Social Media And Public Perception

By author of Guns and Camo

Social media has a direct effect on the public perception of firearms. (John Hafner photo)

Social media plays a big role in today’s age. People—especially younger generations—use social media more than the news. Heck, it is their news. And because of that, we have to watch how we portray ourselves as gun owners, now more than ever. That includes paying attention to what makes it online.

Quite a few gun-related posts appear on my Facebook news feed each day. The majority of them make me shake my head in disbelief. One of these things: Real guns that look like toys.

I keep tabs on the gun boards on Facebook. A gentleman recently customized a Springfield XDS to look like the Joker's gun and posted it to Facebook. It had bright colors all over it. So much that it looked like a gun you could buy at a toy store. The comment section quickly got interesting.

The majority of people's comments stated they didn’t feel like the gun should be legal because it looked like a toy. They said it would be too easy for a child to mistake the gun as fake and start playing with it.

Here’s my take on the subject: Why would a kid be playing with a real gun even if it does look fake? If a child has access to a gun, then the owner of that firearm is failing at proper ownership. Everyone should take extra precautions to secure firearms.

My father educated my siblings and me about guns at a young age. He eliminated our curiosity of firearms when he taught us how to properly handle a gun. He put the fear of God in us so we’d never neglect or mishandle a firearm…and it worked.

Another debate in the comments section was people saying they wouldn’t know if the gun was real if a perpetrator tried to use it on them. My response: What difference does it make? If somebody is pointing a gun at you during a crime, the last thing you'll do is try to see if it's real.

All of this boils down to three things. Firstly, social media reveals the bad decisions people make within the world of firearms. Secondly, social media is a place where some people show just how little they know. Thirdly, social media has an effect on public opinion and perception.

Make sure you follow gun safety rules and ethics. Be aware of what you post on social media. The world is watching.