“What the- its blocked?!!”
Thus began one of the more incredulous conversations of my life.
There I was, in uniform, in an office located on an Active Duty military installation. I was at the desk of my E-5 boss ,both of us wearing the uniform of the United States Air Force.
You know, the one that nuked two Japanese cities.
Here we were, two enlisted men,staring at the same words on his computer screen:
“WEBPAGE BLOCKED BY DOD ORDER- REGULATION AFI 1234.567”
Were we trying to look up Edward Snowden’s blog? An NSA drop site? A secret Russian spy server?
The webpage which is so dangerous to national security that it’s blocked by military order is none other then http://www.springfield-armory.com/.
Times are a changin’ folks.
One of the creeds I stick to as a gun owner is the need for us to advance gun ownership as a culture. We need the latte-sipping hipsters to view gun ownership in the same vein as iPhones and flannel; because one day we won’t be able to rely on the vets and police to sustain the industry.
In the past Big Gun Companies marketed their wares to the Big Customers- law enforcement and military agencies. In turn , civilians would read about the Blast-o-matic 5000 and thus be motivated to add it to their collections. When the Blast-o-matic 5000A1 came out later the cycle repeats.
That’s how so many major guns we consider industry cornerstones got their status. Its how the Sig P226, Beretta 92, Glock 17 and others got their footholds. They were sold by Big Gun Companies to Big Government Customers, and the civilians became spillover clients as they bought what their Veteran and Military pals recommended and used.
The pioneers of handgun technique like (Col)Jeff Cooper and other contemporaries started in uniform. As have most industry leaders since.
What me and my gun-loving boss encountered that day wasn’t just an inconvenient site block. It was the PC future of the DoD- and government in general. People in management positions in many LE agencies and most of the military unfortunately come from the academic view that firearms are at best a necessary evil, and worst case a dangerous asset in need of strict regulation.
That culture and attitude inevitably trickles down to the newer members of the organization; until one day military members arent even allowed to look at webpages about the very guns they’re called upon to use.
What does this mean going forward?
We cannot rely on veterans and cops to be the ambassadors of gun ownership. Not in a day and age where most people with live fire basic handgun classes are better trained then non-frontline support troops.
The gun guru’s of the past and present came from public service backgrounds. It is unlikely many will in the future.
We have to turn the marketing machine and culture around; from the instutitonal level to an individual one. No longer can gun ownership remain the cultural domain of current and ex cops/military -with a few hangers on in the civilian world. The RKBA must be a champion issue of minorities, women, and the hipster latte crowd in the years to come. That’s where the votes are, and thats where the culture of the nation rests on. It may seem that’s a controversial place to trust the future of our legal and cultural right to keep and bear arms, and that’s not an untrue perspective.
Yet one thing on this topic is sure- relying on Big Government with leadership like Obama and Clinton to act as a cultural leader of weapons ownership is a ticket to future irrelevance for the RKBA.
To secure the future of gun ownership in America, we must groom and inspire the future Jeff Coopers and Ernest Langdon’s from outside the .gov pool.