Just because I have a gun, does not mean I am the bad guy.

by Feb 5, 2013Uncategorized

Just because I have a gun, does not mean I am the bad guy.

I wrote this post for my blog with a local newspaper. I was hoping it would generate some conversation, but instead of talking about guns, the comments were more about Liberals vs everyone else. One guy actually commented that “Liberals will never understand.” But… I am a liberal. I am a little too liberal some days and with some issues. Without trying to, he proved my point that there will never be considerate, thoughtful conversation about guns because we so quickly jump to conclusions.

Here is the post, and if you click on the title, it will take you to the blog page over at Thoughts From a Tree Stand.

Just because I have a gun, does not mean I am the bad guy.

Posted on February 1, 2013

My Twitter feed is filled with posts and articles about guns. I argue with friends on Facebook about guns and the right to have them, use them, own them. I found articles (here and here) about Liberal gun owners and their take on the gun issue. S.E. Cupp published an article about gun owners this week. Every show and every news anchor mentions it daily – the gun problem and what can be done to “fix it” in the U.S. Everyone has an opinion and suggestion on what we need to do to “make things better.”

What we really should do – stop getting the media involved! Stop putting the names and faces of the murders on our TV screens, in our newspapers and online. Even if you can’t name a shooter, I bet if you were given a group of photos and asked which ones were killers, from Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to Cho Seung-Hui to James Holmes and Adam Lanza… you could pick them out. They lived on our TVs longer than any of the victims or their families did. As a society, we made it possible for each of them to get publicity for shooting up a school, mall, movie theater etc. We gave them more than their 15 minutes of fame, but why? Why are we focusing on them and not their victims?

During Senate testimony this week, in which Gabby Giffords took the podium to speak about the need for more laws and regulations, NRA President, Wayne LaPierre was asked the question about mandatory background checks. His reply, “background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them.” YES! While, I am all for tighter regulations if it means saving a 6-year old’s life, the idea that cracking down on legal gun owners will somehow stop shootings is unrealistic.

Fact: In Chicago last weekend, 11 people were involved in homicides. 11 people in 2 days were killed (46 others were injured). In one city – a city with such strict gun laws that there are no gun shops within city limits. 11 people! Why are we not hearing about a need to crack down on gang violence? or for that matter, why have we stopped talking about the need for better mental health screenings and services across the country??

In Maine, if you don’t have a gun in your house, I bet your neighbor or a family member does. And chances are, they have more than one. I do. But what I am really sick of, is the rhetoric from people who don’t understand the mindset of gun owners, (or from those who have never held a gun, shot a gun or even seen a gun) and blame us for not wanting to drop what we are doing and support the new rules and regulations that will “fix things.” The number of people I know who have never handled a gun, but are now experts in all things guns infuriates me, as I am sure it does others, and proves that we will never have a civil conversation in this country about what the problem actually is and how it could be solved.

We are not the bad guys. We are the legal gun owners who support the gun industry, the hunting industry and numerous rod and gun clubs around the State and country. We are the one’s who are teaching our kids how to be responsible gun owners and operators. We are the ones who are being proactive in creating an educated gun culture for the future. Stop acting like because I have a gun, I am the bad guy.


  1. Unfortunately it is the world we live in now that portrays us as being the bad guys and I don't see anything that is going to change that much.
    The best we can do is when in conversation we all must remember to show the good instead of all the bad to hopefully someday sway those non-believers to our side.

    • Absolutely! I really wish we could have a sit down conversation, without politics and without judgement about the other side. Now, its a matter of what will actually happen and when will the topic fade as a new hot button issue comes to the surface.

  2. Well written Erin. It's amazing how those anti gunners spew from anti gun data only to jump on gun owners fro repeating the old NRA propaganda. Can't have it both ways folks. Many gun owners welcome logical, rational discussion and debate, the real problem is there is no such thing when politicians are involved. This IS an emotional issue and will remain so. All we can do is to keep on trying to educate those who obviously are not. Hang in there.

    • Thanks. I totally agree! When you start labeling people as D and R instead of individual and individual, there is no hope of having a conversation. I wish we could start at common ground "No one, regardless of side, wants to have another incident like Sandy Hook happen again." Then, move out from there to a larger conversation.

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Erin Merrill, author of And a Strong Cup of Coffee, is president of Women of the Maine Outdoors, a senior writer for Drury Outdoors, a contributor to the Northwoods Sporting Journal and passionate all things Maine, Hunting, and the Outdoors.