by Paul J. O’Leary
My Havok Journal colleague, Shelly Goode-Burgoyne, published an article last month decrying the practice of owning and shooting the so-called “girl guns”, which she described as being “ludicrous colors like: pink, purple, green, red, powder blue, zebra striped, polka-dotted, and even glitter; guns that feature illustrations of Hello Kitty, endearing quotes, and unicorns.” She pointed out that shooting guns and potentially taking lives is serious business and should be treated as such. I am here to tell you why she is wrong.
To begin with, she describes the marketing of such guns as sexist. I could not disagree more. The practice of marketing is to sell your products to consumers. Image is a huge part of ensuring those potential consumers are buying your product instead of opting out or, worse yet, giving their money to your competitor.
Have you ever wondered why some products are emblazoned with Mossy Oak camouflage and others with BMW logos? Because the seller is trying to appeal to a certain clientele. It’s the reason companies spend millions on marketing research – to make tens or hundreds of millions in sales. If the gun companies believe marketing pink guns will result in a sale, it is no more sexist than when diaper bag companies make versions of their products in black or earth tone colors to appeal to dads.
Beyond the marketing, however, she addresses the need for shooters to get into the correct mindset when learning to shoot or when training. The importance of embracing the gravitas that comes with taking another human life or making a shoot-don’t shoot decision in defense of your life or someone else. The argument put forth is that the female shooter with the pink Hello Kitty rifle or pistol will not be able to summon the appropriate level of seriousness to truly engage in this lethal task with the appropriate amount of responsibility.
Again, I disagree.
Whether it is shooting a pink pistol, a Star Wars rifle, or using one of those trendy zombie targets, the shooter needs to be able to compartmentalize the serious nature of the task from the distractions around him or her. Weapon safety is, without question, the paramount aspect of any firearms training or handling. Playing grab ass at the range, shooting while intoxicated, or engaging targets without getting positive identification of your target are all practices that are non-negotiable. No matter what the color or your weapon is.
But aside from that, we cannot forget that, despite the danger and serious legal consequences of shooting in a real situation, shooting is fun. It’s probably the main reason why private ranges are packed on the weekends and why millions of people in America consider shooting one of their hobbies – because it is a fun time.
I have had many great and enjoyable hours of range time shooting with my wife and children or with my friends. At no time did any of is lose sight of the importance of proper safety. In fact, my oldest son probably had nightmares of me repeating “Finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot! Finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot! Finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot!” the first time I took him to the range. But we all had fun. And that’s what makes sport shooting great…that it IS fun.
Finally, Shelly brings up the potential tragedy that could occur if a child mistakenly thinks a pink, bedazzled firearm was a toy. This is an area where I agree with her to a point. Any weapon in a house with children should be properly secured and the children should be taught that the weapon is something that is dangerous and not to be touched. In fact, I would submit that ownership of a “girly gun” comes with an added obligation to be even more vigilant with regards to proper storage and security around children.
To paraphrase Second Amendment supporters, the Constitution doesn’t make reference to the color and design of your weapon – only to your right as an American to have it. No one questions the importance of safe weapons handling and storage or the severity of taking a life. But we can have a good time while we’re at it.
If a pink Hello Kitty rifle makes it more enjoyable for a woman in your life to go to the range and learn the skills necessary to potentially protect you or family when the very worst happens, then everybody wins – and you won’t care what color the weapon she used to avert tragedy was.