While attending a safety meeting at a local shooting range, I got into an interesting discussion about the “face of firearms.” Can you simply look at a person and determine whether or not she is a 2A supporter? Are certain types of people more apt to enjoy and exercise our Second Amendment right than others? What, exactly, does gun ownership look like in America nowadays?

There are still many people who believe that guns are only in the hands of who they claim to be “grumpy old men.” Other people believe that only military or law enforcement should even be allowed to have firearms. And there are many others who believe that certain people are—or should be—excluded from our right to bear arms.

I beg to differ.

You think that gun ownership is a Republican thing?

Then you are blind to reality. Supporting our right to bear arms is not based solely on conservative political preferences. I know all kinds of people with all kinds of varied backgrounds, beliefs, and voting records…and they support gun ownership for the simple reason that it was deemed an American right, and they want to protect themselves and their families.

You say the Second Amendment is a white person’s privilege?

Well, that’s just ridiculous. Responsible gun ownership is color blind. So is irresponsible gun ownership, for that matter. And I don’t care about color, race, heritage or traditions; if you are an American, then this is YOUR right. And I have had the honor and privilege to instruct and to take classes with people from all backgrounds…and of all colors.

You believe that guns are just for guys? You say girls can’t shoot? Or girls don’t shoot?

Gender has nothing to do with whether or not you can learn proper and safe gun handling. And being a guy or a gal doesn’t have anything to do with skill or talent. So stop with that stupidity. Stop telling women they can’t have guns or that they shouldn’t have guns. Women are worth protecting, but they are also worthy of protecting themselves and others, if necessary.

You argue that guns aren’t for the older generation?

Most of the people I compete with in shooting matches are older than I am. And they have a host of examples and personal experiences from which I can (and probably should) learn. Good shooting may require some basic physical abilities and a dose of natural talent, but it’s something that just about anyone can do at just about any time in his or her life. In fact, our seniors should be encouraged to find a gun they are comfortable with, train with it, and carry it.

You say college students can’t handle firearms for self-protection?

Ludicrous. Don’t use blanket statements and end up hurting or punishing responsible young people. It’s unfair to put them behind the wheel of a car, watch them go to school and/or to work full time, and then tell them that they can’t be trusted with a gun. I guarantee that a firearm is going to do a much better job than that whistle or that can of pepper spray that dangles from a keychain or a backpack.

So, firearms aren’t for those with disabilities?

That’s pathetic. Want to tell that to my friends in wheelchairs? Or to those with the use of only one arm? Want to tell them they aren’t able to protect themselves, defend themselves, or handle a firearm because of some physical limitation? Untrue. With patience, practice, and perseverance, I’ve seen the seemingly impossible become amazingly possible.

Responsible gun ownership is growing…and, perhaps, it is changing. But it’s all for the best. As long as you meet the stipulations that you ARE an American and that you are NOT a criminal, the right to bear arms is yours. And we need to stop trying to define it or contain it within a certain group of people.

We are all the face of firearms.