Letter to editor: Guns and angry readers


Dear Chuck,
A question if time permits. I can just imagine the  comments you have received regarding your article on Camping World gun sales. My question is, as an editor, knowing you are going to open a can of worms, are the negative, sometimes rude responses, taken personally?

Do they sometimes hurt or over the years do they just become part of the job of being an honest journalist?

Thanks for your wonderful newsletter.

Todd B.

Hi Todd,
The angry, rude comments only hurt when people don’t pay enough attention to whatever I write and then respond with anger and name-calling. It gets old being called a left wing commie, or similar things. I learned a long time ago that I cannot please everyone; I just accept that there will be those who disagree with me. For the most part, I deal with negative, even angry comments in stride.

On my recent column about Camping World selling guns, I thought I presented my thoughts in a way that most people, even if they disagreed with me, would accept as just my opinion. Alas, that was too much to expect. I should have remembered that writing about guns, no matter what I say, is inviting angry comments.

That said, most of the 400-plus comments were respectful, which is good and helps further the discussion.

But dozens of the know-it-alls in the audience commented (and sent me personal emails) that it was “liberals” like me who wanted the Second Amendment repealed; we are ruining this country. Of course, I didn’t say a single word about the Second Amendment.

For the record, I have never said or written even once about repealing the Second Amendment. I am fully aware that most people who own a gun in the RVtravel.com audience do so in perfectly legal and responsible ways.

Even with what I am writing to you here, some readers will misinterpret and, through the power of a keyboard in a room hidden from others, spew their venom. Most are too cowardly to use their real names.



  1. Wow. I read a book some years ago (20?) that predicted that our society was being influenced by several factors into becoming less tolerant of differing opinions and more violent in our actions/reactions. Today, with the social media in full swing, the author has been proven to be spot on. It is no longer “safe” to express one’s ideas for thoughtful consideration without fear of verbal or physical abuse. Too bad. God gave use two ears and one mouth. We are to listen twice as much as we speak (or write).

  2. Wow. Chuck you are brave and not only that, smart. Some of the posts here are so one sided no wonder they get angry when a post does not match their ideas. I don’t have a problem with guns. Just ownership of military type and some of the people who have them and I don’t think own is the right term. Some of them are black market guns and guess who has suffered like schools, places people gather like bars, casinos, games. What I really don’t like is the NRA which seems to have a hold on people by screaming don’t lose your rights. I guess just losing people is OK. I liked your articles and understand that they are your opinions. Whether you are Democrat or Republican does not matter.

  3. Funny–in a sad sort of way–how people assume that “liberal” and “anti-gun” are synonymous. I shot a hundred practice rounds through (one of) my semi-automatic pistol(s) yesterday and had a great time. Shot pretty well, too. And you know what? I’m as liberal as the day is long. As are a number of my shooting buddies. The generalized conflation of “liberal” and “anti-gun” is, as are most such simplifications, flat wrong.

    • It’s lazy labelling, of course. I’m a social-liberal, STRONGLY anti-Democrat, and firearms instructor. The problem of course is the Democrats claim of liberalism while SPEWING “progressive” (actually repressive) rules for everyone else — the exact opposite from true classical liberalism. As I said elsewhere, a true liberal would encourage everyone to lead their lives and choices for themselves, but that’s not the modern understanding of Liberalism.

    • Scott Ellis,
      I know quite a few self-identified ‘liberal’ Democrats, who are also gun owners that claim to support the second amendment. Several are even NRA members.
      The problem is, that support never seems to extend to where it really counts – the ballot box.
      This is a Constitutional Republic, where people vote for representatives rather than voting directly on issues.
      If someone claims to support something, but votes for candidates that oppose it, just what does their ‘support’ really mean? Can you understand how others might question their statements of ‘support’?
      Now this may not apply to you, but it seems to apply to a great many ‘liberal’ gun owners / supporters.

      • Thats because we gun owning liberals who ‘claim’ to support the 2nd amendment realize that no one is trying to abolish it (although it does seem open to some interpretation as to what a “well regulated militia” means to everyone) and those who claim otherwise are fear mongering for profit; and, voting on single issues designed to stir emotional responses is what is actually destroying our country’s freedoms. The ‘repressive’ rules are in general those needed to curtail those who dont play nice based on the definition of ‘libralism’ that holds that one should be free to do as one pleases as long as it does not harm or infringe on others’ rights.

