If this past election has shown us anything, it’s how people’s perception of the world can be incredibly skewed because of social media. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and others often have a way of distorting the way we portray ourselves to others. Plenty of simple disagreements or arguments have devolved into absolute crap shows in front of friends, family, and complete strangers.
Here’s five ways gun owners can proverbially shoot themselves in the foot on social media.
Reveal Too Much — Gun Locations & Quantity
Even if you have all your privacy settings set to their tightest, there’s plenty of examples of people’s private personal communications and pictures being intercepted on the internet.
By revealing the number, location, and style of your firearms to the open internet, you’re essentially giving every bad guy a huge heads-up. This can be used against you.
The last thing you want to do is accidentally reveal where you like to keep your guns. If you stash a pistol in the glove compartment and leave it out there, not only does a thief now have a picture of precisely where it’s located, he can even take a good guess on how well secured it is.
Perceived As A Threat — Words Get Twisted On Social Media
Most people don’t think a lot about what they say on social media. They figure it’s just another public forum to tout whatever the meme-du-jour is floating about. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, as a gun owner, we have to be candidly aware about how our words and actions can be misconstrued by complete and total strangers.
A heated argument, a poor choice of words… These can all lead to highly erratic, illogical statements and actions exchanged. Unfortunately, not everyone on the internet is able to take everything with a grain of salt.
There’s nothing on social media worth arguing about. And, by and large, nobody’s opinion is going to be changed because of a witty comeback on Twitter or Facebook. The internet is a great tool for research but it has really devolved as a platform for social discussion. Social discussion is best left in the personal arena.
As a gun owner and concealed carrier, I have a reputation to maintain. Getting into arguments online to the point where either myself or another feel a perceived threat is such a waste of time.
Now here’s where it gets dumber: if you post a picture of your gun into that heated conversation, it can be perceived as a threat. Remember how we have to perceive something as a threat before we defend ourselves? That applies both ways.
Threaten someone either intentionally or accidentally, and it could be a huge hassle for you. Keep the pictures of guns outside of the conversation. De-escalate whenever possible. And, perhaps the only good thing about internet discussions, you can walk away at any time without any consequences.
Two Gun Owners In A Pissing Contest — No De-escalation
The dumbest thing ever is having two macho-fueled internet geniuses get into an argument about guns and it devolves into some sort of deluded high-octane pissing contest. We’ve all seen it online but it gets dumber when one or both parties just simply refuses to back down and wants to take an already heated argument to real life.
Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often. But it is an excellent example of how a lack of de-escalation on the internet can result in real poor decision making online.
Visiting Bora Bora? Guess Who’s Home?
Snapping pictures of your favorite places to eat, visit, and experience is somewhere akin to announcing your social status for the whole world to see. The problem — if people know you’re a gun owner, you’ve just given them a huge heads-up of when you’re not home. If you only own one concealed carry handgun and carry everywhere, the chances of getting guns stolen is pretty small. However, by letting people know your pattern of life, you are helping them find opportunities to take advantage of it.
Nice Gun, Buddy! Too Bad It’s Illegal In Your State!
In the state of California, they are trying to push heavier and heavier restrictions on what type of gun a person can own… Not carry, not take to the range… Own. And California isn’t alone in this. States like Massachusetts have recently reinforced their decision to ban all firearms that look or appear anything like something they consider an “assault weapon”.
Now you’re going to post a picture of yourself posing with one of those guns outside your home? That’s incriminating as hell. And illegal.
Do yourself a favor and don’t post pictures of you with your guns in places they shouldn’t be. In Massachusetts’ case, they can only ban you from using a prohibited rifle if you’re inside the state. There’s nothing saying you can’t use an AK-47 variant right across the border in New Hampshire or keep one at a legally owned dwelling outside the state. However, if you’re going to snap photos of yourself with that gun, it would probably help you out a bit to make sure it’s not in a state that specifically prohibits that possession.
In conclusion, your guns are your private business. If you want to share it with your friends, be aware that more than just your friends can see them. Plan accordingly. A bit of discretion online can save a lot of heartache further on down the road.