"I think gun ownership and use was quite acceptable in American society from the settlement of Jamestown up to the 1960s. Then, largely under the influence of the mass media, it became less favored. After half a century of that, it is returning to the norm. "
- Dave Hardy
Dave made this comment while referencing a report about the growing number of women gun owners. To be sure, there are still pockets of America that are stuck in the "Dark ages" so to speak, where the word "gun" is spoken in hushed tone like it's something to be ashamed of. That said, even here, in Blue State Delaware a lot of people intuitively get it. The shrieking, hysterical, anti-gun Moms Demand types are few and far between.
Honestly, of the in person conversations that have come due to my open carrying I can think of exactly two that were negative. Three if you count the guy from MD who hurried along like he'd seen a ghost after seeing me OC on the beach. One of those negatives was nothing more than a security guard who asked me to leave. The other was a man who told me it made he and his daughter feel uncomfortable. It seems that more and more these days, people are positive, curious and engaging when they see someone open carrying. Heck, just the other day a cashier at the local ACME asked why I wasn't carrying gun X and then proceeded to chat with me about what I was having done to it after I told him it was at the gunsmith.
If people were anywhere near as scared shitless of OC'ers as the anti-gun folks like to claim I wouldn't have people approaching me and asking me questions. Rather, people would treat me like a leper everywhere I went, which simply isn't what happens at all.
The more people see that gun owners and carriers are just like them, their neighbors, friends, co-workers etc. the more the programmed prejudice and stereotypes promulgated by the liberal, anti-gun media fades away. By and large, the people who are the most vehemently anti-gun, the ones who are the most intolerant and quickest to proudly spout their bigotry, are those who have little to no exposure to any "gun culture." They don't know people who own guns, especially the non-PC ones, they don't know open carriers or people with carry permits, NRA members etc. So they lash out at what they don't know / don't understand.
It's hard for folks to hang onto the "All gun owners / NRA members are evil people who want more dead children" BS propaganda when they actually KNOW someone who carries a gun everyday and think "He's one of the nicest people I know." I've found that for people who are mildly anti-gun who didn't previously know that I carry & own lots of guns, the revelation really throws them for a loop. You can almost see the "Does Not Compute" going through their mind as they try and reconcile the dichotomy of the prejudicial stereotype they have of gun-toting NRA members vs. what they know of Mike W. the person.
Just look at sales of AR-15 type rifles. The leftist media has done everything in their power to demonize them, yet if you visit almost any range in America you will see an evil black rifle. Whether you're a gun person or not, you know people who own one of those evil AR-15's that leftists want banned. Here we are a decade after the Federal Assault Weapon ban expired, and two decades after it's inception, and so called "assault weapons" like AR-15's are the norm among the American public. Hows that for normalization?