  4. I believe in the free enterprise system as well as the second amendment. You have just admitted to being a liberal. Why you bring politics into a camping website is hard for me to understand. You seem to have created this controversy but complaining, or at least suggest, that the store had no RIGHT to sell what ever they wished. As a conservative myself, I find it appalling people challenging the rights of others. I especially find this so in a public forum. I am very happy with the constitutional government we presently have and see no need for what I see as radical changes. I would very much like in the future to keep political comments and thoughts out of you web-letter/website IMHO , o

    • RVT has written at length about sensationalism just to draw readership. It’s nothing new; The Sun has had page 3 girls since the 50s, and it was an old trick THEN. Chuck is a very smart man, so it has to be intentional here too. Well played.

      As for “a conservative myself” — I’m sure you see the conflict there? While I don’t know you personally, the D’s and C’s only disagree on HOW to control the masses, but are lockstep in wanting more laws “their” way instead of hands-off freedom. I’d be happy to ban all laws SINCE the Constitution because nothing since has been beneficial IMHO. Our leaders spend a lot of time refining laws they should never have made at all.

  5. My name is Mike and my comp is right in the front room of my house and I will tell you that you don’t have to directly say you are against something to be accused of ‘camouflage sabotage’. You said that you knew you were touching a third rail but you did it anyway which told me that you were willing to take an indirect shot at guns and tried to hide behind an attack on CW.
    Well I can tell you that I stopped going to a church whose pastor grabbed that third rail and like you said that he knew the power was on that rail but was going to speak his mind anyway. 40+ tithers left!
    I have yet to understand why those whose livelihood depends on not touching a third rail continue to do so.

    • I have no problem with people taking a stand and paying the literal price. If your church leaders don’t reflect the congregation, they *should* lose members and those people’s funding. Presumably, some people left RVT for Chuck’s comments, but if not then RVT sure stirred up participation. I totally support people’s right to choose who to do business with, including losing that business if their views are offensive. I don’t support pushing those views on others INvoluntarily, but business should be consensual.

  6. When I was making documentary films, they sometimes covered areas on which there was no “official” opinion. If we got about an equal number positive and negative comments we figured we must have done it just right.

  7. It is amazing how some people believe in the second amendment but show no respect for the first amendment. In a democracy you cannot have it both ways!

  8. Let it Go Chuck! We get it, you don’t like guns too much and you sure don’t want Gander selling guns? Poll you audience of the 400 who replied, Id bet most are Gun Owners? one thing is for sure Gun Owners are RVERS too!

  9. Chuck, Camping World sells stuff. Part of their holdings includes Gander Mountain…they sell sporting goods…if Camping World advertised fishing equipment in their ad I am sure you would not have made that an issue….so why open the can of worms about firearms ?
    Believe it or not most Americans own firearms….for hunting, personal protection and target shooting. If I had to guess I would estimate that 99% of firearms owned by Americans are never used illegally.
    Why make an issue about the stuff Marcus sells that does not concern camping and touring America in an RV ?
    Marcus sells guns at Gander Mountain not Camping World.

    • I wonder how many American school children have been murdered by fishing equipment in the last 20 years…..

      • Dunno about fishing equipment, I’m sure *some* in strange accidents. 😛

        But, if I get your point, then you should really look at baseball bats, which kill orders of magnitude more compared to firearms. Heck, more people (3000) choke on hotdogs than are killed by guns (500). Ban baseball TODAY! 😀

        Of course, if I get your point in using the dramatic “american school children,” then we should examine why there were functionally ZERO school shootings *BEFORE* Gun Free Schoolzones, and so many since… between pro-psychotic Rx drugs and guaranteed non-defense, the obscene result is predictable.

          • Huh? Full auto banned in the 20s, criminals have them in the 80s.
            Black guns (the race of owners) banned in the 50s/60s. Race riots follow.
            GunFreeZones passed 1990. School shootings begin, having never been a “thing”
            Black guns (yes, the grip color) restricted in the 90s. Crime goes up.
            Magazine capacity limits in the 2010s, school and mass shootings expand.

            At best, gun control is absolutely ineffective. At worst, and by appearances, it is DRIVING psychotic violence.

  10. Rv travel has been running segments about rving with firearms. Then you come out against a company that caters to rvers for selling them. Doesn’t make any sense to me

  11. I love discussions like this about guns it brings out the clowns that that think they can tell you what to do if your not doing what “they” think you should be doing. So what`s next gun sales at the local donuts shop or bump stocks on Amazon with 2 day Prime shipping if your in a hurry? Given the competence level of the people I have encountered at CW this idea is scary.

