How it feels to be a gun lover in Canada
John Evers readily admits that he loves guns.
He appreciates their design, their history; he's a passionate sport shooter and hunter. He owns well over a hundred, including AR-15s, and he says, as a Canadian immersed in gun culture, he feels judged, misunderstood and at times hated.
"It makes me sad that people don't — won't — take the time to understand, that they are so close-minded, and they conflate violence with me. I hope you understand I'm anything but violent. They just don't take the time to be educated."
"I'm told, flat out, I'm not Canadian," says John.
John says that few of his fellow gun enthusiasts feel able to be "out" about their passion for firearms, including his girlfriend who sat in on the interview with Piya but felt too concerned about possible ramifications to speak on the record.
Sport shooters and gun owners often fear social judgment and even career ramifications, John says, which is part of why he's chosen to put himself out there. He wants people to see that you can love guns while condemning gun violence, and that the "positive gun culture" in this country should be preserved and appreciated.
"If you look at it — and you may say it's a facile argument — the gays came out of the closet, we went in. We hid ourselves. And just as the gay community should be out in public, and they are now, we should too because we're all just people. Different interests; different backgrounds; different experiences and that's a good thing in Canada."