“You know what’s great about being in Arizona?” I asked my 9-year old daughter.
“What’s that, Dad?” she asked.
“Look at that man’s belt,” I said.
“What?” she asked.
“That man over there. Look at his belt.”
“I am. What about it?”
We were in the vegetable aisle of a grocery store in the center of Tucson and I was trying to point out that the man down the aisle from us was open carrying what looked like a Ruger P85 or P95 pistol. Pushing his curly-haired toddler along in a shopping cart, this guy was stopping to squeeze the Charmin and thump the cantaloupes just like everyone else in the store, except he had a heater on his hip. To listen to some of the pundits in the “mainstream” media, this guy was a threat to everyone in the store—only he wasn’t. He was just another father like me in a grocery store with his daughter looking for a good deal on tomatoes.
Tucson is one of the most liberal and progressive cities in the southwest, and yet open carry there is fairly common. I wanted to point out to my daughter that one of the great things about being in Arizona is that it not only has open carry, but enough folks practice it that you probably couldn’t go a whole day shopping without coming across someone open carrying.
“Do you notice anything about his belt?” I probed.
“He sure has a lot of keys,” she answered. “What kind of gun is that, Daddy?”
I was kind of perplexed just then. I was trying to have a teachable moment in civics but instead my daughter had just taught me that by raising her around guns and always showing her their responsible use, that to her they were simply a “matter of fact” part of every day life.
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.