Fun Friday: How Generation X Already Changed the Gun Industry (Not That You Noticed)

posted on September 29, 2017
Did you know that there's a whole generation of people who were born between 1965 and 1980? (Surprise!) We're called Generation X, and we're used to being ignored. When we were growing up, all we ever heard about were the Baby Boomers; now that we're adults, all we ever hear about are the Millennials. We feel like Jan Brady sometimes: "Millennials, Millennials, Millennials!" (Allow me to Generation-Xplain this reference to our Millennial readers: There used to be a TV show called The Brady Bunch, which aired on one of the three or four channels we had, that featured a middle sister who was eternally envious of her older sister's success.) Unlike the other famous generations of the 20th and 21st centuries, we didn't even get a name of our own until a writer named Douglas Coupland published a novel entitled Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture in 1991...and even then, all we were (or are, come to think of it) known for is a certain brand of passive-aggressive cynicism, set to a grungy, garage-band soundtrack. We were never the focus of thousands of breathless Internet articles about what industries we were or were not destroying; in part, that's because the Internet was in its infancy at the time, and in part because mostly nobody but us notices we're even here. Thing is, while everyone was busy paying attention to some other generation, we already changed the gun industry. You're welcome. 

You Know You're Right
Most of us were in our early adulthood in 1994, when the Federal "Assault Weapon Ban" was signed into law. At the time, there were very few non-mainstream sources of news, and the mainstream media loved this law. Problem was, the law had absolutely no effect whatsoever on crime; its only achievement was to infringe on our Second Amendment rights until it sunsetted 10 years later. (Of course, had anybody asked Generation X, we could have told them that. But they didn't. Typical.) That said, whether or not we already knew laws of this type would have zero positive effects or whether we had to learn it the hard way, we never forgot that lesson. As we became eligible to vote and run for office, we set about ensuring that particular mistake wouldn't be repeated. You're welcome.

In Bloom
Generation X didn't invent the concept of tattoos, piercings or dyeing one's hair eye-watering colors only found on poisonous Amazonian frogs...but we did make it mainstream. We were the first generation to look at ourselves in the mirror and think, This would be better with iridium. We then took that concept and translated it to our guns. Let's paint a flaming heart on this rifle; let's festoon it with accessories. As Coupland summarized in Generation X, We Are Not a Target Market, so if we want something to be different and unique to us—and we do—we're ready to do it ourselves. These days, particularly with those modern sporting rifles we mentioned in the paragraph above, those customization options are much easier and cheaper for the consumer. That's because, eventually, the industry noticed that people enjoy being able to customize things...although that might have had something to do with Generation Xers finally getting into the industry themselves. (After a minimum of a decade working McJobs elsewhere, natch.) You're welcome.

Before anybody knew us as Generation X, we were known as the Latchkey Generation. That's because we were the first generation in which it was normal, even expected, for both parents to work outside the home. That meant that when we came home from school, we let ourselves in with a key we kept on our persons and more or less looked after ourselves until Mom and Dad got home. From a very young age, we expected to be responsible for our own safety (if only for a few hours at a time). It's probably not a coincidence that the year the oldest of Generation Xers hit legal age to purchase a handgun was pretty much the same year that the national wave of shall-issue concealed-carry laws began passing in the states (1987, Florida). You would have thought that the Angel Gabriel had blown his horn and announced the advent of the Apocalypse from the mainstream media's reaction to Florida's passage...but, shortly thereafter, crime dropped. And then it kept dropping. (Guess who wasn't surprised? Us.) Over the next three decades, state after state has passed shall-issue concealed-carry laws, some even passing Constitutional carry laws that don't require a permit to carry concealed. You're welcome.

Do we expect a trophy and a ticker-tape parade? Not at all. We'll leave that to some other generation. At this point, being recognized for anything other than being snarky and passive-aggressive would probably just scare us into a heart attack. But, you know, you're welcome.


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