Among Nichols’s beliefs is that, as he put it this week, conservatives now “measure freedom by how many of us walk around with guns.” He also believes that concealed carry culture is really just “conservative virtue-signaling” as a stand-in for real patriotism, that gun owners “measure [their] sense of worth” by whether or not they are carrying firearms, and that gun “worship” has become a “litmus test” for conservatives, to the detriment of conservatism itself.

It is safe to say that none of this is true. What Nichols advances is a grossly distorted view of American gun culture, one that suggests he either has spoken to zero gun owners about guns or didn’t listen to them when they did speak.

In fact, the people whom Tom is clumsily describing — those of us who carry guns, who take a keen interest in gun policy, and who believe that it is fine for responsible and well-trained gun owners to carry their firearms in public places — do not actually “worship” guns. Nor do we tie these interests and habits into our sense of self-worth and patriotism.