USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- When people found out that Vice News, a generally left-leaning media outlet, was doing a documentary on the First Gun Maker’s Match, there was a lot of concern. When they found out that we had welcomed them and cooperated with the making of the film, there was even some outright anger.
The gun community hasn’t always been treated fairly by most “big media” companies… but that doesn’t mean that we are always treated unfairly or that we shouldn’t be working to improve the situation. Echo Chambers don’t create change. Real Advocacy for Gun Rights happens outside of the gun community. We must get our side of the story in front of people who aren’t already on our side. That’s why we were happy to take a chance on letting Vice News attend and cover the Gun Maker’s Match.
The Gun Maker’s Matches are put on by Guns For Everyone National, a 501c3 Organization, in collaboration with the Are We Cool Yet? 3D Printing Community.
The thirty-minute documentary(embedded above) dropped this morning and I think it pretty clearly vindicates the decision to work with them. Tens of thousands of people who don’t watch guntubers or read AmmoLand News have already seen it and hundreds of thousands more will. They are seeing many of the negative clichés about “Ghost Guns” get crushed. They are seeing the nefarious tripe spewed by anti-gunners and gun control organizations and private gun makers clearly refuted. They even get to see and hear an ATF Agent clearly state that there is nothing wrong with 3D-printed guns and gun-making as long as there is no criminal activity happening. At the very least that’s a reminder to viewers that private gun making is a legal activity.
I’d say that is at least a fair presentation… and it’s a lot more than most people probably expected. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve previously had fair experiences with enough left-leaning media outlets and journalists to have felt confident going into this project. Many gun-rights advocates have gotten pretty severely burned by trusting outside media in the past, so I understand their personal trepidation. Those failures should be taken by other advocates as a warning to be careful, not to be scared away.
Speaking about gun rights to fellow gun owners is the easy part of advocacy, the author has long believed that we must take our messages beyond the gun community and speak to people where they are listening, even if those places aren’t generally pro-gun-rights.
Years ago, I was asked by Second Amendment Foundation to address how Culture Affects Policy and how we need to recognize that fact in our gun rights advocacy. I spoke on that topic the same year that I was recognized by SAF as a “Defender of Liberty”, which I was very proud of. I think that going outside our safe spaces and confronting those who are aligned against us is one of the best ways to defend our liberties. I advised Gun Rights Policy Conference attendees to think about how they represent gun ownership to those who don’t agree with us and reminded the audience that we need to care about the opinions of those outside of our community. We need to educate people and win over who we can. There are millions of Americans who don’t feel strongly about gun rights. When they go to vote, they only have the information they’ve come across. If they are consumers of “mainstream media”, they will miss our message if we aren’t trying to be heard there. Fundraising, business building, get-out-the-vote, and morale-boosting are all important activities, but they are not the real work of advocacy. To affect the culture at large, we must do more than preach to the choir. We must get out there and take risks. We must get out and discuss, debate, and dialogue with people who aren’t already pro-gun rights. The goal isn’t to necessarily think we can change a diehard anti-gunner’s mind, we can simply start with making sure that the pro-gun arguments are being represented fairly in as many forums as possible. I think this documentary helps us meet that goal… and it represents a big part of what the Gun Maker’s Match Events are all about. Private gun making is, and should be, an overwhelmingly fun, safe, and legal activity… the same as other firearms-related hobbies in the United States.
Positive Press for the Gun Maker’s Match from within the gun community was a given, the challenge was getting anyone not already on our team to be interested and share the story.
Much thanks to the companies and individuals who supported and participated in the Gun Maker’s Match, especially Polymer80, Firearms Policy Coalition, JSD Supply, DEFCAD, Brownells, 2A3D Print, NASGW, Print Your 2A, Ancient City Shooting Range, and, of course, the organizations that put the event on Guns For Everyone National and “Are We Cool Yet?”.
Second Amendment Organization has published several articles for those who want to be more effective Grassroots Advocates at their blog.
About Rob Pincus
Rob Pincus has been educating people about defensive shooting and related personal defense topics for over two decades. He is the Executive Director of the Personal Defense Network and the owner of I.C.E. Training Company. He has authored several books, produced over 100 training DVDs, appeared on several TV & Radio shows, and trained military, law enforcement, and armed individuals around the world. His advice focuses on efficiency and practicality based on his own experiences and continuing research of both real-world events and cutting-edge training practices. www.icetraining.us