The loneliness of the liberal gun lover

Three years earlier, after O’Quinn moved to Houston, she decided she wanted to get a concealed weapon permit. She signed up for a class that was taught in a garage in the Houston exurbs. When they arrived, she found a car parked outside with a bumper sticker that read, “Work: It’s the WHITE thing to do.” Inside, the instructor, a white woman in her late 40s, told the class she worried her church was an easy target for “Muslims” to attack because it was located near an expressway. The instructor later explained that concealed carry permits did not allow you to bring a gun to a polling place, joking that it was “too bad you can’t shoot Democrats on their way to vote.”

A lifelong liberal who had voted twice for Obama, O’Quinn absorbed the insults in silence. Despite her love of shooting—she owns a 12-gauge shotgun that she likes to take out for skeet shooting—she was wary of going to a gun range because she didn’t want to run into anyone like her instructor, people who would use the image of President Obama for target practice. Three weeks ago, she found the Liberal Gun Club on an Internet search, and realized it would be holding its annual meeting an hour from her house. “I was so uncomfortable,” she said to the group. “I’m so happy to be here.” The room gave her a round of applause.