A Note From Daniel Fritter, Calibre’s Publisher

Regardless of if you’ve had a gun license since the dirt was new, or if you just got your PAL exam marked yesterday, if you’re on this website you probably know that being a gun owner in Canada isn’t always easy. From legislative changes to poorly targeted and malicious ad campaigns to the outright media attacks of the past few weeks, we gun owners can end up (ironically) feeling like we’re taking fire from every direction these days. And that’s wrong.

But it’s also no surprise. We knew this was coming and it’s why Calibre started putting the wheels in motion towards some sort of public outreach program designed to normalize firearms in the public eye. The first big success? Our Metro story that spanned 20-some odd pages all dedicated to the positive aspects of the shooting sports and hunting, with some good perspective on what buying a gun entails thrown in for good measure. But the sad reality is that story took a lot of effort to get published, and between running a magazine and trying to stay abreast of the political turmoil surrounding guns these days, I found myself stretched too thin to accomplish more.

So, we at Calibre set about talking to industry stakeholders about getting someone aboard to tackle the job of getting guns out in front of the media in a positive way. And the role of our Director of Public Outreach was born.

Now to be clear, this isn’t a marketing role, nor is it a role associated with any given organization. On the contrary, throughout its genesis the idea has always been to develop the role as a non-partisan, autonomous position, wherein the appointed individual can be free to work with any and all gun owners, industry members, organization reps, and journalists that want to engage him. The goal is simple: Liaise with media, put together media outreach and education packages, and generally do more of what that Metro story did: Show people that we gun owners are normal people enjoying a perfectly safe, perfectly normal hobby that *gasp* some journalists might even enjoy themselves.

So without further ado, I’ll let our new Director of Public Outreach speak for himself.

Hi, I’m CJ Summers.

I grew up in a town of a couple thousand in the British Columbia interior. I was raised by a Marine. It was through him that I learned a very important skill, how to use a firearm. I went to university, worked overseas and tried my hand with politics. I am now an entrepreneur – while also working hard at completing my Masters in Business Administration.  

I am a fairly standard person I think – I hope you do to. All is good right?

Why was I so hesitant to tell people I owned firearms?

Something my father said still resonates with me to this day, probably because I still hear him say it on a regular basis. “Sometimes it’s not worth the aggravations.”

Has it come to that?

Do most Canadian firearms owners feel that a better course of action is inaction? Appeasement never worked, just ask Chamberlain.

Registration of guns started in the 1930’s – then in the 1950’s automatics were registered and if we jump a few decades, the 1970’s provided the first time that criminal background checks were required for those wishing to purchase firearms. To purchase firearms today we are all required to complete the Canadian Firearm’s Safety Course. As gun owners we are all part of one of the most controlled and regulated industries in Canada. The RCMP even has their own governmental program responsible for all things firearms!

So we are trained and screened by the RCMP. Yet I still feel like a pariah – maybe I am hanging out in the wrong social circles.

However, I am taking a stand – I hope you all stand with me. I can’t remember the exact moment, but I came to the realization that well over two million gun owners in Canada are constantly greeted with negativity by individualized groups and media. We are all unique. We are politicians, law enforcement, teachers, business individuals, blue collar and white collar workers, men and women, young and old. What unites us all – even if some of us ignore it – is that we are a powerful group that is working hard to protect ourselves. We are protecting ourselves from misinformation, judgement and stereotypes.

Stepping into the Director of Public Outreach role with Calibre Magazine is an exciting opportunity, one that I embraced – one that I can’t wait to build further. I will use this outlet to do three important things. The first will be addressing the negative media coverage that firearms owners are subjected to on a daily basis. Second, I will engage the media at every level possible. This will include junkets and events – I will show that we are much more than a generalized and stereotyped group. Finally, I will work at changing the current media strategy of strictly reacting to news stories – I will implement a strategy of proactive engagement. I will change the parameters of discussion and fight to change the way all Canadian firearms owners are perceived in the media today. Canadian gun owners are not criminals.

I believe these three priorities will immediately help educate the public on who we truly are as individuals and as a community. I know it will start a discussion, discussions focused on the rise of sport shooting in Canada and the benefits of hunting for instance; not the “he said – she said” stuff of the past.

This fight to educate is definitely worth the aggravation.

If you’d like to contact CJ about media availability or any issues, articles or events please email cj@calibremag.ca.

 

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