Before I go to bed, I need to make a quick rant about the concept of “stay in your damn lane” because current events have me telling people to do so entirely too much as of late.

When I was making the jump from big-R Republican to little-L libertarian, one of the things I found most interesting was just letting people make their case for things I previously considered anathema. While I was absolutely unmoved by the arguments on some subjects (guns), listening to people talk about the things they were passionate and educated about moved me left on a lot of other things (weed, sentencing reform, LGBT rights, removing religion from government). I didn’t even agree on all of them completely, but oftentimes I went “actually, this doesn’t really affect me much at all/I don’t know enough about this to say decisively whether it’s right or not, so I’m really not in a position to tell people how to conduct themselves and the government shouldn’t either.” 

I stay in my lane. Fair, right?

Fast forward to today. I am practically swatting away uninformed people with a stick who insist that they know enough about guns, gun laws, terminal ballistics, self-defense tactics, law enforcement, etc., etc. to have a valuable opinion. They…don’t.

See, this is where the concept of “stay in your lane” becomes important. I know I don’t know enough to really have an informed opinion about abortion or reproductive health or other women’s issues because I’m not a woman. I lack the context and education and life experience to say “I feel strongly about this and here is the evidence to back up my positions,” and I’m aware of that. Anti-gun people, by and large, do not have any such self-awareness. I’ve got people trying to throw statistics and claims at me constantly that just make me roll my eyes at best and want to whack them with my rolled-up NFA trust at worst.

“Handgun bullets are slower than rifle bullets, you can’t fight an AR with a handgun!” Both bullets are still faster than human reaction times by a significant margin. In a defensive scenario, there are a multitude of factors that could easily turn the tide in favor of the handgunner, the most important of which is having a gun in the first place.

“AR-15 wounds are much worse than handgun wounds!” That’s literally any rifle, for the exact same reason handgun bullets are slower than rifle bullets. Are you capable of taking this argument into the realm of terminal ballistics theory, or are you just throwing out whatever John Oliver told you to?

“A teenager can buy a gun with no ID, look at this video.” That’s already illegal. Congratulations, someone recorded a federal felony. Did they report it? Was it prosecuted? A crime that isn’t prosecuted may as well not be a crime.

“We need laws that make it harder to buy silencers!” FFFFFFFFFFFFF-

Let me put it this way: I’ve navigated a lot of red tape in the 9 years or so that have passed since I started buying guns. A bunch of ATF Form 4473s, 922r compliance, a CHL application, an NFA trust, an ATF Form 1 (SBR) and an ATF Form 4 (suppressor). I actually have the ATF NFA Office on my speed dial at this point. It can be a goddamned minefield if you don’t know what you’re doing, especially when combined with needing to know how guns work, know basic self-defense concepts (read: situational awareness and de-escalation strategies), what guns of various calibers are capable of and what does/doesn’t make them more/less lethal in different conditions, how to store/maintain/clean/repair said guns and ammo, local/state self-defense laws, local/state/federal firearms law and enforcement, and many other subjects. 

At this point, I more than know what I’m talking about. Despite this being a minefield, I have not only successfully navigated it, but have actually put up a little house in the middle of it called “gun ownership,” and I cross the minefield to get to that house on a regular basis. I live with this shit. I know where the mines are because I see them every day.

And yet, because Jimmy Kimmel cried on TV, I now have people telling me that the only reason I haven’t blown myself the fuck up on one of my many trips to my little shack of gun ownership – which, as a constitutionally-enumerated right, should have as few mines in its way as possible – is that I’m lucky/privileged. Also, there’s not enough mines, because Dipshit McChildmurder managed to ping off of a few dozen of them that all failed to go off because Sheriff Scott Israel is more interested in building his political career than being a Sheriff and making sure the mines he was responsible for planting actually worked.

I know what I’m on about. Anti-gun people almost universally don’t. They should absolutely not be surprised when I not only take offense to them saying I don’t know where the mines that will send me to Federal Pound-Me-In-The-Ass Prison are, but also refuse to engage in any sort of “conversation” about it in which a group of people who were desperately trying to get their kids to not eat fucking Tide Pods a month prior are treated with the same level of authority as I am on the subject.

If you’re angry that I’m saying any of this, then you probably need to stay in your lane. I am the subject matter expert here because this is a major part of my life. If my input on the subject of firearms is not going to be given a level of respect and value greater than that of someone who has never held/shot/purchased a firearm, I have no reason to even waste my time arguing that it should be.