Family 1st Defense
One of my favorite columnists in the firearms industry is Beth Alcazar. She writes and blogs for the United States Concealed Carry Association, a fine organization to which I am also affiliated. Beth has a special gift for being passionate about firearms and our 2nd Amendment rights, without the bombastic demeanor exhibited by so many industry pundits.
In a recent USCCA post, Stick With This, Beth shares a recent conversation with an attorney friend and colleague who makes important distinctions between bumper stickers that display threatening and inflammatory messages about guns (“I don’t call 911, I call .357” for example), and those that simply promote causes and organizations we support (like “Crime Control, not Gun Control”). The attorney explains how the former might draw scrutiny from a prosecutor and jury in the aftermath of a shooting in self-defense, while the latter could demonstrate a commitment to safe and responsible behavior. He cautions owners to show restraint. This is great advice but I take an even more conservative approach when it comes to stickers on my car and truck: I avoid them altogether.
Making my vehicle a “gun sticker-free zone” draws attention from no one – and that’s just fine. If the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, the last thing I want to do is stand out from my surroundings. Although a USCCA decal on my rear window would not likely inflame a jury if – God forbid – I ever have to shoot someone in self-defense, it could telegraph the fact that I am armed. That makes me a high-priority target, threatens my safety and negates any tactical advantage I may have had. I also apply the same guarded philosophy to my wardrobe. I have lots of great looking, catchy, pro-2nd Amendment apparel but choose to save it for trips to the shooting range and events where I’m around like-minded people.
Bland bumpers, boring windows and politically-neutral tee shirts are statements unto themselves – we are not required to make every part of our world an extension of the narcissistic social media! Furthermore, it’s in our best interest to encourage drivers and passersby to pay attention to their surroundings. The bumper sticker phrase “if you can read this, you’re too close” comes to mind.
When it comes to publicly advertising your views about about firearms and the 2nd Amendment, my advice is just don’t do it. In the words of US President Theodore Roosevelt: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”