  12. Camping World. Marcus Lemon. What makes them any different than say any other corporation in the world? The fact that they make money off of people wanting camping gear is the only thing I can see. If people are stupid enough to buy into financing a cardboard box on wheels for 20+ years, why is Camping World the bad guy? Camping World doesn’t make the poorly constructed cardboard boxes. If I am willing to pay them $200K over 20 years for something worth $200.00 why are they to blame? Stupidity on my part does not a criminal make on their part. As for what they sell, as long as what they sell is sold legally there should be no problem. They do not have a monopoly on what they are selling.

  13. I am of the firm belief of “to each his own”. What CW does (as long as it is legal) is their business. We all have the choice to make. Do we want to patronize this business or not? I must admit that my wife and I do buy “items” from CW. I don’t believe we would ever buy an RV from them though. I neither condemn or commend them for the decision to sell guns. I just simply make the decision to either buy one from them, or not buy one from them. I don’t make it “personal”. Almost every business has “something” that someone doesn’t care for. If that were the criteria for making a decision for where to buy, most stores would be out of business. Keep the faith Chuck!

  14. Even with what I am writing to you here, some readers will misinterpret and, through the power of a keyboard in a room hidden from others, spew their venom. Most are too cowardly to use their real names.

    Chuck, you ask all to keep it civil and then you paint a large swath of people who maybe step over the line with the same brush. I learned years ago in the Navy during affirmative action training this kind of statement is a no no. Just accept the fact that in any group of people there are going to be those who push the boundaries of acceptability. I really like your newsletter and appreciate your taking the quality cause up and pushing manufacturers to improve their product.

    • Jim, Chuck mentioned “some readers…”. I do not think that constitutes a “large swath of people”. In your explanation you say “there are going to be those…” and that, in my opinion, indicates a small percentage of the group, much the same as saying “some” as Chuck did. When Chuck used the term “most”, he was referring to the small percentage of people he referenced to begin with.

      • I think there are some people who simply cannot understand the difference between “we should take everybody’s guns away,” “we should limit sales of certain kinds of guns,” and “I personally don’t care for guns.”

  15. I am having a difficult time getting past the “I am not a robot” program. The pictures are poor and hard to see on a smartphone. I think the hoop jumping is beyond what is necessary to combat spammers.

    I probably will not get through with this, but I try anyway. Why? I care, at least I do now. After I go through the gantlet and fail I will feet differently. Here goes ..

    • Have to agree with the character limits and new robot thing being annoying. RVT servers already have pretty good filters from what I’ve heard, so I’m skeptical it’s really saving much(?). Of course, the length limits are probably a direct response to my novellas, ahem!, but it just means splitting up into 57-post serial installments… LOL. Vive la escritures sans fin’!

  16. Chuck, the past three years have revealed a small, but “vocal”, group of Americans who demand we think the way they do. They will attack anyone who dares disagree with them. Even to the point of violence. And it is not just a left or right wing tactic, there are people on both sides.

    Dissent is as American as apple pie and having a calm peaceful discussion of the issues is what America used to be all about. It is impossible to agree on everything and getting upset when others don’t agree with you is childish.

    You have said nothing wrong, you just discussed things in a mature way. People, especially us older folks, will not all agree. What ever happened to agreeing we don’t agree?

    • I can answer your last question: people used to speak for what an individual should do and what makes “a real man.” Now people speak about what society should do, which is a critical difference because it’s all about controlling your neighbor instead of being your best self. I think that’s why people can’t agree. “You do you” is a blasphemy to many folks.

      • Another factor of public unrest is very Orwellian in nature… Certain groups have taken to “redefining the words,” and the result is that we argue even when we agree. I Conservatively celebrate multiple cultures, and want to Liberally own more guns …but Conservative doesn’t mean “established wisdom” and Liberal doesn’t mean “tolerance for ALL (including dissenters)” anymore. Whether 1984 or Tower of Babel, if we can’t talk anymore, we can’t progress.

  17. This “On my recent column about Camping World selling guns,” is where the 1st of several problems started. Your dislike of CW shows through easily. CW is NOT selling guns! A subsidiary of the holding company is, as they certainly can legally and should! Is there any level you will not travel down to show your dislike for CW and it’s CEO? I’m not a fan of Marcus, but give him credit for the big things he has done, and his errors as well.

Comments are closed.