I usually take NRA publications with a grain of salt, because they shamelessly promote themselves while accusing their opponents of being shamelessly self-promoting. But I recently read an article by Chris Cheng in America’s First Freedom (one of the NRA’s Magazines). In it, Cheng recalls an eye-opening moment when a San Francisco colleague confided in him about being “in the closet.” Even though he had “been out and comfortable as a gay man” working in Silicon Valley, he had nonetheless “been a closet gun owner at work for almost 20 years.” Chris Cheng is quoted as follows:
I want diversity to be a primary component of my contribution to the shooting community and the NRA…. There are millions of normal, hardworking American gun owners of all stripes. You’re always going to have people who disagree with you, and that’s fine. But gun owners should not be ashamed of owning a gun….
Well said! The NRA (and the gun community more broadly) gets a bad rap for being one of the most homogeneous groups on earth. And in many respects, I can understand why. But Chris Cheng is right. I suspect this community is more diverse than the photo-ops and preconceptions might suggest. But often it’s not politically correct or professionally expedient for folks to be vocal about their stance on guns. I admit that I am guilty of covering up my 2A card at times too. That’s part of the reason I decided to write this blog, even though some of my friends, family, students, and colleagues are vehemently anti-gun. I’m hoping I can make a small contribution to the goal that Cheng has championed. In my humble opinion, diversity is always a strength, no matter what the context. So here’s to guns, diversity, and Chris Cheng!