The Struggle for an Inclusive Gun Culture is Real

The annual Second Amendment Foundation’s annual Gun Rights Policy Conference just wrapped up in Florida. I didn’t attend this year (but did attend in 2014 in Chicago), so I have been watching on-line commentaries on the conference closely. There have been some interesting post-conference reflections that highlight the challenge of building a more diverse and inclusive gun culture in the United States.

Photo credit: Jared Morgan,
Photo credit: Jared Morgan,

The National Rifle Foundation’s efforts to take advantage of and promote a more diverse Gun Culture 2.0 — for example with shows like NOIR and Love at First Shot — are fairly well known.

But other developments which demonstrate inclusivity were evident at this year’s GRPC. For example, Nicki Stallard — a transgender leader of the Pink Pistols in California — was named 2016 Grassroots Activist of the Year, and Erin Pallette — also lesbian and transgender — was praised by attendees for her involvement in Operation Blazing Sword (see her very personal reflections on the experience of attending the conference here).

Image credit: The Coalition for Civil Liberties
Image credit: The Coalition for Civil Liberties

At the same time, not everyone who attended came away feeling 100% at ease with the atmosphere. Memphis-based African American attorney and gun trainer Tiffany Johnson, for example, included in her critical reflections a humorous list of vivid memories from the GRPC, including:

  • Gun policy info

  • Gun policy litigation updates

  • State X is confiscating guns.

  • State Y is confiscating guns.

  • We hate Hillary Clinton.

  • We hate Barack Obama.

  • We hate Black Lives Matter.

  • OMG!!! I just shook hands with super-lawyer Alan Gura!!! (a fellow Georgetown alum, I might add)

  • Gun policy info

  • Speaker A has a book coming out. Go buy it immediately.

  • Gun policy info

  • We hate Democrats.

  • Wow, there’s John Lott!

  • Lott makes excellent point about gun control hurting black people and poor people in urban centers more than anyone else.

  • We hate liberals.

  • We hate vegans.

  • Gun policy info

  • Liberals suck.

  • Crude Hillary Clinton impersonation.

  • Donald Trump is the Second Coming.

  • Okay maybe Trump isn’t Jesus, but Clinton is definitely Lucifer

  • Gun policy info

  • Speaker B has a book coming out too. Go buy it as well.

  • Gun policy info

  • We love open carry.

  • I suppose we tolerate gay people now.

Shortly after reading Johnson’s post, I saw on my Facebook feed another dust-up around the GRPC, this one concerning an Hispanic gun writer Jorge Amselle who dared say at the meeting that he would be supporting Hillary Clinton over Trump, for which he was outed by fellow gun writer David Fortier on a gun-related blog and subsequently vilified by David Codrea on his The War on Guns blog.

Although not directly in response to Codrea, I enjoyed Kevin Creighton’s brief reflection stimulated by the GRPC, which can be read as a sort of response nonetheless: “You want to change the world? Good. Start with your small corner and take a friend who’s never shot a gun before out to the gun range for a day of shooting. … Shooting is fun. Sanctimonious self-righteousness is not, and the arc of history tends towards fun.”



  1. I passed on GRPC this year as well, although brother Jeff Knox was there to fly The Firearms Coalition flag. I remember my late father, Neal Knox cc’ing me on an email between himself and one of the founders of Pink Pistols. “The self-described ‘queer’ community,” Dad wrote, “and the self-described ‘redneck’ community probably have more in common with each other than either is comfortable admitting. Both are feared and misunderstood by the larger society.”


  2. Would be nice to have an academic meeting on the gun culture, gun law, gun policy, gun safety, 2A, gun crime, gun-CDC range of issues. Somewhere we could invite a broad range of people (David, Adam Winkler, Greg Camp, Hemenway, etc), not just gun guys/gun gals, and have a collegial beer at the end of the day. Any takers?


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