Don’t be the person everyone looks at sideways because you commented one of these things on someone’s gun photo.
Social media is great when used properly, but it’s also full of trolls and negativity. You can avoid adding to the negative noise by just being cool when someone—a friend or a stranger, makes no difference—posts a picture of themselves shooting or even posing with their gun. I know that what you have to say is just so clever or smart that the world deserves to hear it, but you know what? The world doesn’t want to. If it’s a really serious safety violation, it could be worth addressing directly and privately, but otherwise, stay away from these types of comments and keep the peace.
“You’re Doing It Wrong” Remarks
Man, people hate this. I know you think your intentions are good, and yeah, their form probably needs improvement, but just let people enjoy themselves if they haven’t asked for your help. The very first time we let my daughter shoot a handgun, she naturally adopted an isosceles stance, and wouldn’t you know, a friend of ours commented “Next time, teach her to bend that elbow a little.” Excuse me? First of all, she’s 9. Second of all, I assure you that my husband and I both know what proper form is. Third of all, if you aren’t up to date enough to know what isosceles is and that it’s the most common handgun-shooting stance today, who are you to be giving advice? Fourth, did I mention she’s 9?
My kid never saw the comment, but well-meaning advice like this really takes the wind out of people’s sails, especially new or inexperienced shooters. They’ll improve their form as they get more experience, but right now they’re just excited that they got to shoot, and they’re really proud of that target with holes all over it, so let them enjoy it without critique.
By the way, the most annoying phrase in all of shooting, “Keep yer booger hook off the bang switch!” falls into this category. Yeah, fingers don’t belong on triggers until a person’s sights are on the target, and this is a serious safety rule, but Facebook isn’t the place to fight about it.
“Oh My, That Looks Dangerous” Comments
NRA Women aren’t likely to fall into this category, but if any well-meaning non-shooters are reading this, we want you to know that guns aren’t dangerous when used as designed. In fact, the shooting sports have a stellar safety record, and it’s because we take safety very seriously.
Pearl-clutching exclamations like “Oh my, that looks dangerous” or even “be careful” are not only misplaced (most of the time), but they’re also an invitation to open a debate you probably don’t want to get into. Some of the responses will try to educate you reasonably, but you might just get piled on by people overreacting to your overreaction.
Guns aren’t dangerous, and responsible shooters aren’t dangerous people.
Sexual Innuendos and Come-Ons
Listen, men, if you’re reading this: I’m pretty sure no man has ever met the love of his life (or even a fling) by commenting “You’re so beautiful” on one of her Instagram pictures. OK, there are women out there who use firearms in their photos, usually accompanied by a minimum of clothing, to expand their reach through sex appeal. These women are seeking attention, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to be gross.
I’m talking about your normal friends who go shooting and you just can’t resist saying something like “OMG, that’s so hot” or “Girls who shoot are sexy!” or “Why can’t I find a woman like this?” We just want to shoot and share our excitement, man. Don’t make it weird.
I swear, I’ve been shooting and writing about it professionally for decades, and I still get weirdo jokes in person and on social media, mostly from non-shooters who think it’s cool and want to tell me that without knowing how to say it. So they spit out things they think are funny but which are actually really creepy:
“Whoa, her husband better watch out, she can shoot!”
“Remind me not to make you mad!”
“Your daughter’s dates must be so nervous!”
Think about what you’re saying, people. I know you’re trying to be funny. But no responsible citizen who enjoys shooting is going to shoot their husband, use her gun to threaten teenage boys who want to date her daughter, or brandish a firearm unsafely just because she gets angry about something. We’re normal people who regulate our emotions just fine, and we have a pristine safety record of appropriate gun use! Insinuating otherwise, jokingly or not, is inappropriate, and we don’t know what to say in response, so we have to either play along with the joke or make things awkward. Don’t put us in that position.
What You Can Say
This is simple. When someone posts a picture of themselves shooting on social media, there are a handful of appropriate comments that will be welcome. Consider any variation on these:
“Looking good! Isn’t it so empowering?”
“Proud of you for taking charge of your personal safety!”
“How did you like that SIG/Mossberg/Browning/whatever?”
“Looks like you had a great time. Way to go!”
“You should come to my range with me sometime; you can even shoot some of my guns and see what you like. Call me!”