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If you have a gun-related sticker on your car, it means you feel strongly about guns, which means there is a strong likelihood that you are carrying a gun or you have one in the car. If somebody wants to make a false complaint against you, you could end up like this poor guy, charged with felony aggravated assault. It probably cost him a good fifty grand before Penny won the acquittal for him.

eJournal: Now this is starting to strike awfully close to causes that we love! Would you estimate that there is the same degree of risk from putting an “I’m the NRA” sticker on the car bumper?

Ayoob: Oh, absolutely. If you didn’t feel strongly about it, you wouldn’t literally wear the opinion on your sleeve with the t-shirt and semi-literally with the bumper sticker. It means you probably own guns, it probably means you own more than one gun.

Guns and prescription drugs are about the only things criminals can steal from you that they can fence to the underworld for more than their intrinsic value rather than a nickel or a dime on the dollar. When they find your car parked unattended, the ones who need instant gratification will pick up a brick and smash your window. If they don’t find a gun they will steal something else. In any case, your car has been damaged.

The ones who can delay their gratification a little bit, figure out you probably have a lot of guns or you wouldn’t have that sticker, so let’s just delay briefly, then we will follow this car back to where it lives and then we will find the Mother Lode.

Someday, when you’re not there, but your mom or your grandma or your kid is home alone, they are going to come.

eJournal: That is a high price to pay for trying to show solidarity for gun rights.

Ayoob: People tell me their bumper sticker is their way of doing their part. They say, “I’m showing my commitment to the Second Amendment movement.” Well, a $1 bumper sticker is a pretty cheap cop-out because I never in my life met anybody who changed their opinion about a candidate or a political issue because they saw a bumper sticker and said, “Wow! The light bulb has come on! The bumper sticker has given me an epiphany. I will change my values now!”

If you are serious, get involved. Get out there and work at the local level with your grass roots gun owner organizations. Join the NRA; join the Second Amendment Foundation. Don’t kid yourself that a $1 bumper sticker pays your dues.

eJournal: That is a difficult lesson, but one to which we need to listen carefully. Thank you for shining the harsh light of reality on this common practice among gun owners. Fortunately, talking directly to people is likely more effective, and has a lot less risk than signs or bumper stickers! Once again, you’ve given us valuable information, and I appreciate it! Thank you!

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