guys who love combat and live for the chance to go and kill people legally – but they are a minority. The second observation, tied to the first, is that there are not that many female gunnies. Being a gunnie tends to require a Y chromosome, for some reason. As a guess, being someone without a degree in psychology, a lot of the gunnie fantasy comes from a reality in which the gunnie sees himself as – or really is – a powerless cubedwelling drone who’s never going to make an impact on modern industrial society. The final thought regarding the fantasy life, and serious evidence that it is indeed fantasy, is the tendency for gunnies to have a marked disdain – if not outright hysteria – when any of their fantasies are challenged. Their response to someone pointing out a problem is not, “Crap, I guess I didn’t think my cunning plan through all the way” followed by intellectual, psychological, or mechanical adjustments to the system. They immediately default to defensiveness at best up through anger and infantile temper tantrums directed at the questioner.
This is not to suggest for even an instant that gunnies should be prohibited from owning guns. It is a suggestion that anyone owning a gun ought to take a serious look at reality and make sure that his feet are there, rather than on a sound stage representing post-apocalypse Australia. It won’t reduce the hysteria of the hoplophobes, but it will help improve their own personas.