Generation Z: The New Face of Firearm Ownership
Medal of Honor: Frontline, the Uncharted series, and the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare trilogy. These three have one thing in common. They’ve helped get the new generation, Generation Z into guns and there’s no stopping them.
As Generation Z, the generation born after 1995 but before 2005 leaves high school and joins the workforce, the military, or enrolls in college many will find themselves being introduced to guns. Either through heirlooms or from interest in the media that they’ve grown up around through YouTube channels like Hickok45, Demolition Ranch, and FPS Russia. As of the time of writing, this generation is the one that’s grown up around games like the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, the Red Dead Redemption games, and so on and so forth.
There are obstacles in the way, however. The state of corporate America is stacked against this generation from Dick’s Sporting Goods to popular clothing brands like Levi’s jeans. Add to that, forces like David Hogg’s misguided movement #MarchforOurLives do their hardest to appeal to the newer generation. These same media industries stand behind figures like David Hogg in their attempts to keep the new generation away from firearms.
On the flip side, there’s no way to undo the prevalent firearm culture that exists in this generation. Playing as John Marston from Red Dead Redemption or Joel from The Last of Us and having to use a firearm as a tool in-game in the name of your own survival or the survival of others has taught this generation that these are tools. They’re tools used for good and tools used for evil.
This is even more solidified when you look at the statistics of the YouTube channels and see who watches videos. Below are screenshots the age groups who watch videos from Hickok45, ForgottenWeapons, alongside Demolition Ranch with links attached. I should mention as of recently, they have changed their policy in showing demographics to only those with Youtube channels. However, links will be here, here, and here.
As shown above, this generation has been getting into guns. Most likely as many of these games were pathways into other forms of media. In my case, it was Medal of Honor: Frontline to the Band of Brothers miniseries.
But how do we get this group into firearms even more than what’s already being presented? How do we truly give them the nudge they need to get up and convince them to go to the range? There’s two ways of going about it, a way to draw them in and a way to keep them out. Be encouraging, open-minded to their questions, no matter how simple or baseless they may sound. My first range trip was my RO telling me to line up the rear and front sights alongside proper cheek to stock (He also told me to stop shooting the trolley, but that’s a story for another day.)
The wrong way is being downright hostile to a newcomer, no matter their level of experience, whether they spent their time shooting their family’s weapons or learned (as I did) from watching Youtube videos is a surefire way to draw them away from firearms as a hobby.
The video game side of the media has already done its part to leverage interest into them through the aforementioned games. The aim now is to get more of the new generation and their friends out to the range whether that’s a parent taking their son out to the range or whether someone takes their friends out. Most of Generation Z as it stands already carries interest in firearms, and only needs the right nudge to get there.
I challenge those reading this to get their friends and family from the newer generation out to the range, indoor, outdoor, it doesn’t matter. Whether it involves getting your kids or your friends into the hobby of shooting, they most likely already carry some form of interest in guns that stems from them playing shooter games. There are obstacles ahead, but if we can get more of our generation into guns, those obstacles will only grow smaller and smaller with each person that joins the cause to fight for gun rights in the United States.