Monday, September 24, 2012


The new gun culture

The gun community has forever changed.  Once in a supposed slow decline, the popularity of shooting and gun ownership has come roaring back during the past couple of decades.  Sales of firearms are setting all kinds of records, and gun ranges are frequently packed with people.
Michael Bane calls the latest generation of gun owners “Gun Culture 2.0,” which I find to be an exceptionally apt description.  Much like the move from the “old” internet, to the current generation of interactive and social web sites was called “Web 2.0,” the Gun Culture 2.0 is a similarly remarkable change in our own community.
But the new generation of gun owners no longer fit the old-school sportsmen look of yesteryear.  The new generation of gun owners are fiercely independent, yet socially active – especially in the online space.  The new generation comes from urban centers as well as middle America.  New gun owners are of all genders, colors, creeds and social strata.  They are not Elmer Fudd.
Unlike the reserved approach to politics that the traditional firearms lobby has taken, the new generation is outspoken, unashamed and willing to fight for what they believe.  They are educated on the origins of the Second Amendment and the fundamental right to be free.  They do not advocate for the Second Amendment as a right to hunt, rather they perceive it as a guaranteed ability to resist an oppressive government.
But, why the shift?  There are a variety of reasons, but I contend the internet is the primary reason for the revolution in the gun culture.

Nationally and locally, civilian militias have a new look

Florida Charter Oaks militia instructor Al Rivero and lead instructor Darren Wilburn watch as Tucker fires a handgun in June at the Cecil M. Webb public shooting range.
Photo by Carla Varisco-Williams
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 9:43 p.m.
Amelia Foxwell is the new face of citizen militias in Florida. At 33, the Sarasota resident is younger than most militia members. She is Web-savvy, eloquent and a mother who is working on a master's in psychology.
Foxwell and fiancé Darren Wilburn are founding members of the Florida Charter Oaks Militia, a Sarasota- based group with about 25 active members who travel from around the state each month to train in survival tactics and firearms use.
Their group — and a growing number of similar militia organizations across Florida and the nation — does not want to be judged by the Oklahoma City bombing or other crimes. Members see the group as a constitutional militia, based on the Second Amendment principle of a well-armed and prepared citizenry.
The couple typify the new-style militia leaders. They are young, well-spoken and physically fit — a far cry from past militia commanders known for camouflage-clad beer bellies and outlandish statements. They are open to scrutiny, are deft at public relations, and will soon be featured in programs on MTV and the National Geographic Channel, focusing on their firearms training.
Wilburn, 45, is a former Army Special Forces sergeant and decorated combat veteran who is the group's lead trainer. He works as a private detective.
For him, the militia is all about personal empowerment: “We would like for every person in the country to not be an easy victim, whether it's street crime or political crime,” Wilburn said.
While they still dress in camouflage and run around the Volusia County woods with guns in monthly training exercises, they also aspire to perform public service like participating in Neighborhood Watch and disaster relief programs.

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