Dec 28, 2010


One of the "perks" of NRA membership is a subscription to one of their magazines. I take "American Rifleman" because it has the articles I tend to find interesting. I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, because the magazine is more than half advertising, and I have yet to find a blunt review of any gun.

Reading the latest issue, however, there is one line that is really tweaking me the wrong way.

In an article about Dakota Arms the writer says,
"Whoa—never heard of Dakota rifles? Can’t be much of a gun guy, I thought."

Condescension much?

In context, the person he was writing about was a customs inspector who couldn't find Dakota on his list of manufacturers. No suggestion that the inspector had ever claimed to be a "gun guy".

This is a perfect example of what I have now deemed "fudditude": the idea that any firearm not considered a traditional sporting arm is unworthy of contemplation. Higher price tags correspond to greater worthiness. (The author's other articles cover double rifles, Federal Premium ammo and Zeiss optics. None are noted as being low-budget items.)

It's entirely possible to be a "gun guy" and not have heard of Dakota Arms. Most of their rifles have price tags higher than my first car. For a "gun guy" who has a couple shotguns and an off-the-rack deer rifle, and maybe reads "American Handgunner" every couple months, there's no reason he'd be aware of a low-production high-price manufacturer. (ATF 2007 report: Dakota Arms produced 493 rifles.)

I consider myself a "gun guy". I'm sure there are plenty of manufacturers I've never heard of, or if I've heard of them in passing there may be no reason I'd remember any particulars.

Let's be honest: how many of us are likely to take an African safari in search of the Big 5? Not I. The hunt of a lifetime for me would be to Canada for brown bear, or Alaska for moose. I can certainly enjoy reading about the adventures of those who do travel to far-off places to shoot animals I'm only going to see in the zoo, and perhaps could someday afford a semi-custom rifle. ("Could afford" should not be confused with "will afford". Something along the lines of a Cooper rifle is probably near my upper limit for any single firearm.)

Maybe "fudditude" isn't right. Maybe it's simple snobbery. Either way, it's not the way to foster positive relations with anyone.

I don't think the NRA is perfect, by any means. Truth be told (IMHO), the Second Amendment Foundation has done more for gun rights in the past five years than the NRA. But - and this is huge - identifying yourself as an NRA writer and then acting the snob is a great way to make someone who is either on the fence or simply unaware into an anti-NRA person. Either simply keep your mouth shut, or smile and maybe explain it a bit. "Oh, they're a small maker from _____."

Or maybe I'm just an angry person.


elmo iscariot said...

For what it's worth, I hadn't heard of a Dakota rifle until reading this. Some gun guys are into handguns.

Wally said...

I am required to maintain my NRA instructor cert to teach the handgun class required here. Thankfully I only need to be a member for one year to renew the ten year cert.... And I hold my nose when I write that check.

And I'd wager a donut that the author has never heard of Leinad, or knew that Sunbeam and Firestone made guns too....