Dealing with a gun mooch takes careful planning for range trips.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

You have friends and family coming over for the holidays and know they will want to go shoot. None of them have their own guns and obviously no ammo as well. With the great ammo famine still upon us, how do we handle this delicate situation – the gun mooch?

The Gun Mooch

It is one of the curses we suffer as serious gun owners. Those around us know we have guns and more importantly ammunition for said guns. Then their conversation starts with something like, “I would really like to go shooting sometime.” Deep inside we want to just tell them to have a good time, but we also want to be a good friend. This is especially true around the holidays when family comes to visit. You know that several of them have already scheduled a range session in their mind and just have not included you in the discussion yet. They have no guns and obviously no ammo. Once again, what do we do? You don’t want to be the Grinch that stole Christmas because you didn’t share, but ammo isn’t free and is still hard to find.

My suggestion for this delicate situation is to set boundaries. I realize this sounds like an episode of Dr. Phil, but it is still true. Be honest and tell your friend or sister-in-law that you would love to take them shooting, but everyone will need to pitch in for ammo. How much you ask them to contribute is up to you, but don’t be shy about covering your expenses. Explain to them that you aren’t trying to be obstinate, but that this is a unique time in the firearms world. This may be awkward at first, but your friends and family will now know that the ride isn’t free. If they are serious about going out, they will gladly contribute.

Taking Gun Mooch to the Range

When you know a range session is inevitable, you can give them the nudge ahead of time to bring some ammo with them. If this is going to be a multiple gun range session, I would go a step further and tell them that you will need help in cleaning the guns. Nobody likes to be stuck cleaning up after a party, and there is nothing wrong with having them help clean.

We want to be good stewards of the gun world, but the reality is that we cannot personally fund new shooter education. There will always be a time when you take people out without asking for anything. That is who we are and is enjoyable for all of us. We cannot afford to do it on an ongoing basis though, especially when there is more involved than a .22 pistol and a soda can. Setting boundaries like this is also a part of shooter education.

The people you take out may become hardcore gun owners in the future, and they too may end up in the same situation. By setting boundaries, they will already know how to deal with it because of the example you set.  Ultimately, if you just cannot have the conversation with your mooch of a brother-in-law, just quietly send him this article and let me tell him how things need to be. Mr. Manners is always here to help!

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