Wednesday, April 11, 2012


by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

You, my friend are an Ambassador. You may not realize it and you may not even wish to be, but you are. The dictionary lists the following definition of an ambassador:

“A person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.” 

You have joined a very distinguished group of individuals who influence our society and our world. So, now that you know who you are, how well are you doing at your job? 
People are watching you and people are listening to you. They are making decisions and forming opinions based on what you do and say. 

To add even more pressure, do you realize that how well you do your job as Ambassador directly effects millions of gun owners and their ability to protect themselves and enjoy their firearms? This is a lot of pressure, and all you wanted to do was defend yourself and/or enjoy shooting targets or hunt, right?
The day you purchased your first firearm you took on a great responsibility. You knew owning a firearm was a serious decision and that there are laws you must abide by, but did you realize that how you handle and use your firearm, how you speak of it, and your attitude about firearms puts you in such an important position?
Society, the government, your family and your neighbors, who perhaps are not experienced or knowledgeable in firearms, will form their opinions and make voting decisions also based on what they learn from you. Those who currently want to remove our right to own firearms are foaming at the mouth for anything and anyone that can be used to accomplish that goal. We see gun owners who act inappropriately, carelessly and even violently used in this way almost nightly on the news.

So, how are you doing? Are you safe? Do people see you shooting with eye and ear protection and following firearm safety rules? Do they ever see you pointing your gun at anything other than a safe target? Do you tell “off color” jokes or make less-than-tolerant comments involving your gun? Do you store your gun properly? Do you know the laws in your State and know where you cannot legally use your gun? Do you leave your favorite shooting area in the desert or woods clean? Do you realize that anytime we breach any of the above we could, in a moment, become a tool used to further efforts to place all of our rights in jeopardy. 

As I become entrenched in social media with The Well Armed Woman and monitor many, many pages, I regularly see and read such poor representations of what responsible gun ownership is really about. I wonder to myself: “If this is what those outside the gun culture see, it’s no wonder they fight so hard to take this right away. What a bunch of angry lunatics”. I see it at the range, sometimes, too. 

You know, I’m really not a fuddy duddy. I love shooting my guns and nothing means more to me than being able to defend myself, if necessary, and to help women do the same.  I love a cool photo or a funny pro-gun sign or saying,  but I also cherish my right to own and carry my firearm, and am frustrated by those that are reckless and careless and risk becoming ambassadors for those who desire to take my right away or to limit it.

Of course, there are many, many responsible owners and fine reflections of responsible gun ownership, and most of us are pretty good Ambassadors, doing our best to be good examples of safe, responsible gun ownership and handling. I think we can do better though. I know I can do a better job and take my “appointment” as Ambassador more seriously. I need to have the courage to remind my brothers and sisters in arms of their great responsibility and need to be good representatives as well. I need to be more careful and mindful when I don’t even think anyone is watching. 

Safe, respectful, responsible and a gun owner with integrity... That is the Ambassador I want to be.
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” 
― John Wooden

As the effort to limit our rights grows, our united work to represent our passion responsibly becomes that much more important.  What do you think we can do individually and collectively to be the best ambassadors possible?

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and quest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook orTwitter and visit 

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta


  1. I’m a proud owner of two Beretta shotguns, a CCW holder and a member of USPSA. I’ve owned guns throughout my life, and I fully appreciate the need to safeguard our Second Amendment rights.

    But there’s a lot more to this issue.

    One aspect of ambassadorship that Carrie doesn’t mention is the need to engage with elected officials from both parties. There are far too many gun owners who see a “D” next to an elected official’s name and immediately conclude that the official must be part of the “foaming at the mouth” crowd looking to restrict gun rights. In the vast majority of cases, that’s simply not true. Particularly in the West, many (if not most) Democrats embrace the same traditions of gun ownership that are often claimed by Republicans.

    I’ve heard countless gun enthusiasts express the fear that President Obama wants to limit gun rights. There have been record sales, year after year, since he’s been in office. And yet, he’s done absolutely nothing – let me repeat – nothing -- to impinge on Second Amendment rights.

    The reality is that conservative media outlets have perpetuated the myth that all Democrats favor gun control, and all conservatives oppose it. That one issue is a litmus test for many, and the GOP has succeeded in convincing a sizeable number of Americans that regardless of economic and social policies, they should support Republicans based on this one issue.

    As gun owners, we do our cause a great disservice by equating gun rights with only one political party. The best way to protect our Second Amendment rights is to stop presuming that Democrats are the enemy. Responsible gun ownership is entirely consistent with liberal ideals. The left can, and should, embrace gun owners as a voting block. Gun owners can, and should, embrace liberal ideals. The only reason that gun rights are not firmly established as a platform of the Democratic party is that gun owners have written off Democrats ( and vice versa). It’s time to change that attitude on both sides.

    1. You are correct that there is more to this issue and being a responsible, educated voter is a significant way to "effect" and "influence" the protection of our rights and should have been included in the article. A good Ambassador would include researching and understanding where our elected officials stand and then exercising the privilege of voting and getting involved in the process. I think this "conservative vs liberal" generalization divides. We each need to know our values and support those officials that will work to uphold them through action, regardless of political party. Thanks for sharing!