This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Gun people are taking pictures of themselves aiming weapons at their dicks. The safety is off, their finger hovers on the trigger, and the barrel of the weapon is pointed straight at their genitals. “Now these MAGA dolts are pointing guns at their dicks with the safeties off and their fingers on the trigger to own the libs,” filmmaker Dylan Park tweeted alongside three pictures of guns pointed at dicks.
But pointing a gun at your penis has nothing to do with owning the libs and everything to do with ironically mocking basic safety in gun culture. The trend is about a year old and it was born in the fires of Facebook’s gun groups. On one side are responsible gun owners, on the other is a group of men aiming a deadly weapon at their dicks to prove a point that they can only vaguely explain.
Gun enthusiasts love taking pictures of their guns. It’s common practice. America has a gun culture as robust, diverse, and complicated as comic book fans, fantasy nerds, PC gamers, or any other subculture. Like those communities, gun nerds have their own memetic language and fight among themselves. Unlike pop culture enthusiasts, the hobby of a gun nerd is based on a tool designed to kill. It’s distressing then, to the responsible gun owner, when fringe elements in their community post pictures online of them pointing guns at their dicks.
And gun nerds are distressed. “These gun owners do not represent us,” Brandon Curtis, owner of Concealed Nation—a gun blog whose tagline is "we are responsible carry"—said in a post on his site. “Just as with any other types of trolls, do not feed them. I’ve seen a rash of these posts in the Concealed Nation Extra group, and all involved received a permanent ban. It comes down to safety, and those actions break many rules.”
But this still raises the question, why are people pointing guns at their dicks and taking a picture of it? It has nothing to do with "owning the libs." It is, essentially, shitposting, and internal fighting within the gun ownership community.
Like with any other fandom, there’s levels to gun culture. In the online gun community there are "normies" and "fudds." Normies cover a range of people, anyone from a basic handgun owner to the completely uninitiated. Fudds—as in Bugs Bunny hunter Elmer Fudd—are the old heads, weirdos, and dedicated gun nuts. Some fudds hate normies and the way normies talk about guns. Even the normies who know their way around a firearm.
A chief complaint among fudds is the normie’s devotion to safety, typically manifested as knee-jerk praise of trigger discipline. For the uninitiated, watching trigger discipline refers to the act of keeping your finger off the trigger of a firearm until you’re ready to fire the weapon. It’s a safety basic, along with never pointing a gun at anyone or anything you don’t intend to harm, and always assuming a gun is loaded. Trigger and muzzle discipline will tell you a lot about a person holding a firearm. Typically, if they keep the muzzle away from the camera and their finger off the trigger—even while holding the grip—they know their way around a weapon.
Inevitably, when some idiot posts a picture of themselves with a firearm, another idiot will jump into the comments to praise or chide the idiot for their trigger discipline. Some fudds hate this.
“The uninitiated zero in on dumb shit like this because it's their entire knowledge base. It's the only thing they understand,” the moderator of the Facebook group “Shit Gun Normos Say,” said in a post. “Congratulating people for keeping their finger in the right place is like congratulating somebody for not wrapping their seatbelt around their neck, or for not shitting their pants in public.”
To combat this apparent scourge of responsible gun ownership, some fudds have taken to posting pictures of themselves pointing allegedly loaded weapons at their own dicks, with their finger on the trigger. If this doesn’t make sense to you, you’re not alone. The trend is around a year old, and it’s an issue gun groups—especially those on Facebook—have been dealing with for a while.
Gun People Who Hate Gun People is a Facebook group for gun enthusiasts to vent about idiot gun owners. The comments of this post from the moderator are filled with pictures of people pointing guns at their dicks. “It's not about politics...It's just good, wholesome, fun,” one said.
Another poster succinctly summed up the meme. “Bruh, it’s a joke. It’s absurd humor that was not made for this audience. And was definitely not made to ‘own the libs.’ I’m sorry this has you so upset,” he said. “And btw, the joke isn’t that funny. Your reaction is though. EVERYONE knows about trigger discipline. Stop patting yourselves on the back. [Negligent discharges] mostly happen when dipshits fail to clear their chamber before disassembly, or when they fail to check their holster before reupholstering. Not when edgy internet trolls ironically point guns at their [B]enis.”
Pointing a loaded weapon at your dick is a shibboleth for the gun community. It’s a way for a self-perceived elite class of gun poster to separate themselves from the herd of their own community. It separates the edgelords from normal internet users, the fudds from the normies. But, as always, the irony is just a mask.
When you ironically point a gun at your dick, you’re still pointing a gun at your dick.